I was controlling and tyrannical in my relationships, but I had finally encountered a situation I truly could not control. My son was undergoing a crisis of faith and identity and I was unable to help him or fix the situation. Suddenly it seemed like ALL my carefully crafted ways of coping and living my life were no longer working for me.
I came to Journey as part of my quest to better understand and try to help my son, but God began to put His finger on issues in my own life caused by abandonment, neglect, and abuse I had experienced as a child. As an adult I found it hard to trust others and I feared intimacy and I employed a number of avoidance techniques to manage my intense fears. When my son went through his crisis, it triggered the wounds from the past and I was unable to cope any longer.
Journey offered a safe place for me to begin dismantling the wall of protection I had built around my heart and explore my inability to express love to those around me. It helped me encounter the healing touch of my Heavenly Father and Jesus, the lover of my soul. They were offering me the true, pure intimacy I so desperately needed and longed for, but was so afraid of. I discovered God’s great love for me isn’t dependent on what I do or the things that have been done to me. I am His beloved daughter, created in His image. These experiences brought life to my dry and weary soul. And over time I began to express love to others in ways I have always longed to, but not been able to in the past. I am by no means all fixed; I am a work in progress, but I have hope for the future.
I wouldn’t have gone through Journey if I hadn’t begun to notice changes in my wife, Melody. She was participating in the Journey discipleship course and it was having a positive impact on her life and our relationship. These changes were not dramatic or instant; rather, they were more gradual and subtle. However, I noticed a positive impact on our relationship; we were communicating on a deeper level. I was aware of things that had happened to her as a child and how they were hurting her, so I was very encouraged.
When Melody suggested I join her at Journey’s Intensive Week in 2012, I thought, “Why not? I love her, and I want to support her along the way.” Well, it didn’t take long for God to start breaking through my helpful attitude and identifying areas of unmet need in my own life. I really had no idea. He showed me ways I had learned to cope – things like overachieving to receive accolades and praise, with the slightest criticism resulting in my complacency and withdrawal. Unfortunately, this had never helped me deal with the issue of my deeper needs. Now, for the first time, I was able to understand how my past was affecting my present.
Participating in Journey was huge for me. The thing I loved most about the Journey leaders was they never counseled me with solutions, not once. Rather, they continually pointed me to Jesus for direction. As a result, my relationship with Him is growing and becoming more intimate every day. It took years for me to perfect all those habits of meeting my own needs, so I still struggle with them resurfacing on a regular basis. However, now that I can recognize them, I am able to move away from them when they arise and move toward Him. I have hope for the future.