Val Nixon, Tulsa, OK
To write how The Journey changed my life, I suppose I would have to describe myself before I started. Much like the majority of people I have met, I was broken and angry. My heart was clouded by hurt, anger, bitterness, and grief. Four months earlier, my mom passed away. Being pregnant at the time didn’t help. I was so lost and hurt that I didn’t even return to work. I quit and disguised the decision as me wanting to be a stay-at-home mom, so I don’t miss anything with my kids. The real reason: I regretted not mending the relationship with my mom before she died, so I couldn’t do my work anymore.
I had no desire to do much of anything. I was depressed before giving birth to my son, and even worse after. His birth was so painful in my heart that I couldn’t be completely rejoiceful and immerse myself in bonding with my new baby. I felt like I was robbing him of having the happy new mom experience. The next week, I was invited to an event that would change the course of my life forever. The Sandbox was an event put on by a group of women Journey guides and there was a woman sharing her testimony. It was so powerful that at that moment, I quietly decided that I would join a group no matter where it was or what day it fell on. I needed this, almost like it was my last shot and I knew it. According to the other women, my face did not show this desperation. It was hard and stoned over. This was my usual defense against anyone getting close to me and trying to “fix me,” even though that is exactly what I wanted and needed.
The next month I joined my first Journey group in Shafter, CA with a group of ladies that were in my life group at church. It wasn’t until that first mini retreat that I came face to face with God and His grace as He had me recall the last conversation that I had with my mother. She explained that she was proud of me because of my strength and independence. She knew I was someone special and because of those traits, I would be the one to “get stuff done” without her having to worry about anything. It made her life easier, and it allowed for her to be there for my brothers and sisters in ways they needed. It was a conversation that gave me the healing I needed to move forward with a little less weight on my heart. It was the thing that broke the stone in my heart.
After each section of The Journey, a new part of my life was being restored. Next was forgiving my husband for any wrongdoing because I needed to do so, not because he deserved it. It was at the Beloved event in Frazier Park, CA that again God gave me the words in Proverbs 12:4. He turned it around back onto me and how I needed a heart of forgiveness to influence him. I learned to pray for my family and for their forgiveness toward me for all the things I have done or made them feel because of my anger and bitterness. After the prayer retreat, my sister noticed the change in my life. She gave her life to Christ and was baptized. Our relationship has never seen this kind of healing, forgiveness, and closeness.
So, for me to explain how my life has changed through The Journey is to see how my family has changed through the years. My husband has gone through The Journey and is going to co-guide another group. My sister-in-law, niece, and nephew have also sought out a personal, abiding, intimate relationship with the Lord and became members at their local church. The kids have even started a new club at their high school for Christian athletes. By one person looking for a change in their lives, many more can be impacted. And it is not because I told them so or forced them to do it…well, okay I kind of forced my husband to go to Souly Business, but I digress! Lol. It is because of my witness and how I choose to live my life every day. Despite the setbacks, pressures, and ways this world tries to break me apart again, I know how to put on my armor and stay close to my Lord, Jesus Christ.
In His Name, Valeri Nixon- Tulsa, OK