James's Story: "A few years ago my wife had attended a WWM retreat and had a spiritual awakening that started to fuel her hunger to better connect with her faith in Christ. She had at that time encouraged me a few times to attend but felt I was fine where I was with my faith given I was serving in church, going to mission trips, leading small group, and being part of a worship team. In my mind I was fine because I was "doing" God's work much like parents thinking their kids are fine if they are doing academically well in school. In retrospect, as I reflect on that time, though I wanted something more I had settled for letting a lukewarm faith be the norm. It was this feeling of being unsatisfied, cynical and joyless. To some degree I had come to accept these as burdens I had to bear as a result of my faith. This darkness had settled into my relationships and in particular, with my family. At this point I knew I needed help and was curious what my wife had found.
I don't discredit the seasons in which God has used me despite my brokenness, I believe it was a miracle that He did. But I also believe God brings a season of refreshment, repentance, healing and new perspectives. From the day I stepped into the kitchen of WWM, my view of "Abba" has been so deeply and profoundly enriched because the language of love and grace at WWM is one that helps shape my identity as son of the glorious Father who loves abundantly.
Being a son for me means to be known in all aspects of my life both in thinking and feeling. And to be known also means my actions, feelings and thoughts cannot be hidden. And to reveal those things means I am not judged but loved. To this day, I'm still at a loss of words to describe how a few men, who do not know each other, getting together for one night can become a band of brothers to unearth all that is dark within, and share our deepest longing. Then come out of the other side knowing that Christ has set you free and you are deeply loved by the Father not because he has to but because he wants to. This was not about me "doing" something to conjure up a feeling of being loved, on the contrary that weekend was about "being" connected so I know that I am loved. These words come to life as I reflect on my experience that weekend...
"'If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.''1 John 1:6-7
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