Since I've given my life to Christ:
My marriage ended, and I have been through court trial after trial that have gone against me, and made no sense.
My son won't speak to me. And I thought we were close. We never had rebellious teenager/parent arguments.
I've broken my collar bone, and been laid up. Needed surgery.
My Father recognized that my mother was getting sick with some form of dementia. Then the week he and I were going to sit and talk to my mother about getting help for her. He died.
My mother has rapidly gotten worse, and after 5 months of living with me. She has had to move to a care facility where she can get the care she needs but does not want and I can be her loving son again.
There have been some more minor things like the engine in my car exploding to cap off one of the worst days of my life... Being sent for six months on assignment away from friends and my church... being given the financial burden of support for someone, that takes away my freedom to choose my own future..
In all this I've cried. I've wondered if God hated me so much for my past, that he was punishing me for everything I had done that was a sin... and I have searched.
I searched the scripture for comfort and found it. I found it in the stories of Joseph, who unfairly was accused of rape and spent years in prison. I found it in Job, who talked with God honestly about how he was feeling. I found conviction in that story too, because I know I have not lived a righteous life, and felt more like what Job's friends were saying applied to my life. I found a ton of comfort in the laments in the Psalms. Where David pours out his heart to the God that he loved. And found in those out pourings a God that loved him back. I found courage to keep moving forward in faith in the stories of Abraham and Sarah. God has given me dreams, ones that seem as ridiculous as a 90 year old having a baby. And I pray that I follow with enough conviction and courage the steps that need to be taken to have them become reality. As I read the new testament, I found the kind of relationship/church/community that I saw when I came to Lifepointe. I hungered for a first century church. No formulas, no religion, no preconceived ideas of how it is supposed to be done other than this. Love God Love Others 7 days a week... not just on Sunday. Lifeponte has been that kind of church. I looked a the life of Christ. I use to hear you have to be like Christ and leave the service feeling worse that I came. I make mistakes all the time. I make them relationally, when I do things that hurt my friends and abuse their trust, and have to ask forgiveness. I do them when I commit sins, and know that I am sinning when I decide to take the action...and I have to go back to God and ask His forgiveness. I cannot live the perfect sinless life of the Son of God, I am not able... But... Here is the way that I can be like Christ... and I work at this every day... Jesus cried in the garden so hard that he sweat drops of blood... I know that this is possible. I have not ever had the drops of blood, but I have cried so hard at times that I can feel the pressure below the surface of my skin... And I realize how hard Jesus was crying that night... But what he said was "not my will but yours" That's where I can be like Christ every day... Not my will God but Yours. That's what I want for my life...
So... when I look at things... I thought God would hate me because of the divorce... it says so in the bible. But God has loved me through that process. He and only He could have seen it coming, and prepared the lifeGroup that I was part of. When the rug supporting my life was pulled from beneath my feet, I landed in the net of loving arms that God had put in place. And though every court decision has come out what the world would see a the worst possible, I have not ever been abandoned, and I have been honest and true to who God made me to be...
My son is doing well, and I am able to love him, even if we still don't speak. I know that some day we will.
I have healed from the broken bones and surgery, and in those times I learned valuable lessons in allowing others to take care of me. That being a burden for a time gives others the chance to feel the blessing of being able to help.
My Father and I had be come close. He watched me go through the trials, and told me "I could not take what you are taking, I look up to you" My dad. My hero, said he looked up to me. We had many talks about faith. And when his church asked him to be a Deacon, he came to ask my advice. He didn't feel worthy of that responsibility,and we talked. The week before his death God brought us together 1300 miles from where either of us lived. He got to spend time with my sister and her kids, and I all at the same time. He had gotten to spend time with all his brothers and sisters that week too. God was there to welcome him home. I can only hope for a passing like his.
My mother and I got to spend some quality time before her condition became much worse. And now I see her multiple times a week, and I am able to help care for her, and show her love.
When I was on assignment for the six months. I was sitting next to James Billups, who was able to disciple me. We discussed the bible and faith openly in a conference room filled with 10 engineers all working on the same, very difficult, project. By the time I left, there were two different bible studies going on, and the manager of the site had even heard the gospel.
My car is still running... though it could use a paint job at this point...
And though there are challenges still out there, and the financial burdens seem to be restricting how I would like to be serving the kingdom of God... It's not about me. I wait upon the Lord, and He will make the path clear. I often hesitate to say "God made..... fill in the blank... happen." Because many times when I think I know what God is making happen, something else happens... But the one thing I can say with confidence is that God has brought me to this place, that he has brought wonderful people here at Lifepointe who love me, and He has brought other loving people into my life to bring me joy. I would not trade one thing I have been through in the last 4 years. God is shaping me... and He's not done yet.