Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
I was going to title this, “THE END,” but I was afraid people wouldn’t know what to make of it. So I thought of “A YEAR OF LEARNING.” So, believe it or not, next Monday, December 12th is my last class and graduation in re:generation! Lots of mixed feelings going on here. It has been a good year of learning and by His grace, growing in the LORD. There may be an opportunity to write this out a little more in-depth later, but I wanted to try summarizing some of the things that I believe the Lord has been teaching me.
TRUSTING GOD—one of the first things I remember being impressed with is that I did not really trust God. If you were to ask me if I did, I would have stated emphatically, “why of course I trust God.” But as we got into Step 3-Trust (we call the different areas “Steps”), I was impressed that I really did not trust God for my life any longer. I felt as though my life was going a bit out of control and I really needed to “take care of business.” So I would try things that I thought I needed to do in my own strength with no regard for God.
I can’t remember exactly what caused me to change, but at one point, I came to the realization that I did not really trust God with my life. This started me on a course of several things. First, I started looking at my life (still am, actually) and asking God to take back areas of my life that I had taken over from Him. This included any type of future I might have; my friendships and relationships if any; my money; my health and even my death and my going Home to Him. The one thing I noticed as I was doing this was that my life slowly became a lot more peaceful. I found I could actually rest in the LORD. This was something new to me. Let me leave you with a short passage: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8.
INVENTORY, CONFESSION, REPENTENCE, FORGIVENESS, AMENDS—this is actually five steps rolled into one. Although we went over them individually, over time they seemed to me to be interconnected. I know inventory was the step that nearly wiped out all of us in the group (there are six of us). We stayed on Inventory for a long time and basically asked God to reveal any sin from our entire lives (my life of course was longer than anyone else’s) and we wrote them down on a chart.
I thought all this was rather silly at first, but when I prayed, I started to remember sins I had kind of put aside. Soon I had several pages on my inventory chart. The next step was to confess them to God. Now I figured I had done that but I did it again. The sins I started to remember were not the visible sins that everyone could see. They were more sins of the heart. Things like holding grudges; bitterness; anger; evil thoughts, etc. I realized what I had done since becoming a child of God that was my sins became more sophisticated and acceptable. Instead of acting out my sins, I just held them in my heart. I became a good Pharisee. I could look quite nice on the outside but my heart was as black as coal.
So from confession we went to repentance, turning from our sin. This was quite a challenge. It was one thing to take yourself out of a physical sin, like to avoid places and people where you might be prone to sin. But how do you deal with a thought, or pattern that no one knows about except you and God? I had no clue but I kept asking God to change my heart (that is pretty much a daily prayer now). From there we moved to forgiveness and making amends. Now, for sure, I thought I had this one taken care of. Well no, not exactly. Working in a Christian ministry for the past 20 years I had some experience in asking forgiveness and trying to make amends with people. But God, over time showed me a few more people I needed to ask for their forgiveness. I did so with two people here in the ministry.
The other side of the coin was the need to forgive others. I had to decide if I needed to go talk with them or if I just needed to forgive them between me and God. I did some of both. One person I needed to ask forgiveness of was my wife, Alice. While we both needed to grow in the LORD when we got married, there were times that I was just a terrible husband to her. We did grow in our marriage and in one of our conversations shortly before Alice died, she told me I was the best husband she could have ever had, and she explained why. To be honest, I couldn’t accept it, but I hid that fact from her because I could sense something in her that made me wonder if she wasn’t longing for home. It wasn’t too long after that that she did indeed go home. I could only thank and praise God for taking her in her sleep as He did. At the time I wrote the letter I was still filled with shame and guilt. The letter was almost as difficult as it would have been if I talked with her face to face. But writing the letter was not just an exercise and God used it to bring freedom to my heart. I must confess that it would have been nice to talk with her face-to-face over this but it didn’t work out that way. On December 23rd, it will be four years since her home going.
OK. It’s time to close this. As you can probably tell, I don’t have all my thoughts wrapped around all this yet. Last night at re:gen I was given some instructions on how to write a Recovery Testimony. Hopefully somewhere down the road, I can work on that. But for now, I just want to keep going on the path the Lord has put me on with Him. When I first started nearly a year ago, I really didn’t think it was going to be much help. But God made me stick it out week after week and over time I could actually sense God working in me. I have a long way to go and I pray that I don’t lose the ground I have gained thus far. I don’t know if there will be anything in this blog for any of you, if you read this. I do hope that it is not a waste of your time, and if you have any question about anything, that you would feel comfortable enough to ask me. You will find me pretty open to answering just about any question. You see, it’s not the re:generation program that is the star here, nor is it Bob Mayo. It’s our Lord Jesus Christ!! He has set us free, and we are free indeed, if we will just trust and follow Him with all our hearts. Sometimes, we need a tune-up to get back on track with Him. re:generation was a great help to me to rediscover following Christ with my heart!