Day 11’s love post comes from my dear friend Beverley. (Although it feels totally weird to call her by her first name because I always knew her as Sister) I met my beautiful friend when I was serving as a missionary in her ward for about eight months, and her example and love changed my mission and my life. She is so, so good. She taught me so much about love through words and example, and the story she shares touches my heart in so many ways:
“I have a friend in Dallas who hosts a women’s retreat four times a year. This is retreat for women who have experienced sexual trauma and it is held at a place near Durant, Oklahoma. The camp is named Journey to Healing and it is a special and holy place. It is peaceful and serene and love seems to be seeped into the ground and it surrounds everything that grows there. It’s so easy to breathe there. The first retreat of the year was during the last weekend of January.
I love these retreats; it’s an honor to serve and minister to these beautiful daughters of God. They come so hurt and broken and for many, they have never told their stories. Their stories are all different yet equally painful to hear. I am always appalled at the horrible ways we can hurt each other. I am also in awe of the resiliency of the human spirit and in the ways we cope through difficult circumstances.
My friend invites other women to help at these retreats. All the women who are there have been sexually abused. They are beautiful, beautiful women. Their hearts are filled with so much love and compassion for the attendees. When someone needs to just cry and be held, they are there to provide loving arms and a comforting lap. The women attending are listened to and no judgements are made, instead, feelings are recognized and validated.
Sometimes I take a moment, stand in the back of the room and just observe. I am in awe at what I see. I am seeing what it means to be the heart and hands of Christ. One on one, women ministering to women in a most intimate and caring way. Pure holy love. At the end of the retreat, friendships have been made and all of the women come away knowing a few eternal truths. God and His Son, Jesus Christ love you, you are precious and valued and you are not alone. You are braver and stronger than you thought you were.
I know it’s the powerful work of the Atonement of Christ that sets all of us on a path to healing. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who allowed His Son to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. It’s sometimes difficult to understand the depth of love that He has for me. I’m just very, very thankful.”