Nervous Grace

“You’re making me a bit nervous,” my hubby said.

I got it. I totally did.

“There are others who are way more deserving,” said my good friend.

I understood that as well. Perhaps I even agreed, just a tad.

My adventure started when I was browsing through Facebook one Sunday afternoon a few weeks before Christmas. One of my favorite authors posted a picture showing bags her church had filled to give to prisoners for Christmas. 32,000 bags put together just to say, “We are thinking of you.”

The honest truth is this: I am the daughter of a judge. Prison ministry doesn’t compel me–even if I admire other people’s service.

It would never occur to me to judge or belittle the 32,000 bags, but many others did.

There were many, many voices who piped in claiming that those bags were an incredible waste of resources. Didn’t that congregation realize how many more deserving people would go without? Those men in prison were guilty and deserved exactly the life they were living.

On and on they went.

Somewhere, tucked in the back and forth banter of comments a woman’s voice stood out to me. “I suppose you think the strippers I take packages to are not deserving either, but what if I told you that when I was 19, that was me?”

And it struck me…I should do what that woman does. An hour away from my home, in a neighboring county, there is  a strip club. Everyone around knows the name of the place. What if this Christmas season I took gifts to the women who made their living stripping for men?

I know, I know, they make a lot of money. Some may even think they enjoy it. We live in a culture where sexiness is as powerful as gold, and in the basest, least-intmate version of the word, strippers can claim that label.

But at what cost to their souls?

I ran the idea past my little Bible Study group, and they jumped in…

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There were scarves, gift cards, books and baked goodies. The packages were prayed over and we included a note that said:

If you ever need prayer, we would love the privilege to pray for you.

I included my e-mail address.

Originally everyone who was at the Bible Study the night we discussed it was planning on coming. But life happens, and so it was just my friend Kathy and me.

This was hysterical because she and I are the staunchest, most-to-one-sidest, blackest and whitest thinking-est of the group. Clearly, God was moving…wanting, ever-gently, to knock hard edges off my personality and help fill my world with grace.

We got to the establishment and it had not yet opened. We knocked on the back door and the manager answered it. We explained who we were and what we wanted to do.

He was incredibly gracious.

He held the door open, and asked if we would be offended by coming in.

“If we were, it would certainly be our fault,” I said with a smile.

Kathy asked if there was anything we could pray for him. He said just his health. He gave us his name.

He was very kind, and it has been easy to pray blessings that are consistent with God’s character for him and his life.

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We have begun to pray for every person that walks through this door. We pray for conviction. We pray for marriages. We pray for purity. I love my Tuesday Night Ladies.

I pray for purity in this nation and a sensitivity to effective ways to do my part in that quest.

I have also begun to pray that God would bless this business–the strip club in the neighboring county–in a way that is consistent with HIS character. I have no idea what that would look like, but HE does.

What a wonderful, stretching, learning, growing thing. Thank you, Lord.

One thought on “Nervous Grace

  • January 27, 2015 at 3:07 pm
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    You are the daughter of a judge? So am I. Your non-conviction regarding prison ministries is similar to my non-conviction about foreign missions. I admire those who are called, but have not desire to serve in that capacity. Though God does call us to His ministries right where we are. And He stretches us beyond belief. As far as I’m concerned, there are none more deserving than the prisoners, strippers, and drug addicts. Who did Jesus come to minister to? The least of these. They need God oh, so much more, than those of us who already know about His grace. As always, I love your writing. Love you, too. Blessings.

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