When most of us think of our health, we think of our resolutions to buy all organic produce, to work out at the gym, and to schedule our next physical. Oftentimes, we forget about our spiritual health. We forget that we need to take time to renew our minds and spirits as well as our bodies. Renewing our minds and spirits requires us to face some of the most difficult moments of our lives to find healing.
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, my spiritual journey actually began about four years ago.
It was when I discovered my wife of 12 years was having an affair. As a result, I found myself a divorced 40-something man with primary custody of two little girls (now ages 11 and 9). To say I was terrified would be an understatement.
I didn’t know where to start with raising two little girls. A million fears flooded into my head:
- How do I learn to braid hair?
- How do I learn how to use a curling or straightening iron without maiming them or myself?
- How am I going to support these children on my salary only?
- What happens if I lose my job? There’s no safety net without another person.
I knew I was in trouble when one of my girls said she wanted to grab her coral shirt from the closet. Who knew coral was a color? I was literally looking for a shirt with ocean coral on it—like the stuff you see at the bottom of the sea that fish swim through.
I was completely lost and overwhelmed. I felt alone. To put it bluntly, I was a hot mess.
While I always managed to keep it together enough for my children, I ended up in some dark places.
Around October 2016, I realized my ways weren’t working anymore. I was overspending and overeating. I was jumping from one failing relationship to another. Essentially, I was using these things to mask the pain of my divorce.
On a whim, I decided to check out Chase Oaks Church’s ReNew program on Thursday nights. My children spend a couple hours with their mother on Thursdays, so the timing was right.
I remember a couple of key comments from people that night. One person said, “Life just doesn’t make sense if God isn’t at the center of our lives.”
And then someone else spoke, “Some hurts just take supernatural healing.”
I truly believe God spoke to me that night. These were messages I needed to hear. I have been attending Chase Oaks and ReNew ever since that first meeting.
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ReNew is the Chase Oaks’s version of Pastor Rick Warren and Pastor John Baker’s world-renown program, known as Celebrate Recovery.
All of us have at least some kind of hurt, hang-up, or habit. Most of us have several—and chances are, that hurt, hang-up, or habit is something that you’ve been dealing with for years, if not decades.
ReNew is open to everyone. The meetings are at 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays. They start with everyone in the same room—men, women, and couples. Together, everyone watches a video or testimony.
After that, the room separates into small groups: men-only groups, women-only groups, and couples-only groups.
It’s in these private groups that you’re invited to share as much or as little as you want. The environment is safe and confidential, and the groups are facilitated by the wonderful leaders at Chase Oaks.
At first, I didn’t think this was for me. I wasn’t dealing with addictions. I was just an angry, sad, and lonely person struggling with divorce. Who wants to speak in front of strangers? But as time went on, I found myself growing in trust with the people in ReNew.
I also began to understand that recovery is about recovering from anything that keeps us away from God.
Today, not only do I continue to attend ReNew every Thursday, but I have also gone through two of their in-depth studies—an eight-week healing choices class and a 24-week full-fledged step study.
Not only has God used ReNew to heal me emotionally and spiritually, but I’ve also developed some great fellowship with others who are also on a path of transformation.
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Speaking of transformation, there’s a concept used throughout the Bible that provides a blueprint for my transformation. It’s a concept I first heard in ReNew.
The word is Shalom.
Shalom is a Hebrew word for peace. However, it’s a rich term that includes the idea that peace is made up of the following:
- Physical Health
- Emotional Well-being
- Spiritual Wholeness
- Material Prosperity
In other words, to have real peace in this world, one must be healthy in all those areas. I realize that much of my pain from my divorce (perhaps even pain I had before my divorce) stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t healthy in any of these areas.
It’s been a lifestyle change, but now, I dedicate every day to working on and finding balance in each of these areas. I have found Chase Oaks and ReNew to be a wonderful place to help me with my emotional and spiritual health.
Initially, after my divorce, I approached the past with resentment, the present with anger, and the future with fear. Since getting to know God and bringing Him into my life, I now approach the past with acceptance, the present with love, and the future with faith.
If you need to move past resentment, anger, and fear to find acceptance, love, and faith, check out ReNew. We all go through struggles where we need others to help us find healing and peace.