As we pressed the buzzer and waited for the attendant to give us clearance to leave the women’s homeless shelter, our ministry team stood huddled in silence–rare for this usually chatty group. Mainly after our monthly Chapel service, we had endless discussions about where we should stop for coffee and dessert on our way home. But tonight was different. We were silently awestruck, savoring the way God had shown us His presence.
After several years of these monthly visits, our services had become fairly predictable. First, we welcomed the women as they trickled in. Next, the chapel would begin to rock as our worship leader belted out their favorite songs. We would gratefully watch God transform these sad, defeated women into worshippers with tear-stained faces and uplifted hands in praise–their parched hearts were filled with joy and hope.
But tonight, as the worship time was drawing to a close, a woman suddenly pushed her way through the others up to the front where she grabbed the microphone and began a wailing lament from the depths of her soul. It was not just her song, but Everywoman’s song.
As she sang, a holy reverence enveloped the room. Some women slipped quietly into their chairs; other fell to their knees on the hard plank floor. For a moment she looked up and was stunned that some sixty other women were weeping not just with her and for her, but also for themselves. Overcome with self consciousness, she started to lay the microphone down. But we urged her to continue. Neither we nor God was finished with her yet.
As she continued her song, another woman quietly made her way up toward the front where she waited for her turn to sing. From that point on for the rest of the evening, the microphone was passed from one woman to another as God touched their hearts. No plan. No script. Just God.
An hour later, as our leader gently closed the service, the room fell silent. No one spoke. And now since their curfew was up, the women were required to return to their rooms. We all had difficulty moving toward the exit.
This experience makes me weep even now. Through life’s circumstances and their own bad choices, these women had been used, abused, and broken. But on this evening, God let us witness the Body of Christ coming together in unity and wholeness. For one night, “they were joined together with Him and with each other by the Spirit and are part of this dwelling place of God.” (Ephesians 2:22 TLB)
We all felt privileged and blessed to be a part of that union.
Christ is the Head of his body, the Church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. ( Ephesians 4:15 TLB)
Sharon Ruff: Sharon makes her home in West Michigan near her children and grandchildren.
She has been a widow for over a decade after being married for 30 years; fifteen of which were spent caring for her husband who suffered from MS. During those wilderness years of isolation and despair, God gave her hope from Jeremiah 29:11. He also assured her that He would restore the years the locust had eaten. He has since graced her with many opportunities to heal, learn, grow, and serve in women’s ministry through Bible Studies, retreats, conferences and personal ministry. She has also ministered in the Ukraine and Africa at women’s conferences.