Continued from here.
In his song, Dream Small, Josh Wilson says that “these simple moments change the world.” Here’s my own testimony of the truth of that statement…
While I had been a Christian for decades, I was emotionally-wounded, spiritually immature, and self-absorbed in my pain. One Sunday morning, I had a pity party in which I cried out to God, “Can you show me evidence that even one person on this planet gives a #$%& about me?” (I had a potty-mouth back then.) I then left for Sunday School. When I arrived, a woman from my class handed me the Bible cover in the photograph, said she saw it in a Christian bookstore, and thought I might like it. She had no idea that this one simple action would change the world, beginning by changing me.
Receiving that Bible cover shortly after my prayer opened my eyes that I was loved and valued, not only by this woman but also by God. This prepared my heart to accept God’s invitation to seek Him with my whole heart during the first hour of each day in quiet time. After filling me to overflowing with His love for months, God led me to forgive my childhood abusers, which forever changed my heart toward “the guilty,” who I now see as “the wounded” in need of God’s healing. That change was needed to prepare my heart for becoming the executive director of a statewide prison ministry – an area of ministry I had repeatedly said I would never do.
This ministry has been active in prisons for years, and the vision has always been to expand this ministry outside the prisons to those returning to society upon release. However, the leaders were unsure what that model should look like. God placed a vision on my heart to take the same meeting format used in the prisons and offer it in a church building, and the Board of Directors approved launching a pilot of this vision. That pilot will launch next week with 16 volunteers from multiple denominations with different colored skin and will be open to anyone with a criminal record – no exceptions. (Some post-incarceration ministries exclude people convicted of murder, sex offenses, or gang-related crimes.) Each attendee who comes to know Christ through this ministry will not only be changed individually, but that change will impact his or her family, friends, and community, including people who might otherwise have been victimized by future crimes. God brought all of this about through one simple act of buying a Bible cover.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Photograph of Grace’s Bible cover. Courtesy Grace Daniels.]