Packed (Pent) House for Joy in the Morning

Many of our HiddIMG_3351Cropped Handsen Heart friends have asked, “How was Joy in the Morning?” If you weren’t at our celebration on August 23rd, let me fill you in. In a word, it was GLORIOUS! Picture a sparkling day in the Starlight Roof room at the elegant Chase Park Plaza filled with 300 women (and a brave table of men!) of all ages, stages and skin tones. As I looked out from the podium on this beautiful sight, I thought – this is a foretaste of heaven.

Months ago, Karen Bacon, the author of The Cry of the Hidden Heart, sensed God’s leading to intentionally reach out beyond our home turf of West St. Louis County to our sisters in the city and surrounding areas. It’s said that timing is everything, but God’s timing is perfect! The date and event name “we chose” took on supernatural significance as nearby Ferguson erupted into an international headline of racial conflict just days before our gathering.

“Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5b) Opening the event, I said, “We had no idea that ‘Joy in the Morning’ would follow the darkest week in our city’s history, but God did! His is an on-going party in celebration of His redeeming love; and the party favor He wants to give you today is His JOY.” A chorus of “AMENs” filled the air.

IMG_3331CroppedEmceeing was twice as fun with my co-emcee, the gorgeous Matuschka Lindo Briggs. A Hidden Heart class graduate, she coined her nickname, “Sagar” – one part Sarah, one part Hagar – to describe all of our ongoing struggles to fully embrace our freedom in Christ.

Vanessa Coleman led us in a rousing time of praise with her gift of song. A singer, song writer and author, she shared how she has grown in her relationship with Jesus and her husband by being discipled by Karen Bacon through The Cry of the Hidden Heart.

Cheryl Skid brought the crowd to its feet with her miraculous testimony of her forty-year marriage being transformed from despair to delight. Read how God powerfully used a Hidden Heart class she reluctantly joined, here.

Karen Bacon gave the history and vision of Hidden Heart Ministry: To embrace God’s dream of our becoming His holy, spotless bride by submitting our own small dreams to His big One for us as His dearly beloved daughters. As followers of Jesus, we become His instruments of reconciliation and restoration in our marriages, families and our world.

We went from the sublime to a bit of the ridiculous with our own game show: The Hidden Heart Bible Challenge. Two teams of “drafted” volunteers tested their Hidden Heart and Bible knowledge. Congratulations to Jane Bogar, our champion.

Joan Kehr has mentored LaTasha Langerston, an author and founder of Urban Born with a vital ministry to young girls. LaTasha shared the important lessons she learned from her mother about the persevering love of God in her parents’ challenging marriage.

Joe Schluchter, board member of HHM and former executive director of Lay Renewal Ministries, told about the commitments he and his beloved late wife, Peggy, made before they were married and the principles they lived by to make a difference in the lives of others. We were all touched by the poem Joe read about the decisions we make to either look back at loss as a great sorrow or in gratitude to God for the blessings we enjoyed in the past, confident that we will still see His goodness in the land of the living. We were all reminded of the precious, poignant and powerful gift of two becoming one in God’s good gift of marriage.

As the morning came to a close, we had a record number of ladies buy books and sign up for fall classes; some of which are listed, but there will be more designated sights soon to be announced. We cheered for our grand prizewinner of a free night’s stay at the Chase Park Plaza, won by a Hidden Heart graduate whose 12th wedding anniversary was the next day.

IMG_3385 Audience

We left singing, “You will go out with joy and be led forth in peace,” filled to overflowing with God’s love. Thank you for all who worked, prayed, and gave generously to help us make this such a glorious celebration. It was a JOY-FILLED morning!

Mary SuzanneSignatureRGB