by Elizabeth Raid

When the speaker for the WDC women’s luncheon at the Annual Assembly on August 5 walked to the podium with a mask covering her face, I wondered who this mysterious woman was. Her translator stood beside her while she shared about a childhood of sexual abuse that carried over into an abusive marriage. Troubled relationships with a son and daughter only multiplied her feelings of failure and low self-esteem. However, she continued to go to church and act as if all were well. She thought her mask would protect her from her painful life experiences and keep her secrets hidden.

But God saw beyond that mask and looked into her heart. God’s love broke into her life freeing her of her secrets. Relationships with her children mended, and she now accepts them and loves them for whom they have become. While she talked she removed her mask, revealing a lovely woman with a strong faith. Because she found God’s love she is now in a happy marriage, is a pastor and church leader.

She ended by saying God had put it on her heart to pray with us because there could be others in the room wearing masks, women who were holding onto secrets that kept them from experiencing God’s love. While she prayed I could sense the Spirit moving through the room.

Tears flowed freely when our speaker embraced one of the hotel’s wait staff and prayed with her. I looked at my table mate and saw her eyes glistening too. “Holy ground,” I whispered. She nodded.

Both of the wait staff responded to God’s call on their lives that day. Each heard that call in her own language—Spanish and English. Our speaker’s story gave them courage to take off their masks. God’s love language broke through all the barriers. More tears, hugs and prayers continued as they exchanged contact information and the women returned to work.

Yes, we were indeed on “holy ground.”