Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the Closing of a Women's Emmaus Walk to hear the testimonies of the women who had attended. I almost didn't go. Lots of excuses ran through my mind as to why I should stay home. But an invitation from a friend convinced me, and I am so glad I went. To think that I nearly missed out on the blessing and inspiration that I received last night...
God used the testimonies of these women as reminders to me. It brought back memories of my own Emmaus experiences and what God had taught me. It also reminded me of the power of God's love and how he can use us to show that love to others if we're willing. There were women there who had recently buried loved ones, who had been hurt by the church, who had drifted away from God, who didn't feel loved...all kinds of pain. And these women found restoration. They had joy. They had hope. They felt the love of Jesus because of a group of people who were willing to sacrifice their time to invest in the lives of others. It was beautiful.
One story I heard from one of the ladies (we'll call her Jen) echoes something I struggle with...being quick to judge based on appearances. Jen says that there was a girl on the Walk who she was critical of. This girl had some physical deformities and a speech impediment. Jen was nice to her, but held feelings of judgement in her heart. Well, there came a time later in the weekend that Jen was overcome with emotion and was at the altar crying. Suddenly she felt a set of arms around her and heard someone praying words of comfort...it was this girl. Jen learned a powerful lesson and said she will never view people in the same way again.
It was an awesome reminder to me as well that we are all children of God. We share the same hopes, dreams, fears, and hurts. We may look at another person and think that we have nothing in common. Maybe because of how they look or act, or how we perceive their life to be. But there is so much that goes on beneath the surface. May we all take the time to see others for who they really are. Thank you God for the reminder.