A few weeks ago, I shared with you a review of the book, Sons of Grace. If you love redemption stories, then the book is an awesome book to read. You get a front row seat with ten different men as they encounter Christ and His grace. As a person that loves second chances, this book reminded me of how thankful I am for grace. I had an opportunity to chat with Mark Hughes, the author of Sons of Grace and we wanted to share that with you today. Enjoy!
We will be giving away 5 copies of the book next week.
Almost every day we get emails from people who are experiencing the pain, loss and devastation of an affair. They are wounded and hurt and don’t know what to do or where to turn. They want their life back; their marriage back; their spouse back. Often as we read through the emails and then begin to correspond with the man or woman that sent it there is a belief that at some point in the future, their spouse will make up for all the pain they caused. When their spouse makes it up to them, then they can move on; then they can forgive; then they an rebuild. This expectation will always leave a void in a persons’ heart. Because if your spouse has a sexual addiction; if your spouse has had an emotional affair; if your spouse has had a physical affair, there is nothing they can ever do to make that up to you. When making up for it is the expectation:
You will become a suspicious person
You will become a resentful person
You will become an insecure person
You will manipulate and guilt trip to get your way
You will live out of fear and worry
The bar can never be set high enough for you to find the redemption you are looking for. When you are waiting for your spouse to make it up to you, they will always fail and you will be left searching for one more thing that will make the pain feel better. The redemption you are looking for can only be found in Jesus. You trying to find your own redemption through your spouse’s performance will never give you the marriage you desire.
For as many emails we get from spouses that are devastated, we get just as many from spouses that are broken and desperate. They are the ones that cheated; they are the ones that have a sexual addiction; they are the ones that broke their marriage covenant. They want help; they want their marriage back; they will do anything to make this up to their spouse. If they could just prove to their spouse how sorry they are, then that would make up for all the hurt they have caused. There is only one problem: You can never make up for it. You will never be able to say enough or do enough to make up for it. It isn’t possible. When a spouse starts to live with the mission of making up for it:
You work really hard to not make your spouse mad
You walk on egg shells cause you know you were the one that messed up
You don’t give your opinion or feedback because you don’t feel like you have that right
You constantly feel guilt and shame for all the mistakes you have made.
Living in a performance based marriage will never build intimacy.
Here is the truth…you can’t make up for it. You can’t redeem yourself. The redemption you desire can only be found in Jesus. When you spend all of your time trying to perform and make up for your mistakes, you rob God of the work that He needs to do in your heart.
The answer is grace. It is grace that provides redemption. For the spouse that is hurting, it is offering forgiveness. It doesn’t mean trusting, but it does mean forgiving. The power that forgiveness has to bring redemption is greater than anything you can demand.
For the one that has done the hurting, it is receiving grace and living out of the forgiveness that Christ offers. It is only in that forgiveness that you can find the freedom you desperately need.
Three years ago this month we were asked to share our story publicly for the very first time. The new senior pastor at Traders Point Christian Church, Aaron Brocket wanted to kick off the new year with our story. We said no…it’s not worth the risk. Until we prayed about it. Then we said we would share our story just one time and that would be it. We’d be done. That would be the end of that.
After we shared, the response was overwhelming. Husbands wanting to talk.Wives needing advice. Couples that were broken. We didn’t know what to do. I called my friend Pete and asked his advice. He said, “You should start a blog.” “What is a blog?” I asked. We said no…it isn’t worth the risk. Until we prayed about it. We’d do one blog series, and that would be the end of that.
God started opening doors for us to travel and speak at churches and started using our blog to reach people all over the world. Then we were asked to do a marriage seminar. We said no…a marriage seminar isn’t worth the risk. Until we prayed about it. Okay, we’ll do one marriage seminar, and that would be it.
Over and over again this has been the pattern for the past three years. God opens a door for ministry. We look at our experience; our failures; our limitations; our lack of expertise and we conclude it isn’t worth the risk. Then we pray about it and God reassures us that any risk for His Glory is always worth it. The conferences we speak at; the book we are writing; the marriage coaching we do; all of it is intimidating and we feel unqualified.
I remember sitting at Starbucks here in Nashville over a year ago with Casey Graham. He began to challenge us to take our journey and our experience and put together an online mentoring program that would help couples move from the marriage they have to the marriage they desire. He cast vision to Trisha and me about a weekly subscription that would be intentional and strategic in improving marriages. We said no.
Then a few months later he mentioned it to us again. We said no again.
What if no one is interested? What if what we have to say isn’t helpful? What if we offer this thing and no one signs up? What if it fails? ” It isn’t worth the risk. Then we prayed about it and realized that if it helped just one couple, it would be worth the risk.
We have over 100 people that have signed up for our MentorUs program and I am so glad we took the risk. You can still sign up to join us as well. Trisha and I were talking this weekend and we realized that 2 years ago we didn’t even have 100 people reading our blog…so what an honor to be helping so many couples. I’m so glad we didn’t do what was easy, but chose to trust God even when it was risky.
For those of you that took a risk on us and believed that the story God has written in our life and marriage could be written in your marriage…thank you! To our friend Aaron…thank you. To our friend Pete…thank you. To our friend Casey…thank you.
Maybe today is your day to take a risk. Maybe today you know God is calling you to do something that is outside your comfort zone. But you know it is from Him. To those of you that know God is calling to risk; to trust; to step out in faith; not for your own glory but for His…it is worth the risk.
If you’ve been saying no to the next chapter of your story…pray about it…then take the risk.
Six years ago today, my amazing wife Trisha and I renewed our vows. I have never shared this publicly, but a week after the affair was confessed I received an envelope from a lady in our church. Inside the envelope was a note from Trisha and her wedding ring. I don’t remember the letter word for word, but I remember her overall message: Our first marriage has died. I need God to give me a vision of a new life with you.
Six years ago today, she chose me again. She gave me a second chance. Two months after I crushed her heart, she said “I Do” again. New vows. New rings. New beginnings.
I didn’t deserve a second chance. I didn’t deserve to stay married. As I sit here and think about it, I still don’t deserve a second chance. I still don’t deserve to be married. That is amazing thing about grace…it offers what we don’t deserve and can’t earn.
When I look at the pictures below, they aren’t about a blog or a book or a marriage ministry.
They are simply about a family that is so grateful to God for grace and second chances. That is what we are celebrating today. The incredible gift of a second chance.
Thank you for being a part of this community. We believe with all of our heart that no one and no marriage is beyond the gift of a second chance.
A few months later, we moved to Nashville to go on staff at Cross Point. We knew that God called us back to the local church and we were honored to be a part of an amazing church like Cross Point.
God continued to use our blog and give us a heart for the marriage that is hurting and the marriage that is just existing. The leadership team at Cross Point continued to cheer us on and support our heart for RefineUs. So many of you have been a part of this incredible journey as well. You have read our posts; you have sent us emails; you have offered encouragement; we have had over 15,000 comments left on this site in the past few years. This community has shaped us and our belief that there is hope for every marriage.
About a year ago, our pastor Pete Wilson really challenged Trisha and me to consider putting a book proposal together. He wrote about our story in his book, Plan B, but he felt like God could use us beyond how we were currently allowing Him to use us. So we began working on a book proposal. Over the next several months God continued to lead and guide us and challenge and expand our vision. From February of this year to August, Trisha and I and our friend and agent, Jenni Burke worked on a comprehensive book proposal that would capture the heart and soul of our story and the desire we have to help marriages move from ordinary to extraordinary.
On Thursday, we had the honor of sitting down with our three boys in our dinning room, and signing a contract to write our first book. We are so excited to be partnering with Tyndale House Publishers on our book Destroying Ordinary: From the Marriage You Have to the Marriage You Want (working title).
The book is scheduled to be released in February 2013.
This blog post is simply a thank you note. Thank you to our church family for loving and supporting us. Thanks to so many of you that have encouraged us on this journey. Thanks to so many of you for seeing something in us before we ever saw it in ourselves. Thank you for making RefineUs a place where anyone can come and find honesty, transparency and grace. We are so excited to share this journey with you as our story continues to be written.
A few weeks ago, my friend Grant and I happened to show up at the same Starbucks at the same time. He had scripts to write for the weekend and I had a message to write. We exchanged small talk then went to work. A few hours later, I was up and ready to leave, and Grant handed me a CD. It was a burned CD with some writing on it. In Nashville, people hand you those all the time, so it wasn’t out of the ordinary.
What caught my attention is how he described the CD. He said, “Your story is all about brokenness and redemption…this CD is redemption put to music. Really good music.” I grabbed the CD and told him I would listen to it. I got in my car and put the CD in as I drove to pick up one of my sons from school. By the time I got to the school I was in tears. I sat there and heard MY story on this CD. Story of failure. Story of hurt and betrayal. Story of disappointing and letting down. But the story of grace and restoration and redemption was louder than the bass. It was music to my soul.
As my son got in the car he said, “What’s wrong with you?” I told him about the CD and just how God had spoken to my heart through it. He asked if he could listen. I turned the radio back on and immediately he said, “That’s Da Truth!!!” I said, “You know who this guy is?” “My son said, “Dad he is one of my favorite rappers.” We drove home listening to the CD and talking about the lyrics. I got home and sent Grant a text and said, “You have to hook me up with this guy!” So over the last couple of weeks, I have been messaging back and forth with Da Truth. (My kids think I’m really cool at this point.)
His CD released on Wednesday of this week, and he has been so gracious to allow me to give away 5 autograph copies of his newest CD The Whole Truth. Track 5 is my favorite track on the entire CD and it is the title track to the CD. You can watch the music video below.
I don’t want to blow the surprise, so I’ll just say this. I’m going to be sharing more with you next week about Da Truth’s story. He and his wife have an incredible story of failure, loss and redemption that I can’t wait to share with you! One of the greatest things beyond the lyrics of this CD is that all 3 of our boys LOVE this CD. So as we are driving in the car, each one of them requests a certain track. What a gift to listen to music that shares God’s story in a relevant way for Trisha and me…and our 3 boys. Such a gift!
If you’d like to enter to win the AUTOGRAPHED copy of the CD, it’s pretty easy.
1.Leave a comment and share with us your favorite style of music. (even if you like country I won’t disqualify you.) 2. Tweet this on Twitter:Enter to win the new @truthonduty AUTOGRAPHED CD from @justindavis33 and refineus.org http://bit.ly/mUH4c1 3. If you hit LIKE on the post, put that in the comments and that will enter you again.
Even if you don’t win, you can purchase The Whole Truth on iTunes:CLICK HERE
We’ll announce winners on Sunday and I’ll have more of Da Truth’s story next week.
Today is a day I wish I had a do-over as a pastor. Trisha and I leave today for a quick trip to Indiana. We are attending the visitation and funeral for a long-time family friend. About 8 years ago, our friend Fred decided to give God and the Church a second chance. Years before he had experienced tragedy and lost trust in God and the Church. But somehow, someway, God used our church plant and he and his wife Judy began attending faithfully with their family.
Three years later, I failed morally.
I can’t even count how many times in messages I said something to this effect, “This church is for people who have lost their belief in the church.” Then I contributed to helping people lose their belief in the church. Now, almost six years later, my friend has passed away.
I know that grace is strong. I know grace is powerful. I know grace is unexplainable. I know that I am forgiven and have been restored. I know all of that. But today, as we go back to people that we love and that love us, I’m reminded of the consequences of poor choices. I reminded of the opportunity to honor Christ that was lost. I am reminded that Fred had finally given God a chance, and I pray that I didn’t completely sabotage his journey.
This blog, really from the very beginning has been a story of mistakes. There is no doubt that we have made many. This blog has also been a story of redemption. The consequences of mistakes are sometimes more visible than the fruit of redemption. Redemption is God’s gift of working all things for the good of those who love Him.
The video below is just that. It is the story of a failure that had the potential to destroy not just a marriage but my relationship with my boys…and ultimately my son’s faith in Christ. Redemption is always bigger than our mistakes. I’m so thankful Micah has pursued God’s heart. As a parent, you can’t control what your kids choose…so we are thankful that Micah has chosen God. Trisha and I are so proud of not just what Micah says, but in who He is becoming.
Justin and Trisha Davis returned to ministry in 2009 following a four year journey of restoration. They use their story of pain, loss and redemption to bring hope and healing to couples all over the country.