It’s Time


It’s been a while and I apologize for that. A lot has changed. I spent the last week and a half moving into a new apartment. It’s just another step in the process of separation, as my wife moves to divorce me. I do like it here. It’s a nice home. I went and got a kitten last weekend. He is adorable and has proven himself a wonderful companion during this lonely time. I’m doing ok. I’m accepting what is going on and doing my best to build a new life. Part of doing so is requiring something of me. Something I have ran from for a very long time.

I mentioned before about my history of being sexually abused. It is a demon that has never left me, no matter how hard I tried to muscle my way through life and keep it buried. It is becoming clear that the time has come for me to finally tell my family about what happened. I am beyond scared. I am terrified. I just keep thinking, “God, do I really have to do this?” I don’t want to. I wish this cup could pass from me. But it is time. I can’t keep it buried any longer. This beast has shaped me far too much for far too long. It played a huge role in distorting and ruining my marriage. I have already lost good friends, and now the woman I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with because of how I let my past shape me. I did not choose what happened to me, but what I do now is my choice. I cannot let the damage spill from me any longer. I am shattered. It is time to let the truth pour out and set me free so God can begin to build me into something new.

Years ago, I went on a retreat into the mountains. It was just me and my closet guy friend. Who am I kidding, he is a brother to me. We packed up a couple of mountain bikes and just rode until we found a spot to pitch a tent. The purpose was to get away from the noise and spend time with God– no cell phone service, no television, and no internet. We prepared sermons to deliver to each other. It was awesome. On one of the days, we broke off. We went our separate ways to hike and spend time with the Lord one on one. We didn’t set a time to be back by, and frankly we didn’t have a means to tell time anyway. While I was hiking up stream and praying, I was captivated by a red dragonfly. It seemed it was following me on my hike. I kept going and praying. Finally, I reached an end point at a waterfall. The whole time I was there, this red dragonfly stayed perched on a rock near me. I kept my eye on it. After a while, it took flight headed back toward the direction we came. This time, I decided to follow it. I kept pace with it all the way back to camp. When I arrived, it was at the exact moment that my brother was returning as well. It was awesome. I am not one given over to mysticism, but I believe that red dragonfly was there for a reason. It was just something cool, you know? Something special I believe God did for me. Ever since that moment, I have taken seeing a red dragonfly as sort of a sign. Just God reminding me that He’s with me, He knows where I’m at, and I’m on the right path.

A couple days after moving into this new place, I stepped out onto the patio to have a smoke. It had been quite a while since I had seen a red dragonfly, but sure enough one came flying by from overhead. Out of all of the cars parked in the complex, it went and flew right over mine. It stopped there and just hovered for a while. I couldn’t help but smile. Eventually, it took off but I was left thinking… maybe I’m right where I’m supposed to be. Things have been devastating. Things have been tragic. But maybe I’m here, now, for a reason. Maybe I’ve been brought to this place and time in life to finally face what I am about to. I have been running for too long. As much as I do not want to do this… as much as I just want to keep running, it’s time. It is finally time.

Advertisements

How Could it Be?


If you’ve ever been forsaken by someone, somebody who you love more than you can stand… then you truly know heartbreak. What blows my mind is when I think of God… and how we forsake Him all the time, over and over again even after we’ve tasted His goodness. His heartbreak over humanity must be infinitely greater than mine. And yet, He not only maintains a capacity to love us, He is love. He doesn’t change. He doesn’t lose who He is through the heartbreak. He is God, He is good, and He continually showers us with undeserved blessings. It boggles my mind and makes me love Him more than ever. The more I know Him, the more I want to know Him. Yet, the more I know Him, the more I realize I will never truly understand Him. He is unfathomable beauty. His grace, His strength, His patience… the way He sees us as a prize and finished work when we can only see chaos, is nothing short of miraculous.

Oh Holy and wonderful God, You know me better than I know myself. How dare I consider hating myself when You love me?! The only thing I should ever hate is that which stands between us… help me to always view sin in that light, as the thing that gets between me and You… YOU who gave all for me. You who never leaves or forsakes me. You who remains perfect when I am anything but. I love you. Teach me how to love You more.

The Joy of Forgiveness


I heard a very special radio program on the way home from work tonight. A man was literally walked through the steps and the prayers of forgiveness towards his ex-wife who has torn him down for years and used his son as a weapon to hurt him. She tried to tear him down in his son’s eyes. It was so powerful and moving. Forgiveness is SO freeing. Not just when we receive it, but when we give it too. I prayed right along with Him. There are so many people, women especially, in my life throughout the years I have needed to forgive. There is so much I have needed to let go of.

My counselor has taught me a very important distinction between forgiveness and trust. You still need to guard your heart, and trust is something to be earned. But forgiveness is something we are called to give. It is something that does not need to be earned, because Christ offers it freely to us. It is not something we can earn ourselves, so why should we charge for it?

What are you still holding on to? Who do you need to forgive? It doesn’t mean you lift healthy boundaries and let those who hurt you have a foothold in your life. It just means that you are no longer captive to bitterness, anger, resentment, or even hatred. You can be set free from all those things. It’s a part of that changed heart I talked about before. It’s an important part to having joy that comes from within.

If I Just…


You know, I’ve spent my whole life thinking, “If I just [fill in the blank] I’ll be happy.” It was always, “If I just have a girlfriend, then I’ll be happy.” “If I just have a car, then I’ll be happy.” “If I become a rock star, then I’ll be happy.” “If I just lose the weight, then I’ll be happy.” “If I just make more money, then I’ll be happy.” “If I marry a beautiful woman, then I’ll be happy.” “If I just relocate, then things will start looking up.” And at least those things can have a positive connotation to them. But sometimes things get a bit darker, don’t they? Maybe for you it’s been, “If I just drink this… if I just smoke this… if I just give my body to him/her… if I just conquer him/her…” “If I just, if I just, IF I JUST…” That’s it. It’s always been about what I could do… it’s always about what WE can do… the next thing to try or that next step. But you know what? Maybe it’s not about all the external things. Maybe happiness doesn’t come from the outside in, but instead from the inside out.

The heart… the heart is the root of the problem. The Bible says our heart is a liar. Yeah, Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Yet the world tells us to follow it. It tells us to follow our heart. And then we move on to verse 10, “‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.’” The “reward” mentioned here isn’t always the good kind, either. It’s about our heart. Did you notice that our DEEDS are weighed according to our heart and mind? Even our “good” deeds are measured by what’s within. And it doesn’t stop there. Our words are telling of what lies within as well, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” -Matthew 12:34b. I know I’ve said some DISGUSTING things. I know I’ve said some DAMAGING things. You think they’re just words? Words hold the power of life and death. Words MEAN something.

What are you saying? What are you doing? What are you chasing, or better yet, what are you running from? For goodness to flow, we need a changed heart. For happiness, or better, joy to enter our lives, we need a changed heart. It’s not about what WE can do. It’s not about what WE can add to our lives. “If I just, if I just, if I just…” No, I reject that. Instead, “What He will, what He will, what He will…” Will you surrender? Will you offer your diseased heart over to the One who can… who WILL? It’s time to let go of the external and EMBRACE the eternal to live and dwell IN us… and change us… from the inside out.

Heartbreak and Empty Pursuits


My wife left me a couple of months ago. I had become emotionally unavailable and had unmet expectations and demands in our marriage. It was selfish of me. I never stopped loving her, but I became unloving and impatient. I said things I did not mean and did not realize how much damage my words were causing. I should have remembered that words hold the power of life and death. At the same time, she expected us to be each other’s everything. It seems as though she thought everything was meant to be happy and fun all of the time. When it came down to it, she was not willing to work on things. This has caused me to question if she ever really loved me, or just the way I made her feel and all the fun things we could afford before we got married. I suppose speculating on this does no good at this point.

Eventually, I caught her starting a romantic relationship with another man. I did not handle that well. My initial reaction was to offer no grace at all. We tried counseling toward the end, but she was already done. This has now become a faith crisis for her. She is claiming to no longer believe in Jesus or the Bible, which is mind-blowing to me. Our faith had always been such a big part of our lives from the very beginning. Obviously, I did not live out the love of Christ toward her the way I should have, but the fact that she has been able to completely turn her back on everything she has ever believed in like this… it has me reeling. Nothing and no one has been able to get through to her now. She is dead set and is taking all the steps to divorce me. It is not what I want at all, but it has become clear that there is nothing I can do. We were together for three years before we got married. In marriage, we have only lasted over a year and a half.

This has been a devastating struggle, to say the least. I am trying to handle it the best way I can. I have continued with counseling even though she stopped going after two sessions. What is crazy to me throughout all of this is the intense pull I feel toward things I know will only harm me in the end. Why do we do that? I have not been a smoker in over six years, and here I am shaking for a cigarette every two hours or so. Then there is alcohol. I used to be able to have a drink or two and it was no big deal. It was relaxing and fun. Now, one drink in and I just want to die. It is like an amplifier for all the sadness within me. Something I could enjoy from time to time has become a danger to me now. There is another thing that has been creeping up too… this desire to just go out and sleep around. I have never been a promiscuous person. I, unfortunately, was not a virgin before my wife. That was due to sexual abuse that I will touch on more down the road. But when it came to my wife and I, we waited until marriage to have sex. I believe that is the right thing to do. Other than my abuser, she is the only woman I have ever been with. So where is this coming from? Suddenly, I just want to lose myself in selfish satisfaction at all costs. That is not me. That is not who I want to be. I am fighting and seeking the Lord for the strength to overcome. I know that through Him, we are more than conquerors.

The point that I want to make with all of this is that none of these self-destructive thoughts or actions have done a single thing to help me through this. They have not helped and they will not help. So why do we do it? Why do we try to fill up our emptiness with empty things and expect to be fulfilled as a result? Those things will never help us obtain what we truly need. Believing that they will is buying into a lie. They placate us just enough to keep us from progress. It may be hard to face the work and pain that we need to go through, but it will never be behind us if we do not go through it. There is no way around it. It is a valley of shadow and death, but our God is with us… so, what is there to fear? There is nothing greater than Him. Nothing is too difficult for Him. Eventually, the valley will open up and we will experience freedom from the cliff sides that surround us. God takes us through these valleys for freedom’s sake. The darkness makes the light shine that much brighter, in contrast. If we did not know pain and bondage, would we fully appreciate the healing and freedom that only He can bring? Do not sell yourself short. Do not capitalize on your own suffering for an opportunity to chase self-destructive and empty pursuits. You are worth more than that. Your heartbreak means more than that. The next time you want to treat yourself like you have no worth, seek the One who thought you were worth dying for– to save.

Confession


Here it is:

I decided to start this blog page the day after I realized that ending my own life was not an option. Hear me out, I am not looking for attention. I am not looking for anyone to talk me down, so to speak. I did not do it. I will not do it. But honestly, who has never thought about it before? This is simply a confession of the shared human experience. There has been only one other occasion that I have come as close to doing it as I did the other night. What has brought me to these points is something that I will reveal in time. Right now I want only to talk about why I did not follow through.

The main reason that prevented me that first time many years ago, and that has also been a continuous thread throughout my life in regards to the thought of suicide is– the fear of hell. Now, I am not here to argue the existence of hell with you. I do not need you to debate me on the topic of secure salvation either. I would also never tell you that just because a loved one of yours has committed suicide that he or she has gone to hell. I do not believe anyone on this earth has the authority to declare who has gone where into the afterlife. Only God truly knows the heart of a person. What I will say is that for me, the fear of hell in regards to killing myself has kept me alive. For whatever it is worth, this is a prime example of fear in the positive sense. I cannot say for certain that ending my life would not compromise my salvation in Christ, and I would not have it any other way. It is a gamble I simply will not take. That being said, this time around there was something new… something different. Another line of reasoning has emerged and it helped to save me from the brink.

No matter where you are at in life, you do not know the end to your story yet. But you can know the end of thee story that is rich with hope, glory, and an eternity with our Lord. That alone can provide the strength to make it through our darkest days. Am I always at my best in believing this? No. But that does not make it any less true. I thank God that truth does not require belief to be true. Take heart and hold on. You may think you are at the edge and that the only thing left is the plummet to the end, but there is hope in the mystery of what lies ahead. Allow for a twist of beauty to come along and take you by surprise. If you cut it short, you will never know what could have been. In due time, there will be purpose for your pain. It is up to you to not allow it all to be in vain.