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LifeCare

Pasby Family

A Folly Marriage

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Pasby Family

Getting Back to Their Roots

No one would have ever dreamed that two Freshman Follies performers would now be so very active in church and loving every minute of it! Danielle and Jacob Pasby met at an event put on by the Oklahoma State University freshmen called Freshman Follies. They began dating, fell in love and married, and five and a half years later, they have two boys. Shaffer is 3 1/2 years old, and Hunter is 1 year old.

Danielle grew up in Oklahoma City and received her teaching degree from Oklahoma State University. She taught for 5 years, but now stays home with their children. Jacob grew up in Elk City, Oklahoma and was fairly active in his Methodist church, but really didn’t attend church at OSU. He is now a CPA for a small oil and gas company. Once they decided to have children, they felt it was necessary to get back into church like many of young couples who were raised in church.

Diving In

They began attending another local church but never got plugged in. Danielle said, “My stepmom, Nicole McConnell, was active in teaching children’s Sunday School and Vacation Bible School at Crossings and got Shaffer in the Mother’s Day Out program.” For 3 years, the Pasbys worshipped in the Venue with her family, but considered themselves fence sitters. “That was all we did”, said Jacob, “but now we’re 100% plugged in!”

Danielle and Jacob look forward each week to the Young Married Sunday School class taught by Laura and Terry Feix. They also attend a small group that meets on Wednesday evenings led by the Cartwrights. They met this group through the Centered group they attended last fall. “We used a workbook that had weekly topics. The study made us dive deeply into ourselves and the relationships we form,” said Jacob.

The Pasbys have learned to make church a priority through this study. They remember Marty Grubbs instructing the class participants to “stay in the Centered class until the end, even when you don’t feel like you have anything in common with other group members.” The Pasbys did stay in the class and now this group has become so very close. They do life together and go to brunch after church or watch each other’s kids. They are totally connected now.

Completely Connected

They also have worked with LifeTools on Monday evenings and use a curriculum helping give the 4 and 5 year olds Christian life tools good for coping with the ups and downs of life. They love it. Jacob ushers and will soon drive the golf cart on Sunday mornings. They have helped with the backpack drive, and Danielle really enjoys working with Safe Families. This is an evolving, very new program that helps parents with children who are going through a difficult time and attends to their needs. The church is trying to determine how to help the families in the best way possible.

Danielle and Jacob gave an example of what being in community with others is really about. Their youngest son was born with a cleft lip and palate. Before Hunter’s surgery, their small group and some church staff prayed with them. They had dinners brought to their home, and church friends sat with them in the hospital. They were blown away by the love and support!

This couple has made church an integral part of their life. Shaffer now knows the routine. “He knows that when we go to church, he gets to see his friends,” says Danielle. They have all met some great friends! “Being involved is for everyone! It all just evolves,” they agreed. “Most people just don’t realize how much God is doing through Crossings church!” said Danielle. The people at Crossings are the church, and they are thrilled to be part of it!

“A Folly Marriage” written by Misti Aduddell, Crossings Volunteer Writing Team Member.

Impact of Commitment

By | LifeCare, missions, Stories, Volunteer, volunteer & missions, Volunteer Blog | No Comments

Learning and Sharing Beth-Miles

I’m a volunteer for Lifetools with Kids. If you’re like I was a few years ago, you may have heard of LifeTools for Kids, but you might not know what it is. LifeTools for Kids is a program that correlates with the CareSeries offered by Crossings on Monday evenings. While their parents or legal guardians are attending a CareSeries class, kids enjoy their own curriculum for the evening. The children range in ages range from four to 18 years, with classes divided by age. In addition to a short lesson, they also play games, do simple crafts, and, weather permitting, play outside. One of the nicest things for the volunteers is that everything is furnished for the lessons, so no planning ahead is required except for a few short minutes to review the lesson.

 

Giving and Growing

I became interested in LifeTools for Kids after helping with Vacation Bible School for a couple of years. I was feeling led to give more of my time than just those few hours one week each summer, and I seemed to be drawn to LifeTools for Kids in the volunteer needs section of the Sunday worship folder. I’ve always loved being around and working with children, so I decided to visit with the leader to see if this was where the Lord was leading me. Well, here I am 18 months later, not only working with these beautiful children on Monday evenings, but I’ve also volunteered on Thursday evenings when the same type of program is offered during Celebrate Recovery.

 

Committing to Impact

Is this a commitment? Sure it is, at least for a few weeks at a time. Is it worth my time and effort? Without a doubt! How do I know? I know when one of the kids sees me from across the Atrium, runs to give me a hug and insists I eat with him … or when a little girl wants her picture taken with me on the last session of the semester … or when a little boy who started out as a discipline challenge unexpectedly tells me he loves me. These things tell me I’ve made a small impact on them by sharing the love of Jesus. Hopefully, when they reflect back as an adult, they will remember it and will be led to share that same love with others.

 

Join Us!

Consider joining us in LifeTools for Kids! If you want to make an impact in a child’s life and think this is where you’re being led to serve, then contact Shae Gregston in LifeCare Ministry: sgregston@crossings.church or 302.1249.

[blockquote]Hopefully, when these kids are adults, they will reflect back to LifeTools for Kids and will be led to share the love of Jesus to others. – Beth Miles

“Impact of Commitment” originally published by Beth Miles, LifeTools Volunteer at Crossings, in the 2015 Spring / Summer Issue of Crossings Magazine. Want to view the latest magazine? Click here.

A Long Road

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Screen-Shot-2015-03-03-at-10.51.10-AMPain and Anger

Jim Igo and pam Forducey have found their lives to be filled with many twists and turns, bumps and bruises, good times and bad. Most importantly though, they have both found their lives to be filled by God’s grace, learning to experience HIs forgiveness, and transforming love as they became involved in the loving community at Crossings and Celebrate Recovery. Pam recently shared at Celebrate Recovery that she has struggled with intense fears of abandonment since her early childhood, which led to poor self-image and highly manipulative behaviors. During most of her adolescence and adult life, Pam struggled with chronic depression, excessive anger, and anxiety. The influence of these patterns in her life created a trail of difficult and broken relationships. Looking from the outside, a bystander would be hard-pressed to know that any of these struggles were present in her life as Pam learned to focus on keeping up appearances while ignoring the pain within her heart. Performance and achievement became everything.

Pam was raised by her paternal grandparents and had no connection with her birth mother and little connection with her father, who was more like an older brother. Growing up, she understood that her mother had abandoned her, choosing alcohol and men instead of her. Only later did she find out that when she was one, her mother had a severe brain injury in a motor vehicle accident and likely would have been incapable of caring for her. Not knowing her birth mother while growing up was a source of ongoing pain. Her dad was in and out of her life over the years as he traveled for work and eventually became overcome by his own struggles with gambling and drug addiction. The broken relationships with her parents soon transitioned into two broken marriages of her own. At this point in Pam’s life, a new chapter began to emerge, and this is where Jim entered the picture.

Having Trouble Connecting

Jim grew up on a farm outside of Lone Wolf, Oklahoma in what he describes as a stable family community. His dad was a farmer and his mother a stay-at-home mom before she went to work at the local hospital. Jim describes himself as a shy child with little to no self-confidence growing up. Sundays were spent in the local Baptist church, which he enjoyed very much, and free time was spent playing baseball and basketball with friends. Jim stayed involved in church until moving in high school. During this time, he began to have trouble connecting with the new church his family had joined. He eventually quit attending and found himself experimenting with alcohol and drugs. Jim became hooked.

His substance use continued to increase in college and spilled into his first marriage. A year after the birth of his son, his marriage fell apart and ended in divorce. At this time, Jim’s life spiraled out of control. Jim was arrested for DUI, and his family threatened to keep him from seeing his son because his drug use had become so severe. On a Tuesday, following Memorial Day in 1981, Jim looked in the mirror at a face he hardly recognized anymore and decided he’d had enough. He reached out to a friend and got connected with a rehabilitation facility. There he began his recovery process through the 12 Steps and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and he became reacquainted with God. This led to a season of sobriety as he began the slow and difficult process of recovery.

Things were better, but certainly not perfect. Jim found himself trading old addictions for new, and while his professional life was doing great, his personal life again fell into shambles. Jim’s second marriage ended in divorce and instead of allowing this to destroy him, he decided to return to AA meetings, get a sponsor, and begin counseling. Jim also established a daily routine of prayer and reading the Bible which allowed him to grow deeper in his relationship with God.

A New Beginning

Several years after Jim’s divorce, he met Pam. From the very beginning, Jim and Pam were open about their struggles and supported each other in their growth. To Jim’s surprise, Pam viewed his involvement in recovery as a positive and not a negative. They began attending church together and eventually ended up at Crossings. Jim recalls hearing Marty talk about his experience of attending an AA meeting with a friend, and how he experienced such honesty in that room. This was a connection point for Jim, and he attributes hearing this sermon as initiating his renewed belief in Jesus Christ. Jim states, “AA has given me a great foundation for a belief in a Higher Power who I came to call God, and now church has given me salvation through Jesus.”

Both Pam and Jim continue to be involved at Crossings and serve in leadership for Celebrate Recovery where the hope and grace of Christ resonate in the lives of many believers, who are no longer victims of their past hurts, habits, and hang-ups but who live victoriously in the present, one day at a time. Pam, reflects on her many years of struggles and triumph, “God has been sovereign and orchestrated each step of my earthly journey, even when I took major detours and turned my back to Him time and time again.” While heart change rarely happens overnight, Jim and Pam both represent the power of God’s pursuit and the transformation His presence can bring to lives that are willing to humble themselves and seek His will.

“A Long Road” originally published by Todd Poe, LPC/LMFT, Pastor of LifeCare Ministry, in the Winter 2014 edition of Crossings Magazine.

Restoration

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Restoration-Image

Comfort and Hope

It was six years ago that Jim found himself sitting with a group of strangers, in a place he had never been, listening to a group leader talk about what had become a very real and painful topic in his life: divorce. Jim faced the end of his marriage and, on the recommendation of a counselor decided to step out of his comfort zone and commit Monday nights to attending a support group at Crossings. It was his first time there, and for Jim, the church became a safe place to process what he was facing and find comfort in a community of hope.

“It was a great experience for me to realize there are others who are going through the same types of problems that I was. A support group provided me with tools to grow through the process, understand what was happening, improve myself, and actually look forward to a future.”

Finding Joy and Peace

Like many others who are facing difficult challenges, Jim found himself unable to connect with life beyond pain and loss. “I was afraid of the future, thinking that life would not be possible after divorce.” But as he began to pursue God’s truth and realize that the Gospel message is about restoration, Jim began to experience life again, including moments of joy and peace.

It has not been an easy road, but Jim has found that pain and sorrow are not the end of the story for him. Learning to risk with other people in a safe community has allowed him to experience the grace, love, acceptance, and forgiveness that he had heard about in church for years.

Growth and Healing

Six years ago, Jim walked through the doors of Crossings broken and confused, full of pain and sorrow. Today he continues to embrace the growth and healing that Christ offers everyone who seeks Him. Not only has he received support from others, he is now offering support to others. Jim serves on the Leadership Team for Monday night CareSeries and leads the group Making Peace with Your Past: A Study of Forgiveness. He has also been a leader in the DivorceCare program and finds that giving back to those who are facing the same struggles he faced has been an integral part in his own journey of restoration.

“Restoration” originally published by Todd Poe, Pastor of LifeCare Ministry and CareSeries in the Spring 2012 edition of Crossings Magazine.

Cindy Rose

Finding God in My Darkest Hour

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Cindy RoseMy first experience at Crossings was like inhaling a favorite dessert! It just happened to be a Sunday when Marty told his story. He was so transparent and honest about his own personal struggles, and he also told about being invited to observe at a 12-Step Program and how that impacted him and his vision for the church.

Finding a Church Home

I specifically remember his statement, “That’s what the church should be like!” —a group of open, honest, and supportive people dealing with real life. I knew I wanted to be part of this transparent type of church, where hopefully people don’t feel like they have to walk in the doors and “fake it.”

The true test would be whether or not my husband Steve would be comfortable here. Our faith backgrounds were different; I was raised in the Baptist Church, and he was raised in the Catholic Church.

I asked him to come with me, and after my first experience, he agreed. For him, being at Crossings was also very comfortable. He had his thoughts and questions at first, like, “You Protestants just go to church for entertainment!” or “Why do you Protestants shop around for a church?”

Oh yes, we had some lively conversations.

After all, I had grown up doing sword drills with my Bible on Sunday Nights in Training Union! Nonetheless, we continued to attend and decided to become involved by joining a Community Group that met during the week.

Learning to Trust

The group we joined was in the home of Steve and Chris Ayers and was the first time my husband became comfortable with this new environment and knew he could be himself and trust the ones around him in the group. In this small group environment, we were able to share concerns and everyday issues that are hard to get into on Sunday morning.

That was several years ago, and we still feel especially thankful for each one that participated with us in this gathering. It was a great experience, and although we did not know what the future held, I can see now how God was preparing a loving and supportive connection with the church to be there for us during some of the darkest days of our lives.

This is where the story gets hard.

On October 24, 2009, I lost my son, Cody, to suicide on his 31st birthday.

Questioning Everything

I thought I could not survive it. I really didn’t want to. He was an active Christian and had everything going for him. He had a wife he adored, and she loved him like crazy. He had a two-month-old precious baby boy, and he had always wanted a house full of kids. He was the one who played with all the kids at all the family get-togethers. He was musical, artistic, and athletic. He knew his Bible.

Things like this didn’t happen in my family. I thought, as a Christian, God would not let this happen; I was standing on His promises and praying on my face for my son, claiming His Word. Then it happened. My faith was shattered, and I didn’t think I could go on. I felt isolated and I was left with so many questions.

Friends surrounded me; pastors from Crossings called, sent cards and flowers, and talked to my husband to make sure we were okay. I can’t imagine going through this without that support.

I don’t remember a lot of the immediate events surrounding this horrible day, but I do remember I was screaming out to God, and He was so gracious to hold me close and let me scream and cry. Somehow, down deep, I knew, God was in charge and He was holding me. I ended up in GriefShare, part of the CareSeries Ministry on Monday nights. The leaders were there for me each week. I cried through every Monday night gathering and held onto the weekly verses GriefShare provided.

Holding Onto Faith

That’s all I truly remember from the class. Most importantly, I knew I was loved and knew that they were encouraging me and telling me I could make it. Somehow I knew they believed it, even if I didn’t.

The path of grief has been a hard one, but God has been faithful to me even in my darkest times. After going through GriefShare, I felt there was a need for a group for those who have lost loved ones to suicide. I talked to some of the leaders of the church and found out I wasn’t the only one. Others had the same burden, so we got together and formed a support group called Survivors of Suicide that is a part of CareSeries on Monday nights.

I have trusted God to use my situation any way He can to help someone else. My heart breaks for anybody who is dealing with such loss, with such emotional chaos and devastation. Through my own journey, I have learned that we don’t have to have all the answers and that it is important to talk about the tough issues and hard questions. The transparency I found here at Crossings has allowed me to gain healing and grow in my faith in ways I never thought possible.

2 Corinthians 1:3-8 is a passage that has brought great comfort to me. I believe verses 8-10 describe my story and how God has worked in me:

“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely on God, who raises the dead. And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us (NLT).”

I love this Wonderful One who rescues us!

[blockquote]“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those who are crushed in spirit.”
–Psalm 34:18 (NLT)
[/blockquote]

Survivors of Suicide meets on Monday nights as a part of CareSeries. For more information about this group or other support groups, go to crossings.church/careseries.

“Finding God in My Darkest Hour” originally published by Cindy Rose, Crossings Member, in the Fall 2012 edition of Crossings Magazine.

Grateful for Monday Nights: Compassion that Overflows

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Skip McKinstry

Written by Skip McKinstry, CareSeries Facilitator

Dealing with Divorce

I came to Crossings in 2004 in the middle of a separation that eventually led to divorce. In the people of Crossings, and especially in the sometimes invisible ministry that occurs on Monday nights, I found something for which I will be eternally grateful. Churches deal with the issue of divorce in different ways. Some take a few verses out of context and treat you like a pariah. Your participation in the fellowship becomes suspect; you can never again teach; and you are absolutely forbidden to re-marry except for a couple of narrow exceptions that many are unable to satisfy. You start looking for a one-bedroom, efficiency apartment because that’s all you’ll ever need. You get a dog for companionship, because that is all you deserve. When you pray, “Jesus come soon,” you really, really mean it.

Pain and Compassion

Some other churches tend to look at divorce from the same perspective as well-meaning parents treat the break-up of a middle school crush. “It’s no big deal.” “You’ll get over it.” Or as my own mother regularly reminded me, “There is always another fish in the sea.” In that kind of context, you might be forgiven for thinking that Malachi 2:16—“‘For I hate divorce,’ says the Lord.”—is a misprint. But even a 14-year-old who gets dumped by his girlfriend knows that breakups are painful. In the case of a marriage, where two hearts have been joined together “in front of God and everybody,” the pain is even greater. It is not some temporary inconvenience—it is excruciatingly real. Make no mistake, hearts are serious business to the Lord. Hearts matter to God and He hates to see them broken. He knows first-hand the pain of a broken heart. Don’t believe it? Read Hosea. The whole book is a metaphor for the pain God feels over Israel’s unfaithfulness (and ours). “My heart is torn within me and my compassion overflows” (Hosea 11:8). That is God speaking. From His heart. Now look at that verse again. “My heart is torn within me and my compassion overflows.” When God’s heart is broken, it stirs His compassion. It does not stir His condemnation toward the brokenhearted. It stirs His compassion, His empathy for those who suffer, and His desire to bring that suffering to an end.

Power to Rebuild

That is what I found on Monday nights. In a church honest enough to admit we are all broken, I found people who had experienced the pain I was in. They didn’t condemn me. Neither did they let me off the hook. They spoke the truth in love, and in that truth I found forgiveness, an openness that enabled me to face my own responsibility in the break-up, the encouragement to begin rebuilding my life, and an opportunity, as Marty Grubbs puts it, “to turn misery into ministry.” Almost ten years later, I can still be found at Crossings on Monday nights. These days, as the facilitator in the Safe People class, I am drawing from my own struggles to share with others the hope and healing we have in Christ. But mostly I just get to marvel at the work being done in people’s hearts by the God whose “compassion overflows.”

Finding New Life

Finding New Life

By | adults, LifeCare, Stories | No Comments

Rod - Finding New Life

In the Dark

For the first time in his life, Rod found himself being escorted to a cold and dark room inside the county jail because of a DUI.

As he took in the unfamiliar surroundings, he was greeted by what would become his cell mate for the next few days.

Recognizing that Rod seemed out of place in this setting, the gentleman asked him, “Hey, do you mind if I talk to you?”

Laying on the top bunk, drenched in sweat, still freaking out over this nightmare of a situation, Rod reluctantly replied, “No, I don’t mind.”

He was then asked a question that would forever change the course of his life.

“How’s your walk with God?” the gentleman asked. “Because if you find yourself sitting in this cell with me, it can’t be good.”

Rod lay there staring at the ceiling as the weight of these simple words sank deeply into his heart. As tears welled up and rolled down the sides of his face, he began to pray. Broken and ashamed, Rod called out to the God he had known for many years, and through his alcohol-drenched breath, he began to ask for forgiveness.

Finding Freedom

What Rod didn’t realize at the time, was that this moment in jail symbolized a death in his life. It was a different kind of death, though. He had already experienced the death of his adopted parents to whom he was deeply connected since the age of seven, the death of his biological mother with whom he had lost contact as a child when DHS took him and his siblings away from her, and even the death of a recently discovered sister whom he had never known.

All of these losses drove him into an attitude of not caring about life anymore, but the death he was experiencing that night in jail was a death that would ultimately lead to finding new life and freedom for the first time.

Rod had come a long way from the island of Palau, a small island in the Pacific. When his biological mother moved him and his siblings to Oklahoma, with hopes of finding a better life, things drastically deteriorated. His mother’s alcohol use increased, and she became increasingly physically abusive to her children.

Now at the age of thirty-four, Rod was facing the reality that he, too, had become an alcoholic.

Taking the First Step

When he got out of jail, he admitted to his family and friends for the first time that he had a problem he could not control. A friend encouraged him to try a program called Celebrate Recovery that met on Thursday nights at Crossings. Determined to make a change, Rod decided to go. As he sat in his car in the church parking lot, nauseous at the thought of what he might be getting into, Rod decided to take a step and walk in the doors.

He found himself surrounded by a group of welcoming, smiling people, and noticed they exuded something he longed for: peace. Rod knew he was in the right place.

Through Celebrate Recovery and many others supporting him, Rod recognizes that he is no longer defined by his past. With over two-and-a-half years of sobriety, he is now passionate about showing what God has done in his life–how God has brought him to a place where he can stand in front of others to reveal God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and unfailing love offered to all who choose to follow Him. Rod encourages others with the following passage:

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give the same comfort God has given us.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Rod continues the path to healing and ministers to others through Celebrate Recovery at Crossings. He hopes that others will find hope from his story and the courage needed to begin their own journey of healing. He currently lives in Oklahoma City with his lovely wife and four children.

For more information about Celebrate Recovery, visit crossings.church/cr.

For information on other support groups at Crossings, visit crossings.church/careseries.

“Finding New Life” originally published by Todd Poe, LPC / LMFT, Pastor of LifeCare, Ministry Leader of Careseries, in the Spring 2013 edition of Crossings Magazine.

Sheryl Myers

Change Happens

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As a pastor and mental health professional, I have had to wrestle with the question, “Can people change . . . really change?” I often meet people who want to change but feel hopeless that change can be a reality for them. Some have tried for years to make change happen in their lives but always end up falling short.

Others have entirely given up on the thought of change. When despair and hopelessness creep in, it is easy to surrender to defeat and allow failure to be our life story. Thankfully, we serve a God who is not satisfied with this.

He meets each of us at the crossroads of our failures and calls us to come to Him with our burdens, to allow Him to transform us by His love, and to engage the process of growth and reconciliation so we may become more like Him.

[blockquote]Change does happen. Change is real. Change is available. Change is not easy. Change has a cost. Change requires us to do our part … Change is worth the struggle.[/blockquote]

At Crossings, we believe God brings about change in people’s lives and the primary vehicle He utilizes to facilitate this change is community. I would like to introduce to you some people who have experienced change in their lives because they made the decision to allow God to transform them through a healing community. Not only have they changed, but now they are helping other people experience change by serving as leaders in CareSeries, Celebrate Recovery or LifeTools.

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Change Does Happen.

Click on each photo to learn more about that person’s experience with Celebrate Recovery.

Chris Helterbrand
Chris Helterbrand

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“I’m a CareSeries leader because I wanted to be involved in this church … I have grown as I’ve helped others, or more specifically been there for others as God reveals Himself to them. It helps me grow closer to God as I volunteer in His purposes. I’ve recently learned that much of Jesus’ ministry was one-on-one or in small groups. I used to think being effective meant doing things on a grand scale. I now believe and have seen that God uses individuals to help others … gives me focus for what I am doing.”

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Tony Provenzano
Tony Provenzano

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“I decided to volunteer on Monday nights to share what the Lord did in my life. Hillsong United’s song ‘In the Desert’ says it best, ‘This is my prayer in the harvest, when favor and providence flow, I know I’m filled to be emptied again, the seed I’ve received I will sow.’ Volunteering continually shows me God is moving … it’s very special to see God move in someone’s life. It has been an absolute joy to do this.”

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Sharon Myers
Sharon Myers

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“I was encouraged to go through the Celebrate Recovery Step Studies. When we got to the twelfth step, it was all about giving back to others. I felt excited and ready to co-lead the next Step Study … I have been able to share my struggles with others and to be transparent without any fear or shame. I have made many deep and trusted friends through CR.”

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Sheryl Myers
Sheryl Myers

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“I decided to volunteer with Celebrate Recovery Step Studies because of the healing I experienced through CR and Crossings. My life has been deeply blessed by seeing the transformation in the lives of my CR sisters … When you give, you receive!”

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“Change Happens” originally published by Todd Poe, LPC/LMFT at Crossings, in the Spring 2014 edition of Crossings Magazine.

Centered on Serving

By | 4yrs - 4th grade, Centered Stories, children & students, LifeCare, Stories, Volunteer, Volunteer Blog, Women | No Comments

rhonda-for-websiteWhat makes a person Christ-centered? Singing worship songs? Memorizing Bible verses? Maybe being a pastor’s wife? Not in the case of new Sunday School teacher Rhonda Moore. Although she felt she had a lot of head knowledge about Jesus, it wasn’t until the circumstances in her life led her through tragedy that she truly began to understand and rely on Him.

 

An Empty Heart

In 1987, Rhonda’s husband Gary was in a horrific car accident that left him paralyzed. At the time, Rhonda and Gary were pastoring a church in northwestern Oklahoma. After the accident, Rhonda was left as the primary caretaker for her family of five. Remarkably, through grace and with the help of their church family, Rhonda and Gary were able to raise their three children, and Gary was even able to pastor for seven more years. Their kids grew up with a love and compassion for the handicapped and have moved on to lead successful lives.

Eventually though, time took its toll on Gary’s body, and he became bedridden, which led to several difficult years for Rhonda as she cared for his every need. Gary’s pastoring days were over. They moved to Edmond to be closer to their adult son, Josh Moore, and to the city’s medical services. In 2013, Gary passed away, leaving Rhonda with an empty house and an empty heart. “I just collapsed internally,” Rhonda expresses. “I became a hermit, living within my inner grief and turmoil. I had been a caregiver all those years, but didn’t know what to do for myself.”

 

Finding Refuge

Then, her son Josh, a member of the Crossings choir and praise team, encouraged her to find counseling and refuge at Crossings. Rhonda took a brave step and began coming to terms with her grief and loss through personal counseling and attending programs like GriefShare, The Next Chapter for Women, Celebrate Recovery, and other CareSeries classes. In the fall, she became part of a Centered small group which inspired her to take inventory of her life. “Being centered on Christ was one of the main ideas I was challenged to reflect on,” Rhonda explains. “I knew I needed to do something, to volunteer in some way, to be Jesus to someone else—that’s what led me to help with Children’s Ministry. After Gary was paralyzed, my church family really helped us raise our kids. I wanted to help love and teach this generation in return.”

 

Hands-on Hope and Love

Rhonda believes Crossings has offered her “hands-on hope and love. People actually live grace and acceptance here,” she states. “I knew I wanted to serve this church in some way. I’m not perfect. I may still have a lot of broken pieces and healing to do, but the Holy Spirit fills me every Sunday to teach a second grade boys’ Sunday School class. It’s really about relying on Jesus for your strength and purpose … that’s what being centered in Christ is all about.” Throughout the week, Rhonda still enjoys spending her time as a caregiver, now as a nanny to her twin grandchildren in Edmond.

Centered on Serving originally published by Danette Boswell, Crossings Volunteer Writing Team Member, in the Spring 2015 Crossings Magazine.

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Crossings Clinic

Open Weekdays from 9:00am - 5:00pm

10255 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73120

Crossings Community Center

Open Weekdays from 9:00am - 5:00pm

10255 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73120

Crossings School

Crossings Christian School

Pre-k through 12th Grade

14400 N. Portland Ave, OKC, OK 73134