How Transformation Works (#514)

What do you do when change doesn't come as fast as you want, or you're wondering whether it's coming at all? Wayne's favorite guest, his wife Sara, joins the podcast to discuss what God has been doing in her life over the past few years. We respond to an email and a blog post that wanted some input from Sara about how she is living out this process. We find ourselves talking about transformation in general, the unique challenges that women face to find freedom when they have often been subjected to man's selfishness and control, and how two people in a marriage can celebrate each other's growth and transformation.

Podcast Resources:
Our previous podcast on Sara's Journey
Wayne's Blog: To My Sisters Raised in Captivity.
Engage Videos
Our latest update from Kenya
Add your voice to our question/comment line: (805) 539-6980 or Skype us at "TheGodJourney"


  1. Thank you for sharing, Sarah.

    Something that’s hard to embrace is, we have to be healthy first before we can do well helping others, but I believe it now. It’s not selfish.

    I recently read a Confucian principle that harm of others starts with self-harm. It immediately made me think about all of the abuse and manipulation I’d seen in church. Those people hadn’t set out to hurt anyone, but somehow performance took a higher priority than nurturing a connection with our creator, and the best intentions devolved.

    My mom taught me to not trust people who talk about how their ministry gives them so much life, they don’t need to take a vacation. How can we stay close and connected to God if we’re more focused on output than taking the quiet time needed to grow deeper with him?

    When we subvert ourselves, meeting others’ demands enables them to be stagnant and not find deeper life, or it teaches those around us to subvert themselves as well. What a sad place to be.

    It is so okay and important to take care of ourselves, pursue the passions God has built into us, and walk closely with him in that journey. The life that awaits us is amazing! It’s an adventure.

  2. I love you Sara…

    Thank you for sharing.

    Some of your comments just brought me to my knees because, well, they touched on things I’ve been experiencing but never recognized.

    Thank you for fighting your discomfort to share with me.

    Wishing you so many blessings dear sister.

  3. Where is the audio player? I have looked on my PCWORLD and Android and it’s not here. Anyone else?

  4. HI Ron. Sorry you’re having trouble, but we haven’t changed anything on the website that would account for that. I’ll be interested to hear too if others are having a similar problem.

  5. Gracie, I wholeheartedly agree. Unfortunately for most “ministry” is more about what the “minister” gains, than what he gives away to others. It does create abusive situations even though the people involved cannot see it.

    • Wayne, I’ve mentioned this to you in emails, and now will mention it publically, but what means a lot to me, and I’m sure many others as well, is that you respond to correspondence with in a timely manner, and with much thought behind it. I’ve had emails go unreplied by ‘ministers’ you refer to. Even a form letter would’ve sufficed. I don’t take this lightly, and try not to abuse the privilege for sure. But a simple thanks once more.

      I believe every family has degrees of dysfunction, as we all come from a fallen nature. Mine was on the higher side for sure. As Sarah mentioned the role reversal and doing an admirable job of taking care of her parents, in cases where parents were abusive and/or neglectful, it would possibly be easier to respond in kind than to make the higher choice and sacrifice. Sarah, I admire you for living out your faith knowing what doing so entailed. Thank you.

  6. Leah, thanks for your kind words. I passed them on to Sara. I know they will touch hjer.

  7. Sara:
    I’m a new widow and going through a thorough review of my almost-45-year marriage to a minister/author who lived his last thirty years in the pain and uncertainty of an auto-immune disease and a life expectancy of ten years that he was given at the time of his diagnosis.

    During those thirty years i was encouraged by more than one pastor to abandon my marriage. After all, I was just “enabling” him to be sick and being a co-dependent for a narcissist. All that talk reminded me of a book I had read ‘way back in the sixties by Erich Fromm called “Art of Loving.” He argued that much of western society is based on hierarchy—top-down relationships and not on self-giving love.

    As my husband neared death, the whole issue of end of life came into sharp focus. I felt confronted by the medical conundrum–do we prolong life or prolong death when we drug the dying to the point of incoherence.

    Of course I’m dealing with anger issues during this time of grieving so please give me some grace for this rant! Remember Job!


  8. Thanks for sharing Sara… I found myself in tears through much of that. Good tears! (:

    Letting go of the person who (I thought) I was supposed to be, and embracing my true self has (and is) a very painful and challenging journey – most notably in that I am now (finally!!) letting others to see the real me – warts and all. Slowly God is chipping away the edges, and allowing me to see, and eventually feel the freedom of knowing and living as who I was designed to be.

    Thank you for everything you do.


  9. I’m on my iPhone and don’t see any way to play/listen to the podcast either as Rory mentioned in an earlier comment. Anyone else having trouble?

  10. Never mind! There is a very tiny link at the bottom of the blog below “more episodes from God journey” and above the comments that says “download broadband” and if you click on that, it will play.

  11. Thank you SO much Sara for what you shared on this podcast. A few things you said really resonated with me as I was raised in a very similar (male dominated/female oppressed) religious environment. BTW, I’ve just begun reading “The Gifts of Imperfection” as I’ve heard Wayne talk about it from time to time. Looking forward to what Father will teach me through it. Happy New Year!

  12. “God comes to you disguised as your life” . Paula D’Arcy
    Great podcast wonderful to hear Sara’s voice??

  13. There is some truly awesome things in this and in Sara’s previous visit with us via Wayne’s podcasts (linked to above). I got blessings from this. Although I’m not married anymore (widowed quite awhile ago) … I can see there are many women in a type of bondage and unable to be who God created them to be & who are put there by the patriarchal nature of the traditional church (and praise Jesus that seems to be changing some) and by men, period. If they can hear what I heard and read here (Wayne’s blog link above) about it, they will find a crack in their prison and maybe the beginnings of a road to freedom. Thank you, Sara, for being so willing to be open about your own transformation. I, too, was sort of “the introvert” in my marriage to a marvelously extroverted male who never met a stranger and I know that isn’t always comfortable. You are truly a good sport about being forced to live a more or less public life because your husband is called to do so. God bless you, sweet lady, in all you do.

    • So sweet of you to acknowledge all of that Penny. I know Sara will be touched!

  14. Love, love, loved this podcast! I can so relate! I am finding that abiding in the love of God for me is turning upside down just about everything I thought I knew, especially about God. I feel like the worst of the growing pains are behind me, the journey ahead stretches out in front of me with a lot less trepidation because of the security I am growing in. At this point I am especially undone by the well known scriptures that I keep coming across that I hear completely different than ever before. It’s safe to say that every one that used to feel like a call to perform is in fact an invitation into deeper rest! Who knew the gospel was really such good news!
    A big thank you to Sara for sharing with us! I bet she has no idea how many people love her and her journey, even without ever meeting her. Tell her that her cheering section is loud and proud! ????

    • Yes, it is good news. I hate how we’ve twisted it into something else over 2000 years of “Christian” history. Sara was very touched by your words, Janelle. Thanks for posting.

  15. Anne from the UK, tried to post this and it didn’t show up for some reason. I’m reposting it here:

    Ah Wayne, your lovely Sara demonstrates that transformation is possible in such a beautiful transparent way. That the years of going round and round the mountain can come to an end.
    I have had engaging conversations quite recently with a number of people and notice with a sense of profound joy similar statements of transformation.
    I spent 30 odd years traversing a mountain, which I couldnt quite name, or understand. Religion kept me going round and round on the outside without ever digging into it to see what on earth it was made up of.
    One day while plodding around with my eyes firmly fixed on my feet, I bumped into God. I had bumped into him a few times, but shame had kept my eyes averted, because you know, I really wasnt good enough and couldnt bare to look wider! This time, for some reason, probably desperation and wearyness, I actually looked up and caught his gaze.
    I had no words for that look, and still dont, but I expected to see disgust, dissolusionment and disappointment, basically the same emotions I felt about myself, but instead I saw the exquisite beauty he saw, an image of myself in his eyes that took my breath away, my utter belovedness.
    I suddenly saw this false self, the imposter you build up over years to create a “safe” place you can live in that you control, for the massive lie that it was. I remember looking in the mirror at that point thinking, and not with a little fear, “Oh God, who am I then?” (I wasnt that polite either!).
    The journey from that place towards my true self, a coming home if you like, has been ongoing now for 7 years. It took years to “perfect” that false cave to hide in, I dont imagine the deep work of dismantelling that could be done in a day, we are complicated beings. My friend says “God is in the business of bringing us home” and think she is right.

    As Sara says, this is a journey, I dont know if there is an endpoint to this journey in this life, I dont know anyone who has been fully made whole, but I know some wonderful, honestly broken, vulnerable, beloved human beings who are on the same journey towards home that we are. God is in the business of bringing us home

    I wonder if this is going to be a defining podcast for many people. It is such an encouraging, honest and vulnerable one, thanks so much Sara for being willing to put your journey out there for us to taste hope in our own transformation.

  16. Wayne, yeah I’m a few weeks behind on the podcast, but…
    I love the admonition you gave to men about how to support their wives going through this journey, but my husband does not listen to your podcast. I would welcome some discussion or thoughts on dealing with a husband that has no idea what is going on with me. Sara’s journey resonates with me. I’ve become aware of how much people-pleasing was interwoven into my being. Not just people-pleasing. It was more like I was terrified of disapproval. Really terrified, like sweaty palms fast pulse type of terrified. A big part of my self-identity was the ability to appease the angry people in my life, an inheritance from at least two generations of alcoholic/co-dependent families. Thank God I am getting past that. I have more peace and contentment in my soul than ever before in my life. Praise the Lord, I am awed and thankful.
    This flip side of that is that my husband does not really know how to respond to this shift. He is still trying to do the co-dependent dance and I’m not dancing along. I am really not sure how to deal with his demands. He is seeing me as non-submissive, when really I’m just not afraid any more. I can’t go back. The hottest issue is when I don’t agree with how he treats our teenage son. It’s been very hurtful to our son over the years, and I am not inclined at all throw my hat in the ring with my husband just for the sake of “unity”. He’s pretty upset with me for not going along with his idea of “good parenting,” so the issue comes up repeatedly. Some times I feel like I have to openly defy him just to do the thing I feel is right. So I welcome thoughts and insights here. (talking to him doesn’t work so that is off the table.)

  17. Pat, I’m really sorry your husband can’t seem to enjoy your journey with you, or even care to understand it. Without that it will only drive a wedge between you and one or the other of you is left to capitulate to the other or simply exist stagnated by the lack of real, heartfelt unity, to the pretend kind you speak of. Only God can show you what he wants, but I would consider prevailing on your husband to get some counseling together if he cares at all about having a joyful marriage. It takes two working together for a marriage to happen where both genuinely respect the journey of the other and especially where they don’t see eye-to-eye find a way to adjust and respect each other. That’s the deal with marriage, one person can’t make it work alone. Both have to engage.

  18. Thanks for your reply Wayne. What doesn’t come through in my post is my own history of bad behavior. We really did spend years doing this dance of control and manipulation, out of fear of course, each in our own way. We actually have been to counseling and amazingly we have both grown and “shifted” as the counselor says. He still just really has this sore point about our son and doesn’t really see that his attempts at “parenting” are hurtful and manipulative. Maybe time for another round of counseling, it’s just so tedious :).
    We are definitely at different places in our journey. We do have long stretches of peace and harmony, or maybe just a “detante” and we really do love each other. I guess in this last row I was really questionning whether I was a rebellious wife.

  19. Human transformation, especially with two people involved is tedious and it is a bit of a dance. But I don’t know what else to do but love and keep talking with a counselor if need by. Yes our own failures in the past add to that, but the best marriages keep growing, past failures, allowing others to take on new wisdom and finding a way forward together… I pray he’ll find a season where he is open to change. Growing together is the best part of marriage!

  20. Thanks for dealing with this issue…glad my question hit a nerve (and I bet it is a giant nerve in the Body of Christ)…hopefully many men will be made aware of how women ‘work’ from this, but also that they will come to realize that ‘always getting their own way’ is harmful spiritually for them as well.

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