The ballroom brimmed with those whose lives had been forever changed by the ministry of Dr. Nick Eno.
The long awaited evening was finally upon us, as we celebrated the launch of his groundbreaking book, The Orphan Syndrome: Breaking Free and Finding Home. 100+ followers of Jesus were ready to be mobilized into a grass roots movement to deliver the message of healing and hope to the orphans in our midst and beyond.
After introducing the book, hearing from some of those whose stories filled the pages, the author shared some defining moments in his own life that were pivotal to the birthing of the message of the book. One story was from the not too distant past, his adult daughter respectfully challenged him that his love for her felt like she was being shamed for not being “good enough.” Shocked by her admission, he searched his own heart and found his way to repentance for forcing the poison of perfectionism on his child. He confessed that he too was on the receiving end of this damaging parental behavior as he grew up with a mother who was not only painfully absent, but also abusively favored his older brother.
He wept as he described the final act of healing the Lord worked as he wrapped up the manuscript. The Lord impressed upon his heart to dedicate the book to his mother. Shocked, he cried out…”Why Lord? Why would I dedicate this book to the one person in my life that made me an orphan?” The Holy Spirit’s response was profound. “She is the one person in your life who made you who you are, whose scars on your soul caused you to search for answers and become a well-spring of life from The Father to others. Without her, you wouldn’t be here.” Tears of joy came freely as he overflowed with gratitude. The most painful experience in his life, and all the fallout that ensued up until the time he found healing from the orphan syndrome, was clearly used for good.
He encouraged the crowd…”That is my message to you. No matter what the pain or trauma in your life, God will use it if you let Him, to help others.”
As we moved the evening into a Q & A session with Dr. Nick, a local pastor asked the question, “How do I, as a pastor, help my church with this important message? Should we invite you in for a weekend seminar and have the books available for sale?”
Dr. Nick’s answer was overwhelming. “You go first. You, as the pastor, do the work in your own life. You lead the change you want to see in your congregation. The most effective pastors are those who can be transparent in the pulpit. That gives your people permission, so to speak, to be authentic and real about the pain in their own lives. This is the way to healing. First you, then your congregation.”
As I helped Dr. Nick facilitate the Q & A I stood there stunned by the power of those words. It took me back to those days in 2012 when I would listen to Ross preach and was so encouraged by his transparency, by the way he admitted his struggles and confessed his failures. Years later as I was introduced to his family and learned of their family motto it left me speechless with gratitude – Infractus Quod Invictus. Broken yet Undefeated. Being willing to admit our brokenness and seek Him for healing and wholeness rather than pretending to have it all together was what he demonstrated by being transparent before his sheep. This is exactly what I’d come to realize over my time of healing after my trauma of spiritual abuse and deception.
The power of transparency to ignite true healing and growth in a body of believers takes my breath away. I watched it in the room as Dr. Nick shared the pain from his own life, and I’ve watched it at The Summit as Ross continues the legacy of candor and authenticity.
May we always encourage one another to walk through life with the mask off, the pain embraced, and The Lord doing His thing to make all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes, (Romans 8:28).