From 2005, when we bought our “dream home”, into 2011 when I had the motorcycle accident, Donna and I were going to undue our mistakes, and pull our lives together. Notice all the references to the “I” tense in that plan? Sadly, because “I” was more focused on me than “Him”, my family and I would continue to experience the consequences of our self-centered “Christian” lives. I can look back now and see that as the spiritual leader of our family, I was failing.
Over that same six-year period of time, the neighborhood we had bought our dream home in was going downhill fast. Drug deals and gang activity were on the rise, and even a few mid-night raids had taken place in our neighborhood. There was even a shooting just up the hill from our house. A house where we would walk by on evening walks, or my son would ride his bike passed on the way to a friends. By 2013, I knew that we needed to change things. I knew in my heart that if we didn’t make a drastic change we were going to lose the influence we had as parents to our children, to the neighborhood. I knew it, because I lived it as a child. I believe this is when God truly started working on my heart.
Today, I am proof that God works in mysterious ways. There were a multitude of reasons we shouldn’t have been able to successfully leave that neighborhood. We had fallen away from church, we were going to walk away from a mortgage (foreclosure), we had a bankruptcy in our history, and the list goes on. However, in spite of the fact that we had stopped going to church, I was personally feeling a tugging and growing in my heart for the Lord. I was starting to realize, at least at a sub-conscience level, that my life wasn’t mine to control. The sooner I could practice that realization; the idea that “my” life wasn’t mine, it was “His”, the better off I’d be. In March of 2013 I decided we needed to let the house go and suffer the consequences. So we walked away from our “dream home” and moved into a rental home out in a rural area of the county.
I thought that despite all the negative consequences we were incurring, life was turning around… again. On August 6, 2013 God would finally get my attention and begin the process of, Information leads to Revelation, which leads to Transformation.
I was on a dive trip with a friend down in Key West, FL. Between dives a tank broke loose from its clamp and struck me in the head, leaving me with a large gash and what was diagnosed as a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI). Because this was an injury I couldn’t “power” through, I found myself falling into a deep depression. On September 10, 2013 I hit my all-time bottom and considered suicide as a viable option for what I considered to be a miserable existence. I looked back at my life, the horrible things I had done, the deplorable acts I had committed, and thought that the arrogant disregard for others I lived as a lifestyle were unforgivable choices. Because of my pride, I now was completely worthless as a not only a man, but also a husband and father. I felt I had no other options than to put myself out of; not only my own misery, but out of the misery of my family, since now I was nothing but a burden and had no value. As I sat on the edge of the bed that my wife and I had shared for the last 12 years, sobbing and holding my 9mm to my chin, I started pulling the trigger. In a split second God came to me and made me realize that this was not what He wanted for me. God laid the message on my heart “that you can’t leave this world this way”… “you will be letting your family down, even more than that, you will be letting yourself down”. I pulled the gun away from my chin, put it back in the holster, and back on top of the dresser. God finally had my attention. I came to the stark realization that my pride (or “I”) couldn’t get through this pain, depression, and misery on my own. I had been trying since my injury, to once again, solve and control the problems in front of me. Finally, I gave into God and fought off Satan. The Enemy had me convinced for 48 years that “I” could handle anything, and that led me to try taking my own life. Talk about consequences for turning away from God!
When Donna found me, I was in a ball on our bed crying uncontrollably and confessed to her what had just transpired. She was a rock, or at least appeared to be. She started calling doctors and making appointments for me to get the physical and mental help I needed. I am so blessed to have the wife I have, and I try to tell her as often as possible.
Five days later, on September 15, 2013 Donna, the kids, and I went to the local Methodist church in town, and I had what was quite possibly the most emotional day of my life. Since the incident on the 10th, the doctors had prescribed me some antidepressants and I was referred to a psychiatrist for evaluation, but none of that would start me on my road to recovery like that day at church. That day at church was the beginning of my Spiritual Recovery. At church we ran into another family we knew from the Baptist church and they invited us to come to their Sunday school class. When we went into the class they were talking about anger issues, and how to deal with them from a Godly perspective. I was challenged by a man to really look at myself and my relationship with Christ. He gave me a book titled Spiritual Fathers and said I should read it, it would help. I had no idea.
Donna and I continued going to that Sunday school class and eventually, I was invited to join a journey of enlightenment, spiritual growth, and self-improvement through the power of a relationship with my one true Father God. It took several more weeks after September 10th before I really submitted and let God take over, but now my outlook has totally changed. I know now that as His son, my life is for His glory, and I try every day to make that a reality. I spend time with Him in the Word, in worship, and in prayerful reflection daily. I work hard to find joy in all that He puts in front of me, because I know that the trials and tribulations of today, are for His glory tomorrow.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 it says: Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
I believe this is my life verse. Like Paul with the thorn in his side, I needed to be humbled and made weak for God to finally get my attention. Because of my pride, false bravado, ego, and eagerness to control my destiny, I missed all the other times he offered me His Grace. However, once I had no other options but to become humble and admit weakness, was I made strong. Since I have surrendered my life to Christ, I have many examples and stories of things that logically don’t make sense. Examples of when I surrender control to Him, and NOT try to control the situation myself should not have a positive outcome, but do. Examples that I attribute and give glory to God for everyday.
Today I still struggle and fight with the Enemy in my life, but I no longer fight alone. God fights with me, and through my weakness and surrender, His power prevails.
My prayer is that my life be an example to everyone, that it is NEVER TOO LATE. It doesn’t matter what you have done, how you have acted, the addictions or abuses you have endured (or are enduring), or the sins you have committed, God Loves and Forgives You!
In 2 Timothy 1:9 we are told: For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.
I believe that there are two kinds of people out there. Those who “talk the talk” and those who “walk the talk”. If you’ve stayed with me through my story this long, it is either because you already have a relationship with Christ, or because you wondering if there is “hope for you”. There is always hope in Christ.
2 John 1:9 Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.
If you would like to know more details or have questions for me regarding my faith, or yours, please contact me via this post, or any of my post’s. I will be glad to exchange email’s or whatever form of discussion medium you prefer. I you have questions about your faith, but don’t want to discuss them with me, that is fine. However, please find someone you trust and talk about it with them. God is ready, and wants you to be in relationship with Him.