I attended my first Collide event in the fall of 2013. This spring I attended my 5th. I can barely believe the way God has moved in my life in the months in between. Much of what’s changed has been in my own mind and heart; fresh perspective, new found hope, earnest faith. These invisible changes in me are gradually renovating my thoughts and prayers. My self-critical thoughts are becoming more kind and gentle, my prayers more honest, tender, unafraid.
Each time I attend Collide, spending the day listening to women share story and scripture, I encounter Jesus in a new way, getting to know his character and his heart better and better. These intangible changes, while no small victory for me, laid groundwork for more measurable ones too.
Since the age of five, I have seen my dad a couple times per year. I spent most of my life wondering why he didn’t love me, convinced that it was so. Over the past few years I have slowly come back into relationship with him. This past fall I ended up going to work for my step mom (now lovingly referred to as Bonus Mom or B-Mama) at their home office where I saw my dad more regularly than I had in nearly 30 years.
At my first Collide event I heard Willow speak about wounded collisions. I thought I’d understood them that day. I knew my wounds well. But as I entered into relationship with my dad, my Bonus Mom, and two sisters (the daughters he raised), I came into full understanding of how my wounds impacted my relationships. My wounds tried to tell me that there was no hope for real connection with my dad, my window of opportunity had passed. They tried to tell me that my only choice was to grin and bear it, just so I could be near him. My wounds threatened that saying anything, asking any questions, letting him know me, would be risking everything. But it hurt to put on a smile and pretend. It hurt to wonder if he just hadn’t cared all those years. It hurt to think that he hadn’t hurt too.
After months of commuting hours per day, I knew that my employment there wasn’t a good fit for my family and I had to give my notice. Fear warned me that my budding relationship with my dad and family would wilt with my last paycheck, but I desperately wanted that to be untrue. And then there was a door, an opportunity to have a difficult conversation, to invite my dad into this wounded collision and hopefully, into healing. It was a tearful talk, each of us sharing from our pain. The longer we talked, the more honestly we shared; the more we could see one another’s hearts, the less power all the years of hurting seemed to hold.
This is God’s work, He’s in the business of restoration. Restoration is the work that the Collide ministry is facilitating. It’s why I will keep going back and keep inviting everyone I know, keep digging into the stories and the teaching. There is much of this restorative work left to do in me. -Beth