Posted by: Chelsey Bottoms | July 16, 2008

cards and prayers

Last week I was asked to play cards by one of the ladies in the Day Shelter. By that point, it was getting to be a pretty regular routine for me to play a game or two each day. I was a little tired of it at this point though, and really just didn’t want to play much but also didn’t want to miss an opportunity to grow closer to this particular lady. Little was I to know what would evolve from that card game.

When I walked over to play, it was her and two other guys. One of them I had never seen before, but the other I had recognized as being one of the men I had tried to previously avoid. (For the sake of this blog, I’m going to refer to him as Ike.) I’m not sure the reasoning, but I knew that he had a substance abuse problem and I think it just frightened me. However, I went ahead and played with them. (I have learned how to play Spades, and it is a tad bit addicting. :-)) As we were playing, I discovered that the man I didn’t know was kind of a jerk. He was really getting on my nerves. Curse words have been known to fly while cards are flying, and that was not helping the situation. Next thing I know, Ike said, “Can we watch the language? There is a Christian young lady present.” Though not too happy that it required a “Christian young lady” to stop the language, I was pleasantly surprised that he would do that for me. I am pretty sure my annoyance was written on my face, but he was the only one who picked up on it.

Later that afternoon and over the next couple of days I had opportunities to play with Ike some more. I also had some opportunities while I was working to talk to him about his substance abuse problem, as well as a little about his life. It was interesting to see how my view of him changed over those few days. One day he came in and announced that he needed to see one of our supervisors. I asked him why, and he informed me that he wanted to get into a rehab program, but if he didn’t do it right then, he would back out. I called for one of the supervisors to come help him, and they ended up finding a program outside of Louisville for him. When he came back down to the kitchen to tell me this, I offered to pray for him while he was in recovery. The cool thing was that I even got to pray with him on the spot. I knew that one of my fellow team members had mentioned that Ike was a Christian, so it made it easier when praying. At the end of my prayer, he was in tears, saying that he couldn’t believe he was actually doing this.

A little while later, I was called to come to the Storage Closet. I had no idea why, but I really just didn’t want to leave my spot. However, I grudgingly trudged over, and was surprised with Ike at the closet door, waiting to tell me bye. He enveloped me in a hug before I could ask him not to, but I felt like he might have needed that support at the moment. It was amazing to see the man who I had avoided a few days before change into a man who was praying with and hugging me before he headed off to his rehabilitation facility.

Please pray for Ike as he goes through this program that he will find his strength through Jesus, and know that no matter how hard the battle is, he can do anything through Christ who gives him strength (Phil. 4:13). Also, please pray for me that I will not prejudge people based on snippets of information that I have gathered, but will look to the person and see them through the eyes of Jesus. Thank you for all your support!

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