[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As promised, in light of how profound and deep our time together was last night, we wanted to provide concrete opportunities and next steps for each of you to consider as you press into any invitations from God to forgive.

Last night I asked you to keep two important things in mind as you go about your Kingdom Practice this week:

  1. “More often than not, your deepest wounds took longer than a day to form and they will take longer than a day to heal.”
  2. “You were wounded in relationships and you will need to heal in relationships – primarily with God, but perhaps with a counselor, spiritual director, pastor or trusted friend.”

In order to fully face into forgiveness, we recommend that you need a wise and trusted guide. Many times, change begins when we admit we are unable to deal with a problem alone. In our most hurtful places that need forgiveness, it is important to find someone who is trained to walk with you through the process of forgiveness. Someone who will mourn with you, challenge you, coach you and encourage you.

In light of this, our Kingdom Practice this week is to seriously pray about, consider and seek out a trusted guide with whom you can walk the path of forgiveness with.  [/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_text_separator title=”Who Can Be A Trusted Guide?” title_align=”separator_align_center”][divider line_type=”No Line”][fancy-ul icon_type=”font_icon” icon=”icon-user” color=”Accent-Color”]

  • A Counselor
    Individual counseling is a personal opportunity to receive support and experience growth during challenging times in life. Individual counseling can help one deal with many personal topics in life such as anger, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage and relationship challenges, parenting problems, school difficulties, career changes etc. Individual counseling is an ideal relationship for any of you looking to explore your story, name your losses, mourn pain and receive ongoing coaching and support as you work through forgiveness.
  • A Spiritual Director
    A Christian spiritual director is a trained listener who will accompany you as you share about your spiritual journey, helping you to notice God’s presence and activity along the way, as well as your personal reactions and responses. Hospitable, confidential, and grounded in biblical truth, spiritual direction is a ministry that helps you grow in prayer and live into your calling as a follower of Christ. We recommend this type of relationship to any of you who have perhaps worked through some initial counseling and are desiring to go deeper in your Christian faith with intentional guidance.
  •  A Response Pastor
    A Response Pastor is a Spiritual leader in the Willow community trained to answer your questions, hear and listen to your story, pray with you and help you identify and choose practical next steps in your process of healing. We highly recommend this relationship to any of you who desire one on one help to figure out your next step in finding a long term trusted guide. They have a long and trusted list of recommended counselors that they can refer you to based on your specific needs and particulars of your story.
  • A Trusted Friend
    If there is anyone in your life who you know to be a good listener, who is willing to talk about the uncomfortable places in your life, say the uncomfortable or challenging things, and stay with you in the process of forgiveness – they could be a good friend to start sharing your heart to forgive with. Accountability, coaching and encouragement can be transformative in a friendship.

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[vc_column_text]In order to find a good fit in a counselor, we recommend that you make a call and set up an appointment with one of Willow’s Response Pastors. A trained Response Pastor will listen to your story, pray with you, and help you assess next steps to pursue the next phase of forgiveness. They have access to a recommended list of counselors of various specialties and approaches and after hearing your situation they will be able to give you the best recommendation to find a counselor who will be the best fit.

  • Call (847) 765-5000, 9.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday and ask to speak with a Response Pastor
  • Visit Willow’s Website to find out more


[vc_column_text]If you are interested in pursuing Spiritual Direction, we recommend the following resources as a place to start to better understand Spiritual Direction and find a Spiritual Director.


[vc_column_text]We are pleased to share that Willow has a great variety of opportunities for you to find support, coaching and help as you journey through difficult places in need of forgiveness. Please take time to consider becoming a part of one of the following upcoming opportunities:

  • Relate Workshop Get insight about yourself and others – and practical tools to strengthen your relationships – in this four week workshop with Scott Audrey, Willow’s Pastoral Response Director.
  • Restore Workshop  This 12 week workshop, designed for couples whose marriage is in a hard season.  Regardless of your struggle-unresolved conflict, emotional disconnect, control, codependency, or broken trust-you’re not alone.  This workshop helps you identify core issues that keep you stuck and offers tools to help you heal and grow your marriage.
  • Willow Recover Willow Recover provides support and encouragement for those struggling with—or relationally affected by—hurts, habits, and addictions. You’ll experience a safe, confidential place to be heard and understood while working through a Christian 12-step recovery process. You’ll find men and women just like you, people with struggles, addictions, pain—and a deep desire to get well and move toward a new life.


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[text-with-icon icon_type=”font_icon” icon=”icon-group” color=”Accent-Color”]Don’t miss this opportunity to spend some time in relationship with God in silence and solitude on a Sacred Retreat. Read below for a special discount offered to members of The Practice.

  • “Sacred Retreats are guided day-long solitude retreats for men and women.   They will help you create a space to have a conversation with and keep company with God.  Our next retreats are March 6 OR 7 and the theme is “Coming Home” based on the story of the prodigal son. They are at the beautiful campus of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein.    For more information, go to the website www.mylifeissacred.com and use the discount code “PRACTICE30” to receive $30 of the price.   Additional dates for creating a rhythm of setting apart space for God in solitude are also available there.”
  • 3 Minute Retreat on Radical Forgiveness 3 Minute Retreats are guided meditations you can move through at home using your computer, smartphone or tablet. Sit back wherever you are and create space to listen to God.