God Gives a Homeless Woman an “Extreme Spiritual Makeover”!
I was in the middle of leading our morning staff devotionals when a knock came at the door of the center for at-risk children and families we were directing in a hard-hit sector of Medellín, Colombia. We had very little time left before the children were to arrive, and I had been trying to drive home the point that love must always cover everything we do, regardless of the situation. There was very little time left before the children were to arrive, so I felt a bit impatient as I stopped talking about love in order to answer the door.
When I opened it, a haggard, dirty, disheveled, smelly street lady was standing there with a vacant stare. Her face was long and depressed, covered with patches of dirt. The few crooked teeth that remained in her mouth were stained yellow and grey, and she was dressed in soiled and torn clothing that was far too big for her slight body.
Consuelo Asks for Prayer
“Can I help you?” I asked.
“Yes,” she responded. “I need prayer. Can someone here pray for me?” Her response took me by surprise. Often the homeless people in the neighborhood would come by the center, asking for food or money. They almost never asked for prayer. She now had my full attention.
I asked her, “What is your name?”
“Consuelo,” she responded.
“Do you have children who attend our center?” I asked.
“No,” she said.
I pressed in, “Have you ever been here before?”
“No,” she replied again. This made me really curious because I had never seen her before and was wondering how she had found us.
I asked her, “What makes you think there is prayer here?”
She Was Going to Kill Herself, But Saw Light Coming from Our Closed Door
That is when she began to spill out her story. She explained, “I’m sick of my life. Things are so terrible, and everything is going wrong, I’m tired and I don’t want to go on anymore. When I woke up this morning I decided I was going to kill myself. I was standing on the corner of that busy street where the buses speed by, and I was about to jump in front of one of them when for some strange reason I turned to look up the street and saw your front door. There was literally light coming from the door (which should be impossible, since it was closed). As I looked at it, I thought, ´They are different. They have something that I need!´ I knew it was from God, so that’s why I am here, and I want you to pray for me.”
Now she had the full attention of our staff, and we had a perfect opportunity to put the theme of our morning devotional – love – into action. I asked one of the teachers to join me, and as I started to pray for Consuelo, she interrupted us. She began to list all of the problems in her life that needed prayer. There were drug and alcohol addiction, depression, anxiety, anger, broken relationships with her mother and daughter, suicidal thoughts, self-hate, physical chronic illness, pain, inflammation, digestive/intestinal/stomach/heart issues, etc. It was too big to even begin to address.
My University degree was in Psychology, and this lady had a list of pathologies three feet long! I was also a trained deliverance minister, and the list of demons that needed to be cast out of Consuelo was about the same length! I told her this was over my pay grade, but that Jesus already knew everything (and more) that was wrong with her. We would have to put our faith in Him for all of the healing and the miracles that she needed. The teacher and I shared with Consuelo about how Jesus had already paid for her sin and disease when He took it upon Himself on the cross, and that His forgiveness is free. She invited Jesus into her heart, and together we prayed that He would do the work of restoration in her.
Consuelo Gets Worse, Not Better
About a month later, I was crossing a littered street near the children´s center when I saw her coming towards me. As she came closer, I realized she actually looked worse than before. I could smell the stench on her body and her clothes. It was a combination of garbage, urine, feces, drugs, cigarettes, mud, and filth. I threw my big arms around her in a hug that drew her close. Jesus needed to express His love and acceptance for her through me. She needed to know that her filth would not keep the love of Jesus from her.
As she started crying, she said, “Oh Tom, I can’t go on anymore. This life is so difficult. It’s so difficult.” Compassion flowed from deep inside me as tears fell from my face.
“I know, dear Consuelo, I know it’s so tough. This is bigger than you or me, but I know One who is bigger than all of this. He is able to take it all away. It’s Jesus. Let’s put ourselves in agreement that He can do this.” Then we prayed, “Jesus, please intervene and take all of these bad things from Consuelo. Only You can do this.” Her situation looked hopeless, and I knew that I couldn´t do any more to help here. All of our hope had to be in Jesus, so I mentally put Consuelo fully into His loving hands, and we parted.
Consuelo Gets an Extreme Makeover!
One day about two months later, as I was standing outside the children´s center and looking up the street, I saw a lady walking down toward me with a cart full of coffee, snacks, and gum. This woman was dressed in nice, clean clothes. Her hair was nicely arranged, her face was clean smiling, and she had a bounce in her step. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was Consuelo! Joy overwhelmed me, and the next thing I know I was wildly pointing up the street yelling, “Consuelo! EXTREME MAKEOVER!”
A moment later she was at my door, and we hugged. Stunned and thrilled, I asked her what had happened to cause such a dramatic change. Beaming with joy and crying with emotion, she said, “Look at me! It’s a miracle. All of my addictions are gone! The relationships with my daughter and mother are all put back together. My heart and stomach have been healed. I’ve got a job selling coffee, candy, and gum. Not only am I no longer depressed, but now I’m the one who is encouraging the people I run into on the street who need encouragement!”
I praised Jesus, saying, “Look at everything that Jesus has done for you!”
“I know!” she responded, delighted. “It’s truly amazing!”
Only God Could Restore Consuelo
Consuelo’s life had been a complete mess, the result of a series of bad choices that had brought her to the brink of destruction. At the end of herself, she came to us for help. Although I had graduated from the University with a Psychology degree and had also been trained as a deliverance minister, I quickly realized that I had no system, method, or strategy to deal with all of her problems. Her oppression would take years to overcome. Clinically speaking, she was “beyond help,” as some might say.
She and I both had to fully trust and depend on Jesus in complete, childlike faith. He needs to be our only hope, our only answer, and the first one we turn to when things get rough. He doesn’t ask us to understand Him and His ways. Instead, He simply asks us to trust Him and His ways. He is always with us, and He alone conquers the impossible. When Consuelo came to the end of herself, and finally put her full dependence on God for ALL OF HER NEEDS, it was then that God did the impossible in Consuelo’s life.
We Must Have a Childlike Faith
In Matthew 18, we read about that the disciples questioned Jesus about who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Verses 2-4 show Jesus´ response. “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. Then he said, ´Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.´”
We must not be afraid to fully depend on Jesus and to transfer our hopes for our future to Him. In Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” As you become like little children, trusting Him with simple, childlike faith, the kingdom of heaven not only belongs to you but also manifests in you and through you, just like it did for Consuelo.
God Sees Past Our Messes
As you grow in trust and dependence on God, your true identity will be called out. On the outside, Consuelo was a mess, but that’s not how God saw her. He looked past her dysfunction. He looked past her dirty face and the stench on her clothes until He found what He had created her to be. He saw His treasure in her, and He called out her true identity. He miraculously did an ”Extreme Spiritual Makeover,” changing her life forever.
There may be things in your life that seem beyond help. Maybe you’ve made bad choices, or maybe bad things have happened to you. However, the Great Healer, Jesus, loves His creation. He is here for you and the people in your life. There is a gold mine of beauty and goodness in you. Jesus sees it even if you don’t. As you see the true identity in others you will be able to call it out, handing them over to Jesus to have their lives changed forever.
Compassion is love in action and is a key component to release miracles from heaven here on earth.