Experiencing God’s Diversity..
I’d like to share a few thoughts about what the Lord has been revealing to me through Precious to God. First, oppression and exploitation effects no particular ethnic group, “religious affiliation” (or lack there of) nor does it know any particular generation! When I think about the ladies we are currently walking beside, and those whose lives we have touched briefly, I realize that we have interacted with an amazing cross-section of our society.
We have served African-American, Hispanic, White and Asian. Some have had exposure to the teachings of the Bible, another to the Koran and another to Buddha or Hindu. One had a knowledge of “New Age Spirituality”. Each it seems has felt some kind of need for a spiritual connection. Some run toward that need looking for Truth…some run from it!
Another thing I’ve noticed was the age spectrum…our ladies range in age from early twenties to the sixties! Some have been oppressed or exploited for just a few years while other have been mistreated a good deal of their lives and know no other way to live.
Our women have been drug addicted, prostituted, raped or trafficked. Some have even experienced all these horrors and more!
The majority of the women we have been in contact with have one thing in common…they are MOTHERS! While getting to know our newest BESIDE member, Loree and I were told about her two (adult) children…an estranged daughter with two children of her own and a son who is currently in the Richmond area struggling with addiction problems, staying in her apartment on and off. During our second meeting with this woman, she opened the tote bag she was carrying and pulled out a tattered, framed picture of her son and said, “I wanted you to see a picture of my son so you can pray for him”!!! Both Loree and I were overwhelmed by the emotional impact of that simple request. We each realized that no matter our circumstances, no matter our backgrounds, we all share a common bond…as mothers, we all want better for our children. The Sisterhood of Motherhood!!!
I, like so many others, have previously had the mindset these women were very different from me, my family, my friends. But, in fact, I have realized the truth in the statement, “There, but by the Grace of God, go I”…my sister, my daughter, my niece, my friend. There is no them and us, it is all we.
As Loree and I pray over pairing the right mentors with each lady, we see so clearly the Hand of God directing us to the ones HE has chosen! Just this week I was overwhelmed with emotion as I sat with our most recent grouping, listening to them getting to know each other. I became distinctly aware of the fact that the Father arranged this perfectly when the three were speaking in terms that were familiar to each other but foreign to me!
I have also seen the reality of the John 6:44 –
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
It has amazed me to see, so clearly, the “drawing” of the Father! This can be a slow and frustrating process for both the one being drawn and those of us walking beside them but, it holds the biggest and best reward for each of us! Witnessing God at work and being participant in His activity is one of the most exhilarating experiences of my lifetime!