Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Great Expectations (not about the book) (08/25/11)
TITLE: Beautiful One
By Melinda Melton
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What a blessing the weekend turned out to be. Before I knew it, I was deep in the middle of everything. I was so engrossed in all the speeches I heard and I took a lot of notes. The personal stories I heard and the speaker’s own personal walk with Jesus was amazing to my ears and their stories made my own small in comparison.
By the second day, I was singing and clapping and praising the Lord with all my new found friends in Christ. God is so good! I felt so free by the end of the weekend and my heart was full. On my last day I found out that I may be asked to be on team someday. Oh, I could only hope that God wanted me to serve Him in this way.
Months went by and finally the day came when my phone rang. It was the Director asking me to be on her team! I was so excited to be asked but told her I would pray about it and let her know. Well, I did just that and I had such a peace about it all that I called back a few days later and accepted. I could not wait! I wanted others to have the same experience I had and I wanted the opportunity to help bring others closer to God.
We had weekly team meetings for 12 weeks in preparation for the next retreat. We planned the church services, the prayer services, the songs, skits, food. Everything was well planned. I had no idea how much work was put into a weekend retreat. It made me appreciate even more so what I had experienced on my retreat.
The big day arrived and my heart was bursting with joy as they started arriving but what I didn’t expect were the frightened faces and the lost eyes. I wasn’t prepared for the hurt souls. Is this what I looked like when I arrived on my first day? My heart ached for them.
I said a silent prayer, “Oh, Jesus, please help me to help them. Use me as your conduit this weekend Lord. I pray they see you Lord and not me. Open their eyes and heart to you O God.”
I put a smile on my face and opened my heart to them. As the weekend progressed, I just followed my heart and I sang and praised God openly. I smiled and laughed with them, hugged the hurt and the lonely and cried when they cried. Such a deep bond was forged that day.
Jesus not only helped and healed those lost, lonely souls but He continued working on me too. By His grace, I was able to see them through His eyes. I saw hurt, angry and lost people transform as their hearts were filled with the love of Christ. Dim eyes turned bright and beautiful with hope. By His grace, I was able to hug someone who had not been touched or hugged in years and that person was able to accept that embrace. A simple hug, something a lot of people take for granted.
I learned a valuable lesson during that weekend. Man can make all the plans in the world but if God has different plans in store, expect the unexpected.
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