As Marilyn blogged about last week, I was honored to be a part of the Dallas Emmaus Walk #236 Team this past weekend. The Walk to Emmaus is a 72 hour experience that is aimed at developing Christian leaders. Marilyn explained it in the previous blog, so I won’t repeat all that she said. I do want to share what I experienced this past weekend, though. I would like to start by thanking everyone who prayed for this Walk. We could feel your prayers and could see God at work all around us. The foundation of any Emmaus Walk is prayer – without that it would not be effective. So, YAY GOD!!!! J
The Walk to Emmaus experience is all about the pilgrims. The purpose of the entire Team is to be the hands and feet of God, giving Him the glory for revealing Himself to the pilgrims in new and exciting ways. I was blessed to see that happen this weekend. Seeing the pilgrims experience God’s grace anew, through the talks, worship services and music is the reason I was on this Team; it is the reason that the Team exists!
I was not a pilgrim on this Walk, I was part of the Team. However, I can say that even though this Walk was not about me, God still made it for me. God is just good that way, isn’t He?!? He always goes above and beyond what we think and what we deserve.
Throughout the preparation for this Walk, God was calling me back to Him. I had been getting lazy and unfocused. Through the study and fellowship that the Walk preparation required, God reminded me who I am and whose I am. Then, during the Walk, He blessed me with the gifts of friendship, laughter, worship, singing, and insight. Gifts that were so unique to where I am in my journey, I knew that they were just for me.
Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37 NIV
This is the verse that stuck out to me this past weekend. God doesn’t want just one part of me – He wants it all! He loves me (and you!) so much that he is just waiting and wanting us to spend time with him. Not only through study (loving Him with our minds), but with our soul and heart. How do we go about loving Him with our soul, heart and mind?? We start by getting to know him better – we can’t love someone we don’t know very well. We go about getting to know Him better through prayer, which includes talking to God as well as listening. We also get to know him by reading and studying His Word. We get to know him by reading Christian books, listening to sermons, and interacting with other Christians. That’s not all though, we also get to know Him through service to others.
I was reminded this weekend that God wants a relationship with us even more than WE want one with Him! How about THAT!??! Isn’t it awesome that the God of this universe desires to have a relationship with YOU?!?? I heard God say to me this weekend, “Stop with the excuses! I love you just where you are – your life doesn’t have to be perfect for me to love you!” PRAISE THE LORD!!! I am certainly not perfect, nor is my life perfect – and, just so you know, I don’t expect that it will be any time soon!! I was reminded this weekend that I don’t have to be perfect to love God or be loved by Him. He loves me where I am. By focusing on Him and learning to love him with my soul, heart and mind – He will perfect me in Christ Jesus. The more I learn to love Him and give my life to Him, the more I will desire to be like Him.
I was also reminded this weekend that the more we look for God, the more we will see Him. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” NIV
We see what we focus on. If we focus on ourselves, or on negativity, or on our problems – then that is exactly what we will see. But if we focus on God and His goodness, we will see all the blessings He is giving us. There are so many blessings and Christ-moments that we miss because our eyes are not opened to see them. For example, the week before I left to go on the Walk, my 4 year old daughter was sick. She kept complaining that her tummy hurt. She was still acting pretty normal and didn’t have a fever, so we went several days without taking her to the doctor thinking she was just complaining to get out of eating food she didn’t want or go to bed or whatever. However, we finally decided to take her to the doctor. The doctor examined her but couldn’t find anything wrong. She (the doctor) decided to order an abdomen x-ray to see if Katie’s stomach was hurting due to constipation. As she was writing the orders for the x-ray, Katie coughed. She had had a slight cough for a couple of days, which I mentioned to the doctor but didn’t emphasize because the cough didn’t seem that bad. However, when the doctor heard it, she said, “Maybe we should order a chest x-ray too, just in case”. Lo and behold, when the x-ray came back it was determined that Katie had pneumonia in her left lower lung. We were able to get antibiotics that day and Katie felt better within 24 hours. Now, I could choose to view that situation negatively by focusing on the fact that I had to take Katie to the doctor and she had pneumonia. But rather, I choose to Praise God that the doctor heard the cough and ordered the chest x-ray! What a blessing from God that Katie was diagnosed and treated correctly and quickly!
When we choose to focus on God, sunsets become a little brighter. Our kids’ smiles become a little more precious. A friend’s timely phone call or email to check on us becomes a little more meaningful. We see sacred moments in the midst of this fallen world.
Ask God to open your eyes to see His work in your life. If your eyes are open and waiting to see God at work, you will be amazed at what you see.