Freedom through surrender


Serving as a co-pastor at Community Life Church (C-Life) in Forney, Randy Wade wears multiple hats day-in and day-out. From pastor, counselor, mentor and friend to husband, father and son, Randy serves many people in a variety of ways.

One day last fall, as he began listing out his roles in life and how he thought he ranked in each one, it became very apparent something was not right. While many ministers and leaders in the church complimented Randy on his giftings, it was hard for him to honestly rank himself above a two on a 10-point scale in any area.

He made a second list of what others had told him about his giftings in different roles and realized they would have ranked him much higher.

"The disparity forced me to recognize something wasn't right," he said.

A little voice inside was constantly discouraging Randy, bringing up past hurts and sins like his parents' divorce when he was young, or his struggle with an addiction to pornography as a teenager. Although he was a strong Christian, serving faithfully as a minister for many years, he realized he believed the lie that he "was not good enough" in most areas of his life.

Randy sought out a friend and through their conversation, he realized he had been carrying burdens around with him, some for more than 20 years, which were clearly impacting his self-confidence and worth.

His friend encouraged him to seek out a Christian counselor for help, one who was not connected with his church or community so he could find a safe place to talk about the pain he was experiencing.

Thinking about his role as pastor of his church, Randy was worried about the stigma of counseling, questioning whether his congregation would lose trust in him if he was open about his struggles. Ultimately, Randy realized he was being honest in his need for help and he trusted God would use this experience for His good.

"As I sat and talked with the counselor, I realized I had allowed my lack of confidence to ruin certain parts of who God wanted me to be and who He wanted me to see myself as," Randy said.

Randy found the sessions therapeutic, as he was able to be truly honest about feelings, hurts, frustrations and past sins. At the end of his counseling, he found great freedom through surrender, and the Lord worked in great ways to remind Randy who He was in Christ.

Randy also realized, "What I had been prescribing for people for 20 years was something I desperately needed myself."

He found the experience so helpful, he could not wait to go back to his church and tell people about it. The response he received was overwhelming, with many friends expressing encouragement for his strength to seek help. Others even said hearing about his experience encouraged them personally to also seek help.

His family were probably the biggest benefactors of the process. "When you get home, your family knows you best," he said. "They were the recipients of the majority of my insecurity."

Now, his wife and children have a more confident leader in their home.

Seeking counseling and being open and honest with his friends, family and church community about his struggles has truly changed Randy's life.

"It's been a visible part of my sanctification process put on display," Randy said. "It's been really helpful for a lot of people. This process requires vulnerability and confession, saying 'I don't like this part of myself and God is in the process of changing it.'"

If you or a family member, or another minister in your church would like to seek counseling, contact Katie Swafford, director of Counseling Services, for assistance at (800) 388-2005 or by email at: .

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