Last night I attended a meeting of friends at church who want to do more, be more, reach out more into our community. We began, as all meetings begin, with introductions, we asked why we each were there, what drew us to become interested in this emerging prison ministry at our predominantly all white highly educated upper middle class church. As each person spoke, I waited for my turn and mustered my courage to share that I was not just a friendly observer but a participant in the prison system, I knew personally the impact of a felony record. I have come far in the last couple of years. The distance, this journey is due in large part by the healing words of one Steve Wiens. I have written here and here and here about how my friend Janet picked me up, got me out of bed after a severe bout of depression and introduced me to this guy from Minnesota who blogs, has a podcast and was then sending out the first chapters of his first book, Beginnings. He spoke straight into my soul, he breathed the Holy Spirit into me, he told me to try again, that I was more. I now call him my friend, a great honor to be in relationship with him. Friends, he has written a new book and I want you to know and hear and see him! He brings healing to us broken people.
I cannot lie and say I am fully invested in his new book, Whole, because I am still living into Beginnings. I wish I were ready to move on to fresh words and exploring more deeper healing for all my broken places. His words bring that. I may be about a year away from that, I see the richness he offers. I know this guide book is there when I am at that place. Words like, “We actually need to be liberated from the old place to keep ourselves from bringing it along with us to the new place.” That is scary stuff for me, this letting go and trusting. Am I ready to dive in and accept this journey of wholeness or stay in the exploration of my brokenness a while longer? I feel him pulling me, into a deeper trust relationship with this Jesus guy and I am resisting. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Yet I trust Steve, he is laying a path out of the wilderness when I am done wandering, when I am finished whining about manna and my slavery.
Steve writes, “Seeking wholeness is always about leaving one place and going somewhere else. It requires movement. It’s almost always painful, and very often you don’t really know where you’re going until long after you leave.” I know too from my immersion in his earlier words in Beginnings that I am choosing to be stuck there, maybe I am resting there, in the passing of seasons and the acceptance of new growth and seeds and facing my monsters. Still he offers, “One of the most courageous things you will ever do is to turn away from shame and return to the face of God, where you will find oceans of mercy.” Steve has gently beautifully held me as I have made my turn, propped me up as I courageously accepted my past and spoke my history aloud in that meeting last night, sharing that my passion for prison ministry was personal. With each step, I AM becoming WHOLE, growing into my relationship with God. It is possible his newest book is sneaking into my walk with tiny nudges and whispers of restoration in spite of me.
Friends, are you seeking a new beginning? Are you looking for a path out of the wilderness? Let me introduce you to my friend Steve. He brings wisdom and clarity and peace to these troubled times, but be prepared to have your life altered. He is not content to leave you where he finds you. Don’t we all need friends like that?
Find more about his new book at Whole, his podcasts here, and find him on Facebook, Twitter Instagram or go visit his church like I did. I am telling you, the man is accessible, real, honest and with us on this journey. Wanna get going? Let’s do this!