Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 3:6 that we may plant a seed, and another may water it, and then, God makes it grow.  Similarly, God uses The Journey in conjunction with churches and other ministries to help a person grow.  One powerful ministry which God has used alongside The Journey is Celebrate Recovery.  This nationwide ministry has brought the 12-Step Program into churches and has been effective in helping people overcome their “hurts, habits and hang-ups.”  God inspired one of the original founders of Influencers to become involved in Celebrate Recovery and to start new chapters in N.W. Arkansas.  He even helped bring CR to Egypt.  This ministry has been a true blessing to so many who feel ashamed, lost, stuck.  Many go to CR to support a loved one, only to find out God had something for them, as well.

Shane was one of those guys.  His wife had suffered from drug abuse and health issues, and Shane desperately wanted to get her help.  He told the Step Study Leader that he would commit to go through the 12 Step Class out of support for his wife, but he said he didn’t really need because he had already repented of his sin 9 years earlier and had a good relationship with the Lord.  As it turns out, Shane did need it.  When he got to Principle 4 where he was instructed to openly examine himself and confess his faults to himself, to God and to someone else, he realized he had some unresolved issues in his own life.

He had his own struggles in his past.  His Mom and Dad divorced when he was only five, and he spent his weekends living with is drug-dealing Mom.  He witnessed many horrible scenes which no child should have to see.  He was also molested by three different neighbors when he was between the ages of five and seven.  He had very little guidance in his life, except for the times his Dad would take him to church.  Looking for acceptance somewhere, Shane began smoking cigarettes and marijuana and drinking beer at the young age of nine to fit in with the party crowd.  This lead to Meth and Crack Cocaine later.  This lifestyle persisted all the way through high school.  Finally, as Shane watched his Mom suffer from the fallout of her drug life, he decided he wanted to be drug-free.

He met a girl who made him feel very special.  She was a drug user, but Shane thought he could change her.  When Shane was 19, his girlfriend told him she was pregnant.  He was so scared, as he felt the weight of this responsibility.  He didn’t really know God, but he knew how much he needed Him.  Shane and Sonia had a baby boy and few years later, they got married.  They started going to church and getting involved.  However, Shane always felt like he needed to pray the prayer of salvation every time it was offered.  He still had one foot in the world and one foot in God’s Kingdom.

The young couple had two more sons, and then, when Shane was 30, his life hit a breaking point.  Sonia told him she didn’t love him anymore.  All of the sudden, the pain of his own past from his parents’ divorce hit him in the face.  He cried out to God.  At first, he blamed God, then Sonia, until finally, he confessed his own fault to God.  He knew God had the right path for he and his wife, but not only were they veering from the path, but they were going in opposite directions.  Shane vowed to get back on the path and fight for his marriage.  He wanted to live Romans 12:1-2, offering his life as a living sacrifice.  He felt Acts 3:19, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”  God began to transform Shane and give him the fruits of the Spirit.  He took away his depression, selfish pride, cursing, hatred, anger, and his addiction to pornography. Everyone around Shane, including Sonia, began to see a difference in him, and his marriage was saved.

God used Celebrate Recovery to help Shane see his journey and see God’s fingerprints on it.  Until then, he had been in isolation, trying to live this faith life out by himself.  Once he shared his past with someone he trusted, God brought the darkness into the light and gave him freedom.  He also learned that God was the only One Who could help him with living the struggles of daily life.  He learned how much he needed to Trust God with his life and with his family members’ lives.  He went on to help lead a 12 Step Study and got to be used by God to bring healing to others.

Then, he went on The Journey.  God built on this theme of trust as he challenged Shane to a life of Personal Abandonment and Absolute Trust.  He took Shane deeper into the Word than he had ever been.  He began to put on the armor of God as The Word came alive and strengthened him.  Again, he saw the value of sharing his journey with others who can help build that shield of Faith around his life.  Sonia continued to struggle, but Shane fought for his family.  Recently, he gathered some Journey brothers around Sonia for prayers of healing and deliverance.  It was an emotional roller coaster, as Shane so desired for Sonia to find the freedom he had found.  When things looked almost hopeless, they began to get better.

Sonia received some in-patient treatment for her addictions, while Shane took care of the kids.  While she was in treatment, Shane joined a Couple’s Journey Group.  Shane attended the first few meetings by himself, while Sonia began reading the materials on her own.  Shane and Sonia are now on The Journey together.  God is doing a work in both of them individually and together.  They just went away for their first ½ Day Prayer Retreat with The Journey and had a blessed time.  Sonia is also going to go through the 12-Step Study again, this time out of her own desire, not her husband’s.  God’s grace is pouring over this couple and bringing peace to their family.  Please keep Shane and Sonia in your prayers.

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