Just what the doctor ordered
"I have learned that to have relationship, I need to be constantly, proactively pursuing others." -Chris Kotter
I didn't expect to spend a half-hour on the introductions, updates, and prayer when we got to the Lodge Friday morning. We were already sitting down about five minutes later than usual and I'll be honest - as the minutes ticked away, I began to get worried about whether we were going to have time to cover what we came there for. Then it dawned on me - "Wait, this is exactly what we came here for!"
We don't do it every time, but once in a while, we need to hit <pause>, look around the room, and see what's going on. Convoy is a culture of connections, and it starts in that room. I love the noise and the laughter when guys are gathering, getting some coffee, and catching up. I love meeting and celebrating the new guys. It was great to hear a little of the story of how Jim Koenigseder's foxhole came together. I didn't know that Lebron's wife, Charlotte, had a recurrence of her cancer. And Big John Spears just fires me up with his passion and faith in the face of chemo treatments. What a privilege to be able to lift the Tatum and Spears families up in prayer together!
It was just what the doctor ordered, and set the stage perfectly for Chris Kotter's story of how relationships saved his life. Check the website for the podcast if you missed it: https://www.convoynwa.org/audio/. When an obsessive/compulsive need to follow all the rules of the religion he grew up in crashed into an ongoing lust issue, all the guilt and shame the enemy could muster came down on Chris' shoulders.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. -John 10:10
Faced with the reality that he could not be the man he wanted to be (none of us can, under our own power), he came to a point where he gave up trying. His wife left. His kids prayed for his soul. He was lost. Almost hopeless, Chris finally found some answers at an Every Man's Battle workshop. He learned that the harmful habits which had haunted him were an attempt to fill the void of an existence with no emotionally intimate relationships. Hungry to build on his new understanding, he started attending Celebrate Recovery. Then he stepped into a Convoy foxhole and discovered a group of men who understood where he had been and came alongside to encourage and support him. With the formation of multiple new relationships, there was one that still needed attention.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” -Genesis 2:18
It didn't come easy. There were stops and starts. They'd been separated for six and a half years. But Chris learned to be a servant to his wife and committed himself to loving her like Christ loves the church. This year, they celebrate 43 years of marriage, and it's never been better. Chris had lived the first half of Proverbs 13:12. Now he understood the second half.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. -Proverbs 13:12