Did you know that “eight” is the number of perfection and Jesus Christ is the representation of said number? God is the number seven. Just in case you were wondering. It is relevant to my story because of my meeting of seven women plus their mentor. Extraordinary individuals, changing themselves and changing a community!
It was right before Christmas that I was driving down the road and saw a thrift store sign. I love thrift stores and treasure hunting, because everything has a story. Even if I have to write it one! Upon driving up to the old house, I could see furniture and other items in the yard. Everything outside looked organized and specifically placed to get them noticed. Upon entering the house, I was surprised at the fact there was no musty thrift store smell. The air was clean and fresh, matching the well-coordinated rooms.
You know the old saying, “cleanliness is next to Godliness?” Well this place was knocking on heaven’s doors! Two or three of the women inside were busy dusting and arranging the items. All spoke very kindly to me and asked if I needed help. I told them that I was just looking around.
When I entered the back, left room, the young lady inside told me that this was her Pastor’s room and she liked to keep it exceptionally clean. She went on to tell me her story and the background information about this unique store. You see, I would later find out that telling their story was a very important part of their interactions with the customers. Once again, I could see a well orchestrated plan here at this thrift store! Almost like looking at a set of instructions listed 1, 2, 3.
She told me that seven women worked here and they were all addicts in one form or another. Most of them had been through rehab, some a lot more than once, without success. The more she communicated with me, the more I realized this was not your ordinary place. The thrift store was the ministry of a Pastor, who had been sober for more than twenty-eight years. And she had walked long enough in their shoes to know what sobriety means to an addict and she knew how to lead them to it!
Her program is not earth shattering or scientifically approved. God, common sense, and love are the foundations. First they are saved by Jesus Christ and surrender their lives over to Him! Why would this be so important? Because these women have been through the fire of shame, degradation, greed, desire, poverty, crime and other unimaginable situations. If they carry these with them into their daily lives, they would not be able to hold their heads up. Recovery would be defeated. Once the women surrender to Jesus, their past was no more! For Jesus is our intercessor and stands before us in front of God. God looks through Jesus to see us, and we are holy! Honed by fire, perfected diamond by Jesus!
In moving past their past, learning to communicate and be a productive member of society again is vital. Their weapons to fight the disease of addiction are God, prayer, each other, work, servitude, and worship! The seven women and their Pastor go into the community, which is a poor area of town, and serve the people with food, fellowship, prayer, and love. They work the thrift store, which is a well-organized business, and pattern their lives into this formulated structure. “I” and “self” have been replaced with “we,” “us,” and “others.”
And you can see in their faces and actions that they are Seven Holy Women Plus One!