By: Lisa Harper
That is why I wanted to see you and talk with you. I am bound with this chain because I believe in the hope of Israel. Acts 28:20 (NCV)
It would be the most extreme of exaggerations to boast like Paul that I’ve “born a chain” for the cause of Christ because I haven’t endured any major persecutions for my faith yet. I mean, one time a university sociology professor singled me out in front of the whole class and accused me of having a narrow and naïve mind to believe that Jesus Christ could actually redeem mankind; but he was a mean, unpopular prof anyway so it was no big deal. Then I had my car keyed by a group of protesters who vehemently disagreed with the views of the international para-church ministry I worked for at the time; but it was a white car so they kind of looked like pinstripes. I also had a few doors slammed in my face when an overzealous youth minister cajoled us into going door-to-door witnessing in a really sketchy neighborhood one night, but no real harm was done. I’ve been called unflattering names, cussed at, and heckled by some vulgar, anti-Christian guys I used to race mountain bikes with; but dudes in spandex have a pretty anemic intimidation factor, so again, no sweat.
Unlike Apostle Paul, I’ve never been beaten. Or arrested. Or shipwrecked or snake-bitten for the sake of the God I love. Compared with his, my life’s been a total cakewalk. Except maybe for the season I shared life with a precious prostitute and hardcore crack addict, “Marie,” who’d chosen me to be the adoptive mama of her unborn child. Things did get a little dicey there.
Like the time I was staying with her at the crack house (she didn’t get high as often when I was around so I spent as much time as I could with her for her sake and the baby’s) and one of her johns knocked on the door. Before she could react I jumped up from the couch and opened the door, much to his surprise since he was expecting her. Instead of answering when he asked if she was home, I looked directly into his eyes and calmly asked a question that threw him further off guard, “Are you married?” Of course, I already knew the answer to that question because Marie had told me he was one of her favorite customers because sometimes he sprang for a cheap hotel room for their “dates” and then let her spend the night there and watch cable and drink all the Dr. Pepper she wanted after he went home to his wife and five children.
But he didn’t know I was familiar with his bio, so he just stood there stammering, getting redder by the second. After a few very uncomfortable seconds, I said, “Sir, I know your story. I know you’re married and have five kids waiting for you at home. I don’t know what else is going on in your life but you should be ashamed of yourself for coming here and paying for sex with a young woman who has a broken mind and who’s seven months pregnant.” He stammered an apology, then turned on his heels, hustled back to his van and sped off into the night as I stood watching from the doorway with my arms crossed, all bowed up with righteous indignation like some kind of Clint Eastwood character.
The few people I shared the experience with afterwards, including a police investigator, cautioned me not to confront any more drug buyers or johns because it was too risky. They warned that I was putting myself in harm’s way by spending time with Marie in the crack house and advised me to just pay for her food and care but not be so physically present during the latter months of her pregnancy. I took as much of their advice to heart as I could. I stopped visiting her at late at night, when it was most dangerous, but I didn’t stop going over there and I didn’t stop meeting would-be-perverted-paramours at the door and sending them back to their vehicles with their proverbial tails tucked in between their legs.
Because I couldn’t get past one of Marie’s early mumbled observations that I was one of the only people who’d ever treated her like she was worth the trouble. And while it was heartbreaking when Marie refused to go to the rehab facility we’d set up for her and I didn’t get to be her baby girl’s adoptive mom after all, she was worth the trouble. Every single image bearer on this planet is worth the trouble of loving well. Whether or not we get to see the fruit of the seeds of grace God calls us to plant, it’s in the obedient sowing that we receive the radical blessing of intimacy with Him.
Oh and by the way, the risks God prompted me to take with dear Marie led directly to another adoption opportunity in Haiti where a precious young mom had just died of AIDS, leaving behind a two-and-a-half year old daughter infected with HIV, tuberculosis and a host of other problems. Four years later, through the sovereign mercy of our Heavenly Father, that little girl is now a boisterously happy, miraculously healthy, lion-hearted six-year old named Missy Price Harper. She’s my kid! When the love of Jesus prompts you to take a leap of faith my encouragement is to jump as far as you can because it might just lead to more joy than you can possibly imagine! And don’t worry if you get a little dinged up in the process–I think God likes chicks with scars best.
Lisa Harper is a sought-after Bible teacher and speaker, Lisa was on the Women of Faith national arena tour for eight years and speaks at many other large multi-denominational events as well as at hundreds of churches all over the world. She describes her greatest accomplishment to date as becoming Missy’s mama. Because in April 2014, after a difficult two-year journey, Lisa got to bring her adopted daughter home from Haiti and she hasn’t stopped grinning since.
The Rising conference is going to be a life changing weekend with hundreds of girls at DAR CONSTITUTION HALL, plus guest speakers Christine Caine, Lisa Harper and Robert Madu. Who are YOU bringing? Don’t wait to REGISTER!
“The conference is seriously like spiritual fertilizer! It helps provide the nutrients needed for an explosion of growth in our faith so we can believe God for bigger vision of His plans!.” –Ashley