The Little Red Vest

When you help survivors of Hurricane Harvey with their homes, you put your game face on. You smile and tell them you're gonna help and we're all gonna get through this together. You tell them we're #HoustonStrong.

But working hard to gut houses in Houston before the mold grows, you discover that underneath that beautiful game face, some people are a little worried about the germs and chemicals we’re coming in contact with. Some people are worried about what we’re breathing too.

And the state of Texas says GET A TETANUS SHOT. But the CDC says YOU DON’T NEED A TETANUS SHOT.

And a woman named Colette is arguing with a woman named Deann on Facebook about whether or not the $10 tetanus shot offered by the local pharmacy includes pertussis or diphtheria, and they're using each other's name every time they post:

Seriously, Colette, there is pertussis in that vaccination. I checked. NO, DEANN. It's a Td. That means it includes diphtheria. No pertussis. Colette, you are WRONG. I CALLED THE PHARMACY, Deann. Where are you getting your information? Are you an anti-vaxer?

I'm not a germophobe. (Uhmmm mostly I'm not a germophobe.) I am, however, somewhat susceptible to suggestion.

It can all be a little disconcerting.

And before I go any further, let me say that the BEST takeaway here is that even though people are a little anxious, they are working and helping others anyway


sometimes when a worried person gets going, and another worried person joins in, and they’re saying ALL THOSE SCARY WORDS…they freak me out a little.

I mean, I know my immune system is strong. I know I am taking sensible precautions.

But my mother is texting me every night about THAT AWFUL WATER and how it’s going to MAKE ME SICK, and a new flood-friend told me bluntly, "I mean, let’s be honest. It will be a MIRACLE if we don't all end up with some kind of lung disease down the road from this," and some websites say it’s okay to wash flood clothes if you use Pine-Sol for darks and bleach for whites, and other websites say IT’S NEVER OKAY, THROW THE CLOTHES AWAY, and BAM. Presto Chango. I start to feel a little worried too…



Until the day I met the Little Red Vest. 

One day, a Little Red Vest approached me. The Little Red Vest had a little woman inside. The little woman in the Little Red Vest walked up to me and asked:

“Can I pray with you?”

It was the “with” that bothered me. What did “with” mean? Was I going to have to hold the hands attached to the arms coming out of the Little Red Vest? Was I going to have to say special praying words OUT LOUD? WHAT DID “WITH” MEAN?!?!?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of praying. But I am only comfortable praying silently. And not holding hands.

The little woman in the Little Red Vest, seeing my look of panic, quickly changed how she asked her question:

“I mean, may I pray for you? Over you?”

I let out a sigh and gave her a smile. But I still kept both hands tightly wrapped around the shovel.

Reluctant to say what I really wanted to say (which was “nothankyou”), I answered instead, “Suuuure,” my tone sounding forced and a little like I was humoring her.

I didn't know what the little woman wanted me to do, so I opted for bowing my head and looking at the ground. The little woman put her hand over my head, careful not to touch me. (Guess she knew I wouldn’t like being touched on the head either.)

What happened next was…

Listen. That woman prayed as if she had heard my every thought. Heard every little worry that everyone had shared with me and all the little worries I made up myself. And that little woman in that Little Red Vest asked OUT LOUD that I be protected from each and every one of them. She left no stone unturned; she added nothing I did not need. It was tailor-made, I’m telling you, friends. Tailor-made for me.

When she finished, all I could do is mumble, “Uhmmm, thank you,” because I was still trying to figure out how she knew.

She smiled at me, then turned and walked away. And suddenly my mind was clear again. And I was unafraid.

Look. I KNOW there isn't some "Divine Protection Law" that states that protection is only provided if requested (preferably out loud). I KNOW that God looks out for me -- for all of us -- whether we ask or not. I KNOW that God did not need to be reminded to protect me.

Nope. It was me.

I needed to be reminded that God had my back. And I guess I needed to hear it OUT LOUD.

So God put on a Little Red Vest and paid me a visit.

(Yes. That is exactly what I'm saying.Sometimes God is a little woman in a Little Red Vest.) ___

If God could say one thing to you today besides “I love you,” it would be “Be not afraid.”

Whatever it is, friend. Whatever it is. Be. Not. Afraid.