Two years ago I contacted McKrae and came to him for help at his office in Spartanburg. I was scared to death! I drove over an hour to get there. Would someone I know see me?
When I sat down with McKrae, he was kind but direct. He focused a lot of his attention on the fact that my wife knew nothing about my struggle and my indiscretions. He said, “It’s way better to confess and face the consequences, and work it out, than to live in fear, live a lie, and get caught.” “Ridiculous!” I thought. I told him that there was no way that I was going to tell her. I wasn’t ready. He encouraged me to text her on the way home and say, “I’ve got something I need to talk to you about,” to commit myself to the task. Again, “ridiculous!” I kept shaking my head in front of him and saying “NO WAY,” inside my head. There was a big part of me that knew he was right, but there wasn’t any way I was going to risk losing her to the truth. Well, two years later, I would give anything to have acted on that challenge that day. But praise Jesus’ Name that I’m writing this to you today.
I saw all the promotion of the Hope Rising conference coming to Ridgecrest. I messaged McKrae about it, but this time under different circumstances. I’d gotten caught. My wife found out and we were in a huge mess. I told McKrae, trying to back out of what I was fearfully stepping towards, “We might not be able to get off work.” McKrae said, “You are in crisis! If you had a family emergency, you would call your employers and get off work. This is a family emergency.” He went on to say how he understood our fear. He shared of he and his wife’s first Exodus conference, in Virginia, and the fear that they had traveling and all the obstacles, but that he’s never missed one since. He said, “Trust me. You’ll be thanking me if you guys come. It’s not as bad you are making it out to be.” I even tried to back out on the first day of the conference. McKrae said, “Don’t back out!”
Well, we did it. We went the first night it started, and McKrae was the opening speaker. Wow, he was real and transparent, uncomfortably so. How was my wife going to take all of this? We went up to him at the end to say, “We’re here. We’re still scared.” What had we gotten ourselves into? Well, that night started the Men’s Harbor/social group. The next night the men had a bonfire after the day’s praise and worship, general sessions, and classes. It was so much, it was hard to take it ALL in. WOW! We were both SO blown away. We were EXACTLY where God meant for us to be. If ever there was a good use of the term “for such a time as this,” it was us being at the Hope Rising Conference. This conference saved our marriage; it saved our lives! I cannot express how much we learned, how great it was to be around men and women and couples like ourselves, and to experience God in such a real and meaningful way in our most vulnerable part of our lives. This was NOTHING like I or my wife had ever experienced before. I wish church could be like this! I wish my pastors and friends could experience this. We will not miss next year’s or any year after, and if possible, we’ll bring some others with us.
After the conference, my wife and I went to Black Mountain for the rest of the day and we found a jewelry store up there that makes custom jewelry. We had these rings made with the Hope Rising emblem and a cross to represent our commitment to one another and for me to have a constant reminder. We just got them in the mail and we’re excited.
The next week, we decided to get in touch with McKrae and ask him if he could help us. Even though he’s told everyone that he’s got to focus on his book project, he’s willing to help us. We feel blessed. I hope you will plan on joining us next year for Hope Rising 2015.