The Journey Begins Summary of Chapters

The Road I've Traveled

Session 1: The Journey Begins

Luke 10:25-37

Journey Groups are designed to be a place where the wounded will not be passed by, but instead, be seen, heard, and cared for with Christ's love and with the hope of restoration. In Session One, the story of the Good Samaritan is examined from the perspective of the one who was wounded. The many types of abuse are defined, and the idea of why and how to tell personal stories of woundedness is introduced.

Session 2: Responding to Another's Journey

2 Samuel 13:1-22

The story of Tamar is used to illustrate that God is not silent about abuse and to examine its negative effects on an entire family - especially when the abuse is silenced or not responded to well. We learn to respond to another’s story by moving toward people in shame, speaking from our hearts to their pain and affirming their dignity with truth.

Session 3: The Journey Back to My Story


The story of Nehemiah shows a Biblical pattern for rebuilding walls of a city that parallels rebuilding a life that has been invaded and suffered devastation. This session focuses on the first four stages of the rebuilding process; facing the damage, feeling the pain, talking to God, and asking for help. Breaking denial, grief, loss, and lamenting are issues that are addressed in this session.

Session 4: The Journey of My Childhood

Matthew 18:1-7, 10

When children are wounded, it is natural for them to blame themselves and to believe messages that are contrary to Christ’s heart for them. Recovering appropriate feelings over the damage of the past is part of the healing process. Questions arise such as “How does God feel about what happened? Where was He during the abuse? Is it alright to be angry? How can I talk about dysfunction in my childhood without dishonoring my father and mother? What do I do with my memories or lack of memories?”

The Road I'm On

Session 5: My Journey with Shame

Genesis 3:1-7

Because we are created in God’s image, we have inherent dignity, God’s desire and design to us to have intimacy with Him and others has been damaged through both sin and shame. Shame is two-sided. Legitimate shame comes as an appropriate response to guilt over sins committed. The cross of Christ offers forgiveness for that. Illegitimate shame occurs when we believe lies about ourselves that are contrary to what God says about us. Its effects form the foundation for idolatry, hiding, performance-based acceptance, contempt, addictions, isolation and re-abuse. How does God address shame in His word? How can I deal with shame?

Session 6: My Journey with Contempt

1 Samuel 1:1-20

Contempt is a godless antidote to shame, and it typically shows up in two different ways – contempt for self and contempt for others. The story of Hannah is examined in Session Six as an example of how contempt works to cover our shame, deaden our longings, and distract us from the real problem of sin. Examples are given of how contempt shows itself through comparison and in avoidance of relational closeness. The antidote to contempt is Godly sorrow, gratitude, and kindness. Are you aware of your contempt? Is it typically directed toward yourself or others?

Session 7: Relating to Others on My Journey

1 Corinthians 13:11-13, Isaiah 50:10-11

The goal of healing is to love God, others and ourselves from our heart. This is impossible as long as we hide behind childish ways of relating and protecting ourselves. Relational styles are built from the mortar of contempt and they are our way of making life work without God. Change happens when we see our sinful patterns, confess, and through the grace of God, make choices that reflect our repentance. What is your relational style?

Session 8: My Journey with Sexuality

Genesis 1:26-31, Genesis 2:15-18

The story of Adam and Eve is examined in order to understand God's design for mankind – that He created us, male and female, in His own image and it was a very good thing. Men and women, particularly those who have been abused, struggle to enjoy their sexuality. Session Eight explores what it looks like to embrace our masculinity and femininity, as well as what it means to live freely as men and women in healthy, intimate community with one another.

The Road Ahead

Session 9: My Journey with Brokenness

John 13:36-38, Luke 22:31-32, John 21:15-17

We are broken people who have been wounded by sin committed against us and by us. What if the answer to our brokenness and pain was not learning to do more, but learning how to be? – Be in relationship. Be with ourselves in solitude. Be with God. This chapter explores how we can open the door to faith, hope, and love through brokenness and surrender, and how we can stand against evil instead of agreeing with it.

Session 10: My Journey of Returning

Luke 15:11-32

The story of the prodigal son is unpacked to illustrate how our responses to our wounding can leave us distanced from God. No matter our method of distancing, God continually invites us back into relationship with Himself. The condition of our hearts will determine the outcome. The longing for what was lost and the hope for something better are the beginning of movement back toward the Father's heart. This session explores what it looks like to repent from our harmful choices and return to God.

Session 11: Disappointment on Your Journey

Matthew 26:36-56

Jesus models how to deal with people who abuse, betray and disappoint us. How do we stay in relationship with those who disappoint us? The agony of Christ in Gethsemane before going to the cross reveals Him longing to include His friends, experiencing deep distress, confronting disappointment when it occurs, trusting the Father for what was needed, grieving and embracing disappointment as He pursued the purpose of His Father – all the while keeping His longings in full view. How will I handle inevitable disappointment?

Session 12: My Journey of Redemption

Genesis 37-50, Ephesians 6:12, Ephesians 2:4-7

This last session examines the story of Joseph as a narrative on redemption. There are several places in Joseph's story where the focus shifts from what evil meant for harm to what God meant for good. These “but God” moments for Joseph invite us to look for “but God” scenes in our own lives. What did it look like for Joseph to revoke revenge, to grow in strength, to trust God, to test repentance, and to offer forgiveness? These were all places of redemption for Joseph. Are there places of redemption in your story? Can God bring meaning and purpose to your story?