Three years ago, I transitioned from working part-time to being a stay-at-home mom to our four children. This year, our youngest started kindergarten and I’ve had some more time for prayer as I’ve been trying to listen to what God is calling me to in my new season. I’ve been fervently asking Jesus how I should be using my gifts to serve Him. One day, the Gospel reading and meditation spoke to me. It was the parable of the ten gold coins. A nobleman had given gold coins to ten servants. Two servants invested the coins and gave the fruits of it back to the nobleman. The third wasn’t so lucky. He was fearful and buried his coin. He was called a wicked servant and his coin was taken from him. In other Gospel accounts of this parable, we read about wailing and grinding of teeth – the words that instantly invoke fear in me. The meditation for the Gospel was about asking God to reveal our gifts to us and then to show us how we can use these gifts to bear fruit in the world. I feel like this is the whole point of our lives. Our gifts from God are not meant for us. They are meant to be shared with others in glorifying God and sharing His love with others. It’s what brings true joy to our lives both here and eternally.
Well, I again took this all to prayer. “Please God, reveal your gifts to me and show me how I should use them to glorify you.” A prayer that I’ve been praying a long time. However, this time it was different. All of a sudden, all of these ideas started coming. I began writing them down and an hour and a half later (which flew by), I had a couple pages filled.
In the following days and weeks when my initial excitement started to wane, life started happening and I didn’t know where to begin, I continued to hear God’s voice. It was through a song I heard the next day, a timely message I heard from Pope Francis, scripture I read, and through the encouragement of family and friends.
A few weeks after the initial prayer experience, it had been a week since I really worked on moving this idea forward. I was scrolling through Facebook and I read how a well-known priest, Fr. John Riccardo, was in town and his message was to go out into the world and share your faith story with others. "Okay, God, I get it." It confirmed His call for me and it lit a fire in me to continue working to make Project Emmaus happen.
So, as you’ve probably guessed, Project Emmaus was the result of that prayer experience. I have known that writing has been a gift of mine from God. I’ve used it in previous jobs and experienced the fruit it bore. I’ve had the honor and privilege of meeting people in their most vulnerable times to share their stories. A mom saying goodbye to her 13-year-old daughter who was dying of brain cancer, a single mom needing the help of others to get her back on her feet, and how a child attending a Catholic school influenced their entire family’s faith. In addition to writing, I recently started learning photography and have really enjoyed it. What better way to share God’s love than to share how others have encountered Jesus and then bring that story to life through the art of photography.
I get discouraged by all the darkness in our world. Suicide rates, poverty, human trafficking, mental illness, violence, addictions, the list is endless. Even in the midst of all of this, there is light, there is hope. I pray Project Emmaus inspires and provides you hope. I pray you feel God’s amazing love for you. I pray the stories spark a yearning to open our hearts to Jesus and seek Him as he walks with us on our faith journey.