The painting above has nothing to do with this post – it’s just there because this is a painting blog. There’s no way around it – this is going to be a long one. Go get a cup of coffee and sit down and let me tell you about what my Jesus did today and please forgive the many typos my proofer is busy. All I can say is that my cup overflowith. I got an e-mail from a friend with a list of opportunities to serve in the community last week. There were two that stood out to me and I responded to the easier of the two. I’ve been praying and looking for ways to look outward and serve instead of inward lately. So since this door opened I thought I would see if the Lord had anything “inside” for me. The opportunity was to go to an assisted living facility and paint nails – easy enough. So I e-mailed the contact person (Gayle) and told her I was interested in helping. Her reply was that she already had enough help. I went back and forth on if I should tell her I was interested in the second option. The second option was a call for a “special person” (sooooo not me!) to sit and read and talk to some Alzheimer’s patients in their final stages of Alzheimers. The patients are in the basement of this facility behind locked doors. Ugghh – not sure if this is for me or not – were my first thoughts – this may be too much for me – can I do this??? After praying I responded that I was interested in helping her on Fridays. She sent me a pretty detailed e-mail about what it consisted of and told me it was a position for someone who was called to do this. We e-mailed some more and decided I would meet her up there today and “test the waters”. I’ll be honest – I was nervous. I wasn’t sure if I was up for it or not. But the door was still open and I thought I would go in and see if the Lord wanted me to stay. Gayle told me she spends a lot of time in prayer before she goes so that let me know I needed to do some serious praying before I went today too. For some reason this morning I wasn’t nervous at all. My prayers consisted of asking the Lord to give me His love for these people, to help me not turn back because of my flesh, and to be with me when I went into the “dungeon” (that’s what I was imaging it to be like). My first blessing was in the parking lot meeting Gayle. I knew this had to be a special lady if she was doing something like this. Come to find out she is Tina’s (the one who first sent me the e-mail) mother-in-law. As soon as I met her I knew I was going to like her – there was a kindred spirit. After we were led down the elevator and taken behind locked doors we met some of the ladies. We sat down and the only way I can describe what happened next is that the Spirit showed up. My throat started closing up, a large lump grew in my throat and my eyes turned into living wells. I lost it. For those who know me know this is not a normal thing for me – I’m not a weepy person. I got myself together quickly but I immediately loved these women. My heart hurt for them and went out to them. I couldn’t wait to love on them for this short hour (which turned into longer than that because we were having so much fun with them). It’s been a while since I’ve laughed so much. Our time with them started by Gayle pulling out her big bag of stuff she’d brought for us to do with them. Sarah (aka the resident thief – you’ll see why in a minute) shouted when Gayle pulled the bag out – she said something to the effects of – “there’s my bag! I knew it was somewhere” – she basically accused Gayle of stealing her bag. When Gayle proceeded to pull play-dough out of the bag Sarah said, “my bag had that in it too!!!” I guess to affirm that that was HER bag. Gayle then asked one of the ladies (I can’t remember her name but she was quite unforgettable) if she wanted to play with play-dough. The elderly lady shot Gayle a horrible look and said, “Did you just tell me to go to hell? Well you can go to hell too!” I lost it!!!! Gayle said, “no I didn’t say that!” One of the ladies walking by told her to not talk like that. She wanted to know why and I told her that can hurt people’s feelings when you talk to them like that. Gayle told her it also hurt Jesus’ heart. The lady replied with, “Did He tell you that?” Gayle said, “Why yes He did.” “Hmpph” was all the elderly lady replied. I knew the day was going to be interesting after that. The whole time was filled with one conversation after another like that. These ladies were a hoot! We had the best time with them. Irene was one of the ladies sitting by me. My heart is still hurting for her. She is bound up by fear. She’s like a scared little bird who jumps at everything. At one point she started to eat the play-dough and Gayle and I both told her NO at the same time. I considered going “in” after it but thought to myself that I was pretty sure you wouldn’t die from eating play-dough, well next thing I know Gayle IS GOING IN!!! I just knew she was going to loose a finger! She came out with all her fingers in tact thank goodness. If this post wasn’t so long I would tell you the funny stories about the baby doll Gayle brought and many other funny things. Well, the hour and a half flew by and it was time to clean-up and go home. Marianne (the sweetest and cutest little thing) couldn’t find her glasses so we started looking for them. Earlier Sarah had stolen them and we had to make her give them back – so I figured Sarah had taken them again. I went to Sarah and told her she needed to give Marianne’s glasses back. That didn’t work so Gayle told her we needed her help to find Marianne’s glasses. Next thing we know she was pulling them out of her pocket and gave them to Marianne. Sarah comes over to me and tells me she really doesn’t need them that much any ways and doesn’t it feel good when you can help someone who’s in need J. It was all too abundantly good. I am going to miss those sweet ladies until I see them next week. In an hour and a half my Father gave me His love for these sweet ladies and “set the captive free” if only for an hour and a half. These ladies were first held captive by the walls of their minds and now are held behind walls of brick and mortar. Only my Jesus can set them free from both and bring Light into the dark places. I can’t wait to meet with Him again next week in the “dungeon” – a place of forgotten captives who my Savior dearly loves and wants to bring joy into their dark world.