February 2015 Newsletter
“When Being Real Can Hurt”
Over the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about a challenge that a friend brought to Chris and I that caused me to pray about sharing something very real with our newsletter recipients in order to create and share an honest picture with you. Anyone that knows us well, is aware that Chris and I are an open book; we are honest and painfully transparent about our marriage. There is nothing hidden between us, and we have learned how to be REAL. We have never tried to hide great times, as well as sad and broken times, from those who we call friends, and also the many thousands of people who have watched and heard our testimony on national TV and radio shows. With that said, I want to share a tough time that Chris and I walked through this past summer. My purpose in sharing this is to challenge you to be real also for the sake of your relationships.
In July of 2014 I hit a bit of a rock-bottom in my own life due to trying very hard to deal—on my own without the help of God—with the cumulative pain and losses we have encountered in our journey out here to, and at, Mountain Haven. Until that July, 2014 morning I wasn’t aware that I was relying on my own strength more than the unbelievable power of God. It seems that over the past 6.5 years since the tragic fire out here, I have been slowly building a level of bitterness and resentment toward God, and with that comes a consequence. Sadly on that day I projected a lot of my frustration toward God back onto my wife, and I took it all out on her.
I hurt Chris very badly with my words and actions, like I’ve not done since we’ve been remarried. It still breaks my heart that I let myself get to a point this low that I would hurt Chris as bad as I did that day. I praise God that He revealed very quickly that what was going on was something (shame and depression) I had been burying deep for so many years, and that resulted in me taking it all out on my precious wife. That day I pulled three close friends and Chris into a room and shared with them how lost and despondent I felt, and how ashamed I was for treating Chris the way I did. There is no excuse for my actions, and I will forever remember that day. It was a day that began with pain, anger, and desperation but caused the start of a great change in my life, and a deeper awareness of who I am in Christ.
The bottom line for me is that bringing those friends in for accountability with the brutal REAL truth, and my brutal humanity, was the first step to real freedom and authenticity in this area of my life. I believe my friends were shocked that I could treat Chris the way I did that day, and this still makes me so sad. I’m grateful that my friends listened to me no matter how shocking it was to hear. As Jesus followers, we need to surround ourselves with people that will be able to listen, as Jesus does, to the hard truth and the pain. I’m encouraging you all to find people you can be authentic with when you are going through trials whether individually or in marriage. It is painful and revealing to be so raw and real and to come clean in your hurting moments, but hopefully those people will stay with you through the trial, point you to Jesus, and love you unconditionally. And you will walk with humility through your process of character refining.
I want you all to know that I live by the truth, both in my verbal and emotional life- and for those who have spent any time with me, or have heard my testimony, or read my book “Loving Her Eternally”- you know that I believe that the truth has truly freed me from a dark and deeply destructive- once secret- past. I no longer wish to ever go back to that place so that is why I know God will use that revelation He gave me in July 2014 to ensure that I don’t. Great things came out of that sad day in July- I am now very aware of my own lack of ability to do marriage and ministry, in my own strength, and the greatness of God’s ability when I lean into Him. I also realize that a great responsibility is on the shoulders of those you pick to hold you to accountability. Give people permission to speak into your life, but also permission to bow out if they don’t think they can live up to the task of holding you accountable, and keep in mind that ultimately you are responsible for your actions.
Please be encouraged to find couples that you can be REAL with even in the messy times. We all need to be able to process painful situations with people we trust and that will believe the best in us even while they are seeing a mere snapshot of our humanity. Because of our humanity, and our very real struggles in the past-as well as the refining, sanctifying present moments- Chris and I have been trusted to walk alongside couples and individuals going through very trying, ugly times. Our goal is to always see them through God’s impartial and graceful eyes. And often we have the opportunity to hold them accountable to set a new trajectory for their life.
Please know that you can come to Chris or I anytime with any questions or observations to offer in our lives. But more importantly, be challenged to find others that see Christ’s strength in your weakness. There is freedom in being REAL and in being truthful even if it hurts. Don’t hold on any longer to any lies you are trying to hide from your spouse. Let them in today and let other brothers and sisters in on the journey as well. Let go of your self-reliance, and let God reveal your brokenness so you can be healed and transformed.
MINISTRY AT A GLANCE
Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $3,800.00 and Monthly Revenue Received: $11,075.00 Remaining Need: $0 Praise God for an incredible first month of 2015!!
Something Interesting or Unique that happened last month: 1.) Chris started 3 new women’s recovery & support groups 2.) Kevin has been working on the very last items on the finishing of the ministry house-basement bedroom #2 electrical & plumbing finals, added 4 new solar panels and 16 new batteries!
Top Praise of the Month: Our solar system is now working close to optimal. We only need 4 more panels for optimal charging and power during the day-$1,800 needed
Top Prayer Requests: 1.) We are still in need of more monthly support. If only 20 people could give $50.00 a month we could support Mountain Haven and start to be more consistent on the income we give ourselves from service to Mountain Haven. Please pray about partnering with us. 2.) Please pray that the couples and individuals we are seeing would continue to see the power of God working in their lives. 3.) Please pray specifically for couples that are going through painful revelations in their marriage.
Looking Ahead: 1.) We are excited to be so close to finishing the very last room in the ministry home, basement bedroom #2. We are about $5,500.00 from having this bedroom finished (including furnishings) 2.) With another $6,000 we could have the cabinets doors and drawer fronts finished and THE ENTIRE HOUSE WOULD BE FINISHED!
Thank you to all of our faithful supporters for the year 2014. If you are looking for a ministry to support as we came to the end of 2014, or for the 2015 year please consider Mountain Haven.
It has been an unbelievable year. We have been blessed to minister to couples, families, children and individuals. We have almost completed the ministry home, completed 5 groups, and are looking forward to an even busier year next year. God has been good.
Pray about how to support this effort. Give at DONATE or mail a tax-deductible donation to 1160 Diamond Back Trail Canon City, CO 81212. Stay in touch with praise or prayer requests as well. Thank you and we love you!