Purposeful Exile – My Journey

Sometimes a statement will really grab me, like the one I recently sent out on Twitter.  The saying seemed to provide context for the last 10 years of my life – what I call “My Decade in the Desert”


The statement goes like this… “Every Saint has a past, and every Sinner has a future”.   I must confess… and take responsibility for the fact that…. I have a past.  I have a past that is marked by frailty, failure, and fallout.  You see, as a pastor of 15 years, I succumbed to isolation, insulation, and insecurity – leading to a moral indiscretion that ultimately cost me my marriage, ministry, and good standing with my children and community.  Yup, sure enough… I have a past.

God saw my need for brokenness and complete consecration, and graciously invited me into the desert – to walk with him alone until I was reformed into a fit vessel for His service.  Hosea 2:14, 15 reads, “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. 15 There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor [trouble] a door of hope. There she will respond [sing] as in the days of her youth…”  So, in 2003, the decade in the desert began – a decade of intimacy and wrestling with God while being in purposeful exile – a time where God would show me I have a future.  In the sovereign wisdom and grace of God, this extended time was needed to reshape a poorly functioning clay pot into a vessel of divine pleasure and purpose.  Jeremiah 18:4 says, “But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.”


Now, I’m rejoicing that I have a future.  Having been released from exile and the desert – I am in a season of new beginnings.  With a new dependency on God, I am back in church work and relationship.  I am grateful for the work He has done in me, and blessed to experience grace upon grace with a new season in front of me.  Truly, God has provided beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning, and praise instead of a spirit of despair [Isaiah 61:3].  “Every Saint has a past, and every Sinner has a future”.   

-Gary Coiro


*Struggling with False Intimacy [Sexual Sin]?  I recommend the book False Intimacy by Dr. Harry Schaumburg HERE

About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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5 Responses to Purposeful Exile – My Journey

  1. Nikki says:

    Love you, Gary. Thank you for leading the way in transparency and hope.

  2. Gary,

    Thank you for your honesty and transparency.

    God can use broken vessels.

    God bless,

  3. David Anderson says:

    Witnessing the beautiful humility that has come out of the ashes of your life, Gary, is inspiring to us all who, too, are trophies of God’s grace.

  4. Valerie says:

    Wishing you much wisdom & strength on you new journey.

  5. I certainly relate to you, brother. I have quite a past myself that feel that God is about to radically deliver me from. The wilderness has been rough and entirely painful… but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. God’s best to you, my friend.


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