This past week I was able to meet a person who exudes joy. She is one of the few people that when you get close to her you can actually feel it.
Her name is Pearl. She lives on the south side of Chicago in a neighborhood where violence, pain and hopelessness are the typical stories on the 10:00pm news.
Pearl ran away from home and by age 16 was pregnant. For the next 17 years, her life was entangled by drugs and prostitution. When she was in her early 30s, she met some faithful followers of Jesus who shared hope, forgiveness and a peace that is nearly impossible to comprehend. Those Christ followers continue to speak in to her life today, nearly thirty years later.
Shortly after beginning her relationship with Jesus, Pearl began inviting her children’s friends into her home and hosting Bible studies. Soon Pearl caught a vision to serve her neighborhood by offering free day-care so mothers can finish school, get a job, or both.
Now, 23 years into ministry, Pearl’s main stipulation to receive the free childcare is that moms attend the weekly Bible study she leads.
Since Roseland Community Good News Daycare began, 41 mothers have graduated from high school, 23 have gone on to college and hundreds of women have been involved.
While visiting with her on Tuesday, she asked for prayer over one of her mothers. She went on to share God’s amazing financial provision as we toured a brand new, absolutely amazing facility. It was the end of another twelve plus hour day, she had papers on her desk and people to contact, but in spite of her exhaustion she was living joyfully.
Her joy was indisputable, but it is not exclusive to her. Pearl would be the first to share how to experience true joy.
This Sunday our service will be a page out of Pearls playbook…we are going to study from Romans 5:2b-4. In these verses Paul writes that since we have been made “right with God” we can rejoice in God’s glory and our sufferings.