So in 1998 I met Donna. Wow, what a life changer. My family had all moved west to California or Arizona, and the only thing I had keeping me in Detroit was my job, and Donna. In 1999 Donna was offered a position in Washington DC. She had been with the DOD as a civilian employee for several years, and this was a great opportunity for her. We had already started talks about planning a wedding, I felt like I was “marketable” (Enemy induced Pride), no real ties keeping me to Detroit, so together, we moved to Virginia.
Mind you, because of our lifestyle of cohabitation, and all the benefits couples enjoy when they live together, we were still not bringing honor or glory to God, and there would end up being consequences for these actions. Our God is so awesome though, He gives us opportunities to repent over and over again before we suffer any consequences. I don’t believe our God is a spiteful or punishing God, but I do believe that if we turn our back on Him long enough, He will let Satan have a little more rope for us to hang ourselves with (metaphorically speaking of course).
In April of 2000 Donna and I had joined Galilee United Methodist Church in Sterling, VA., and gotten married. Life was going well. In 2000, We bought a home and moved into the “Northern VA area”. I had started, what was by now in the early 2001’s, an up and coming Landscaping business. Donna had a safe and secure government job, money was good, and we were going to church regularly. How could life be bad? In late August of 2001 we welcomed our first child, Daniel “Roman” Obarski, Jr. into the world. Romans birth was a planned C-section and went well, initially. He had solid A.P.G.A.R. scores, at both birth and five minutes. It was about twenty minutes after Roman’s birth that things went south. Roman had aspirated some of Donna’s blood during the birth (she had a different blood type than his), and his body couldn’t metabolize it. He was transferred to the N.I.C.U. and the doctors told us to prepare for all possibilities, including his death. In short, without some very serious medical care, Roman would die. It was at this point that I had what I will call, my first “real discussion” with God.
Donna had been; for years, pressing me to stop saying a particular phrase in which I was literally taking the Lords name in vain. Unwittingly, with my “pride”, I felt like I had everything under control. I had always dismissed her and justified my statements with the logic like, “I was just asking God to damn something”. As I write this and look back, I can literally see my disrespect and arrogance to my Father God. How awful was I? Considering that my son’s life was at stake, I found a quiet place to sit down, I wept, and “made a deal with God”. The deal was, that if he would “let Roman live”, I would stop saying the phrase Donna wanted me to stop saying. Whether this was the right way or the wrong way to accept God into my life, it was my way. We can debate that point later, but as far as I am concerned, this was my first step in letting God take control of my Life, and Roman lived. Our son is still alive and well today and has no repercussions from his near death experience, and I still don’t ever take the Lords name in vain.
Pride and arrogance had been my lifestyle for about 40 years. I had known God and understood I needed God – but only in my head. The life I was living was nowhere near a Godly lifestyle. Not once did I ever put God first in my life, and none of my actions were ever to bring honor or glory to God.
In Colossians 1:10 it says: Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
In 2004 I discovered that my business partner had started doing drugs. As I had intimate knowledge of the damage drugs can do to a person, I tried to have a reasonable debate with him about this issue. I never prayed first or considered God as an option to help address this problem. We ended up agreeing to disagree, and I was forced into a capital buyout for his share of the company. Since “I” had everything under control, this wasn’t a problem… until it was.
By now it was late 2005. Our second child, Sydney was born in April that same year. We were still going to church regularly. We were even friend with our pastor, and even had him over for dinner several times. The problem was Donna and I, though we considered ourselves Christians, we weren’t living a Christian lifestyle. We weren’t tithing, saving, donating, or doing anything worthy of the blessings God had been given. We were irresponsible stewards, and living like rock stars. We were buying campers, and fancy cars/trucks, enjoying vacations fit for kings, and any other thing WE wanted. We had no idea of the consequences of a lifestyle like this, or more accurately, we chose to ignore the consequences of living like this.
By the end of 2005 I had to close the business for a variety of reasons. The two primary ones were: family and financial. Now with two children, running a business takes a lot of time away from home. When you are running a business that is losing money, it takes even more time away from home. Again, it is easy as I see this on paper to realize the mistakes I was making, but in the “moment”, pride “false pride” (the Enemy) was controlling my life. I sold off what assets I could, but I only received a fraction of their actual value. This still left us so deep in debt it was scary. I could feel a “pull” inside me, I now believe this was God giving us yet another chance to commit our lives to Him. My answer to this pull was to take a position at a non-denominational Christian school/camp for “at risk” youth founded by the famous Joe Gibbs. I was familiar with his Christian background, and I thought this would ease my conscience and satisfy that “pull” inside me. However, since “I was still in control” and steering the ship, this job did not help. I never ever consider that I needed God to be in control of our lives, so Donna and I continued to spiral deeper into debt until in 2006, when our only option to stay afloat was to file bankruptcy. This was a pretty dark time in our live. I felt like a complete failure, I had let my family down, and I let myself down. Notice all the “I’s” in that sentence?
Just prior to closing the business and filing bankruptcy, we had moved to Culpeper, VA, in an effort to slow our lives down. We bought a house at the peak of the housing boom of 2005. We thought if we started over, we budgeted, and were better stewards, we would be able to get back on our feet. the problem was “we” still wanted to be in control. We found ourselves in the big Baptist church in town, and attending regularly. I even ended up as the director of the nursery. It felt like life was once again on the upswing. However, I had still not fought Satan, and the Enemy was still controlling my life. I believed that if I controlled all the aspects of our lives we could get out of the mess we dug ourselves into. The problem was that I didn’t know that the Enemy can disguise himself in nice homes, vehicles, toys, and everything else “you think you need to be happy”.
Over the next six years I would continue to get in Gods way. God offered us many opportunities and provided plenty of signs for us to surrender our will to Him. However, again, I just disrespectfully, pridefully, and arrogantly, turned away from God and towards Satan. How prideful and unworthy was I? Job hopping, financial juggling, reckless spending, and extravagant living were just a few of the ways the Enemy influenced me and kept “me in control of our lives”.
In 2011 I had a motorcycle accident and tore my body up pretty bad. The timing of this was horrible as Donna was retiring from the safe government job she had, and was moving into the private sector. For Donna, this was so far out of her comfort zone, that me and my good buddy “pride” felt the need to do something to help ease her pressure and stress. I mentally pushed through the physical pain of the injury, powered through and abbreviated my Physical Therapy, and rushed myself back to my daily routine. I did all this on my own, and ignoring what I now believe was God pleading me to stop with all the pride and the controlling and surrender my will to Him, but once again, I didn’t listen.
To be continued…