My Fracture Story | Strong Start, Painful Finish

By Zack DeBerry


If you are like me you have many fractures in your story.  I know I have had many moments in my life that I didn’t really understand until I began to focus less on my story and more on God’s bigger story.  That is not an easy thing for me to do.

Comfortable Turned Uncomfortable

This was never more apparent than about 10 years ago.  I was a full-time youth pastor at a small town church and things were going really great.  The youth group was really growing and it seemed that everything was going perfect.  

Then I was confronted about the fact that a lot of the kids that came to our youth gathering didn’t seem to be there on Sunday morning.  I was caught a little off guard because I felt that if they came at all on any day of the week that was a win for connecting the younger generation to church.

This continued for a while and I remember sitting in my office at the church with my head on the desk and thinking “God, how can they not see what You are doing?  I remember feeling in my heart that God was saying, “They may not.”  I know that sounds harsh, but it is just what I was feeling and what I felt God was saying in my heart.

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My Fracture Story | A Broken Heart Following God

By Matt Dawson


Fractures seem to come exactly when you’ve stepped away from God and decided to live life on your own terms. 

However, some fractures come when you’ve turned towards God, completely surrendered your life to him and devoted yourself to His service full time.  That’s exactly when one of my biggest fractures happened.


Tracie and I got married when we were 18 & 19 years old.  By the grace of God and a good foundation built on a long distance friendship, we managed our first several years pretty well.  Between the both of us, one of us was in school for the first 6 years of our marriage.  We always wanted to start a family, but we really didn’t feel the need to rush. We felt like our first kid by 30 was a good goal.

However, around age 28, Tracie had fallen victim to the baby bug, and we felt like it was time.  Like most folks, we felt that this was a simple thing to do (get pregnant), and really had no concerns. 

However after several months of NOT seeing any results from our “trying”, we were getting discouraged.  We got checked out, and our doctor put us on some medicine to help us along.  We were living life by our schedule and praying that God would help us in our goals to start our family.

Coincidentally, this was around the same time in our stories when I was feeling called by God to consider full-time ministry.  This was a big deal for me.  I mean, I was NEVER going to work for a church. 

However, during the Christmas of 2000, I felt God move in such a way that it was undeniable. He was asking me to stop holding back and surrender it ALL to Him and move into full-time ministry.  We decided that I would accept a full time position as a worship pastor in a small church in Hickory.  We were so excited.  God was responding to our surrendered hearts with blessing after blessing.  Right after we accepted the job, we found out WE WERE PREGNANT!!! 

I will never forget feeling like we were right in the middle of God’s will and that His favor was being poured out on us.  We carried around the pictures from our 7-week ultrasound and were so happy that God was answering our prayers as we stepped into this new adventure of ministry. 

We had only been at the church for a few weeks when we were close to the 10-week mark, so we decided to let our new church family hear the great news.  It was like a scene in a movie.  I’m pretty sure balloons might have even fallen.

Then, we experienced our fracture.

In the week after, my wife and I were standing in front of our doctor looking at an ultrasound of a 7-week old baby that more than likely never grew another day after we had originally heard the heartbeat. 

We were devastated.  We mourned the loss of life that we had prayed to God for.  We struggled through the conversations with family, friends, and a new church family.  We couldn’t believe that what most new parents all fear had actually just happened to us.  I was never sold on the un-comforting words like “lost pregnancy,” because I’ve always believed that life happens at conception and that a 7 week-old real life had been lost before it’s time.  This killed us.

Even though this is a common experience for many and even though many tried to comfort us with kind words (some stupid words and cliches as well), it did little to console us.  I won’t speak for how Tracie fully handled this fracture, but for me, it was a testing of my faith. 

I couldn’t believe that this is how God treats those who surrender to His work.  There was NO OTHER PERSON to be angry with.  As far as I was concerned, God was to blame, and it was unjust, hurtful, and there was no explanation that would have satisfied me in that moment.

Sometime over the next few months, a set of verses kept coming to mind and in different things I was reading:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”  “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”  For from him and through him and for him are all things.  To him be the glory forever!  Amen.

Romans 11:33-36

At first, they were NOT encouraging words.  I was still so fixed on the pain and the hurt I was feeling that I could not see the truth of these verses.  To be honest, I wanted God to OWE ME.  I wanted to feel that my sacrifice to enter full-time ministry was WORTH SOMETHING to God. 

That somehow, I would get a pass on some things in life.  I wanted answers even though I knew that no answer would satisfy me.  I definitely didn’t want to hear about how “His ways are higher than mine.”

But over time, the truth of these words began to bring HOPE to my heart.  That God doesn’t make mistakes.  That He is larger than my pain and hurt and that He was helping me not only bear the weight of my grief but was beginning to help heal my heart. 

My faith began to grow again when I began to understand that ALL THINGS (including that 7-week-old life) are FROM HIM and FOR HIM.  The fact that God didn’t OWE ME ANYTHING and that He loves me more than I could possibly imagine is what was going to help me through my fracture.

We all experience HOPE at different times and through different means during our fractures.  For me, I began to write a song.  These words continued to form within me and pour out of me as I began to taste HOPE.  Here are some of the lyrics I wrote.

VERSE

I live in two worlds, at opposite extremes
And your light helps me find my way
I don’t always know, what the light will shine through
And I don’t comprehend , the full sight
I know that You are good, and You see my pain
I know that You are there, but sometimes

CHORUS

You’re a mysterious mystery that my eyes can’t see
Your ways are higher than my ways, and yet I’m longing for the day,
To see your glorious glory, and your majestic majesty
And one day the world will see and bow a knee
But while I’m here, sometimes…you’re a mysterious mystery.

VERSE

I try to understand, all Your ways and plans
and I feel so helpless in this world
But I’m in Your arms, that’s where You want me
I’m surrendered to Your will
I look for explanations, in between the lines
and I know that they are there, but sometimes…

CHORUS

You’re a mysterious mystery that my eyes can’t see
Your ways are higher than my ways, and yet I’m longing for the day,
To see your glorious glory, and your majestic majesty
And one day the world will see and bow a knee
But while I’m here, sometimes…you’re a mysterious mystery.

Hope for me poured out in a song to God.  I’ve never actually sang this song in church or for anyone else for that matter.  It was sung over and over from my heart to God’s heart, and the more I chose to sing it, the more the absolute HOPE of Jesus returned to me.

There is ABSOLUTELY NO FRACTURE that Jesus cannot help us bear, help us heal, and completely redeem!

WHY?  Because FROM HIM and THROUGH HIM and FOR HIM are ALL THINGS!

Amen.

My Fracture Story | The Pain of a Secret Sin

By Don Gentry


It Started Small

I was eleven years old, attending my first Boy Scout overnight camp experience.  My friend & I were up in the woods playing during our free time.  We were on top of a hill underneath a pine tree.  It was there I was very innocently exposed to my first “girlie magazine”.

What I didn’t know at the time was the world of shame and guilt that day was going to usher me into.

With what I know now, I thank God I was raised in an era where we didn’t have the Internet.  From the age of 11 to 21, I had to be very sneaky and intentional if I was going to find any explicit material.  It was during this time of growth and spiritual maturing that I would enter into cycles of temptation, permissive behavior, self-loathing and debasement, purity, promises, and the cycle goes on.

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My Fracture Story | The One Decision That Changed My Life

By Chris Denning


A few weeks ago, Matt, Don, Zack and I were brainstorming about how we could create a few posts for this month centered around our series, Fracture: Finding Hope in the Pain.

We wanted to do something that would be encouraging to read, but also help whoever read them better understand what a fracture is in our stories.  We decided to take a chance and take a moment to share a bit of our own stories.  

Over the next few weeks, you’re going to get to read a story from each of us about how we experienced a fracture in our story, how it impacted us, and how we ended up responding.

These stories are pretty honest and raw, and our hope is that you will see that if you’re going through a fracture right now, you’re not alone.  This isn’t the end.  There is hope.  We’ve found an absolute Hope in our pain, and we know that you can too.


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5 Things to Celebrate From 2014 | 5 Things to Look Forward To In 2015

By Matt Dawson


Happy New Year Journey family – I’m so excited about 2015!  I’m honored to be your pastor and wanted to quickly share a few things I’m celebrating this year and a few things I’m looking forward to in our future.  

5 Things to Celebrate from 2014

1. Staff Transitions

If you didn’t know, we lost 4 staff members towards the end of 2013 and this entire year was a rebuilding year for our staff and leadership.  It was hard, but not as hard as it could have been.  We knew at the end of 2013 we were experiencing some GOD-LED changes that were out of our control, so we knew He would be faithful to walk us through that transition.  

After experiencing this past year, I remain convinced that God brought us the right people and some incredible leaders to help us during the interim and are now in place to help us have an incredible 2015!  One lesson I’ve learned: when God is leading CHANGE in your life – trust Him, He is faithful!  Continue reading