This past week we had to say goodbye to a very dear friend, Jim Young. We met Jim in April of 1995, just a few months after starting our counseling ministry. He had recently retired and was struggling with some issues. Over the ensuing three months or so we met with him every week and he began to process areas of his past that had affected him in negative ways. During that time he had begun to open up his heart more to God, and in the course of this process around the first week of August, 1995, something very miraculous happened. We asked Jim if he would write his testimony so we could share it in our Fall 1995 newsletter. We shared part of this testimony at Jim’s funeral service this past week, and it felt very much like Jim was telling it himself. We’ve included it below, so you, too, could see what God did in his life.
Although Jim was over 20 years older than us, he would at times refer to us as “Mom and Dad” and we think of him and his wife, Shirley, as two of our “Spiritual Kids.” They are very dear to our hearts and always will be. They have walked with us as well, serving on our ministry board of directors for many years.
Many, many people have been affected by Jim’s life and what God did in his heart 20 years ago. He and Shirley have mentored hundreds of people, and though he is now experiencing the love of God face-to-face, his testimony will live on forever!
Jerry and Denise
“A Testimony of The Father’s Love”
by Jim Young (Fall 1995)
When I was born again 25 years ago, God did great things for me. Bad habits were forsaken, I began tithing, enjoying new Christian friends, and doing many good works in the church. But deep down in my heart I did not have much joy, peace, or the ability to trust God completely in my life. Consequently, my efforts to become a better husband and father were very unsuccessful. At that time I had received only a token of the understanding of God’s love, which I so desperately needed.
I have been through twenty-five long years of struggling and trying to cope with all the demands that were placed on me as a husband and father and head of a very successful business. During that time, I fell back into some of my old habits in order to relieve my pain and emptiness I felt inside.
I had the option to retire last December, with financial enticements. The thought of getting out of the everyday pressures of business looked good to me, so I chose to retire. But circumstances arose soon after, causing me to regret giving up the income. It was too late to resume my career again. All of a sudden everything seemed to be closing in on me. I felt depressed, defeated, and trapped in hopelessness. In all this, I had the sense of being far from God, abandoned by Him, and not loved by anyone. Although my family really loved me, the regrets, pains, hurts, shame and disappointments of life caused me to close off from receiving their love and God’s.
It was at this time my wife told me of The Father’s Heart Ministry. Even though I did not want to talk with anyone, I knew God had me call for an appointment.
My mother and father were divorced when I was two years of age. I do not have early memories of my father. When I was four, my mother married a nice man who I remember took me fishing once. After six years, when I was age ten, he was accidentally killed. All my life I did not realize the losses I had suffered nor the pain I had stuffed down in my heart because of abandonment, tragedy, and the hurt of having no father.
At the age of fifteen, my real father came to see me for the first time since I was two. I had no feelings for him nor any expectations from him, so when he made promises to me that he did not keep, I had no feelings of disappointment. I even had no feelings when I later heard that he had committed suicide. I did not even think of going to his funeral. As these things were told to Jerry and Denise, I really did not think I had been hurt, but they did. They prayed that God would reveal Himself as Father and heal the hurts of my fatherless childhood. Nothing seemed to happen at that time.
Soon after, I read the article on brokenness that Denise wrote in their ministry newsletter. I am not an avid reader, but this article so caught my attention that I read it a second time. Although my brokenness was involuntary, God quickened me to begin the journey of brokenness to Him. With faith one-half the size of a grain of mustard seed, I entered into this journey, giving up on myself and yielding to God. This was the starting place for repentance, humility, forgiveness, sanctification and deliverance from anger, bitterness, rebellion and resentment.
After the process of brokenness was begun, I saw the need to forgive many people, going through several days alone with Jesus, just forgiving others. God also showed me that I had judged many people and the Holy Spirit led me to break these judgments. He then began to show me many sins in my life, which I joyfully confessed. I sought forgiveness and then I knew I was forgiven. It was at that point that God’s work in my heart really began to accelerate.
But even then I felt the lack of love in my life. I didn’t have the capacity to love or receive love. I didn’t feel that anyone loved me. I felt love-starved. A friend sent me the book, Passion for Jesus, by Mike Bickle, which was about God’s love and how we could develop passion for Jesus. After reading this book, I wanted more. My wife gave me a book of sermons on the Love of Christ which were preached approximately 125 years ago. I sat up late one night reading these wonderful words unfolding the wonder of His great and endless love for me. At 11:30 p.m. I wanted to go to sleep but God wouldn’t let me. I continued to read this exposition on 1 John 4:19, “We love Him because He first loved us,” and read until 2:30 a.m., put my book down and went soundly to sleep. Twenty minutes later I was awakened by the words I had been reading, only this time I was hearing them in “surround sound,” for there appeared to be a speaker in all four corners of the room. I was again confronted with the message of God’s love echoing to me. This was truly a visitation from God. I heard Him say to me, “Run to me and I will embrace you and never release my embrace.” In minutes He had ravished my heart with His love. My long battle with God ended there. I bowed my heart and received His love to my full capacity. Then God told me, “It’s time for our honeymoon . . . I’ve waited so long.” The bride and groom were made one in God’s love. My repentance was made complete. I cried out for forgiveness for doubting His love, for my life of indifference toward Him, and for going my own way. I sobbed as I asked myself the question, “How could I neglect this great revelation of His love?” Now I desire to ravish Jesus with my love for Him, for He loved me back to life.
As the love process started working in my life, great changes began to take place. God gave me a new love for my wife, to which she responded with zeal, for she had loved me all the time. He gave me a new love for my family and others. I received a new desire to pray with thanksgiving and hope. Deep fears departed from me. My basic trust in Him began to grow. Worship sprung up in me, and although I had been a loner, I now desired to be with God’s people. I began to hear his voice speaking to me in my everyday endeavors. God’s love tears down barriers, pulls down strongholds, gives revelation knowledge, heals the physical body and causes the enemy to flee. Focusing on His love healed my pain, my shame, my fear and my hurts. God’s love tamed my soul and tongue, putting my whole being to rest. I am reveling and basking in the security of my Father’s love. His love creates an inward desire to be obedient, not just do works. I have always sought peace in my life. HE is that peace. God took the dread out of my life, put a new spring in my step, and filled me with hope and expectations for each new day. God has given me victory in my life with great joy and happiness. He has called me to a ministry of sharing His love and helping the poor.
If you notice tears in my eyes, these are tears of joy and freedom, not sadness; and although I am not a musician, God has put a song in my heart. I believe He will anoint me to write this song of His love. Praise God forevermore! Remember, we love Him because He first loved us. Thank you Jerry and Denise, for your love and for being faithful, listening, caring servants.
Although I am a senior at 65 years of age, I feel like a little boy just finding my loving Father that I never had—that others had all along. He is truly the Father of the fatherless. I say “More, Lord,” “Yes, Lord,” I want it all! Jesus is Lord!
NOTE: If you or someone you know is in need of finding a safe place for emotional and/or spiritual healing and restoration, please contact us at The Father’s Heart Intensive Christian Counseling Ministry through our web site at www.fathersheart.com or email us directly at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are located in the North Georgia Mountains in a retreat-oriented environment and have established opportunities for ministry to individuals or couples for time periods as little as a few hours to as long as five days.