Tag Archives: healing

The Healing Journey

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
–Nichole Nordeman

Brave (Acoustic Special Edition version) – Nichole Nordeman

October 28, 2009 will mark 11 years since my born-again Christian experience began and in some ways I feel like I’m still where I started back then.  Let’s be clear, God has done some miraculous things during this time – I have a LONG list of what God has done in and through me and life certainly wouldn’t have just ‘happened’ this way.  Where I’m challenged right now is in that I am still the same – I struggle with my own humanity and all the messy things that come with it.  I want the issues and struggles that have been brewing and stirring my whole life to be purely memories from before I “got saved”.  I want to be fully living out all the wonderful ideas in my head about life in Godliness.  But the reality is that I’m just as much a wretch in need of a savior as I was that night that I screamed out to the Lord in 1998.

Continue reading The Healing Journey

Life Just Got Better

Willow Chicago LogoI’m in a bit of a bitter-sweet moment of realization this afternoon.  Today I officially became a member of Willow Creek Community Church – Chicago.  I had a lot of apprehension around the membership process and knowing if I would be ‘accepted’.  It wasn’t until today that I realized that so many of my fears and worries were tied to the trauma of the way things ended with my previous church.  I’m happy to say that a great deal of growth and healing have taken place so far, but I still feel silly (at times) realizing that almost 3 years later this still affects me so much.

I love that I’m in a grace-filled community where as our interim campus pastor Todd put it – “we can bring it all – full funk – and let God transform our lives”.  The words of the song we sang in worship this morning are ringing truth in my ears:

“Take me to that place, Lord
To that secret place where
I can be with you, you can make me like you
Wrap me in your arms, wrap me in your arms, wrap me in your arms”

If we are the body of Christ then indeed, I’m being embraced by God’s arms and where I’m safe and being made more and more like Jesus each day.

It is my hope that everyone comes to a place of total embrace by God’s arms.  That we all experience the utter forgiveness and love of God through what Christ has done.  That every congregation lives out the realization that Bill Hybels says so often:  the local church is the hope of the world.

I’m just thankful and can’t find all the words to say it right now.  I just wanted to mark this day and thank God for it.

Thoughts of my Father…

I’m missing my Dad right now.

I just finished leaving a comment for a friend who’s father passed about 3 months ago.  In sharing with him parts of my story, I’m realizing that it was this time of year in 2003 when my own father passed.

I just tried to call my Aunt (my Dad’s sister) who I haven’t been in touch with much.  I feel like they want me to call them and specifically my grandmother more – and I agree that I should.  But it’s creating a tension that I don’t know how to deal with.  When my father passed unexpectedly, there were messy situations in our home that rather than expose, my mom and I chose to deal with them privately and quietly.  Unfortunately this caused my fathers family to feel excluded – something I didn’t find out about until a year after he passed.  Even then, I wasn’t in a place that would allow me to really deal with the complexities of my life and relationships.

I wish I had an easy answer right now.  I’ve noticed about myself that I want to end everything on a positive note.  To an extent nothing is wrong with that – I just have to be able to deal with things that won’t have a good outlook – right away.

Heavenly Father,
I need your help.  I have so many emotions and situations whirling around me right now.  I know these feelings are only temporary.  Help me to see and feel you now – to focus and be centered on you.  Grant me the peace that surpasses my understanding of these situations.  God I’ll trust in you.
Thank you for my earthly Father – who those limited and human set a beautiful example of  your unconditional love.  Thank you for the love that you put in his heart for me.  For how he did his best to be present and loving in my life.  Thank you Lord… for Darryl Kingsly Calhoun.

dad and me

Sharing My Story

Darren\'s first time singing with Willow ChicagoSunday was the close of the 3-week series on “Desire: the double edged swords of money, power, and sex”  at Willow Creek.  Before every service we have a time of prayer in the back.  I wasn’t there Saturday night, so Sunday morning was my first time hearing the message – and I was nothing but tears through every song.  So before the last service, I asked to share a my testimony with the group during prayer time.  I didn’t get out all the details that I wanted to, but I’m inspired to share some of it here.

For me, this service basically marks a year of me singing with Willow Chicago.  My first time singing was with the Chicago choir at Barrington for the Wednesday night New Community service in the summer of 2007.  That day we sang “I Just Can’t Give Up Now” and it was the beginning of me becoming part of the Willow Family.

In our prayer time today, I shared that when I came to Willow I wasn’t looking for a church home.  I was hurt and broken from the rejection / abandonment I received at my previous church due to my struggles with sexual sin.  I’d gone to them for help when things became out of control… and though I did all that they asked I do to “get free” – I wasn’t getting healed fast enough, or the way they expected.  It eventually caused them to exclude me from ministry.  This happened rather abruptly and little discussion and no follow-up.  The way things happened left me feeling hurt and bitter and out of fellowship for a year before I started seeking another place to be connected to the Body of believers.  I didn’t want to not be in church, I was just too hurt to go back to what was then my church.  This is when I decided to check out the church I’d seen billboards for on the L Train Platforms: Willow Creek Chicago.

From day one it seems I was connecting with a new and wonderful church, but the question still remained: would I be rejected again if they knew my battle? (and my failures?) I didn’t want to be a part of another church where it would have been better to hide and stay in the dark than to expose the truth and live in the Light.  So I told Pastor Steve and the ministry leaders about my issues.

I was received with care and with love.  Steve saw that I needed to be involved in Worship because of how life-giving it was for me.  The ministry team rallied around me in support and love – even thanking me for my transparency and openness!  To this day their love amazes me and encourages my faith in the difficult process of healing and change.

I still struggle (daily), but I’m no longer struggling with the need to prove my spirituality or spiritual growth to anyone.  I don’t feel the pressure to keep up some facade just because I’m ‘a minister’.  I feel like I can truly connect with the people I worship with and love and be loved.  I feel the amazing effects of God’s grace.  I’m learning how to form healthy relationships that in a Godly way fill the voids in my heart.  I’m getting the wise council that I yearned for, but could not find.  I’m even experiencing small victories and seeing patterns and habits change.

I’m in a difficult season right now as well.  I’m JUST learning about my needs for validation and approval.  Learning about unsafe places where I’ve sought safety and security in the past, and beginning to take steps to build more healthy and safe relationships and repair old ones.  I’m seeing my thought patterns that for ages have kept me bound by fear and limited my potential socially, financially, emotionally, and relationally.  It’s so difficult for me sometimes when I look at ALL that needs to be fixed right now. But I try to stay focused on one thing at a time, keep encouraged, and bit-by-bit open up more to those God has placed around me so I don’t have to face this thing called life alone.

Maybe someone reading this is down or needs encouragement.  To you I say: keep smiling, not because it just looks good but because eventually it’ll all be good and you have a great and eternal hope in God.  (Ok… that was really for me but I just thought I’d share! 😉 )