I’m so excited to see the work of some great WDA staff get a facelift! Sometimes when you begin a project you don’t know how things will ultimately end up. That is the case with the WDA Store redesign.
It all started when I wondered about creating a new cover for the downloadable pdf materials we offer for our discipleship ministry. What was a personal project to add a little color to our pages, ended up as a project to create a new way for us to share our materials with the world!
WDA has been writing great materials since it was started in 1974. My first year on WDA campus staff I used our printed materials for small groups in my first bible study with Auburn freshman. Who is God, is part of Phase 1, Establishing Faith. It was part of what we once called Step One. I still have those bible studies on my shelf. As I began to create new covers and then the web store I realized that there are many people who will be able to teach great content to their groups and have a copy that they can read on their iPad or print and publish in a notebook.
As we began to put products on the store, I had the help of one of our staff, Nila Duffitt, who helps run our store. She has been an invaluable source of information as we began to gather all the descriptions for each product page. She and our materials staff have worked through the years to make all our materials connect not only to where each person or group might be in their spiritual growth, they are presented in a variety of formats that can be adapted to a particular context.
Many of our materials are in the form of a Teaching Outline. This is great for places where a teacher will be giving a lecture based presentation. We also provide materials as Guided Discussions, which work well when you want to bring a group into a dialogue about truth and have an interactive teaching time. WDA also provides Pocket Principles® which are based on the lessons that have been taught. Many people in the earlier phases choose to have participants take a Pocket Principle™ home with them or in later phases Pocket Principles are best read before coming to a group training.
The training resources also include DVD’s from our 28/20 Conferences which are great for training leaders in a ministry how to implement a discipleship ministry using the progressive model of discipleship patterned after Jesus ministry.
In addition to our downloadable materials WDA also offers printed products for churches that are doing Restoring Your Heart ministry. These include, Processing Pain, Understanding Emotions and Conquering Shame. These workbooks when used in a Restoring Your Heart experience bring about healing from emotional pain. We have a specific program that trains and certifies people to lead others through the emotional healing process. We believe emotional and relational healing is an integral part of the discipleship process and was modeled by Jesus as he taught his disciples. The result of restoration is healthier people, healthier families, healthier churches and healthier communities. These workbooks provide participants and leaders the content needed for a group experience.
WDA’s Store has an abundance of materials for your church and ministry. Many of these materials are suitable for any context. Future materials are being developed that will help churches continue to train and equip mature leaders for the church. We currently have materials for Phases 1-3 online, which are suitable for evangelism (Phase 1 – Establishing Faith), helping a new believer begin to grow (Phase 2 Laying Foundations) and for a younger believer to begin to get training in ministry (Phase 3 Equipping for Ministry)
WDA has worked hard to create materials in a variety of formats that we believe will be useful for your ministry. Each one has been field tested by our experienced WDA staff. We are very excited to provide a you a way to learn about new products, read some reviews and have a great experience with a the new store! Please take some time to visit and use the coupon!
If you visit before September 14 you will get 15% off your purchase of downloadable materials!
When I was a kid I loved to play hide and seek. We would hide in the house sometimes and I had my favorite spot. I can still years later picture the hiding place in my mind. It was a pretty good spot! I would dig underneath the pile of work clothes that my dad had put in the corner of his closet, way back underneath the hanging clothes in the corner. As a little kid I could make myself as small as possible, curled up in a little ball and stay quiet as possible.
I remember telling my sisters years later about the hiding place. They remembered looking for me. “I looked there!” I remember them moving the hanging clothes and moving a few items around, expecting to be found at any moment! I learned to hide well!
I also learned to hide other things well! As I have been working through WDA’s Restoring Your Heart Workbook called “Understanding Emotions” I realized that I hid my emotions from myself. Somewhere, I began to stuff my emotions down into the corner of my own closet. Curled up in little balls that I couldn’t find. The thing about hidden emotions are they don’t like to stay hidden or at least some of them don’t like to stay hidden.
Another memory of growing up was the face that my mom seemed to have a sixth sense regarding my emotional state. In fact many times I didn’t have to say a word for her to “read my face.” So the funny thing about this game of hide and seek I have been playing is that I’m realizing that these emotions I have been hiding from myself are not hidden from others. Just because I can’t feel them doesn’t mean they are safely hidden away!
This discovery happens often in my home. I lived as a single guy for 37 years until God put my wife and two daughters in my life. All of a sudden, I had a house full of people watching me. I discovered that I had a “tone of voice.” Emotions were leaking all over my family in “how” I was saying things! I remember how frustrating this was and still struggle with this! I always considered myself as a pretty self aware person. But as I had been given a wife who was able to see me all the time and mirror back to me they way I react, what I say, how I say things, and explain how that makes her feel, God began to help me unpack all these emotions. I began to understand some of them.
This has not been fun! Let me tell you! However, Jesus is showing up! I still am in a huge renovation project inside my head. The process of Understanding my Emotions is a life long venture. The cool thing is that I have someone to walk with who is able to bear my hidden junk. I’m not talking about my wife here, not even a Christian counselor or the people in my Restoring Your Heart Group. I have someone who actually knows me! He is quite fond of me!
The Message by Eugene Peterson paraphrases Hebrews 4:15-16 this way… “Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.”
Jesus is completely aware of our reality! He has experienced it all. He knows my negative emotions and my positive ones. He who was completely human and perfectly God was able to know exactly what it means to feel emotions. Jesus wept and got angry over death of his friend, Jesus got furious at the temple as worship was exchanged for making money. Jesus loved and felt compassion for those who the world didn’t even acknowledge.
So here I am playing my own game of hide and seek. Jesus is helping me find my emotions! Some of them are not hidden very well. He is helping me know where to look and even helping me understand them. Consider taking time to look at your heart. Are you playing hide and seek with your emotions? How are you feeling today? Are you dead and dry? Are you furious? Are you depressed? Are you happy?
Consider one thing today. Jesus wants you to know and embrace your emotions. He created you with them for a reason. The challenge you and I face today is to learn to Understand them and GROW to have a healthy and emotionally mature life. Part of growing to maturity in your relationship with God also means you should be willing to be emotionally healthy too! Jesus wants to walk with you into your heart and help you find your emotions. Take some time to begin to play hide and seek with Jesus. (He’s pretty good at the seeking part.)
Search me O God and know my Heart….
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Psalm 139:23-24 English Standard Version (ESV)
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Jao Pessoa and the other communities where Jack, Margo, and Everette taught in August was a palpable spiritual darkness in the area of sexual immorality. Everette told me the prominence of abuse, promiscuity, and prostitution in the community had created deep emotional wounds and a spiritual stronghold for people in the church that Margo and Jack reported was almost tangible.
In previous years, the Restorative Team’s seminar and the resulting “Restoring Your Heart” groups have brought hidden immorality and emotional problem to light in some church members. This has created problems for the church. Jack says, “They left [the church] and went into lifestyles that were immoral.” But after a period of time, he reports they came back to their senses and rejoined the church.
So this time when the team arrived Jack told me, “A lot of the people who had been caught in the problems after we left were back [in the church] and were now ready to take a hard look at their lives, because there were issues in their lives that caused the problems to start with and when we got there it all made sense to them.” Those individuals are now back in Restoring Your Heart groups and taking a serious look at the wounds and sin issues that had created road blocks in their discipleship journeys.
The future is bright for the Restorative Team’s work in Brazil. If all goes well with the re-launch of Restoring Your Heart, Jack is hopeful that many of group members will go on to train new leaders and plant new groups. New opportunities for teaching continue to emerge not only in Jao Pessoa but also in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Meanwhile, initial reports on new Restoring Your Heart groups are extremely encouraging.
*The Restorative Ministry is dedicated to teaching churches (and other ministries) how to help people heal emotionally and relationally. We believe that a major roadblock to a person’s spiritual growth is unresolved emotional issues from their past. Our Restoring Your Heart Ministry trains people in churches and in other ministries to help people through a healing process that will enable them to become healthier in all their relationships, including their relationship with God.
last night i went to the first meeting of a group i swore i would never set foot in. the first of 17 meetings.
jesus is quite the practical joker. if i ever swear i won’t do something, it’s pretty much guaranteed that in the next few years, he will take a bulldozer straight through that promise, with me chained to the front scooper gizmo, screaming all the way, and then it will turn out to have been a heaping spoonful of blessing-pants.
2003: “i will NEVER set foot in that campus ministry. they are a cult.” a few weeks later, i step in because they have free chili and i am hungry and lazy. then, i am going every week. a few weeks later i meet my husband inside that building. a few more months and i meet jesus there and the following year i am working full time and living in the house. as alumni, we now give a large amount of money every month to keep this “cult” running, pray daily that our kids will find a community like it when they get older, and even speak at their retreats when asked.
good one, emmanuel.
so i should have known that when i said, “ew, i will NEVER take a restoring your heart group. i’m a hippie jesus chick and don’t like binders and programs and i would NEVER spill my guts to a bunch of lady-strangers,” that i was essentially saying, “give me my name tag and my spiral-bound study guide, i’m IN!”
so a few years back, when wda introduced a new program, called “restoring your heart,” that was developed with the aim of discovering where you have been wounded, how those wounds have affected, and still affect you; and then grieving those wounds, and beginning to heal from them. i thought, that sounds great, i’m sure lots of people who had crappy childhoods will really benefit from that. but again, not for me. i don’t have any huge, glaring baggage that i felt like i was still carrying around. i have never been abused, haven’t dealt with addiction, never dealt with death or abandonment…none of the big headliner issues. i figured, nothing that bad ever really happened to me, so any issues i have are of my own doing.
Ironically, I kept hearing people I respected say, “i never realized ___ about myself until i did the restoring your heart group but….” and we’d hear other couples rave about the results. like: every, single one goes on and on about how much it has changed their lives. how much it sucks at first, but then what freedom and wisdom comes from it.
i started to think more about it. but i always came back to, “no, i really don’t have any wounds that i haven’t already healed from.”
all this has been playing out over the past 4 years. we have dealt with marriage issues, becoming parents, having conflict with friends and family and trying to think about how we want to raise our kids. lots of these issues seem to repeat themselves: hubs and i having the same types of fights again and again, me losing my cool at my son over the same stupid triggers, getting into misunderstanding with friends because i feel devalued. these sorts of patterns made me start wondering.
one night last month we called some wda-ers over for an SOS emergency marriage counseling session. after a few hours of talking through things and them asking questions, it finally hit me that i do a lot of the things that cause me and my husband and my kids pain (and will continue to) because i am wounded. not in any lifetime original movie kind of way, but just in a way that screams, “oh hey, this is a fallen world and sin and lies are everywhere and they are all over you. Didn’t you know?”
i came to the conclusion that while growing up i interpreted and received what i thought was truth the only way i knew how. in the process i was told, perceived, believed and reacted to many lies. lies about who i am. lies about who jesus is. lies about how god loves me. lies about shame and worth and safety.
it is really important to note here that there isn’t a human bad guy in this story. it’s not like my parents or a bully or a teacher ever outright lied to me on purpose to hurt me. and even though, sadly, that can sometimes be the case that people lie to and hurt us intentionally, we have to remember that they are victims of a broken world too. the only person whose entire identity is that of a liar is satan. he is where all of this crap comes from and it gives him amazing amounts of joy when he can convince us to swallow them.
every single one of us is a limping, burned, disfigured product of these lies. in the process we bang around hurting each other, even if we want only the best for and to love one another.
so in the process of growing up, and with the mind of a child, i interpreted false messages that wounded me. that taught me unhealthy patterns and unwise reactions. as kids we are constantly being passively programmed: taking what we see and hear and experience and feel and instantly interpreting it, with no conscious thought–with our tiny minds–into the worldview from which we will operate for the rest of our lives.
so, yes, a 3 year old programmed the brain from which 80% of my thoughts, assumptions and decision originate…awesome! that really explains so much.
satan is a crafty butwipe and he hurts us the most subtly as children, when we are too immature and unlearned to put words to the hurtful things and feelings that we come across. these unnamed things get cemented into our heads as “just the way things are” or “normal,” or, “truth,” and by the time we are old enough to “know better” (no, my dad didn’t love me less because he worked all the time, or no, my mom didn’t think i was stupid because she encouraged me to do better in school, or no i am not worthless because some bully kid singled me out), it doesn’t matter because the fallout from those unspoken lies has already tangled itself around so much of our operating system that it has become our truth, even if we “know better” in our conscious minds.
i would say the easiest people to hate in this life are those that target and harm children. well, the devil is the king of child predators and he started working on us from infancy. he has planted sneaky and evil lies in the hearts and minds of the smallest souls that never even knew they were in a war or had an enemy. it is disgusting and evil to the core. satan’s lies seek to harm us in the only lasting way that we can be hurt: by tearing us away from the truth of how much jesus loves us. it’s his only weapon and he wields it with impunity and skill.
it’s hard to imagine any damage being worse than what we read about in the papers or see on the news about the horrible and rare things that can happen to children, but i am realizing that every single one of us has been the victim of an even worse abuse: trying to have our hearts and minds stolen away from and twisted against our most perfect heavenly father.
and the sneakiest part is that these acts committed against us leave no outward signs, and the victims and eyewitnesses to them don’t even know they have even occurred. let me say it very clearly: satan is a disgusting, malicious piece of garbage and is the only one who hurts us with full knowledge of what he is doing to us and why he is doing it. he isn’t acting out of his own woundedness; he is acting purely out of his identity as a predator who wants to destroy us.
i was always afraid to talk about my “stuff” because mine “isn’t that bad.” i was afraid of looking like a pampered little complainer next to others who have suffered in more external or obvious ways. but you know what? i am just realizing that that’s a lie too. everybody has their own stuff and by saying someone else’s is better or worse than mine, i am attempting to judge what’s good and what’s evil based on some scale that my brain came up with. i seem to remember that doing that exact same thing didn’t work out so well for all of us when adam and eve first tried it out in the garden. and you know who was right there telling them to do it? plot twist! it was the devil there too.
i now hate the little saying, “if we all put our troubles in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d want to grab ours right back out again.” we are ALL living in a broken world and have been poisoned by it. every single one of us is lost. no one wins this contest of “who’s got it roughest/easiest?” because they have the “least” or “smallest” mess. it’s not an objective scale. we are all walking around with the same score: me-0, satan-1.
just like you can’t compare your physical pain to someone else’s because you CANT FEEL THEIRS, we can’t do that with emotional pain either. what wounded me is what wounded me and that’s all i have any control over or firsthand knowledge of. end of story.
so i am done keeping my junk in the darkness. that’s what satan wants anyway. for me to feel like i am a freak or that i am alone in feeling this way, or that i am lucky and didn’t really get hurt. that’s not truth and that’s not jesus. there is no shame in christ. he would never turn me away and say, “shut up, that memory of being humiliated in 8th grade was nothing; try having nails through your hands.” he is ever-comforting, always gentle, and wants to be with me FOREVER. there is nothing in my heart that he would ever dismiss or write off.
so i will be going through this class for 17 weeks with 6 other women, all strangers, led by another woman who has been trained by WDA people who wrote the program. i have committed to a serious covenant of confidentiality about the things i hear during our group about the other women’s stories, but i do want to share my own personal walk through this process in a public way a little bit in case any one else has ever thought their stuff was too big, too small, too ugly, too messed up or too anything to not address.
my goals: to stop some of the cycles of unhealthy behavior and recurring wounds that i exhibit, receive and inflict by discovering the lies and hurt that i developed these behaviors in response to. that sounded fancy. here’s what i really mean: to figure my junk out before i pass it on to anyone else or make it worse for myself. to walk more like christ.
the thing that finally won me over was hearing people I love get emotional saying how much they would give to have gone back and done this before they had kids. they would pay thousands of dollars to have known what their own wounds were so they could catch themselves in the moment of acting out of those wounds and hurting their kids as they were raising them. their grown children are already benefiting greatly from having more healthy and self aware parents, but stopping the cycle for the next generation BEFORE many of the wounds and lies are cemented in childhood is an invaluable opportunity that i couldn’t spit in the face of.
dear jesus, i already know what it feels like to have wounded my kids due to my own issues. i refuse to do that anymore out of my ignorance. will i still wound them? Inevitably, and tragically, yes. but i will have this stuff in the light, before my eyes and turned over to jesus, so its insidious power is lost. i might not ever get the cure on this side of heaven, but just knowing my diagnosis and what the symptoms of my wounds are will go a huge way toward breaking the cycle of their power to cause even more hurt.
i am so ready to start the painstaking process of asking the questions that lead me back down the tangled paths of emotional unhealthiness and identify where the stupid, backward messages started. to call out the lie and deny the liar. to claim the freedom that we have all been promised by the one who is truth. to trade in my scorecard of k8-0, devil-1, and redeem the inheritance that i was ransomed to: jesus-a billionty googzillion for ever eternity, satan-ultimate loser.
bring on my spiral-bound binder of class materials! i don’t expect this to be easy. i don’t expect it to be fun or solve all of my problems. i do fully expect jesus to show up and hold my hand and start turning the pixels of my heart one by one over to the truth side. it’s what he does, when we let go and let him, and he’s kind of undefeated at it.
here we go.
This Blog was written by a Restorative Ministry Participant.
WDA’s Restorative Ministry and Restoring Your Heart Groups are a vital part of many people growing in grace. Learn more about WDA’s Restoring Your Heart.
When I began this week’s Restoring Your Heart (RYH) 3 Day Seminar with WDA’s Restorative Ministry Team, I was interested in learning about how I might use this information in two ministry contexts at my church, a homeless ministry and the Worship Leaders Community of Atlanta Arts Network.
WDA has been developing Restoring Your Heart and field testing this material in a variety of settings. This 3 Day seminar was a great blend of leader introductions, presented with handouts and powerpoint, and followed by an interactive Q & A session. During this time the RYH team leaders fielded questions with many practical suggestions for those of us who wondered how a Restoring Your Heart group might work in our context. Not only were there presentations about How Emotional Problems Develop, the Uniqueness of Restoring Your Heart Groups, and Principles of Group Dynamics, there was an opportunity to experience a Restoring Your Heart Group.
As we watched the Restorative Team and other RYH Group leaders demonstrate how to lead a group we saw how to handle situations that may occur as people begin to identify and work through their emotional hurts. Each demonstration showed how a RYH group can be a place for people to be open and honest to one another and experience significant break throughs in healing. Even in our short experience, our small group of men were able to see how important it can be for men to share and learn how to express their emotions. We saw how a RYH group can create a safe place to talk about emotions and address pain from our past.
Many people become stuck in the course of their spiritual journey and find themselves unable to grow spiritually. WDA’s Restorative Ministry has seen that much of this is due to unresolved pain and emotional hurt which impacts the way we see ourselves, relate to others and even view our heavenly father. WDA Restoring Your Heart Groups provide a way for people to identify these roadblocks and address them in a safe place.
Using a group setting, a leader and co-leader are able to provide the structure and safety for people to begin to reflect, process and share with one another. The RYH workbooks are tools for members to begin significant spiritual and emotional healing by combining self study, reflection and group experiences. Many people have learned to deal with pain in sinful ways, such as shutting down emotions or addictive and destructive behavior.
WDA’s Restoring Your Heart Materials, combined with the training provided by our Restorative Ministry Team Leaders, give churches and ministries the tools they need to help people begin the process of restoration, healing and continued growth in their relationship with God.