Unexpected Blessing

I took part in the 8-week CROSSCURRENT group this past spring for the same reason that I am part of Greater Hope’s board – to support and build on what God is doing in the ministry. At least that’s what I would have told you at first. However, as I was filling out the application, I sensed that what I really wanted was a place to find a deeper intimacy with God. I desired an abiding sense of wholeness, of integrity, of togetherness that I knew was God’s desire for me.

 

In the last decade, I’ve experienced tremendous healing from the Lord’s hand in many areas – I praise God for that. But back in my childhood, there were difficulties for me in my relationship with my parents. Difficult, confusing times… too far away from Dad and too close to Mom. I thank God that I got saved at age 19. At that time, I was rescued by God from the things that were burdening me: same-sex attractions and even the beginnings of a homosexual lifestyle. I had been headed down a dark path back then, but this year marks nine years that I have been married to Karen, my wife. I thank God for almost a decade together and what He has held onto after capturing me out of the darkness – she is part of His light in my life.

Why CROSSCURRENT? Through these past nine years of marriage, I have continued to feel a bondage in my life – even after healing prayer events. I always appeared to be free but really felt bound up inside, not always experiencing the freedom that I know God had for me. I was struggling with obsessive thoughts and temptations – things about myself that made me sick inside. With the stresses surrounding the birth of our second child a year ago, I fell back into an old pattern of darkness – a pattern of fantasy life, lust of the heart, and compulsive behaviors that threatened our marriage. I fought it. I tried to will it away. I tried to avoid it and stay away from all the things that could have brought me into it. Even so, with all I had, I could do nothing. I felt very "un-free" and very "in bondage" during that time. I also felt desperate for God. I thank Him for that. I felt desperate for Him to make me free, not just as a church worker who talked about being free, but as someone who really lived it. That was the integrity and wholeness that I longed for.

I believe that Jesus is the only One who can rescue us from this body of sin and death. Thank you Jesus! CROSSCURRENT helped me to stop doing some things – helped me to stop hating myself, stop hating the monster within me that I envisioned as having more control over me than any other part did. It helped me to realize who I am in Christ at a deeper level. The hidden areas of my life were revealed not as a monster, but as a broken, hurting place – a desert without water. I needed God’s presence to enter into it at a deeper level, and I am so thankful that He was willing to do that.

CROSSCURRENT is an intersection at the cross of the blood and water that flowed at the death of Christ. The blood was to save us from our sin and the water served to wash it away – to wash away even the stain of the guilt of sin. To get what I came for at CROSSCURRENT, I had to learn how to be brutally honest with myself – to say ‘I’ve got problems – I don’t have it all together – the person that my wife sees some days, the person that my friends at work or my church sees is not the same person that seems to be in here.’ And that honestly helped me. I learned how to trust other people as I shared what was really happening in my life. It was a struggle to get over that hurdle, but what freedom it brings! In CROSSCURRENT, I became aware of hidden feelings inside me – feelings of anger. I remember realizing in the group that I just wasn’t in touch with any feelings at all. Those hidden feelings – that ‘stuffed-down stuff,’ was setting me off balance. The Lord has done so much in this area since CROSSCURRENT- it’s like a floodgate has been opened. I’ve had dreams where I relive memories of moments from my past – things that I’d forgotten about – and just feel the emotions. And I feel that God is there. It is as if He is moving through my life anew and afresh just to wash it clean and to set me free.

Best of all was that through prayer and ministry times as we gathered around one another both in large group and small group settings, I received a new revelation of God. I’ve been a Christian for about 13 years, but I don’t know if I ever sensed His incredible love for me, the true love, the love that is closer than any love – and my desperate need for Him. It was as if I’d been out in the desert for days without water and suddenly realized my thirst. It was amazing – that recognition of those two things together. I could say ‘God, I am desperate for You," and hear Him say ‘I love you.’ It’s tremendous, and it really has given me joy.

I do have a desperate need for God and I also have a desperate need for the people that He’s brought around me. For my wife, my friends, the body of Christ. There is power in relationships. When you are bound up, you aren’t able to participate in those relationships. The Lord set me free to do that in a new way. I pray that He’ll do more. God has opened my life to embrace His love and His faithfulness. I thank God that He never turned His back on me. Instead, He has been lifting me out of my darkness to make every day a new opportunity… not to be victorious over my struggle, but to be with Him, to be in intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. To live a life of joy, and to live out of the fruit of the Spirit. I just want to thank God for the ministry. Thank you Jesus for what you’ve done in my life!

Tagged

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.