Maria was sexually abused as a child, rejected by her mother she lived in the streets for some time of her life.
Later she married a man with alcohol problems that couldn’t be faithful to her. That situation brought many problems to her life including health problems. Later she got divorced.
If I stopped this story here this would be a very sad story. But thankfully Maria became a Christian, learned how to read at the age of 34. Put herself through school, and entered College the same year as her son. She got a job, raised her kids, did post-graduate studies and is very involved in one of the small congregations of Recife.
Among other things, Maria said that she refused to blame others for the problems in her life. She didn’t want to be a victim or a savior. She knew God was with her and wanted to bless her, if she kept her faith in Him. And this is what she did. And God blessed her.
She told her story and encouraged more than a hundred women that gathered for the Elas. Elas is a daylong ladies’ retreat that takes place every year in Recife to help encourage women from the congregations in the area. The theme this year was “The Woman goes to War” dealing with our challenges to live a godly life. We spend the day hearing stories like Maria’s, singing and having fellowship with one another.
Despite all the rain that fell that day, we came home inspired, especially by Maria’s story. Many said they were so glad they resisted the temptation to stay home in this bad weather and instead go out in the rain traveling on muddy, unpaved roads to the meeting. God’s blessings come in many forms!