“I’ll never become a Christian,” she said softly, shaking her head, “Never. Nope. Not me.”
Those were some of the first words *Ellen spoke when she came in for a LifeCare session. Just a week before she had been “sleeping rough,” a common euphemism for homelessness. Cold, alone, and desperate, she caught herself thinking about jumping from a well known bridge in town. She didn’t want to die. She just wanted to end the pain. It was then she knew she had to make a change.
She had no money. She couldn’t wait for a care worker to be assigned to her. She knew from attempting that route in the past that it would be months before they got to her. That’s when she reached out for help through a local charity and, one week later, began seeing a LifeCarer.
When asked what had prompted her to get help, she replied, “I knew that if I didn’t do something different, I was going to die.”
Ellen went on to talk about how she had come from a large family that bullied and manipulated her into caring for the needs of her aging grandparents. It consumed her life. She drank and cut her legs to cope with the stress, sometimes so deeply she required stitches. She wore long stockings to cover the scars.
Over time, her LifeCarer taught her a few simple ways of dealing with her destructive thought patterns, healthy ways of coping with stress, and some relational skills. Mostly though, she was listened to.
Ellen often complained about Christianity. How she just couldn’t believe in it. How it was fine for other people, but not for her. “It just doesn’t make sense,” she would say. Then her complaints began to turn into questions; and as she was listened to some more, she began to ask even deeper questions about God in her life.
When Ellen wondered why she kept being tempted to do things she didn’t want to do, her LifeCarer explained their personal view of the issue by sharing Romans 7:19, which reads, “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.”
“Yes,” Ellen said, “I’ve felt that way.”
A week later, when Ellen expressed feeling alone, she asked, “Where is this ‘Loving God’ when I need Him?” Her LifeCarer read her the poem “Footprints in the Sand.”
After a long pause, Ellen said softly, “I like that a lot.”
“Have you heard that before?” her LifeCarer asked. “No,” she said, “I haven’t. What’s it called? There’s someone I’d like to share it with.”
A few weeks later, in between practical conversations designed to help her manage her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, Ellen’s LifeCarer shared the Gospel with her, explaining how someone can pray to begin a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
“I’ll think about it,” she responded. She left it at that.
But the next week, when Ellen came in for her session, her LifeCarer noticed something in her demeanor had changed. She seemed lighter. Brighter somehow.
Her LifeCarer asked, “How are you? Have you given any more thought to what we talked about last time?”
“I did it,” Ellen said.
“I prayed that prayer. I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life. When I did it, something changed in me. I felt really good inside. The strange thing is that I never wanted to even open a Bible before, but now I can’t seem to put it down. I want to read it. I’m talking about it with my friend too, but she’s about where I was a few months ago when it comes to God.”
She could hardly stop smiling the whole rest of the session.
“I’ll never go back to the way I used to be,” she said later. “Whenever I feel the urge to drink or cut, I just remember where that led me, and how bad things got.”
Since that day, Ellen has continued to grow by getting into the Word, serving, staying sober, and addressing her broken relationships with others. Like many who go through LifeCare, she is beginning to pray about opportunities to help those who have been through the same sorts of things she has.
Ellen’s LifeCarer wasn’t the only one ministering to her through it all. God had brought other believers around her to help, too, and they played an important role. It was a “Body of Christ” effort. Not just the hand, or the foot. But it was in LifeCare that Ellen felt the freedom to talk about things she wasn’t talking about anywhere else, and getting help for her felt emotional needs when she was not yet open to receiving spiritual help.
There are thousands and thousands of Ellens out there in the world who are hurting, hopeless, and alone; just waiting to be reached in a way that makes sense to them.
This is just one story of many. God has brought real life change into Ellen’s life, and the lives of many others through the LifeCare Ministry over the last several years. Celebrate with us! Please also join us in praying that God would allow more of this type of ministry to play a part in helping people discover the One who loves them unconditionally, and will help make their crooked path straight (Isaiah 45:2).
*Many details of “Ellen’s” identity and story have been altered to protect her anonymity, while preserving her overall narrative to the largest extent possible.
To learn more about how you can get trained to help people like Ellen, or to schedule a free, confidential LifeCare appointment yourself, contact us.