There is an elderly woman in our parish who lives with her daughter. The daughter has some depression and anxiety diagnoses as well as a learning disability. She cannot work and collects SS disability. The woman and her daughter have come for years to the church to plant in our flower beds as a ministry. But this year, the woman had become ill. She has early dementia and a thyroid issue. Other problems developed as it became clear that the older woman could not handle finances. The daughter reached out to an aging agency but things have gone awry. The daughter is pretty volatile emotionally and the agency wonders if she is abusive. They are investigating and the lengthy process is just about too much to bear for everyone.
SO the first time I am called it is as a lawyer. Lots of emotion and anger and crying by the daughter. I recommend a lawyer to her because I have wrapped up my practice. At the end I ask if I can pray for her and her mother.
She angrily says it will do no good because these events have convinced her there is no God because nothing is going her way.
I point out that the court papers she dreads have not come. And that she has the names of two lawyers. And that I have spent 45 minutes listening and helping and maybe God is there. She is not sure.
A couple weeks later she calls and there are new processes and waiting and anxiety. We talk through it in about 30 minutes. Less crying and anger. I ask if I can pray for her and she says I can if I want to. I tell her I will
Today she calls with new issues about her the older woman's health. Now she is just calling because I will listen and get her on track. After about 15 minutes, she thanks me and says, "I hope you are praying for me and my mother because we really need it."
We have gone for pure rejection to hope that I am praying. And this may or may not be the end of it.
But in some small way I rejoice that God has used me to encourage her steps toward faith. And who knows, next time maybe she will agree we can pray together.