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.