Diane got my number and called me while I was on vacation. She’s fleeing an abusive husband and is currently living in her car. She’s interested in housing and we agree to meet when I get back into town. We pray at the end of our conversation and she weeps. She’s already meeting with “real” case managers from other agencies to work on housing. I don’t know how helpful I will be. I don’t know the available resources, and there are huge waiting lists in Seattle for low-income subsidized apartments.
A few days later, I arrive at Starbucks early and spend the time praying and reading the Bible. The music in Starbucks is super annoying this afternoon. I like Brazilian music, but this is some weird espresso top 40 roast hybrid. Diane shows up on time and is the wonderful combination of street tough, kind, and vulnerable. We talk about family, alcoholism, and God. Pulling an “enhanced bottle of soda” out of her purse, she tells me that she has been sober for various lengths of times in the past. She is currently drinking. Prophetically, Diane declares, “I have all these friends who are Christian, but they are so rigid. Jesus always seems to be about breaking the rules to care for people.” I have just been reading the story in Luke of Jesus healing a woman who has been crippled for eighteen years, and I begin to share it with Diane. The religious leaders are mad because he performs the miraculous healing on the holy day in the holy space. In the story, Jesus makes it clear that the woman’s life is important and holy. She is a daughter of Abraham — a child of God. This woman is surprised with the presence of Jesus and her life is transformed. The scripture is moving and relevant to Diane and her situation. When I am done sharing, she hits me in the arm and begins to cry.
We fill out the housing application and walk back to her car. I realize later that she doesn’t have any income and won’t be eligible for the housing program. We pray in the parking lot and she prays a prayer of protection over me. She shows me the Bible her mom gave her when she was a teenager. She thanks me for our time, and tells me that God used me to help lighten the weight of her burdens. I leave realizing what God has called me to do. I have never been a “real” case manager. I have always prayed for those in crisis and trauma. For people to be set free from their infirmities. For people to be surprised by the presence of Jesus.
“When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” (Luke 13:12 NIV).