Some of you have read that passage in John’s Gospel (7:53-8:11) about the hooker caught in the act and brought to Jesus as a test to see how he would judge her. It is a favored story among Christian types. But someone recently read (and left a nice comment on) the story I tell of the hooker Jesus gave me to love. You can find it on my post – Stupid Things I’ve Done For Jesus – if you’re interested.
I offered some thoughts about church and whores just a few days ago and mentioned another hooker I met nearly 20 years ago in that post. That experience caused me to rethink church – at least one I would attend. I don’t want my church to endorse the sin(s), but I do want her to love the sinner(s). (A fine line in today’s world!)
But seeing how I attracted some attention with that tale of loving a hooker for Jesus, it occurred to me that I have an abundance of stories to share about my hooker and Jesus. And in fact, one of those stories has resurfaced as I draw from the experience in that ministry to make application to my ministry in Foster Care. (As I mentioned in yet another recent post, my family is keeping a young child who was born prematurely and who tested positive for Meth. I will leave the rest of that connection as a mystery, for it is business I do not need to air publically, not even anonymously.)
But it nonetheless reminds me of my beloved, HIV-infected, Crack-addicted, Schizophrenia-suffering, hooker whom I befriended and shared passionate ministry with about 11 years ago. We will call her Agent E. And while I could tell dozens of incredible stories – and perhaps over time, I will. But in this post, I will share a tale she shared with me about the birth of her third child.
It had happened several years before I knew her. But Agent E managed to collect a monthly disability check. It was not a lot, but it was substantial and dependable. The fact that she was addicted to Crack meant that she spent it all on drugs as fast as she got it. However, her enterprising drug dealers saw an opportunity and made her an offer she could not refuse. They got her to rent a house with her regular paycheck and let them operate their business in it. The trade off was that she would always have dope, while they had a legit address to work from.
Her place became a “Crack-House”.
She earned her own money “the old fashioned way”, but she never lacked for dope. And her house was the scene of an almost non-stop party with people coming and going at all hours every day and night of the week. And it suited her fine.
But she became pregnant during this time.
She took me to see the house where this all had happened. She pointed out to me the old-fashioned lampstand on the corner out front with a flanged base where she could actually situate her butt – almost sitting – as she leaned on it and called to passing motorists who might be looking for a quickie. She said the bigger she got, the more she appreciated that seat.
But then one evening, she got high in the house. Went on a real doozy of a binge. It caused her to pass out on the floor in the living room amid the partiers and the business-dealers. There she was, big and pregnant, passed out, and suddenly going into labor. Everyone in the house freaked – and left!
Agent E described to me how she woke up having dreamed that she gave birth, looked around for anyone to help, but no one was there. She passed out again. She woke up again having dreamed of the baby coming and then passed out again. This happened several times. But at some point she saw that she was lying in a pool of blood with a baby at her knees. She passed out again.
As best she can say, someone had ventured into the house thinking to score some dope and saw what had happened. Whoever it was had the decency to call 9-1-1 from the pay phone at the 7-11 before running off.
Agent E said she saw the child for a few minutes in the hospital, but they took it away. She never saw him again after that.
When she told me this story, it broke my heart. I felt sooooo horrible for her. She wanted to be a mom to that child, but she was too messed up for it. If you are reading this and thinking it is all her own fault and thus she deserves the pain, hold that opinion until after I write a post on what I know of her childhood and see if you still feel that way. Yes, I am glad the child was taken from her… but not because that is a good thing. No. Because it is the lesser of two evils and there was no way around evil in that situation.
But what really broke my heart was what she said next.
She said she got out of the hospital two days later and went back home. When she arrived, the house was buzzing like business as usual. You would not think the Crack business had even missed a beat. But to her shame and dismay, when she entered the living room, she found her birth mess still in the middle of the floor. No one had cleaned it up.
She was mortified. She scrounged together a couple dollars and walked down to the Dollar Store on the corner, bought some Comet Cleanser and a sponge and a brush, and then walked back to the house where she cleaned up the birth mess of the child she never saw again in front of all her friends who watched but did not help. (Except that she was grateful for who ever anonymously called the EMS for her.)
The shame, pain, and despair of that tale is so mortifying to me that I can hardly imagine how to heal it. And all these years later, I must say that I don’t think we have. But when I tell you about how we celebrated our find (go read the post I mentioned at the start), where we hooped and hollered, threw our arms around her, took her out to eat, and all that, I see that she encountered something powerful in us. The LOVE OF GOD. And that love reached out to her across a very deep and dark divide. The hooker was putty in the Master’s hands!
I pray he is still working on her heart today.
(Meanwhile, I now live with a child born to another mother whose story seems familiar, and I deal with the issue on the other side of the coin. Btw, your prayers and encouragement are welcomed here.)