I traveled this weekend to Dunlap, TN (the Hang Gliding capital of the east!) to begin my "fall tour" of speaking engagements, and WOW what a weekend we had!! In my book Women Touched by Jesus I've written fictional stories of the women who Jesus met personally. This weekend I met them in real life. I'm not sure I've ever been more impacted by three personal testimonies.
On Friday night Mary shook like a leaf as she shared her story--raped at 9 and again at 18, abused and shamed--she shared how Jesus came into her life and redeemed her past. I was awed at her willingness to share her story and at the joy that shone from her face when she did.
On Saturday her daughter boldly stood before us and proclaimed, I am a child of God! She then told us that although for many years she was taught to keep her feelings and hurts to herself, she intended to "spill the beans" with us. And "spill the beans" she did! She shared with us what it was like to grow up with a mother who taught her not to trust anyone especially men. My favorite part of her story was when she said that after her mother married a wonderful man (I'd love to meet!)--they moved to Pennsylvania, and "the church people started coming."
What might have happened to these women had "the church people NOT started coming!" She then told us that she knew she was changed by God when she could look at people and see them NOT as a threat, but as people whom He loved.
After she sat down, a beautiful inmate from the local jail came to the microphone, and asked us to listen to the words of her song--not to her voice. I listened to the words, but was deeply moved by the rich melody of her voice as well. She sang a song with these words that were simply thanking God for a roof over her head and shoes on her feet and the privilege of knowing Jesus in her heart. WOW!
God moved in such a powerful way! Women from several different churches, across denominational lines agreed together that we are indeed LOVED BY GOD and therefore free to love others to Him.
I am so privileged to get to meet women like these when I travel. Women who have been transformed by the power of God. The women in Dunlap are serious about their mission. They have a ministry to teenage girls, they're starting a pregnancy resource center, they are active in the jail ministry, they reach out to mother's of young children, the list goes on and on.
My new friends in Dunlap, TN --you go girls!! God is changing His world through you.
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