When Emma Stevenson
converted part of her South Norfolk
home into a beauty sanctuary it was always going to be more than a place for massage and make-up.
Having done a variety of training courses with the Norwich Academy of Beauty,
Emma also uses her business, inspired by the Biblical character, Esther
, as a listening ear, a tool for prayer and a powerful lever for her faith.
Exclusively for women, the quiet, rural bolt hole with its own parking and large garden is a welcome beauty retreat that also helps those with illness and difficulties. Emma, from Hope Community Church Wymondham
, shares the amazing testimony of her son's healing from a brain tumour to speak into the lives of those afflicted with a similar disease, various cancers and other problems. Such empathy has gone a long way to sowing seeds of faith in many that have stood on the side lines of belief but return time and again.
When Emma’s son Thomas
was just three years-old, his life hung in the balance and surgeons said an operation could kill him or leave him as a vegetable, recalls Emma. News of her son's condition sent her into shock. "It was the worst day of my life - I felt physically sick."
Together with husband Chris
, she scoured the country for a cure. Emma also mounted a publicity campaign and newspapers carried the story of the little boy with slurred speech, who was in excruciating pain, to encourage people to pray.
Family and friends prayed too and asked countless others to do the same including an American aunt and her church. Meanwhile, three surgeons tackled an invasive 14-hour operation to remove most of Thomas' tumour while being careful not to damage his eye.
"Medics expected him to be in intensive care for six weeks but he came round immediately and soon joined the normal ward. He was hailed as a miracle boy," says Emma who has seen God continually heal the nerve damage in his face since the operation.
Today, Emma's faith is as strong as ever. She has seen her son snatched from death and has known God's hand on her own life when she was tempted to look at alternative paths to healing.
"There was a time when I did not want to go to church but preferred the gym but when my husband became a Christian I saw a real change in him. Soon afterwards I found a note in my son's pocket asking God to let me come to church." That hand written note deeply touched Emma. She soon became a committed church member and six months of intensive counselling and prayer helped to heal the hurts and wounds that had built-up since childhood.
Nowadays, she asks God to bring clients to her door. "I have a thriving business with many regular customers. I see many who are vulnerable but I can listen to their stories, pray with them and bless them with free treatments that show that I love them because Jesus loves them," says Emma, who offers pamper parties, princess parties for teenagers, spray tanning, manicures, pedicures and facials.
"Esther from the Bible, was a beautiful young woman used by God to save a nation. I hope those who come here leave confident and with a skip in their step as their natural beauty is enhanced because God loves women and can use them today," she adds.
Pictured above is Emma Stevenson.