Back in 2009, I was excited to get the opportunity to go through Making Peace With Your Past, one of the Support Groups offered by the Healing Place. Even though I worked in the Healing Place offering pastoral care, it was important for me to go through the class that I was training to facilitate.

Although I had heard that the curriculum was originally designed for adult children of alcoholics, it had been revised and re-subtitled, “Help for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families.” And while I had a relatively “sane” family of origin, I’ve lived enough life to know that every family has it’s dysfunction, to one degree or another, and I knew I had some issues that I wanted to deal with.   

It was an incredible experience, taking time each week to journal on my own about things that I hadn’t thought about in years, eventually sharing with the tight-knit, confidential group, the familiar wounds we all shared. The catharsis that comes with knowing you’re not crazy, and you’re not alone cannot be overstated! After going through the 12 weeks, I literally told everyone I knew that they HAD to go through this class.

Fast forward to 2010 – I was pumped to lead my first class. I just had to fill it up (we only do 6 at a time). I mean, I had made peace with my own past, (or so I thought… we’ll come back to that), and had trained to facilitate under the very gifted Jimmy McCloud.  Jimmy is a sweet, fatherly figure whose loving, compassionate, gentle demeanor I had planned to emulate.

I remember suggesting, if not highly recommending, the class to several friends. I also remember the common responses that I’ve now heard numerous times through the years – “Dude, I don’t want to dig up the past, what good is that gonna do?” or “That’s in the past, do you really think that could be affecting me all these years later?”   

You tell me.   

So, my class filled, and week after week, I was blown away by the amazing healing I watched as I saw courageous participants talking of shameful secrets, and the awful abuses of different varieties they had suffered. Not everyone had the same story, but we all had a story. Understanding that other people had similar experiences, and relating in such a safe, loving way was instrumental in healing those past wounds, removing emotional and spiritual barriers to growth.

It was a deep honor and privilege to walk through these stories, and facilitate healing in others.  Little did I know that I was in for a surprise. You see, in week 10, as I gave everyone else their “turn” to talk, I kept hearing a little voice saying, “It’s your turn.”   

“No it’s not,” I answered, “I’m the leader!” I quickly dismissed the voice, but it wouldn’t go away. After dismissing the class that night, the voice persisted, only it had gotten quite a bit louder. I had literally gotten into my truck to leave, and the voice said, “Brian, it’s your turn.”

After turning the ignition key off, I sat in the dark parking lot for a few minutes, then I went back inside to an empty room, and grabbed my Bible.  (I’ll go ahead and let you know in case you’re wondering who the voice belonged to). The Spirit said, “Put the Bible down, you know what you need to do.”   

Week 10 was “Forgiving the People Who Have Hurt You.” I knew exactly what was pressing so heavy on my heart. I had done some work on my past, and even done some significant work in the forgiveness department. But I wasn’t done. That night, I wept, and I journaled, and I cried, and I journaled, and with every tear, and every word, more healing came.   

So, on week 11, my class got a surprise as well. They benevolently listened as I “took my turn,” and more bonds were forged, and more healing came for all.

This is the way it works. Today’s confession is tomorrow’s testimony. We’ve all been wounded, and we all need healing. Time doesn’t heal all – healing heals! Time is just more time to be sick if we carry around all our crap. And what I’ve learned is I’ll be continually making peace with my past, because it keeps rearing its ugly head. Besides, every day you live, you’re creating a new past, some of which you’ll have to make peace with.

I hope you’ll consider joining us for MPWYP this semester.  It’s your turn.