By Jennifer Slattery
She sat off to the side and in the back. She was an older woman, and though I suspect she knew a good number of others attending this conference, she chose to sit by herself. I wondered if perhaps she didn’t want to be there, or maybe she wanted to be left alone.
I thought briefly of approaching her, of thanking her for coming, but soon I was swept into conversations and greeting as other women filled the church.
I soon forgot about the woman entirely.
I wonder how often that’s happened to her? I wonder how often, though she sat on the outskirts, she longed for someone to approach and invite her in. Or at the very least, let her know they saw her.
And maybe, as she sat there, in a church auditorium, to know that God saw her. And loved her.
I hope, through my talk that day, she heard He indeed did. That He always had and always would. As I spoke of a God who pursues us, who heals us, and who longs to bring us to a place of incredible freedom, I looked her way to find her crying. My heart gave a squeeze, and for a moment, I lost my words as a desire to speak with her, to pray with her, swept over me.
Obviously, I couldn’t do that, but as soon as I finished, I hurried to where she sat, knelt beside her, hand on her shoulder, and handed her a business card. “Please, email me,” I said.
She nodded, and sometime later, I’m not sure exactly when, she slipped out.
I haven’t heard from her but with each Wholly Loved Conference, I meet other women just like her. Women who are hurting, who’ve replaced the truth of who they are in Christ with all the lies our broken world continually throws at them. Lies like, “You’re not good enough,” or “You’re a failure,” or, “You’re unlovable.” Though the lies are different for each one, the anecdote is the same—love. God’s love. To live it, to own it, to believe in it. To rest in it.
My prayer for these women echoes Paul’s spoken in Ephesians 3:20, that we may “have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, how deep [God’s] love is. May [we] experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (NLT, emphasis mine).
Made complete, by love.
Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.
Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com.
Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.
Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.
When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?
Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073R1MY1C?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35380240-healing-love