I’ve have heard the saying, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay." I can attest to those of you who are reading this blog that IT IS TRUE! After crashing from the depravity of my sinful choices many years ago and all the side effects that hurt so many people, I was a living example of how sin can cost you everything. One minute I was living in paradise with my beautiful family, pastoring at a mega church with the most loving and grace filled people on the planet and the next day everything was gone. My family was compromised and hurt, my job and position were gone, precious people were damaged and most of my friends fled the scene. I essentially found myself on the side of the road like an abandoned car, without an engine, tires slashed and the inside gutted out. At this crucial point, the only way to ever experience life again was to walk through a season of recovery—a rebuild.
I’ve explained to many people that our season of recovery, individually and as a family was like that car I just described. I personally was a mess of twisted metal and rust and along came my Savior, hooked me up to the tow truck, pulled me out of the ditch, and towed me down the bumpy and winding road to a secure location. It would be in this protected and intentional environment that the process of hardcore recovery would begin. That meant stripping me, like that rusty old car, of everything damaged, identifying the broken places and rebuilding the wreckage piece by piece.
In practical terms, my wife and I spent hours everyday for a year in this recovery process. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but when your sole existence is to get healthy, you intentionally create right patterns for right living, no matter how long it takes or what the cost may be. For us, because we had made a decision to put recovery first, we didn’t step back into high stress jobs, rather, we liquidated our savings and focused almost 100% of our energy for the first 6 months straight on personal and family recovery. What did that look like? Well, it was a lot of the things every one of us are supposed to do daily...we just did them longer, slower and more contemplative. We would wake up early, spend time with the Lord and in His Word, we would be present and attentive with our kids when they were getting ready for school and when they came home. We’d take long walks and talk, and we each poured ourselves into our recovery homework wholeheartedly. We opened our lives to strong accountability and the loving and sometimes difficult process of vulnerable relationship. We fought hard for fellowship in a community of believers at our local church when it would have been easier to just run the other direction. No broken piece in our life went unnoticed. Everything was put on the table in full view, much like a master technician would identify what needed to be replaced or rebuilt in that old rusted car mentioned above. This process was tedious and hard, but the outcome was nothing less than a miraculous work of the Lord—our true master technician.
At the close of our recovery season, our lives resembled that rebuilt car. The engine was finally set back in place and attached. The tires were bolted on and balanced, and the internal display was functioning, ready to be used. You see, recovery is the process of taking something that was almost dead, and bring it back to life to get it operational. This recovery process brought a broken individual and family into a new season of RESTORATION where every area of our life—as we are now open to it, will continue to be transformed until we depart this world. Metaphorically speaking, now that we have the tires back on, the engine running again and safety mechanisms working, we, the Craft family, can start driving down the road, being aware and intentional to keep all that we’ve learned in our process functioning on a daily basis. To be clear, restoration is much like ongoing discipleship; we now get to live out of this transformation everyday, submitted to the master technician, knowing tune-ups are part of life, and life ultimately isn’t about us, but Him.
I believe many who are reading this today will understand and connect with this analogy. I understand what it feels like to end up in a ditch where you have been rusting away due to sin, shame, bitterness, anger, resentment and much more. Please understand that failure in life doesn’t define who you are to become. Our Heavenly Father is the only one who can bring definition to us, if we truly let Him. The process is hard, but it is worth it! I encourage you to let Him pull you out of the ditch to recover what has been broken and place you on the track of life-long restoration and transformation.
Vantage point is a peculiar thing. We all have one. For any given situation we each have a view, a context…a reality.
If you read the narrative above, you’ll understand the following words as they relate to my unique vantage point of the same situation explained therein. You see, I was there the day my husband’s life came crashing down, because the ripple effect brought me down too.To continue with his analogy, I stood watching as that rusty and abandoned car was exposed for all to see. I stood devastated and bleeding, in utter shock by the carnage that lay before me.
From my vantage point, it was a near impossible situation. From where I stood it would take a unique miracle just to breath again. How could this have happened to us? I thought to myself as tears streamed down my face. The sight of the wreckage was heart breaking–hopeless. Then along came our Savior. I too, was there when Jesus hooked my husband up to that tow truck and pulled him out of the ditch, because he did the same for me. What I found out along the bumpy and windy road to safety was that Jesus meant to, “rebuild” me too. His loving embrace would reach down and care for our children through this process as well, thereby releasing a newness in all of us that we never thought possible.
What really happened from my perspective? It was truly a master rebuild, only possible by the loving and capable hands of our Master Technician. There were broken pieces of twisted metal everywhere. At one point it was hard to figure out which mangled parts were mine, and which were my husband’s. I fought through the moments that the conflict was so great between my anger toward him and compassionate love that propelled me onward…I was a nurse, I was a patient...I was a warrior.
Our days were spent praying, walking, talking, crying, reading, and even at times yelling. Honesty, vulnerability, and hard-core digging into the origin of our pain was our mission. Over and over for a year…this was our rhythm. When we would make headway in one area, we’d start another process of dealing with the layers, and into the Master’s capable hands we’d find ourselves once again. These layers that had been there for decades were exposed and healed, revealing a newness that felt as much like home as anything we had ever known. New love sprouted from the ashes of the wreckage.
We inched along with the help of steadfast friends and companions. From our paralyzed state of decay, the Lord brought us to the scary but exciting place of trying out our new, “normal,” which quite frankly took many months. From there we began to move ahead steadily incorporating all that we had learned. We now travel in careful strength, staying open and eager for each and every new challenge, knowing that our Master Technician is but a whisper away. WE ARE DISCIPLES. Walking each day with our Lord, who so lovingly took a once tragic display of devastation and loss and rebuilt it into the hope filled step-by-step journey that is RESTORATION…and from here the view is amazing!
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