Charles was a successful attorney with a beautiful family, living the seemingly perfect life in Suburbia USA.  He attended a mid-size church with lots of other families who looked just like his.  He attended a retreat with lots of other guys from his social circle.  About a week or so after the retreat, he got an email from one of the other men who he had just met there.  It was an invitation to something called, The Journey.  The man talked about this group for men who were longing to go deeper with Christ.  Out of all the guys invited from that retreat, Charles was the only one who responded.  He knew he needed this, whatever it was.

He sat in a room full of mostly strangers, and he rarely said a word.  He just absorbed the meetings and listened as men shared some of their struggles in life.  He began to read the Bible like never before, and he found he had an enormous appetite for God’s Word.  It was several sessions into The Journey before the men in the group learned that Charles had a secret.  His wife was an alcoholic.  For years, he had been carrying this burden alone, and he finally knew he had to let others help him.

 

His wife was a restless housewife who was searching for meaning in her life.  Her kids were growing up, and she found she had too much free time on her hands.  It started with a 5:00 glass of wine to reward herself, and before long, it became an insatiable desire for alcohol which was sending her and her family into a downward spiral.  Through brokenness and tears, Charles shared this struggle with the men of his group.  Immediately, men gathered around him and prayed for him and for his wife.  A few weeks later, his wife agreed to let some Journey brothers come to their house to pray over her.

 

She got better for awhile, but before long, she returned to drinking.  They tried all sorts of programs which all offered short-term relief, but ultimately, the cycle of drinking would return.  Charles was learning to trust in the Lord in his Journey Group.  And in his home situation, he was tested to trust, for he could not control the outcome of this challenge.  He was determined to love his wife like Christ loved the church, and he showed her grace that could only come from the Holy Spirit.

 

Charles finished his first Journey Group, and one of his Guides asked him if he would consider Co-Guiding with a new group that was forming.  At first, Charles disqualified himself.  With his marriage in unrest and with his limited experience in The Word, he wasn’t sure he could do it.  However, the two Co-Guides were experienced Guides, and so, he was assured he wouldn’t have to do much of the leading.  So, he agreed.

 

Well, he grabbed hold of the reigns of this new group, and he ended up being the main Guide.  He studied the material and prepared diligently for each session.  And for him it was not merely academic.  He had lived in dependency on the Lord for the past year, and he knew the Lord.  He led valiantly, even though his wife’s addiction was getting worse and worse.

 

Charles kept loving his wife and fighting for his marriage.  He even led a Couple’s Journey Group at his church.  He SO wanted his wife to grasp how much God loved her, so she could break free from the chains of condemnation and guilt.  He wanted her to taste the food at God’s banquet table, and see that the Lord was good.  He knew God had the power to help her overcome her battle with alcohol.  He knew he couldn’t do it for her, so he kept praying and standing by her.

 

Tragically, Charles’ marriage ended in divorce.  Despite the pain and heartache from all of this, he continues to trust in the Lord and lead his family and other men to Him.  He leads Journey Groups, and he is a source of strength and stability for many men.  He is a Godly father, continuing to raise his kids by himself.  He continues to pray for his wife that, one day, she would be healed from alcoholism and find peace in her life.  Charles is a testimony to the power of God’s love and grace and to the fact that no matter how dark life gets, there are always treasures to be found.

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