In episode 62, we begin a new series focused on "healing." We are first joined by Pastor Will Roberts, who shares his own experience of exploring the concept of healing as a Presbyterian pastor with charismatic connections. He has encountered both miraculous healings and moments when healing seemed elusive, and through it all he believes one of the most important elements of his journey is simple-yet-hard: Willingness.
Will was willing to engage healing... will you be?
In episode 63, we explore when healing doesn't happen. Darci has experienced miraculous healing and the lack thereof, and has learned that she grew closer to God in both. In fact, one thing she shared after we recorded was this: "I still have hard days, and there are still things I wish I could do... but I know that I have been closest to God when I'm in the midst of suffering... as much as there are things I want to do, I don't want to lose that."
Can we still see God in "unanswered prayers"?
In episode 64, Michaela shares her lifelong struggle with legal blindness. In fact, she was born completely blind, leaving doctors at a loss for why or what to do. Then, at 7 months old, she was miraculously healed, even though she continues to journey with legal blindness. Having been too young to remember this event, and having only ever known blindness, her experience is different than someone who had an unexpected issue that was totally healed; and her story is immensely valuable to us more fully understanding what God is revealing about "healing."
How can we learn to trust God when are experience is limited?
In episode 65, Andrena helps us press into an area of healing we want to avoid: unforgiveness. While we can feel like we want God to heal us from the wounds inflicted by others, He may see a more important healing that will cost us more than we are willing to give. What if that healing is actually abundantly more than we could ask or imagine, and the wounds we are fretting are but "light and momentary troubles"?
How might God be inviting you to forgive?
In episode 66, Rich Lewis helps us explore the valuable practice of Centering Prayer, or meeting God in silence. In 2014 Rich learned about this practice, and in the 7 years since he has not only found himself transformed into a different person, but discovered opportunities that he had not asked for or imagined. Rich shares that this simple, accessible act can be a powerful step in the journey towards healing, sometimes in ways we didn't know we needed.
How might you practice silence today?
In episode 67, we hear the story of Barby Ingle, who KNEW she was meant to be a cheerleader. Nearly 20 years of build came crashing down when a car accident left her with a rare disease and years filled with misdiagnoses, disability, and the loss of nearly everything. What she came to learn is what God really wanted her to lose was her false understanding of her identity. He then revealed how she could be a "cheerleader" for Him.
What may God be inviting you to learn about your identity?
In episode 68, Rachel McCants -- an author, motivational speaker and playwright -- shares how she was pursuing her dreams and the life she wanted, until she unexpectedly passed out and learned she had a brain tumor. As we explore her story of healing, we discover a startling truth: sometimes we reject the healing opportunity God is offering.
How can we grow in not placing conditions on our willingness to follow Christ?
In episode 69, Raychel Perman and I press into the idea of "secondary trauma", when you not only experience a trauma, but are traumatized by it being ignored, dismissed, or rejected. [Trigger warning] Raychel shares her journey of navigating domestic abuse at the hands of a husband wrestling with alcoholism, and striving to know how to seek God when things could get so painful. We hit some hard topics that still hit even as I edited.
How can we get better at understanding the trauma that occurs behind closed doors?
In episode 70, Peyton Garland, author of Not So by Myself, shares her journey of church trauma leading to challenges with mental health, a hard diagnosis in a lonely season, and the moment when she shook her fist at God and discovered His messy love. There are tremendous stigmas around mental health generally, but especially in the Church, that lead us too often to fail to reflect Christ's love.
How might God be inviting us to embrace messy love?
In episode 71, Marti Williams walks us through another resource God has given us to navigate "healing": supportive community. Through her ministry and in her day-to-day life, Marti has made space to walk alongside individuals in recovery, and along the way she discovered not just her own need for recovery, but the vital importance of humility. We explore not just what these spaces should look like, but why they can be so hard to find, even in the Church.
How might God use supportive community to bring healing in your life?
In episode 72, Phil Barth helps us tap into an area of healing that we don't take seriously: stress. Phil didn't take it seriously, which is why he one day in 2015 he found himself in the cardiac wing after having a heart attack. One thing the doctor said to him stood out: "You need to lower your stress." That's just what Phil did. For the last 6 years he has been sharing a daily list, "Great things that happened today". This simple act has had a profound impact on him not just physically, but spiritually as well; and it's an act that is accessible to you, today.
How might God be equipping you to take away the power stress has over you?
In episode 73, Dr. Rick Chromey helps us tap into an oft-neglected opportunity for healing: validation. His journey took him from "pause for applause" to "well done, my good and faithful servant." Whether you are longing to be recognized, or to not be misrepresented, our desire for validation -- external and internal -- can become crippling. We talk about why we desire validation and how to find healing, all while an unexpected guest makes a cameo.
How has your desire for validation impacted your ability to trust God?
In episode 74, your boy Troy talks about counseling. For most of his life, counseling wasn't an option; stigmas hit on multiple fronts, telling him "men need to be tough" and "real Christians don't need counseling." Then a rough work situation hit in 2017 -- and echoed in 2020 -- to make him think, "...maybe God wants me to check out counseling..." That step of obedience ended up blessing him more than he expected.
Has God brought you healing through a counseling experience?
In episode 75, Jerry Fu, a conflict resolution coach for Asian-American leaders, helps us process through the reality of tragedy -- that it will exist -- and how we might develop a healthy "theology of tragedy." Is there a way to tread the tension between tragedy and faith? To believe that God is good when our circumstances aren't?
Has God invited you to embrace tragedy?
In episode 76, Kimberly Bell opens up about her childhood trauma, from witnessing domestic abuse, to abandonment, to emotional abuse, to sexual abuse... and somehow, she still believes God loves her and was with her. Her conversation is a powerful exploration into how we can still trust God, and still heal, from something as destructive as childhood trauma.
Has God brought you healing after childhood trauma?
In episode 77, God shakes things up. In a lot of ways, this episode is like most of the others: someone shares about a wound or trauma, and what healing looks like in the midst. It's pretty easy for anyone to listen to a previous episode and appreciate and honor the guest's experience; this may not be the case for Ebony Walden. What Ebony shares hits on a topic that many want to avoid, or may grow angry about.
I knew this going into the recording; what I didn't know is that God would shift the theme from what He first brought to my mind, to the important act of "staying at the table". In fact, He ended up turning the entire episode into an opportunity for some to practice it.
Some of the greatest opportunities for healing are missed because we refuse to sit; it doesn't have to be that way.
Have you ever experienced healing from someone "staying at the table"?
In episode 78, Amy brings about a uniquely challenging topic. All season, we've explored different ways to find healing; what do you do when the thing meant to heal you actually causes harm? Amy had sought support from a Christian Counselor who was also an elder at her church, and over the course of a year experienced that hardest season of her life due to "therapist abuse". Perhaps you've never heard of this phrase, but there are many who have experienced abuse at the hands of individuals positioned to provide care. Amy's story is powerful, and may encourage you as well
How has God met you when you've been harmed by those meant to heal?
In episode 79, we press into the difficult space of rejection. Rejection hits us in a uniquely hard way, because it not only leads to loss and isolation, but can cause us to question our identity and value. Kelli Calabrese opens up about her experience of rejection through a difficult divorce; however, we learn that in the midst, she discovered that the God who created her will never reject her.
How have you experienced God's promise to "never leave you nor forsake you"?
In episode 80, we explore how healing can be found in the midst of something as permanent as death. For all her life, Genesis' father was her best friend, so when he suddenly became paralyzed, she was crushed. She and her mother prayed intensely for healing, and when he passed sooner than expected, she was at a loss for what to think about God. Yet in the midst, she didn't lose Him.
How have you experienced God's presence when you've lost a loved one?
In episode 81, I get to talk to longtime-friend-from-youth Zac Stein. The reason I'm grateful for this conversation is that this episode was actually Zac taking a step of obedience and faith in response to God's invitation for him to share his experiences. The problem is, Zac has been through some hard things -- many of which he may be healing from for the rest of his life -- and to share could invite harsh criticism. What Zac knows, though, is that God's invitation for healing extends beyond him getting "fixed", and even beyond himself period, to something greater.
How might God be inviting you to share your story?
In episode 82, we address shame and blame. After all, several episodes this season have encouraged vulnerability with others, but what happens when your openness isn't received well? What do you do if the other person blames you for your trauma? When Sharon Hughes was a teenager, she found herself in a frightening situation that later led to her best-selling book, "The Girl In The Garage: 3 Steps to Letting Go Of Your Past." After this traumatic event, she found her pain met with comments like, "Well, you shouldn't have been at that party." Now, Sharon can recognize how unhelpful -- and unloving -- blame can be; however, she recognizes that we and the Church as a whole still struggle with knowing what Truth and Love are, and how to find the balance of each in our interactions.
How have you experienced "the wisdom of God"?
In episode 83, Dr. Romesh Wijesooriya makes space in his exceptionally packed workload to process something that has come up in several episodes: the tension between faith and science. As both a doctor and committed believer, he has to navigate that tension more intensely that many of us, and it can be difficult. Together, we press into what it means to have faith, how God might creatively bring healing, and how we can be praying for those on the frontlines of providing physical care.
Do faith and science actually have to be at odds with each other?
In episode 84, Susan Gabriel makes it clear that she knows unfairness. Three decades ago, her husband was falsely accused of abuse, leading Child Protective Services to take her daughter and throw her life into tumult for years. "Unfair" is an understatement for the circumstances that got so painful they led her to consider giving up... but God hadn't given up on her. In the midst, she discovered that God didn't want "fairness" for her, but abundantly more than she could ask or imagine.
How has God invited you into "unfairness"?
In episode 85, Tee opens up about his experience of feeling unseen, and it's one many of us can resonate with, isn't it? The thing is, Tee's story doesn't end there: in an unexpected moment, he discovers that -- when he believed he was unseen, God saw him. God still sees him. And God sees you. When we feel unseen, burdens feel exponentially heavier; when we know we are seen, the burdens can remain and yet somehow feel lighter. My hope is that Tee's infectious joy encourages you to consider that God sees you, He loves you, and He has abundantly more in store.
Is there a moment where you felt seen by God?
In episode 86, we press into the idea of God bringing healing as we care for our bodies. We like to make it sound easy, but too often it's beyond our capacity. That's the story Cat shares: she had a healthy childhood, but then life hit her in such a way that she found herself deep into binge-eating without the capacity to escape. But God was with her. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 can leave us feeling guilty we let God down by not caring for our "temples", or hopeless at our futile attempts to do so; yet verse 19 reveals something beautiful about God's invitation to us.
How has God helped you care for your body?
In episode 87, we press into the idea of God bringing healing as we accept His love for us. Sure, we know God loves us -- "the Bible tells me so" -- but do we really trust it? And if we trust it, are we willing to receive it? El joins us from Wales to share how she came to discover God really loves her, and how she now loves letting others know about His love for them. She believes that when you accept that love, you can actually become "youier"... listen on to find out what that means!
How has God shown His love to you?
In episode 88, we explore the reality that -- while God could heal on His own -- He often invites us into the healing processes of others. What do we do when those spaces are difficult? What do we do when it seems to take too long? What do we do when we feel like we need healing ourselves? Miriam and her staff at Empty Frames have to engage this daily; God has invited them to serve those impacted by the foster care system and human trafficking, and it is daily a challenging space. Yet Miriam has discovered God's goodness, and is grateful to be invited into His process of healing others.
How has God invited you to walk with those He is healing?
In episode 89, we meet our youngest guest (outside my kids), Shannon. At age 15, she's already tapping into many of the truths we've been exploring in this series, but it wasn't an easy road there. At age 9, a change of schools left her feeling unwanted, unknown, and abandoned. But in her lowest points of hopelessness -- so deep she wrestled depression and suicidal thoughts -- God met her. In fact, He met her on the playground, the very place where she could have felt the most abandonment. Those moments walking and talking with Him changed everything, even if things around her never changed. In our lowest moments, God wants to walk and talk with us; are we willing meet Him where we are, as we are?
Where has God met you?
In episode 90, we take a deep dive into a topic we've already tapped into with Marti and Miriam, among others: addiction. Vernon Layne gets transparent about his decades-long addiction to drugs and alcohol, and what seemed like the futile efforts of others (and himself) to break free. His mom watched the entire time, and while there were plenty of tears, she was never afraid, because she knew God would bring her son home. As we explore this powerful story, we also press hard into what addiction is (and isn't), and how our assumptions (and pride) can cause even the best-intentioned person to cause immense harm. The solution: Philippians 2's call to "take on the mindset of Christ"... a hard, but vital invitation.
How can you "take on the mindset of Christ"?
In episode 91, we address a challenging question: how do you heal from things that are ongoing? If you can't leave a difficult situation or toxic relationship -- if wounds continue to be inflicted -- what do you do? This was not the conversation Janice Liggins and I planned to have, but it is the one God wanted us to press into, because the reality is that God does sometimes invite us to remain in hardship. In fact, He asked His son to remain in hard situations and toxic relationships, and as a result Jesus has revealed a way forward.
How has God remained with you in hard spaces?
In episode 92, Pastor David shares of his experiences with war, and how that trauma left him with PTSD, an inability to sleep, and a host of other issues that negatively impacted how he engaged with those he loved. Despite his efforts and the efforts of doctors, he could not find relief; the suffering became such that he considered ending his life. It was in the midst of all of this that he met a Good God, a God he thought he knew, but didn't. This good God brought immediate healing, but more than that, a renewed mind and purpose. This same Good God is with you in your hardest moments as well, even if we can't comprehend how He could be good in the midst of such hardship.
How has God shown Himself as good in your hard moments?
In episode 93, we hit a topic I've wanted to focus on for years: miscarriage. Having experienced the heartache of miscarriage -- and knowing the isolation that can so easily occur -- I knew there would be value in pressing into this hard topic. I reached out to guests, but barriers seemed in place at every turn. In fact, when Veronica Williams and I tried to record, we hit so many barriers we knew this must be an important topic. Veronica opens up about her own experience, and we explore how we could possibly see God in the midst of something so heartbreaking.
How has God met you in the midst of miscarriage?
In episode 94, we explore the reality that we may actually be resisting healing due to our grasp on control. Coming into the pandemic, Rick felt in control of his life and future, and it looked good; when the pandemic hit his job and income, he came to learn that when God is in control of his life and future, it can lead to abundantly more than he could ask or imagine.
How has God invited you to release control?
In episode 110, we return the idea of identity and press in deeper: what if the reason we are not experiencing healing is because we are allowing a false identity to enslave us? Paul Henderson found himself wrestling with the concept of identity when his career took a major shift, yet in a simple way God settled the matter. This set him on a trajectory of confronting the reality of false identities enslaving us, and how we can be a slave no more.
How has God freed you from false identities?
In episode 111, we return -- again -- to the idea of identity and press in even deeper: what if our tendency to assume the identity of others is stifling the healing God has for them? Or put another way: what if God is inviting us to see those around us as He sees, so that we can be participants in their healing? I would not have chosen to talk about identity again, but out the gate that's where God took Tabatha Perry, and it became clear that God wasn't done challenging us on the role of identity in healing. Tabatha's stories invite us to confront how we see others, and to consider how God may be inviting us to a deeper level of love.
Who might God be inviting you to see as He sees them?
In episode 112, we celebrate the 50th episode and finale of the "Healing Series". It's been a wild ride of hearing from 50 amazing people that leaves us with an important question: where do we go from here? What if God is inviting us into something deeper than inspiring stories? In fact, what if God is inviting us to focus less on the healing of the body, and more on the healing of the Body? That's what Pastor Don Coleman will tell you: he believes God is inviting the Body of Christ to recognize the urgent invitation to know God more deeply and allow that knowledge to transform how we live. His own miraculous healing gives him the confidence to press in.
How might God be inviting you to participate in the healing of the Body of Christ?