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Thank you so much for the love, the time, and the wise counsel you gave to Stace and me. We were so blessed by the days we spent with you and really see it as God’s work at a pivotal moment in our lives. You have a wonderful place of retreat there and we can’t wait to see all your dreams come to fruition.
David and I have been on a safe and happy path for 8 straight weeks now. Amidst all of the continued stress, conflicts, children-related issues, financial hardships, business issues, and the holiday season, there has not been a single incident of spiraling (not even a HINT of spiraling). I’m not sure exactly what happened, but one day it all just stopped, like the chains were cut loose. The care team is encouraging me to not overthink it, but to accept this as God’s gift and grace. :) We marked 22 items off of our “outstanding issues list” at our last care team meeting. Praise the Lord, and thank you, Judy!
In May (2014), life as we knew it completely fell apart. We had been living the Christian life, as far as anyone looking in from the outside could tell. But, there were deep seated sin issues, many of which had been buried or ignored for years. I (Andrea) had asked my husband, Eric, several times during married life if we could seek out “marriage counseling.” He replied, ‘What’s the point? Somebody’s always right and somebody’s always wrong and I’m not going to be wrong.” I had run across Judy Dabler and Christian conciliation earlier in the year while searching for a Christian counselor for another family member. I mentioned her ministry to one of our pastors, but he had never heard of Christian conciliation. He called the ministry, and after talking, urged us to meet with them.Initially, we weren’t sure what to expect, but felt like we had nothing else to lose as it seemed we were on the verge of losing everything. We were surprised when we were both assigned homework to complete before our conciliation event. The homework was challenging, and though the reason for each assignment initially seemed unclear we did it anyway. The homework Judy required ahead of time actually turned out to be essential in the days to come and helped to lay the groundwork for success. Once the intensive conciliation event began, it quickly became apparent that it was going to be extremely difficult. It not only helped root out some deep-seated issues in our marriage, but in our family as well. As we each began to tell our stories, we began to see how our childhood/young adult lives had shaped our attitudes and actions as adults. Before the process, I (Eric) didn’t see how we could fill four days with intensive conciliation work, but by the end we could easily have gone longer!As part of the conciliation, we began to identify all the problems that needed addressing in our lives, not just the immediate problem at hand. The conciliation event does not solve the problems, but it lays the groundwork for being able to work through the problem issues identified. We cannot stress enough how helpful it was to have our pastors with us during the conciliation process because it better equipped them for being able to really help us later because they were intimately aware of all the issues we were wrestling with. They, along with their wives, later became our accountability partners for the year.The conciliation process is a biblically-based approach, different from any counseling, Christian or otherwise, that we have been exposed to. By learning to apply peacemaking principles, we are now able to deal not only with a wide array of problems and behavior patterns, but we now have the skills to get at the root sin issues of those problems. It enabled us to gain a proper view of God and of ourselves.Nearly one year after the process, our marriage is stronger than it has ever been in 28 years. We have better communication skills than at any time in our past, both with each other and others. Our individual relationships with God have grown immensely. We are learning that there is purpose in suffering and that healing is possible. All of life has been transformed.As part of our conciliation agreement, the required follow-up included weekly accountability meetings for Eric and twice/monthly accountability meetings for Andrea. Those accountability relationships have grown into deep friendships. We know that we are deeply loved because, despite knowing all our sin, our accountability partners love us just like Christ.Biblical conciliation with an extremely well-trained conciliator can be expensive, but for us it was a priceless lifesaver, one we will be forever grateful for!!