My weekend was spent serving in Detroit alongside 35 other beautiful women. We got to have wonderful discussions with Kevin Butcher and his wife Carla. We were able to walk around the neighborhood of Hope Community Church and learn about their ministry there. Later we went different shelters to connect with women over crafts, hear their stories, and just love on them. That was followed by the Olympics [Go Yellow!] & lastly, the weekend was concluded with attending the Sunday Service at Hope.
It is safe to say that I walked away from the weekend with a changed heart.
Talking about what a gift I’ve been given by being created a woman was probably one of my favorite parts of the weekend. Hearing the affirmation that my strong desires to build relationships with people means something to the world was really comforting and encouraging. Something that affected me more, however, was when Becky Gentry reminded me that I am not a body that has a spirit, but a spirit that happens to have a body. I am not a woman that is a Christian. I am a Christian that happens to be a woman. My first pillar of my identity should be that I am a follower of Christ.
However, the visit to the Open Door Rescue Mission was the experience that probably changed my life this weekend. This shelter took women off the street and gave them a place to live and food to eat. We toured the facilities to see where the women slept and hung out. I don’t know if it was the metal numbered bunks, the uniform plastic totes that were practically empty because these women just didn’t have any belongings to put in their assigned containers, or the barely functional community bathrooms, but something broke me. None of those 8 women dreamed about their lives as little girls and hoped to be in that position when they grew up. Yes, they had a roof over their heads, and food in their bellies, but they had no space to call their own, they had no gourmet meals. By the end of the tour, I had composed myself & was prepared to get to meet the women who lived in the shelter. As we began to scrapbook with these women, I was ready to minister to them and to encourage them and to make sure they were aware of just how much God loved them. I quickly realized, however, that the two women I sit by were ready to minster to me. It was amazing to see how these women were joyfully clinging to the Lord to get them through this hardship in their lives. They weren’t angry or bitter that they didn’t have their own home, they were thankful that the Lord blessed them with the Open Door Rescue. They were not doubting God’s love for them because of this hardship, but confident that He was going to use it to grow their faith.
I walked away from this weekend with eyes that were opened to a need. I always knew that the city of Detroit was in need, but I think being able to see the way that I can serve the community, the way my passions and talents fit in there, I felt God speak to me “My daughter, they need you there. This is where I am sending you this summer.” I don’t really know exactly what this will look like. I don’t know what a little white girl from the suburbs is going to do in this city. I guess this might be part of God’s sense of humor, but I’m going to trust Him. I know that the past couple of weeks have been difficult & that will probably carry over into the summer, but I will pursue God first & be honored that He has picked me to live this life that He has perfectly planned out for me.