Ken and I would not have remained in ministry as long as we have (we first served together at Victory Baptist Church 1970-72), if we did not know the principle of “Holy Sweat” that is found in the following verses:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap
a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” I Cor. 15:58
It would probably take a hundred letters to recount all the situations where Ken and I could have easily ‘given up.’ Here is a recent glimpse at a ‘holy sweat’ situation.
For two years I (Jackie) was mentoring a young mom via email. This mom looked very successful on the outside but was facing profound struggles on the inside. She was one of the polished pretenders that attend so many of our churches. For two years I repeated myself incessantly, breaking a ‘holy sweat’ as I tried to encourage this young mom to attend CR (Celebrate Recovery). I almost gave up when this young mom decided to finally attend CR. This young woman was profoundly impacted as I knew she would be. She recently wrote an article about her experience at CR and it was picked up by a magazine and then two weeks later the article was picked up by a pastoral blog reaching 500,000. Here is just a glimpse of her impactful article: “A Surprising Place To Heal”.
A couple of years ago, a well-respected, spiritually mature friend (Jackie) told me I needed to go to Celebrate Recovery. And she was serious! I thought she was crazy. Surely she grossly misunderstood my situation. After all, I’m not an addict. I couldn’t possibly need recovery. I ignored her suggestion and continued the insanity cycle-doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. I had been doing it for a long time: masking pain, coping with the shame of my past in unhealthy ways and trying to survive a sexually dysfunctional marriage. It wasn’t working. On the outside, people saw the polished Christina-supermom to four little kids, entrepreneur, godly wife and leader. But they didn’t see what was silently killing me. My marriage felt helpless and hopeless, and the shame of my past decisions was crippling me spiritually and emotionally. I couldn’t forgive myself or get over some of the baggage I was carrying. Desperate and not knowing where to turn, I soon realized I could no longer carry it on my own. But where could I turn? Who do I share these embarrassing issues with? Church? If we’re honest, most churches seem more like a place to parade our spiritual resumes than to declare our weaknesses. Most churches maybe. But not all churches. Within five minutes of my first visit to Celebrate Recovery at The Rock, ministry leader Ray Hutchison’s voice boomed through the microphone, “This is a safe place. You can take your masks off here. We’re all messed up, every single one of us.” I sat there, a bit stunned; church had never felt like a safe place.
Christina is only one of many precious people that Ken and I did not give up on. Just yesterday we heard from a young woman we wrote and sent a book to a couple years ago in Indonesia and she reminded us that our influence is beyond our neighborhood. Another precious young woman who I shed a lot of holy sweat over and was encouraged to not invest any more time in…is now a ministry leader in a very challenging ministry. She was a challenge to mentor and she now works with kids that are profoundly challenging but worth her ‘holy sweat.’ Do not grow weary in doing good because you never know what wonderful things may come from your faithful holy sweat!