Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Walk to Emmaus

13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him. 17He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?" They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?" 19"What things?" he asked. "About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see." 25He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Christ[b] have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 28As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. I too have been on an Emmaus walk...not like this one....but a walk just the same....a walk where I met Jesus....face to face.  An Emmaus Walk, the ultimate spiritual retreat....and tonight I attended another Emmaus event for my BFF, Mary.  She left on Weds. afternoon to begin her own walk.  I did not sponsor her...another friend of ours, Cindy did.  The weeks leading up to her walk have been so exciting for both of us....hers was anticipation and mine was expectation....what fun to be able to share this with Mary.  You see in 2000, My friend Lenora Hannum told me she wanted to sponsor me on an Emmaus Walk….I politely took the first of many applications. I promptly lost it. I am glad Lenora did not give up….8 applications later….with the last one being totally filled out….only needing my signature and a check….I applied for what would be the greatest spiritual experience of my life. I was told…it would be a year or longer…because there were so many…..but it wasn’t…it was just a matter of a few months.  Now I have to tell you....when the time came....I did NOT want to go.  I was dealing with a lot of emotional pain in my life from a failed marriage and was not up to a feel-good retreat.  I was enjoying my pity party quite nicely all by myself....when Lenora took me, took away my watch, AND cell phone....I kept trying to figure out a way to get back in the car before she left.  They are tricky like is the separate and conquer method....and it worked nicely.....when she came to get me on Sunday....I did not want to leave Camp Sumatonga.  My walk was approximately eight years ago, Mother's Day weekend, May of 2002. It was a life-altering experience and it felt like a new beginning had begun for me. There were two things on that weekend that had a monumental impact on me. The first was when I was able to give Jesus a burden that had affected me most of my life…I was able to leave it at His feet and the relief that I felt was like nothing I had ever felt before. An enormous weight had been lifted from me. The second was when I experienced God's love through His people to a degree that I didn't know was possible. It is completely amazing what the Holy Spirit can do with people who have their hearts in line with His. This love I experienced wasn't a light, airy, abstract, somewhere in space type of love either. It was concrete. It was full. It was real. It was love that I could get my arms around and truly feel throughout my entire soul. It was exactly what I needed. Because of that experience, I am able to see God more easily; see God more clearly. I see Him in nature, I see Him in other people, and I can even see Him in myself. There have been many things throughout my life that have caused me to hold onto my feelings and shelter myself from others, including God. The Walk to Emmaus, as well as being married to an extremely outgoing, expressive, loving man, and have a group of Bible Study buddies, who with the help of Beth Moore’s study, “Breaking Free” have helped me open up to God (and other people) more than I ever have before; and because I am more able to open up, I have found myself also able to become closer to God and others as well. Besides the experience itself, the Walk to Emmaus gave me two other things. The first is a group of people I can share my experience with and work with to make sure others experience what I experienced. My friends in the Central Alabama Emmaus cluster have been priceless to me. The other thing that I have since I went on my Walk, is the awesome family of Emmaus people all over the world. I remember before my walk being with a friend who had attended an Emmaus Walk before me and she met another Emmaus person….they hugged and said DeColores to each other….and the spirituality that glowed through them left me feeling left out. I wanted this feeling. Once I had been on my walk I realized that "You will never have to go through anything alone again." Never before have I even seen, let alone been a part of, a family like this. I know that I can be fully honest and authentic with you. Within this community is a place where I don't need to be afraid to share what I am really feeling inside of me. I truly believe that no matter what happens in my life I can turn to the Emmaus Community for support. Let me tell you…that is an awesome feeling.
In short, my Walk meant a real connection with my Lord Jesus and with those who make up the body of Christ. As for what I am doing now, let me share with you the words I said at the end of my original Walk. "I am just going to do whatever God wants me to and share His love as much as I can." I didn't really know what that meant at the time, but now that it has been a few of years, I have a little better idea of why God led me to say those words. After my Walk, I wanted to get as many people as I could to share the same experience; to see what God has for them; to see how much they are loved. I was blessed to be able to sponsor my dear friend Rita, on her Walk my daughter, Kat on hers, and co-sponsor my husband with Lenora's husband Guy. It was so awesome to be able to share that experience with the three of them fully. I have to confess that I am glad I had a head start on them. God has given me the opportunity to serve him through music, speaking, and writing.   I know that God uses me to touch lives and if I have not learned anything during my days following my walk….I have learned that. Each person has experiences and a testimony that someone else will have a unique connection with. God has a reason for each team member and each pilgrim to be on a particular Walk. If you have not been on a walk yet, I encourage you to ask God if he wants you to be on one. If you have any feeling that maybe that is what he wants you to do, then google Emmaus and you will find one whereever you are.  Go...I promise.... You won't regret it.
You know, I really enjoy speaking about God and what he has done for me in front. Generally speaking, I really am a lot more comfortable talking to people one on one or in smaller groups…but I have learned that God is in control and I can do all things through Him…and I do. It is definitely a God-thing. Perhaps that is why he has led me in the direction I am now going. In June three years ago,  my husband accepted His calling and became the pastor of Waverly United Methodist Church and I became Mrs. Preacher…and in March a year later, I completed the Certified part of Lay Speaking…can you believe it….I can not only fill a pulpit…but do on a regular basis....and love it!  In June we will be moving to Rock Mills, AL and Rock Mills United Methodist Church....I am excited about the new ministry.  I will have a parsonage!  I can’t believe that all this has happened….but I am living proof of two things….God doesn’t make junk….and He can truly make a silk purse out of a sows ear.  My life plans are to share God's love and to try to do what he wants me to do. I want to leave you with this question….What are you doing for God today?


Queenie Jeannie said...

What a beautiful testimony!!! HUGS!!! When exactly are you moving?? Be sure I have your new address when you get it!

Mary said...

AMEN! I have seen "DeColores" bumper stickers, but didn't know what they were about! That sounds awesome!
Happy Mother's Day, dear friend!