I have let this site lie dormant for quite some time. Partly because I have been lazy, but mainly because, although I had a voice and was anxious to use it to express my opinion and share facts with people, I really had no sense of direction. I didn’t know where I was going with it. I was relying on moments of spontaneous creativity to see me through; and although I can be very creative when I set my mind to it, it also meant that I had to sometimes force myself to being “spontaneous” and “creative”. Forcing spontaneity is a contradiction of terms, so as a natural course of events, my ability to do so immediately became compromised and slowly became less and less of a skill and more of a challenge. But, that has changed and I am anxious to use this established forum in a completely new way – but, hopefully, in a way that will be equally as entertaining, thought provoking, and conversation oriented as it was always meant to be in the first place. I have found my direction. I have rediscovered my voice.
I am hearby devoting this site to God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, The Bible, and the spreading of His word, His glory, His mercy, and His salvation. Instead of this site being a means to raise myself up, I am making this forum a place where God receives the glory and honor – so that, hopefully, the words I am able to put together serve Him. This is my direction.
And, as my first post in this new direction, I thought it more than fitting that my opening volley be my personal testimony of Jesus Christ and how He has never given up on me – even when I gave up on Him.
I have always been a better writer than a speaker. I can weave words together to make a great tapestry of ideas, thoughts, opinion, facts, humor, or drama. I am not boasting, at least I am not attempting to, I am just bringing that up because self-efficacy and confidence in what gifts I have is something that I know about myself. I can write.
But, put me on a stage where I am surrounded by people and I just don’t have the mindset available to me to speak while being clear and concise without tripping myself up in the process. If I have something prepared in front of me, I can read to you with the best of them. I have never had a “stage presence”. Although I do not fear public speaking as bad as most people do – it is the number one fear in the world – I do get rather apprehensive, nervous, and rattled by it; thus making the end result less than optimal and not as effective compared to my ability to write and/or read a prepared document. I know my stengths, and I know my weaknesses.
Hopefully, with this new direction, I will be able to use my stengths in a much more effective and meaningful way.
God is good, every day. Every day, God is good.
I ran from God for many, many years. Although I had accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior at a young age, I originally did so for the wrong reasons. It wasn’t because I was looking to Jesus Christ to save me from my sins, it was because I was tired of being left out of communion. But, although I may have went into the matter without thinking clearly and without a clear understanding of what I was doing – I believe God took the heart of a little boy that day and firmly placed a desire to understand and follow Him.
Fast forward several years and my family has moved from Wyoming to Arizona. Shortly after being moved from a place I knew and was comfortable in, to a place where I had no idea where to even begin to feel comfortable, my father desèrted my mother and I – left us in Arizona and returned to Wyoming without us. I remember the day I found out that my father was not coming home; not because he couldn’t or was not able to, but because he had chosen not to. I was with my grandparents (my fathers parents – miss you Granddad) and my mother pulled into the driveway. She came in the door, not crying, but she had obviously been doing so rather recently and was now attempting to hold it all together while she shared devastating news with a young man who had never seen it coming. I don’t remember how she told me, and I don’t remember what was said when she told me, in fact, all of the details of that moment are wiped from my memory altogether.
I couldn’t remember if I tried.
But, apparently, my first words after hearing that my father had just deserted his family where – what did I do wrong?
My first reaction to hearing that my own father had just decided to leave, without saying goodbye or offering any sort of explanation whatsoever to a young man who never saw it coming; was what did I do wrong. I took the blame. I figured it was my fault. All those times I didn’t agree to go out and spend time with him because I wanted to do something else. All those times I didn’t do what he asked. All of those times I had done the wrong thing. All the mistakes I made that caused him to get so angry with me all the time – to the point where he offered a nine year old boy to fight because he didn’t mow the lawn correctly, or shoved my face into the floor because I couldn’t figure out how to connect a video game console to the television that day.
He had, seemingly, went out of his way to make sure I knew how big of a disappointment I had been to him; so the fact that he just up and left his family so easily must have been my fault! At least, that is what I took upon myself. Add to that the understanding that I was adopted by my family – I was taking upon myself the perceived destruction of not only one family, but two. I was not good enough to hold together my original family, my parents who brought me into this world, and now I was taking upon myself the destruction of a family who had chosen me and I had failed as a son to be good enough at that to keep them together. Double-trouble.
This line of thinking was rather self-destructive in nature, and I therefore began taking a path of self-destruction. Not drugs, and not alcohol, but self-despisement and a complete lack of self-confidence or a sense of self worth. I was an empty shell inside, hollowed out by my understanding that my father saw nothing of value in me, so why should I?
Fortunately, my mother had begun getting quite involved in a local church and, gently, nudged me from time to time that I should join her. Most of the time I did so simply to please my mother. I figured an hour and a half of my wasted time would be worthwhile if she just laid off the whole God and Jesus stuff for a while. Afterall, I was already feeling useless and guilty for being the perceived cause of the destruction of my family, the last thing I needed was to go to church and feel guilty for being a horrible person there as well. Life is not like mathematics, and two negative experiences does not create positive – it just creates more and more negative. But, going from time to time and hearing the message of salvation, Gods mercy and love, slowly began to sink in. I slowly began to turn my eyes to see. I began to open my ears to hear. And, despite my efforts, I began to understand and appreciate God, Jesus Christ, and His salvation of the earth through sacrifice. I began to like myself again. I began to discover a new purpose. A new direction. So much so, that at age nineteen I stood in front of my church and gave a sermon which I had researched and prepared myself. God was working in me. Changing me. Speaking to me. And I loved it!
But, I still carried around the weight inside of my perceived destruction of my family – causing my father to leave by being such a disappointment. So, I decided – not openly and not consciously, but unconsciously – that I was going to leave God before He gets the chance to do it to me. I abandoned my walk with the Lord because I was afraid He would stop holding my hand and stop being there once He learned how big of a disappointment I was going to be. It was just a matter of time before He abandons me too, so I better make the first move to save myself some pain. I went from being focused, determined, and set on a path of His calling – to being back on a path of self-destruction and self-hatred.
I won’t go into each and every detail of my self-deprecating activities, but I now realize that a vast majority of my searching and wandering came from the fact that, although I knew God and Jesus as loving, patient, and worthy of my trust and dedication – I didn’t see myself as worthy of those things because I still sought the approval of a father who had left me and still asked myself the question I asked all those years prior – what did I do? Although I knew and studied The Bible and believed in its message, I was still searching for approval from a father who wasn’t there.
Throughout most of my life, I have lived within the shadow of that question over my head in each thing that I did. Sometimes consciously, but most of the time unconsciously, I would be asking myself – what did I do; and, would the decisions I have made since and the challenges I overcame as a self-made man be enough to make my father finally proud of the son he walked away from so easily. I joined the military. I got married. I had a daughter. I got divorced, because my ex-wife had committed adultery and was not a fit mother, fighting for and receiveing sole custody of our daughter because I had sworn to myself that I would never let my own child know the pain and loss of losing their father. Of dealing with those questions that naturally arise when a child is missing a parent. I was doing all these things for the love and acknowledgment of a father who shared a nominal interest in his son, and because I still held myself accountable for the destruction of my family – no matter what I achieved on a personal level, I still had this self-hatred, self-deprecating nature, and practiced self-admonishment for something of which I had absolutely no control over whatsoever. And even though I would tell myself that as a means to cope with my perceived shortcomings as a son to my father, it never sank in. I continued to reject God because inside I still felt that, sooner or later, He would get disappointed in me, leave me, and reject me. I knew that one of Gods promises to mankind was unconditional love, understanding, and devotion. But, I had heard all of that before from a man who was supposed to provide all of those things and instead walked away.
Fast forward several more years, more failed relationships, and a moving habit that could easily be described as that of a gypsy. I would keep my ties loose and easy to cut, never truly investing into anything or anyone because I lived by a very simple, but destructive, personal mantra.
What you love, leaves. So leave first.
Obviously, that does not generate a very healthy or welcoming worldview, and I found myself being more and more open to accepting secular and ungodly views of the world because I was still judging God and His word against the father who was supposed to be there and wasn’t. I became more and more involved with the world – therefore getting further and further away from God and His plan. I would talk to God, yell at God, cry to God – asking why. Why won’t you answer me?! Why am I not good enough?! Answer me?!
My favorite quote from the Bible was Jesus asking God, “why hast thou forsaken me?” It was my favorite because I could relate. Why had God forsaken me? Why wouldn’t He listen? Why, why, why?!
I would ask for answers from God, and then turn from Him. Looked for guidance from God, but refused to open the Bible and receive any answers. I was judging God because He seemed to never be there when I needed Him – just like my earthy father.
On March 17th of this year I was remarried to an amazing woman who has become my best friend, an active and loving mother to my daughter, and a partner in this world. Shortly after getting married, my job at the time told me that they were not going to renew my contracted employment so I would need to begin searching for other options. I had been thinking about moving back to Wyoming for quite some time, not only because it always felt like “home” to me, but also in an effort to try and rekindle my relationship with my father. My family and I discussed matters, and we came to the idea that I would move to Wyoming, get a job with my fathers employer in the area, work a few months to generate income and establish housing, then we would all move to the area together. At first, everything was great! My father and I were talking on less of a man-to-man basis and seemed to instead become more father and son again. We discussed topics together. We watched movies together. Had a few laughs, had a few drinks, and enjoyed each others company. I would get this sense of pride and fulfillment when he introduced me to others as his son.
I felt accepted.
Finally, what I had been looking for all those many years! A connection with my father.
Then, in a moment of slightly drunken courage, I asked him the question that had weighed so heavily on my mind all those years…
“Dad, do I make you proud? Are you proud of the man that I have become?” I asked, scared as a little boy, but optimistic that this time…this time, I had finally gained his approval. I had raised my child for the majority of her 12 years on this earth on my own. I had made my own decisions. Risen to the challenges in my life, faced them head-on, overcame obstacles instead of allowing them to overcome me. I had even moved closer to him, all in an effort to make it easier to love me. To accept me. To be proud of me. Me, as his son. Surely, I had accomplished enough.
“I don’t know.”
That was his response. I don’t know.
What?! How could this be?! How could I have chased after this mans approval for all of those years, finally get the courage to ask the question I needed him to answer…and get that as an answer?
“I don’t know.” That isn’t an answer at all. It answers nothing! There is no closure when you get an answer like that – especially when the answer to that question has defined nearly everything you have done up until that point.
I was crushed. Again. And soon began to realize that my father was never interested in truly welcoming me into his new life that he created with welcomed arms and a proud smile on his face. At least, not proud enough to warrant an open admission of it to his own son. I was devastated. How do you recover from that? Where do you go from there? What do you do when you realize that the question that has defined you as a person doesn’t even register on the mind of the person who is supposed to have the answer? I didn’t ask my father anything more on the subject because I felt I had already received enough information and asking further would just hurt even more. I had just been told that I didn’t register enough within his realm of thought to consider whether or not he was proud of me as his son. That was enough.
I spoke to my wife a few nights later – I was avoiding speaking with her previous to that because I was, again, feeling self-admonishment, pain, and a strong sense of rejection. I told her what I had learned from speaking with my father and how low, useless, and damaged I was feeling. We decided at that time that moving our new family to Wyoming was not such a great idea afterall, especially if doing so was just going to hurt and be a constant reminder of how unworthy of even a proud thought I was to my father. I have never told my father the real reason why we decided not to move to Wyoming – we blamed it on the lack of housing and stating that my new wife was too hesitant to leave her family in Arizona. I never told him because I didn’t want to add one more reason to my fathers list why he should be disappointed in me, his son. Because I still fear being an even bigger dispointment in his life, I will likely never share this with him. The journey I took to get to my answer was mine, and mine alone. The answer, or lack thereof, is mine as well.
Shortly after this course of events, I found myself once again being gently called back to God and Jesus Christ. Not by my mother, although I have no doubt she prayed for me constantly and does so daily, but by noticing more and more Godly things making themselves known in my life. Just prior to moving back to Wyoming, a man I worked with named Johnny had been speaking with me about his church, played Christian music at work, and would become involved in theological discussions with me. I once again began to acknowlwdge my need for God in my life – not in a focused manner, but in a cursory, cosmetic manner of application. This was the first seed that God planted in my mind; that I needed to refocus on God and His will in my life. And, after the events in Wyoming, I was looking for answers.
My family and I sat down and watched Do You Believe? To anyone that hasn’t seen this film yet, I highly recommend it because it is powerful, emotional, and even challenging to anyone who claims a belief in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or The Bible. God used this film to challenge me. To gently show me how far I had truly come. From being a young man who was full of fire and desire to seek God’s will and purpose in my life, to becoming a man who had become lost and broken; knowing of God but not knowing God because I had spent so many years running from Him.
The change since has not been the one that many people talk about when they finally get it, recognizing that the God who created this earth and everything/everyone within it and yet still loves me, is watching over me, and…is proud of me. It wasn’t an immediate change where my life was drastically turned on a dime and I suddenly began charting a new path based on God and His plan rather than my flawed and historically bad decision making skills in terms of the decisions in life that truly matter – because I already knew of God. I already knew of the love and salvation of Jesus Christ. I had already accepted His salvation and grace years ago. I just needed to stop running from Him, and start focusing on Him. Stop asking Him why I wasn’t getting any answers, and shut up long enough to hear His reponse – while genuinely seeking it in the first place.
God is working on me and I am finally opening my eyes, opening my heart, and devoting my life to His will. His plan. His perfect love, mercy, and grace.
God does not demand perfection, just progress. And, I believe, things are progressing nicely.
This site, this forum, is now my ministry. I will use the Bible and its truth, its simplicity, and its decidedly politically incorrect stance on the world we live in today. I will share God’s word boldly, without fear of offending because those who feel God and the Bible are offensive are the very ones that need to hear the truth! There will be those, Christians and non-Christians, who will not like what I have to say. God has layed upon my heart a ministry of non-compromising biblical truth. As Christians, we know how the story is going to end. It is my duty as a Christian to share Christ with the world so that they may be saved – to provide a warning about what is to come – and this is the best way I could think of to publicly and fearlessly accomplish that.
I hope to use it effectively for the glory and honor of a God who will never leave or forsake me. Who was always there, gently nudging me along and whispering His will upon my heart – even when those who I wanted to please with my life weren’t paying attention.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. That whosoever believe in Him shall not parish but have eternal life. For God did not send His son to condemn the world, but so that the world through Him might be saved.” – John 3:16 – 17
“Thy word I have hid in my heart, so I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11
Tomorrow’s post – Justifying our Immorality