Wayne and Sara’s Journey

A Day of Rich Celebration

We woke up today in Richmond, VA after a beautiful two days in Charlottesville, VA, with long-time friends, the kind of people you just enjoy hanging out with.

We also woke up today celebrating forty-nine years as a married couple, and we will be having lunch today with the man who officiated at that ceremony. He has remained a close friend ever since and we’re excited to get some time with him and his wife today.

Yes, it’s hard to believe we have had this long together, and to think it almost ended in tragedy two years ago. We are grateful for every year we’ve had together, knowing just how much of that is a gift of God, not an achievement of ours.

People have been incredibly supportive through our trauma story, have celebrated with us our coming back together, and have cheered us on as we build a totally new life together. Every time I look at Sara I am giddy with delight that this turned out the way it did and in awe of her courage to take on the darkness and find Jesus inside of it. We had a less than one percent chance of surviving the trauma in our marriage and somehow Jesus navigated us into that space.

Everyone’s story is different and the way Jesus wants to work in us is unique to our story and our person. If your takeaway from our story of the last two years is what awesome people Wayne and Sara are, then you have missed the point. We simply followed him as best we could. The plot line of our story is not how good we are but how great God is that he could redeem us from so great a tragedy and lead us through it to a renewed relationship of deep love and affection.

Truly, he saved us!  And he wants to do the same for everyone reading this. The outcomes may be different, but the grace he has to lead us through the storm and into the safety of his heart is available to everyone.

On an unrelated note, we have received about $60,000 thus far for the $79,000 need our friends are facing in Kenya. They are about to lose everything—their water, crops, and life itself. You can read my blog about the current need. I am so grateful for the way so many of you have responded and so quickly to this need. Your generosity overwhelms us with joy and gratitude on this day as well.

And it is not too late if you still want to help us.

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On to the Upper Midwest

Today we finished up in Colorado and are heading up north to Wyoming to spend some time with my podcast co-host Kyle Rice and his family in Torrington, WI.  We’ve had a number of options from there but what has most settled in our hearts is a wide open door in Duluth, MN and then head through the upper Midwest—across Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan—before heading south. I was supposed to be in Traverse City, Grand Rapids, and South Bend earlier this spring so I want to make good on those. From there, we will head east through Indiana and Ohio, to a possible retreat in southern Ohio.

We’d planned on visiting some friends in South Dakota on the way to Duluth but not having heard back from them we are now considering an alternate route through Nebraska and part of Iowa. If you’re along that route and would like to connect, please email me.

We’re not trying to figure it out beyond that. After Ohio we could head into New England for some good friends and fall beauty, turn back through the lower midwest, or even head south through Kentucky, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.  We have lots of invitations no matter which way we go, so we’re holding that in prayer while we see if Jesus has a preference for us.

If you haven’t kept up with Sara’s and my story in recent weeks with the Redeeming Love Podcasts, this may all catch you by surprise. It has brought some real changes to our life that are glorious, but it was through much pain and transformation. Sara and I are now touring the U.S. with our two big dogs in our RV, both for our own personal refreshment and connection as well as to share his light and love where God might invite us.

We are keeping to a very spontaneous protocol for our trip. We don’t want to chase a hard and fast schedule that means we can’t linger in places where Father might lead us. Instead, we are hoping for open doors to have conversations that matter with people who care when we pass through, trusting that those he wants us to be with have a hole in their schedule that will fit a hole in ours.

We’re really open at this point. We don’t want to be a burden on anyone and are taking responsibility for our own expenses, so this isn’t about creating “ministry” opportunities at all, especially for any financial reason. It’s just an opportunity for us to encourage others while exploring the U.S. in the aftermath of Sara’s traumatic discoveries.

We’re also not trying to draw crowds, but to simply celebrate the conversations that help encourage people to Life.  If you have any questions or thoughts, let me know. As always there is NO pressure whatsoever. It’s just an opportunity, should Father put anything on your heart.

And if you want to keep up with us, keep checking this blog or sign up for Travel Notifications and be sure to include your zip code so we know about where you are.  https://www.lifestream.org/content/signup-lifestream-email.

I’m also updating people through my Instagram feed with one-minute videos on reflections from our spiritual journey. You can subscribe at wayneatlifestream.

We’re almost two weeks out and having a wonderful time with each other and the people Father has led us to.  I even got this text after spending time with a young family:

I appreciated your desire to engage with our kids. (One of them said yesterday, “Wayne is so funny who wouldn’t want to hang out with him?” That is high praise from a 14-year-old.

High praise indeed.  I’m so blessed they, too, enjoyed our time together. I certainly did. And I’m looking forward to whatever Jesus has for us in days to come.

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Recapturing Innocence

We know that Sara had her innocence stolen at four years old. Instead of growing up with the heart of a playful child, she lived guarded, navigating the terrors of the trauma she didn’t understand. Instead of a carefree childhood, she learned to survive, especially when criticized.

Retreats have not been one of Sara’s favorite environments. There were too many people to engage, too many expectations to manage, and trying to stay hidden when her husband was often the focus wore her out in only a few hours. It was a joy to watch her share her story, hold other people’s stories, and freely participate in meals, conversations, and play without wearing herself out. I sat back and watched the honesty, kindness, and wisdom she displayed just being herself around others who were also navigating their own pain.

God is changing her, and I’ve had a ringside seat to watch it all unfold. As the trauma gives way to Father’s healing, she is recovering the innocence she lost long ago. She laughs more heartily, shares more freely, and can express her curiosity in ways that open doors in the hearts of others.

It all made for a treasured weekend. The people God drew to Westcliffe were just the right ones for the time he wanted us to have together. So many had faced trauma in their lives and still were. I think some doors were opened to help people discover new pathways to their own innocence.

We spent a lot of time on Sunday contemplating how important it is for God to restore our innocence if we are going to learn to play in his reality. How can you recognize his love if you feel unworthy of it? How can you be at rest in his goodness if you are still performing to try to earn it or focused on your weaknesses and failures? What Jesus accomplished on the cross cleanses us so that each day we can become freshly innocent before him. That allows us to hold onto his love and cease our self-effort. Then, we can let him play with us like little children as he invites us into the truth that will liberate us from the lies of darkness and the condemnation of our damaged minds.

I was half-joking when I playfully called this trip Sara and I are taking a Return to Innocence Tour on a recent podcast. But, at least, this first stage has become that. Innocence allows us to participate in God’s grace without guilt or shame, to see who we really are beneath the disappointments and failures that seem to pile up in a broken age. I suspect we’ll be talking about it a lot more in days to come and in conversations across this country.

On a personal note, Sara and I, along with our pups, made it to Golden, CO, yesterday afternoon, where we will hang out for at least this week. We have a son nearby and are enjoying a chance to catch up with him. We also have a septic leak on the RV, so it’s in the shop today getting repaired while we sit outside Panera. This is our second attempt to get it fixed, and we’re hoping this one takes.

We’ve heard from so many people celebrating Sara’s journey with us and letting us know they have some similar needs and experiences to sort out with God. We appreciate every email and invitation to visit and are excited to see where God points us and how we can help others recover their true nature from the lies of darkness.

Even at the retreat, we prayed not just for those who were able to attend but for God’s children across the world. You can join us. Ask God to help you recapture that sense of innocence that will allow you to rise above the harassment of a broken world and catch the wind of the Spirit that will elevate your heart into God’s reality where light always wins over darkness, truth over lies, and healing over brokenness.

That’s why Jesus came 2000 years ago and why he draws toward your heart today so that you can know what it is to live free and full in his goodness.

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