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Jim

“I have been a member at Redeemer since the early days of the church but in the past two years God has really used Redeemer to promote serious change and growth in my life. Growing up, I never truly understood God’s grace and have lived my life with good principles instilled by my family that hard work pays off. I never wanted my disabilities to interfere with my success and I have always believed that controlling my environment would allow me to succeed, which it did for many years.

Early in my marriage, my wife and I struggled through infertility. At that time, we were able to conceive one child and adopted a second.  While I was beginning to sense that I did not have full control over my life, my family did grow from 2 to 4.  A more realistic understanding of my inability to control circumstances came more recently when it became clear that my oldest child had fallen away from God. As a result, I struggled with guilt, frustration and feelings of failure, inadequacy and shame. These feeling were intensified as I truly struggled with the thought that things would have been better if I did not have a disability.

Through the leadership and teaching at Redeemer I have learned that I have freedom in the gospel and that failure doesn’t disqualify me from grace. Also, it is through our weaknesses and failure that God demonstrates His power; both in our lives and the lives of those we interact with. I don’t have to fear when things are out of my control and I don’t have to live outside of community, protecting myself from relationships because of the fear that people will not accept me. I have always hated being dependent upon others because of my vision but God is showing me that living in Christian community and serving requires interdependence. It requires giving fully of ourselves and coming alongside of others, with all of our weaknesses, to support them in their own.

This growth has taught me that living out of my weaknesses actually brings amazing blessing to me and to others because it turns us toward God. Learning that it is only by grace that I can survive and serve has been a huge lesson that I’m sure God will be developing in me for many years to come. I am so thankful that I have been challenged here at Redeemer to come to understand this.”