God in the library
By Jimmy Cochran
A young lady came into the library several weeks ago and came to me at the front desk. She was sobbing her heart out and could hardly talk.
“My husband has been beating me and threw me out of the house last night, broke my cellphone, and I have no car to get to work. I need to use a computer to try and find out where I can go find a place to stay. He has all my money,” she sobbed. She went on to explain that she couldn't go stay with her sister in Arkansas because her daughter was in foster care here in the County and she needed to stay in Georgia. “I have no one, Mr. Jimmy, no one to help me.”
My heart broke because I could feel her sincerity, her grief, her brokenness, her hopelessness, her physical bruises. I told her to not worry and began making calls to people and agencies that I knew could help her. The whole time, she was crying and was devastated. I finally reached the Henry County Haven House (a shelter for women in need), explained who and where I was and the situation happening. The wonderful lady on the phone asked to speak to her and I gave her my cellphone and told her where a quieter, private place was so she could talk and not be in the middle of a public area. After a short while she came back and said they were coming to pick her up and take her to the home and begin to help her begin her life ... little by little.
She hung up, handed me my cellphone back, and I probably broke every rule for an employee in a public library. I laid my hand on hers and told her, “Let me tell you one thing, ma'am. There are people in this world who care about you. And there are people who will help you as much as possible. And there are people I am calling to pray for you every chance they can, because we serve a God who can take care of you ... and I promise you, he will.” And then, I prayed with her (probably another broken dozen rules). As she wiped the tears from her eyes and headed out the door to be picked up, I waved and said my first of many prayers for this strong, young lady.
Then, I went to the break room and had a good cry myself. I changed a bit that day. I think God used me as He needed in one of His most curious and mysterious ways. Not only because of this young lady ... but, as she was leaving, I recognized her as the waitress I had at a local restaurant the previous Saturday.
And then just the other day, a patron came in and was looking for books about anxiety and depression. Her 25-year-old son was outside in the car, and from his mother’s description, was struggling with a major panic attack. I spoke with her a few minutes about the situation so that I could find if our branch had the best resources … which we did … and she was most grateful. Then, once again, God spoke to my heart and I motioned her to the end of the counter where there was no one standing.
“I just want to tell you that I know what your son is going through,” I said. “I was diagnosed with anxiety when I was 26 and with PTSD just a couple years ago. Tell him that he will make it through.” After sharing some of my story of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, I asked if I could talk to her son. She was not comfortable with that, but I assured her that I would pray for her and her boy and then she asked if I could pray with her right then. So, once again, I found myself praying with a library patron who needed God’s comfort.
We just never know, friends, we just never know. God has a purpose in all of us...in all things ... and in all ways. I’m so glad I was a small part of His plan those days. And as an update, the young lady came back a few weeks later and was just beaming. Haven House and other agencies had helped her get a new job, an apartment, and relocate her to a new place to live.
We all need to be available to follow God’s leading. At home, in our communities … or in a public library.
And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jesus.
Jimmy Cochran is a resident of McDonough, a musician, a minister and the author of Being God’s and Staying God’s, both available at Amazon.com. Being God’s is also available at Moye’s Pharmacy in McDonough.