A quiet voice.
I didn’t know that one moment would change the course of my ministry. As I walked into her office, I was unaware of how God would use me—in a way I had never imagined.
Years ago, I heard a quiet voice —I could barely hear it. I wasn’t sure if it was the voice of God or my imagination. I wasn’t sure because it was something I would never have dreamed on my own.
I’m a good girl. I’ve never smoked. I kept myself pure until marriage. I stayed on the “good” track. What did I know of those who have walked behind locked doors?
That day she told me a young pregnant girl, in the Detention Center, was seeking help in her pregnancy. Would I be willing to meet with her and see exactly what she wants?
Sure. But I didn’t know. I had forgotten about the voice that spoke to me years before. I was so unsure of the words, I never uttered them to a soul. I kept them to myself. It was uncharacteristic of me, who would believe in it anyways? I didn’t.
I forgot. The voice meant nothing to me.
The magic wand is whisked around me.
I walked into the Detention Center and gave up my driver’s license. I am frisked with a detector that squeals if something is on me that shouldn’t be. I hold up my arms and let him do his thing. I turn around and he waves the magic wand. I am told to lift up a foot. I try hard not to teeter. I lift the other foot and apologize for my lack of balance.
I’ve walked through the first locked door, suspiciously step through the metal detector, patiently wait as they checked my body and shoes, and then follow him through two more locked doors. I am wary of the smells. The white walls surround me once I’m through the doors. A lot of white. A lot of windows—inside, not out. I am escorted to a room, watch as he unlocks the last door and there she sits.
Mary. She’s been waiting for me.
No touching allowed.
The small room consumes us, white ready to swallow me. I run over to touch her hand, and her arm. It’s all white. The table is white. The walls are white. Mary says, “I don’t think we’re suppose to touch.”
I’m bolted into reality as I realized the significance of her statement. Not allowed to touch. My heart runs away to anyone who cannot receive the love of touch, the innocence of a hug, the joy of feeling cared for.
Our journey has begun. Mary wants help with her pregnancy. She doesn’t know if she should keep her child. She doesn’t know if she should adopt her child out.
But she does know one thing. She has made one choice.
She has chosen life. Life. For her unborn baby.
We faithfully meet together once a week, and I endure the searching of my body and possessions. I have entered into the life of Mary. She has become precious to me.
I was willing.
I am humbled by the duty that is set before me. I am awed by God using the “good girl” in me. Why me? I don’t know. I was willing on that day, when called into the office at Open Arms and was asked, “Would you consider meeting this young girl?”
I look for God in this place. I search to find God in Mary. Is she repentant? Is she sorry for what she has done? My mind tries to find value. My search is not in vain. I make a discovery. What I do find, is her heart. A heart that wants to change. A heart that knows she can’t continue on this path. A heart that knows she has to love herself enough to care for herself, for only then can she care for her baby.
I was obedient.
I simply walked through the doors in obedience to God. I said a simple yes to a simple request.
In this process I’ve been working on getting Mary into a Christian based program once she is released. They are most likely to release her to a secure place with the tools she needs. For the program to even consider her, she needs to attend an orientation. And then the process can begin. According to me, this program would be the best for her. But how can she go unless they release her? It’s a circle that boggles my mind, being stuck in the cycle of getting the much-needed help.
To walk the walk with a young girl named Mary.
I don’t know what to do. I am naïve. I am walking in the unknown waters. I do today what I can do today. To not save. To not rescue. To walk the walk with a young girl named Mary.
I call the probation officer and we play phone tag. I contact the public defender and she is actually in her office.
It circles around and around.
It’s Tuesday. Friday is the orientation. They don’t know when they will offer it again. If she can get the information she needs, then the process will get started, she can fill out the application and then the waiting can begin for acceptance. The court would love for her to have a place such as this to go to when she’s released. But how can she go if the courts will not order it?
A circle we will go. Round and round.
Frustration seeps over the edges. Where are you God when Mary needs you the most? Are you here when she calls out your name to save her? Help her?
He’s been here all along.
And I find He is here. He’s been here the whole time. He was here even before Mary acted out in public. He was here when she first got sent into this ominous building, strangers and guards all around her. He’s been here as she cries out into the night, alone, afraid and uncertain. He’s been here all along. We just didn’t see Him.
The public defender said she called Open Arms in behalf of Mary when she first entered the center. I had no knowledge of this. I only heard of Mary, weeks later when a nurse called inquiring of services for Mary.
I had said yes that day. I had responded by taking one step because it was one step to obedience.
The PD said not only was she familiar with Open Arms but was a donor. A donor? It was falling into place. She had a heart for Mary and knew Open Arms could be a positive avenue for her. The pieces are falling into place as I see God in all of this. He’s not so silent. He is active, moving and at work.
Today is Tuesday. The orientation is on Friday. The courts need to approve her attendance. The judge needs to grant her permission. The parole officer needs to approve. The mom needs to be in the loop. There are papers to be filed. Motions to place.
The task looks insurmountable. And yet God is in this place. This is not beyond His capabilities. This is not beyond His expertise.
God can move mountains. God can cause a young girl to be pregnant to carry the Savior. God can do a miracle.
It’s Tuesday. And Friday is only 3 days from now. In legal time, it’s more like 2 days.
Today. Tomorrow. Friday. It’s in Your hands.
You know our desires God. You know our hearts and what we want. But even above our hearts’ desires, You yearn for her even more. You want it even more. God, we know you can move mountains. We know you can open the gates for Mary to attend the orientation. But even more than that, you know what she needs. Today. Tomorrow. Friday.
The voice I had heard so long ago, I remember it now. I have remembered. I have chosen to not forget.
He told me, you are to go into the jail.
What?! You couldn’t be talking to me. I didn’t really hear you God. You were mistaken. I was mistaken. I didn’t really hear those words.
But I remember now. Go to the jail.
And years later, that’s exactly where I am today. In the jail. Being checked with the magic wand every week. Revealing the contents of my folder, checking for unwanted staples and explaining why I have my laptop.
I am bringing hope for a young girl named Mary. But it’s not my hope. It’s His hope. It’s the hope that only God Himself can bring.
May we remember. To hear. To listen. To walk.
May we hear His voice and not forget. Whether we remember it every day or it’s revealed years later, may we remember. To hear. To listen. To be open. To walk. One step. At a time.