The greatest gift is taking a moment to give back.

Recently, we had an unexpected visit from one of our clients, Deanna (her real name). She stopped in after work to donate $100 to Anchor of Hope Health Center and thank us for the work we do.

“You guys help me so much,” Deanna said. “I want to give back.”

As Deanna shared her story, the joy within her was overwhelming. She was a picture of living water – the kind of fresh, clean, thirst-quenching water we all chase after.

Deanna works in housekeeping services for one of the area hotels. She recently came to know one of the residents and the resident’s daughter on a more personal level. Their initial meeting actually took place at a nail salon, not her place of employment. While having her nails done (and they were quite elegant if I do say so), Deanna overheard the woman next to her tell her nail technician where she and her daughter were staying. As it turns out, they were staying at the Deanna’s place of employment.

Remember that joy bubbling up?

It bubbled to overflowing and Deanna leaned over and said, “Excuse me, but I work there,” thus beginning a conversation and a friendship. The woman shared with Deanna how her daughter had been having a number of health-related ailments. Deanna, being the encourager that she is, took the opportunity to pray for the woman and her daughter and to speak words of gentle healing into their lives. During the course of the next several days, Deanna went out of her way to check in on the woman and her daughter and continue her loving encouragement.

Fast forward a few days.

The woman approached Deanna and handed her a card, giving her firm instructions, “Do NOT open this until you are at home.” Deanna complied with the woman’s wishes. Later that day, she opened the thank you card only to find a ridiculous sum of money, at least ridiculous by some standards.

Because Deanna has such a heart to give back, she began to seek ways to bless those in her life. She thought of Anchor of Hope and she wanted to share a small portion of her blessing with others. You see, Deanna has had her ups and downs.

Less than a year ago, Deanna was an addict consumed with a desire to use Meth. She’s had her struggles, and she’s worked hard to overcome them. She also knows blessing and she knows goodness. As she walks toward her future, we have the wonderful privilege of walking with her and encouraging her through peer/mentor support and our center’s parenting classes. We have the opportunity to encourage her as she so vibrantly encourages those in her life.

There’s so much more to Deanna’s story. I hope you meet her someday. She’s a remarkable woman. I also hope you pray for her. The battle against addiction is real and in many instances it is daily and lifelong. When I asked her if I could share her story while keeping her name confidential, she practically begged me to use her real name saying, “I want everyone to know this was God, not me. I want other people to know God loves them.”