My name is, Patricia Willoughby. I have served in the USAF, was widowed before my son was born, and a single parent for 15 years. I am married to my heart’s desire, a Jesus blogger, and I serve in my church helping unique individuals with differing challenges.
Let’s begin with the reconciliations that God has brought about in my life. First is with my mom. We often didn’t see eye to eye nor did we understand one another.
After I married my heart’s desire, I started attending Bible Study Fellowship. God used His word to begin to transform me from the inside out. I learned about His grace and how He called me live out my faith.
I remember having a disagreement with my mom that left me shaken. God used this moment to get to seek out a Stephen’s Minister. I found comfort in speaking to someone. She encouraged me to take a step of faith through another ministry. I was reluctant at first and waited awhile longer before taking that step.
God’s grace is sufficient! I know this because He provided support for me in my husband who stood by me in my struggles. I drew strength through His word. Thus, I finally took that step of faith and began my road to recovery at Celebrate Recovery. It was here that God began to bring about true change in my heart. I did my first step study where I confessed my hurts, hang-ups, and habits as well as to forgive those who had hurt me.
With the help of my first sponsor and what I was learning in Bible Study fellowship, God helped me to reconcile my relationship with my mom. This was a long and slow process but very rewarding. He gave me the strength to do the next right thing. I learned about boundaries which helped to set new boundaries in our relationship. This, too, was not easy but helped us grow stronger.
One of a number scripture verse that helped me was 1 Peter 5:10 ESV. It reads, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” From this, I learned that all my struggles serve a purpose in my life. Celebrate Recovery motto is ‘God never wastes a hurt.’
In addition to this, my first sponsor taught me a couple of things that I still hold on to. One, what people think of me is none of my business. Second, she encouraged me to get connected outside of my extended family. This was a big step for me. I still benefit from that advice.
However, the greatest reconciliation was yet to come. This was with my sister. I am several years older than my sister. She and I often misunderstood one another. I had made several missteps and caused her much pain. We were estranged for 10 years.
By God’s amazing grace and another ministry that I am a part of, He used someone near and dear to me to speak to my heart. She told me to love my sister. In 2015, my sister and brother-in-love were blessed with a baby girl. My niece was born in August. With God’s help, I reached out to my sister and made my first visit a couple of weeks after my niece was born. I now rejoice in my relationship with my sister and I have bonded with my niece.
To summarize what God has done. First, He taught me to truly forgive, to be willing to admit when I am wrong, and to let go of shame and guilt. Second, conflict resolution is possible when you are honest, appropriate, respectful, and direct. Last but not least show people grace as He showed it to me.