Hello campbellsworld visitors.
Today in our Authors, They’re Only Human column author Shelley McMullen shares with us a time in her life when she was struggling mightily and how, with the help of the Holy Spirit and some really great friends she found peace within her heart.
I invite and encourage you to read the following offering and then continue onward to see how to find all Shelley’s most wonderful work.
You will not be disappointed.
Thank you, Shelley, for allowing us a look into what must’ve been a very difficult time for you. Thank you for also sharing with us your testimony. It is so refreshing to see someone willing to stand and speak openly about their faith.
Blessid be to you and all who are reading.
THE WEEKEND THAT CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER
It was December 31, 1999. It was an exciting time, because at midnight the world would be ringing in and celebrating a brand new century. For me it was just another night. I was celebrating honestly unenthusiastically with a single’s group from Crestview United Methodist Church, the small church I had joined and was attending. I didn’t have a date. I was just there with a few friends. We enjoyed refreshments and listened to oldies and contemporary Christian music. I was grateful for my friends, but felt so very empty. At midnight we exchanged Happy New Year greetings, lit candles, read Scripture, and prayed together as a group. It was beautiful. However, none of this soothed the lonely aching feeling in my heart. I longed to have a relationship with a man, and to have a fulfilling career. I was so tired of being a nobody. My friend Beth kept telling me what a wonderful year I was going to have. I didn’t believe her. I went along with what she had said just to be polite.
I sang in the choir at Crestview every Sunday. I had a music background so that was a good experience and opportunity to serve as a leaderin the soprano section. God has blessed me with a good ear. I am able to learn music very quickly, even though I am totally blind and do not read braille music. Monica our choir director appreciated the help in our section. Vicki who led the contemporary worship service at 8-30 asked me to sing a solo one day. I was thrilled and excited. Temporarily my mood lifted. I sang a Sandi Patty song called They Could Not. It was well received. After that day I was given several more solo opportunities at Crestview.
Even still I didn’t feel very close to God at that time. I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and was baptized at age nine. In 2000 I was merely surviving. I was just going through the motions. I fought depression, and at least church activities got me out of the house. These activities kept me busy, and helped me put my sadness aside at least a few hours each week.
From my prospective I had totally ruined my life. I constantly beat myself up. I had made many mistakes, and had relied only on myself and false intuition in the process. There was no hope. I was unemployed and all alone.
In November of 1996 I resigned from a good job in Little Rock Arkansas. I was working at the largest comprehensive adult rehabilitation center for the blind in the United States. Clients have been sent to this facility from at least 52 other countries. The center is still in existence today. I provided counseling to trainees. The main focus was adjustment to blindness counseling, along with vocational and other life issues. I didn’t realize how much that job meant to me. I just couldn’t forgive myself for leaving. I relocated to Austin Texas for a job as a personal and social awareness instructor at a state facility for the blind in Texas. I wanted to return to Texas in order to be closer to my family who resided in the Houston area. The job did not work out for a number of reasons. I will tell you very briefly that it just wasn’t a good fit for me. I received very little support with the exception of my new blind friends who worked at the center. There was a definite double standard at that facility. Blind employees were expected to be perfect. This of course was totally unrealistic.
In March of 1997 I resigned. I could no longer cope with the physical and emotional stress the job was causing. A job placement specialist from what was known then as the Texas Commission for the Blind worked tirelessly with me. She help me send out over 100 job applications. I had a few interviews but was not hired by anyone.
Beyond all of this I was discouraged because of ongoing health issues. I have a congenital muscle disease and suffer with chronic headaches. My life in my mind was basically over. Where was God? He wasn’t helping me. I was filled with venham and anger. I pushed my kind friends away. I didn’t want to be there. My new friends were so forgiving and understanding. For them I will always be grateful.
Meanwhile my friend Beth who was mentioned earlier had told me about something called a walk to Emmaus. I was hesitant to participate in this, but reluctantly agreed. We filled out the application together. I was scholarship through my church so the event would be free for me.
On January 9, 2000 my friend Beth drove me to Mount Wesley-a Methodist retreat center in Kerrville Texas. My friend Susie who lived across the street from me would be on the walk as well.
We both had many questions. Susie is visually impaired, she has a little sight. Would we be together? How would we get around? We were both very nervous. Our friend Ann who had previously been on a similar walk assured both of us that we would receive assistance. So away we went kicking and screaming figuratively to Mount Wesley. Ann was correct. I had a sweet lady who was assigned to serve as my sighted guide that weekend. She was great.
There are many surprises that take place during the walk that I will not be sharing. The best way I can describe this experience is reflected in the title of my article. This 3-day journey did change my life forever. Because of this experience I was able to forgive all of the people in Austin that from my prospective had hurt me-the people at the rehab center, and all of the employers who rejected me. I longed for a growing relationship with Jesus. I wanted him to become the center of my life. He was the man I had been yearning for. I felt his presence that weekend more than I had ever before. I knew for sure that God was living inside me in the form of the Holy Spirit. I normally wasn’t fond of contemporary Christian music, but loved the songs we learned that weekend. Our minister served on the spiritual team. She asked me to sing the first verse of Amazing Grace at our closing event on Sunday afternoon. I made new friends. We feasted each day by receiving the body and blood of Christ first thing each morning, and the last thing before we went to sleep at night. We feasted all day and night long between the 16 talks we heard over the weekend. This is referred to as Agape or love feast. It was a junk food lover’s dream. I was at the mercy table which was certainly appropriate for me and all I had endured. Susie and I kneeled together at the alter and reaffirmed our faith and friendship.
The walk to Emmaus is found in Luke chapter 24. There are disciples walking on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection. He appears to them and walks with them on the road. They didn’t recognize him.
I still to this day think daily about my walk to Emmaus and the huge impact the Emmaus team and spiritual directors had on my life. My friend Ann brailed what is called the purple book for me. I still read and reflect on those scriptures often.
I had never experienced such Christian love, warmth and closeness before Since my walk I have more peace and joy in my life. Life is still hard, but I am able to handle my changing circumstances better because of this experience. I am also happy to share that in June of 2000 I met my husband Joe. So Beth and Ann thank you both for helping and encouraging me to have a new clean heart and a purer prospective. Thanks be to God most of all.
I would encourage anyone reading this article to consider being a part of an Emmaus walk or similar experience. You will never regret it If you have been a pilgrim on a walk I hope you will prayerfully consider serving on an Emmaus team
. For more information about Emmaus please visit http://www.emmaus.com or upperroom.org.
More On Author Shelley McMullen and her work…
Pathway to Freedom: A Guide Dog Owner’s Manual
A comprehensive e-book by Shelley McMullen / C 2010 / $24.99
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to own and work with a guide dog? Do you have a guide dog and are having some difficulty that you would like to discuss with an experienced graduate as opposed to a trainer? Do you know someone who is blind or visually impaired and you want to get information for them about guide dogs? Or are you a person who simply would like to educate yourself about guide dogs?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, visit http://www.guidedogmanual.weebly.com for more information. There you will also find more information about Shelley and her life coaching services.
Shelley McMullen is also the author of Austin Bound, C 2016, about a difficult period in her life (1996-2000) and how her problems were resolved. In both e-book ($3.99) and print ($9.50). Full details and a free text preview are at: http://www.dldbooks.com/smcmullen/