You were a pretty ambitious young woman, climbing the career ladder fast, so did you imagine yourself running your own company one day?
Not really actually, my heart was always in ministry, and so whilst I was being promoted in the world of PR and marketing, and seeing an amazing amount of new doors opening and favour, my heart was within ministry. On one hand I was being promoted with work, and on the other hand my husband and I were pastoring a growing church. In my own view, and probably in the view of most people, I looked like a really successful Christian woman who was doing both of those things, married with children. Then there was this moment of truth.
My husband and I were at a meeting with about 15 to 20 couples who were pastors of churches. It was lunchtime and we were sitting in a big hotel restaurant. It was at that moment when the woman who was one of the people who was leading this meeting with pastors looked across the table at me. She basically said, "The problem with you, Jo, is it's all about position". It was just one of those brutal moments. I remember saying nothing, because what can you say, when someone comes at you with that? Although I loved God with all of my heart, and there was nothing that I wanted more than two be with Him and serve Him, there was truth in what she said. Every job title gave me a sense of importance. Every time I was able to speak about my position and say, "This is what I do" or '"I work with Prince Charles, the Prime Minister, for the world's biggest PR company...", it made me feel good about myself. Even telling people that I was a pastor made me feel important. So I said nothing. But then she carried on! She said, "The honest truth is that you have never dealt with the issues of your childhood". At that moment I did now start to debate a little. I said, "Oh, I've been through my inner healing, I'm fine. I don't know what you're talking about. My family may have had its issues, but I am fine". One of the names of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and in that moment, truth broke into my heart. For the first time in my life, after 10 years of marriage, 10 years of ministry and all these jobs, suddenly, I realised that I didn't feel like I was enough. Surrounded by hundreds of people having their lunch, surrounded by pastors whose opinions were far too important to me, I realised that if you were to strip away all my jobs and job titles, if you were to take ministry from me, if you were to take my husband from me (because that proves someone loves me), I realised that I don't feel like I'm enough. I started to cry and cry. That was the beginning of the most life changing journey that I'd ever encountered.
I remember starting to realise that all the facade that I believed was the truth just crashed down around me. A few weeks after that, our church we were taking our leaders away on the leaders retreat and my husband said to me, "I want you to do the opening session". As I started to share, it was amazing: every single one of our leaders, we had about 65 people from those who'd gone through terrible lives to those who were raised in really nice Christian families, one by one everyone started to break down as they started to face their own truth about how they felt about themselves. My husband said "I'll let you lead the weekend and I'll jump in occasionally". That was the beginning of me saying, right in the middle of me still getting healed, that God was going to start healing others.
Would you lead us in prayer, so we might be able to give all areas of our lives to God?
Lord God, you know, the journey and the story of every person. I pray that you would reach into each one. I encourage you, wherever you are, to open your mouth and tell God how you feel about yourself. It's that moment when we face the truth and say, "God, I don't feel like I'm enough" that he then is able to meet with us. I pray for your healing love to flow into every heart and into every home. Thank you that no matter how others have treated us, no matter what others have said about us, that your love reaches into every heart. Father, I pray for the beginning of the healing journey and for those who are already on that journey, continue that precious work that you have started. In Jesus, mighty name, I pray. Amen
To find out about the 'Healed for Life' courses Jo runs, or about the books she has written about inner healing, visit jonaughton.com