I heard her put the phone to her ear and then the words, “Well hello, Abby!”

There it was, that raspy voice I knew so well. It was one of my last afternoons of street ministry and one of my fellow missionaries had found my dear friend on the street, Deb, whom I hadn’t seen or heard from in over 7 months. I was told she was back sitting in her usual spot.

Immediately, I dropped everything I was doing and went to go see her. Still in disbelief, all I could do was hold her hands and repeat the words, “Deb, I am so happy you’re here.”

That woman showed me how necessary it is to recognize our brokenness and our littleness, because it allows us to see that we are in need of a saviour.

There is a point that every missionary goes through during their time at Christ in the City, when you develop a true friendship with someone and grow to love them deeply. You then realize that no matter how hard you try, you can’t free your friends from their crosses. You cannot free someone from addiction, mental illness, or trauma. You probably can’t convince them to get into housing or at the very least go sleep in a shelter when it’s below freezing.

But that’s precisely the point.

I found myself constantly having to surrender Deb to the Lord. I realized that as much as I wanted or tried, that I am not the one who can free her, or the one who can make her know how deeply loved she is. I had to realize that I am not her saviour.

It was both heartbreaking and beautiful to see her recognize that she can’t do it by herself, can’t recover by herself, can’t become the person she was created to be by herself. She needed something and someone more; we all do.

We need the One who knows us, who adores us, who drops everything and runs to see us.

Even still, I find myself looking back and reflecting on this and needing to remind myself time and time again that the Lord is so patiently and eagerly waiting for me to surrender myself fully to Him. For me to stop saying, “I really think I can get this one on my own,” but instead to allow Him to help me carry my cross, and to humbly say yes to his abundant love, and to trust when He says to us “I’m so happy you’re here”.

Abby P. served with Christ in the City from 2016-2018. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, sunshine, and the adventure straps on her Crocs.