By Mary Heckmann
As a Pilgrim on the Walk to Emmaus four years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew going in was that I was going to be kid-free from Thursday night to Sunday mid-day, which meant a lot emmaus-gathering-featuredto a full-time working mother with toddler children. I was told there were no watches or phones allowed and that I would be completely “unplugged” for the weekend. “Do not anticipate,” I was told, “just walk.” I knew this was a spiritual retreat, but I didn’t anticipate the change it would have in me. At that time, I was struggling with many things and lacking self-confidence. I knew I needed a spiritual renewal. I agreed to the walk after I received the invitation from my sponsor.

I can’t explain what happened on the walk, since words wouldn’t describe it adequately and are meant only for the ears of those who have been through the pilgrimage. What I can say is this… I wrestled with God that weekend just like Jacob did with God in the Old Testament. I went in saying, “This is me God, I am struggling. I love you, I need you. Help me bring you my burdens.” I left with an electricity that brought joy, peace, love, and grace to a level I didn’t know existed and brought me to tears. I left knowing I was abundantly loved by a grace-filled God. It was during my walk that I began to understand what the body of Christ meant as a pilgrim walking alongside approximately 40 women-all searching for the time with God that I was.

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