This week’s guest post is by Karen Jones, Christ Church parishioner who serves on the Living Waters leadership team.
Dear Christ Church,
“It is ok to be broken.” I recall hearing those words during a sermon on one of my first visits to Christ Church in the fall of 2012. They fell on my heart like a gentle invitation to be curious about their deeper meaning. This was not a message I had ever heard in my almost four decades in the church. At the time I was stuck in some sinful patterns, struggling with residual shame around my sexual sins in young adulthood and unforgiveness for the neglect I experienced in childhood that had left me vulnerable to abuse. I felt disconnected from God and imagined him looming over me in a posture of condemnation, disappointed in all the mistakes I had made.
That spring I had the opportunity to participate in Living Waters. I had heard positive things from previous participants and was drawn to the weekly structure and promise of a confidential environment in which to be vulnerable with my struggles. During the session I was able to surrender to God’s plan for my healing and slowly begin to recognize His goodness in providing a safe place for me to meet Him in the midst of my pain. Ultimately I discovered that God called me away from sin not because He was ashamed of me, but because He wanted more for me! Since participating in Living Waters I feel more equipped and empowered to take my sins and wounds directly to Jesus with confidence that He will provide merciful forgiveness and grace, not condemnation.
In his book, The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen speaks of the ongoing invitation to every Christian to enter into the fear and pain of their neighbors and to find, in the fellowship of suffering, the way to freedom. Only when it is ok to be broken can we experience the fellowship of suffering and discover the way to freedom. Nouwen writes, “When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become ‘wounded healers.’” I am thankful for Christ Church, a place where it is ok to be broken, and for the privilege of serving with her community of Wounded Healers.