Today’s Lent word, weighed, reminded me of a cold night when I was volunteering with a Christian charity working with women in the sex industry. I was on the outreach van, driving round the red light district looking out for working women in need of food and a safe place to rest and chat for a few minutes.
It was late when we spotted one of our regulars on her way out to work. She was limping along, painfully and slowly, clutching the arm of her ‘boyfriend’. The van pulled alongside and my team-mate and I jumped out.
‘Hi Molly*, would you like a hot chocolate?’
With her boyfriend’s permission, Molly climbed onto the van. She wrapped her hands around the beaker of hot chocolate and slipped the cheese sandwich and crisps into her bag for later.
‘How’s your leg?’ We looked at her with concern.
‘It really hurts.’
We could see Molly was in a lot of pain. All we could do was urge her to see a doctor and offer to accompany her if that would help.
Her boyfriend was hovering outside the van. She needed to start work. So we held hands and quickly prayed with her.
The step down from the van was high and Molly hesitated, trying to figure out how to get down without jarring her painful leg. My team-mate and I glanced at one another and I nodded. I jumped down onto the pavement and held up my hands.
‘Come on Molly, I’ll lift you down.’
She weighed nothing. I’d worried that I might drop her or hurt her bad leg. But she felt weightless in my arms. I’m not sure to this day whether God gave me supernatural strength to lift this precious child He loved or whether she was so skinny as to be almost weightless. Either way, Molly was safely off the van.
But I had tears in my eyes having to watch her limp away with her boyfriend. On the corner, a client was already waiting.
* Name changed to protect identity