In 1978, my youngest daughter and I were having lunch in a Deli, when we met Barbara. She was at the counter, buying a pack of cigarettes. She was wearing short shorts, high heels, with a T shirt tucked up under her bra, and a bandanna around her cropped curly hair. She had a cigar hanging out of her mouth.
Earlier that morning, I had prayed to experience loving the unlovable with unconditional love. This was the moment! I loved her. My heart saw beyond her appearance, and I felt only the Lord's unconditional acceptance for her. I asked her to our table, bought her lunch and invited her home with us. I shared the gospel with her and she received salvation. That was the beginning of a friendship that went on for the next five years.
A month after we met Barbara, my husband and I got a telephone call at 1:00 am. in the morning from the police. "We have a young 14 year old girl at the station who says that she knows you. Do you? " We answered that we did and asked "What did she do?" The police described a very serious situation. Barbara had thrown her grandmother down the stairs and out the front door. The police were called and Barbara was headed for the Juvenile Detention Center, unless we took her in.
As long as we were willing to house her, the police released the warrant for her arrest. However,the police were not clear as to how long! We had no idea what we were getting into, but as a family we all felt a love for Barbara and wanted to help her where we could. Our three daughters received Barbara as a sister. Our middle daughter graciously gave up her bedroom and dared to move in with her older sister. It proved to be good for both of them. We all were impressed with Barbara's singing. She did have a beautiful voice. Oh, how she loved to sing praises to the Lord. We had Christian music on most of the time, and I think Barbara learned just about very song on the record. Her favorite song was "To God be the Glory". She would sing that song time and time again throughout the day.
For the rest of the school year, Barbara had been suspended. As a result, Barbara and I had more time to talk about Jesus. As I began to work with her, I soon realized that she had a VERY SIMPLE FAITH. It blessed me so much to see how uncomplicated she was. If the bible said it, she believed it! She didn't need to understand THE WHY'S OR THE WHY NOT. She just believed God for the His word. It was refreshing to share with her. I had a set of bible picture books, the kind you might find in a doctor's office, before 'political correctness' took hold. She particularly loved the picture of Jesus on the cross. We would talk about how He died for her sins, was buried and raised from the dead and how His blood brought healing to her, body, soul and spirit.
Every night when I would go into her room to say goodnight, I noticed that she would sleep with the bible book under her pillow with Jesus on the cross. I asked why she slept this way and she told me that she wanted Jesus to heal her mouth. At first I thought she meant inappropriate words, but she really meant the abscesses on her gums. One morning after my husband had left for work and the girls had gone to school, Barbara was upstairs taking a bath. She preferred the tub to the shower. All of a sudden I heard this tremendous cry from the bathroom, "Mom Mom," that is what she liked to call me, "Come quick, I am healed." I raced up stairs to see what she was talking about. With blood running down her cheeks, Barbara kept repeating, "See the blood, see the blood, Jesus healed me." I didn't know what to think. I knew that I had to quickly get her to a dentist. I helped to clean her up and called for an emergency appointment. Gratefully, I could get her in and to my surprise, everyone of her abscesses had been broken and she was amazingly healed. The dentist and I were in shock! Her simple faith in the healing power of the blood of Jesus had healed her. Barbara stayed with us for the next three months, until she was able to return to her family again.
Shortly after she returned home, we were suspicious that Barbara had more than just a violent temper. Our suspicions were verified when her mother had to place her into a mental hospital. Her parents were alcoholics. The mother had abdicated her place in the family to the grandmother, while the father was relegated to the basement. As a little girl, Barbara had been mentally and emotionally abused by her grandmother and she hated her. The hospital proved to be a safe place for her. Her behavior, however, was calm and controlled around our family. As a family, we would bring her out of the hospital for the holidays. Between visits to our home,we visited her at the hospital at least once or twice a month. The State of Pennsylvania released her after five years, and she quickly disappeared into the streets of Philadelphia. We lost contact with her, when we moved out of the area. However, we still remember the young girl we knew, who moved mountains with her simply faith.