The Crooked Christmas Tree – ELAINE
Every church has one of these. And if they don’t they most definitely need one. Every church, every pastor needs an Elaine.
When she was first introduced to me she was introduced as “Crackhead”. She was an addict and whenever she was present at the church her addiction also made an appearance. She would stand in the back and scream. Sit and talk to herself. One day we had a large group of visitors not used to our context and Elaine put on a show and scared those people half to death.
I found myself at some point praying that she would leave. She was too much of a disturbance. Things were more peaceful when she was not there. She was too sick. Too addicted. God couldn’t fix her. Crackhead needed to leave.
Well one day God answered my prayer. Elaine stopped coming. And to be honest, I was relieved.
Months later I was attending another church with our youth group and one of them came running to me and said. Pastor do you remember Crack Head. She’s here. She wants to see you.
I listened for screaming and there were none. I looked for someone talking to herself dancing wildly across the isles and couldn’t find one. Then a woman in a white suit and a white hat approached me and said “Hi pastor. It’s me. Elaine.” She saw my bewildered face. “It’s Crackhead.”
Something snatched my breath. She was so peaceful, so radiant, so beautiful that I could not recognize her. She had left our church and left the city to get some help and ended up in that small town at that small church where she found help and she found God.
The woman I wrote off
The woman I knew only by her addiction
The woman I was willing to abandon
was never abandoned by God
I needed Elaine. I needed her more than she needed me. God used her to remind me that I don’t get to decide who is worthy. He used her to teach me that there is no brokenness His love can’t fix. For He makes broken things beautiful.
My name is Damian Chandler and I am the author of The Crooked Christmas Tree
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