I finally felt free

I found myself preparing for our Men’s Encounter.  Sleeping bag, some clothes, my tooth brush and I’m ready to go.  How do you get ready for something when you don’t quite know what you’re about to get into?  I then realized that I don’t really have a lot of experience with Men’s retreats to begin with.  I’ve been to Promise Keepers….but nothing like an actual retreat.

I’ll be honest.  When I think of a retreat, church camp comes to mind.  Camp fires.  Smores.  Worship.  A few teaching sessions.  Some games.  Bad camp food.  Bunk houses.  Crickets in the showers.  My memories of camp were more social than they were life changing.

But I’m not going to church camp.  I went to Encounter.

We pulled up to the retreat center.  We are in the middle of no where.  Cell Phone coverage is non-existant.  The views of the surrounding mountains are breath-taking.  We were told to pack our bags on the trailer but keep your Bibles in hand…we’ll be starting as soon as we get there.  Geesh.  Can’t even unpack our stuff and claim a bunk?  No.

All of the leaders are lined up on the sidewalk greeting us as we get out of the van.  Cheers, hugs & high fives welcomed us as we walked into the building.  We find a seat and the worship starts.  We weren’t singing anything campy though.  Here is an example of one of the worship songs we sang.  We were singing about spiritual warfare.  Being in an army.  My spirit was stirred.  I knew this was going to be quite an experience.

I had no idea what to expect.  All I wanted was to experience God.  I wanted to be changed.

I am going to be real here.  I am not hiding anything.  The schedule was 3-4 sessions Friday night.  All day Saturday.  Come home Sunday morning.  Break for meals, some downtime, and sleeping.  That’s it.  There are no special speakers.  No pomp and circumstance.  Every man that spoke goes to our church.  Each one speaking their testimony on how God has transformed them.    I didn’t really know what to do with that.  Yes, I’ve heard people share their testimony before…but these are just the guys from church.  How am I supposed to learn anything from them?  Aren’t we going to get some fancy speaker or preacher in here?  No.  No fancy speakers.

Just a bunch of surrendered men allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through them.

I caught myself judging the speakers.  I know that sounds terrible.  I heard every mispronounced word.  Every grammatical error.  I found myself comparing myself to them.  Well, I could do a better job…this isn’t very polished at all…Paul talks about the battle between the Spirit and the flesh (Galatians 5.17) – well my flesh was screaming.  I felt God nudge me rather hard and tell me that I was in no place to judge…I needed to listen.

So I listened.  I listened to men talk about addictions to pornography (and being freed from it), anger, hardened hearts, generational curses, shame, bitterness, and forgiveness.  After each man spoke there was an altar call.  A chance to take everything and dump it on the altar.  I’ve been waiting for this.  I was so exhausted from carrying around all the burdens from my past.

I went up after every speaker.  If there was an opportunity to unload – I was up there.

Let me remind you that I am only 2 months old in this church.  I literally knew 1 person there.  I was out of my element.  But when the Spirit of God is moving…He will move despite what my comfort level is.

Men would come up – different men at different times – and pray with me while I was on my knees crying my eyes out.  They all prayed about things that they had no business knowing.  They said things that really hit home – but they had no way of knowing!  Yes they did.  The Holy Spirit was moving.  I am still getting to know the Holy Spirit, but what I’ve seen is amazing and I want more of Him!

Chains were broken.  My dump truck of junk, emotional baggage, and shame were unloaded.  I finally felt free from my past.  I also felt like I had been hit by a truck.  I was wiped out.  I had some important lessons to learn.  Because I’m not done with being delivered just yet (those will be in another post :)  But I am learning that God does indeed break us free from our chains…but we have to LEARN how to walk in that freedom without letting the junk creep back in.

I will tell you that I am a free man!  I’m not going back.  God is working in me every day.  Transforming my mind and my habits.  My prayer is that you have been encouraged by my testimony.  That you are able to experience the presence of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Be blessed.

My life as a pack mule

If you are just tuning in – I have been writing about Romans 12.1-2.  How God will transform us…if we let Him.

Can I just say that I felt like I had a pretty good idea of what my issues were.  My baggage.

baggageThe picture is funny.  Even the thought of carrying around a lot of uncessary baggage is comical.  We’ve all tried to carry too much stuff.  Just yesterday I carried in all of my groceries in 2 loads because I didn’t want to  come back out to the car.  We’ve all seen that guy in the airport who seems to be carrying enough baggage for 4 people.

This is sad to say out loud – but I’ve even joked about taking my baggage up to the altar.  I’d pray about it.  I’d ask God to carry my burden.  Then, as I was going back to my seat, I’d reach down and pick all of my baggage back up.

I’ve lived with so much junk on my back for so long that I really had no idea how not to live with it.  My junk had become a part of my identity.  This is dangerous ground for a believer in Jesus.  How you see your identity in God will determine your freedom.  We will be influenced from 1 of 2 places.  God or Satan.  That is it.  This isn’t rocket science.  Who we listen to will determine our identity.

Simply put, the  Word of God is our TRUTH.  God’s Word is our ONLY Truth.  The Holy Spirit inspired the Word of God.  God gives us His Word so that we can be set free.  Our identity is formed by the truth of the Word.  (I will be unpacking some of this in future posts – this can’t be covered in one writing).

If you are a believer in Christ yet you struggle with seeing 100% of the Bible as 100% true, then you have some baggage to unpack.  Let me give you an example: 2 Corinthians 5.17 (NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

I’ve read this verse countless times.  I’d read it but it didn’t sink in.  Not even close.  Unfortunately I believe there are many people claiming to be Jesus followers, but don’t believe this verse applies to them.  They may not say that out loud.  Let’s be real.  We can hear an inspiring sermon about this freedom.  We can hear an amazing worship song that brings us to tears.  We lift our hands and sing!  We lay our burdens down.  We shout AMEN! Thank you Jesus!  And as we leave the church service, we pick up the same burden that we laid down.

The message is clear.  We are a NEW creation.  Our past is behind us.  ALL things have become new.

Do you belive it?

Or have you gotten stuck on your past?  Have you asked God to forgive for that one sin so many times you lost count?

I got to a place where I just couldn’t carry my baggage around anymore.  I knew I had to let it go.  My baggage was affecting my marriage.  I was burdened.  I was meeting people who appeared so free and happy.  I wanted that!  But I didn’t know how to get there.  I could see where I wanted to go but had no way of getting there.

Then I heard about the Encounter.  I will call it a Men’s Retreat for lack of a better term.  But a retreat it is not.  2 months after being at our new church I signed up for the Encounter.  What happened there changed my life.  I will share about my Encounter next time.

I will end with this – if you feel like you are in bondage – freedom is available.  The freedom God offers is instant.  What takes time is learning to walk in that freedom.  Look and study these verses:

Romans 8.1-4     Romans 6.22     Ephesians 1.3-5     Romans 8.28     Ephesians 2.10

These are very powerful verses that speak to our true identity through Jesus.  Be blessed.

Being quiet and still

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12.2 has been a core verse for me over the last 8 months.  But be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Transformed.  To transform is to change in nature, appearance, or character.  God has taken me is taking me on quite a trip.  I feel like I am learning to listen for His voice for the first time ever.  I am in a place where I can listen for the first time ever.

I have always filtered God.  There have been many things that have blocked my relationship with Him.  I’m trying to be as real and transparent as I can.  I would do what I thought I was supposed to do.  The things you are supposed to do as a Christian.  I’ve been around Church a long time.  I’ve worn many hats.

Go to Church     Read my Bible     Be in a small group     Serve     Tithe   Lead a Small Group    teach Sunday School      Deacon     Elder     Youth Worker     Sound Guy     Greeter     Teacher     Men’s Ministry

But it was empty.  I was busy but I didn’t feel closer to God.  No Holy Spirit power.

Side Note: despite my motives, my flesh, my pride and imperfections God used me anyway.  I have felt the presence of God.  The Men’s group I was in was powerful.  We were touched in many ways.  But I still had a lot of filters in the way.  I needed to give God the room to clean out my mess.

There have been times when I was chasing a position or status.  I was seeking attention.  The false humility would come out.  I would receive attention for speaking or teaching – the pats on the back and the atta boys would flow.  I would thank them and tell them all the credit was God’s.  Which is true.  And I meant it.  Well, some of it.  I loved the attention.  I was stuck but didn’t know how to get out.  I didn’t even know I was stuck.

I’ve met several powerful Men and Women of God.  I’m sure you have too.  They walk different.  They pray with power.  Their faith is extraordinary.  You can genuinely see the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.  I never knew how to really handle people like that.  What they were doing seemed so unreachable to me.

I felt blocked.  I felt as though I could only go so far and then I’d hit a wall.

My conclusion?  I must be doing something wrong.  Sure I’ve messed up.  I’ve struggled with my share of sins.  So I’d work really hard to earn my way into God’s good graces.   Essentially, I was trying to buy my way in.  See  Acts 8.14-23.  I worked so hard.  I didn’t know how else to break through.

When Juli and I started going to our new church I honestly thought I’d plug right in and show these people how incredibly blessed they were to have me.  Yes, I did need to take a break.  We were tired.  We needed to rest.  But I was waiting.  Waiting for my opportunity to shine!

Little did I know that God was about to begin His work in me.  I’ll be honest – God is still doing His work in me.  That will never end.  I’m just done fighting it.  One of my first lessons was learning to be still and quiet.  God told me that I had done enough talking.  It was time to just be quiet and be still.

I’ll unpack that next time.

Be blessed.

 

New Chapters. New Beginnings. Mad Teenagers.

Now that Juli and I have found ourselves on the Potter’s wheel we have to make a decision.  Do we stay here or get off?  Romans 12.1-2 is a very churchy passage:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Side Note: The Word of God is Truth.  The Word of God is meant to be lived.  Not just read.  The Word is not a book of suggestions for an easy Christian life.  The Word is God’s way of telling us how to live verses like Romans 12.1-2.

Not conforming to the world and renewing our minds are not easy tasks.  They CANNOT be done on our own. Period.  That is where Juli and I found ourselves.  We knew that our lives, hearts, and minds needed transformed and renewed.  But we didn’t know how to get there.  We didn’t really know what that looked like.  We did know that change was necessary.

Side Note: When you start praying about transformation – don’t be surprised when God actually starts prodding you toward change and renewal.  I’ll be real – I had a microwave idea of transformation.  Quick.  Easy.  A life transformed in 90 seconds.  Shake things up a bit without being too disruptive.  That isn’t how the Holy Spirit works.  He doesn’t do things half way.

Please understand – I am unpacking our transformation journey as it has unfolded over the last 12 months.  Juli and I are not done.  Not close.  But there is power in your testimony….so we are sharing ours.

A year ago we found ourselves serving in a number of ministries.  Small group.  Youth group. Men’s ministry. Phone ringing off the hook.  Every night filled with something.  Sounds pretty typical eh?  Problem: we were exhausted.  Our tanks were on empty.  Something needed to give.  We were only a year into our marriage and we were already stressed out.  We started backing out of our ministry responsibilities.

As we unplugged we noticed that things just didn’t feel right.  Until this time we were running so hard we didn’t notice.  We wondered if a change in church would be necessary.  This was a tough decision.  The boys were connected to the youth group.  We had a lot of friends there.  We didn’t want to make a rash decision – so we prayed.  And prayed some more.  For a couple of months we prayed.  We talked with our campus pastor and shared our concerns.

I’ll be honest.  I don’t like conversations like this.  Makes my stomach tighten up.  But God was moving.  God was with us in those conversations.  Our pastor said he understood – has actually done the same thing with his family in the past.  Our transition out of that church was actually a peaceful one.

The decision to change churches was not welcomed by our boys.

The transition to our new church family has been a touchy one.  I struggled with this.  If Juli and I felt a peace about going to a new church – shouldn’t the boys as well?  Crap – they are madder than a wet cat at us – will this drive them away from God?  If God was calling us to make this change, shouldn’t everything be happy and good?  Shouldn’t there be unicorns and rainbows in the sky?

I had to learn to trust God and not my feelings.  I’ll be unpacking my trust (or lack thereof) later.  I will say that this change was one of many.  Juli and I didn’t know what was around the corner.  All we knew was that we wanted to follow God.  It didn’t matter where He went – we wanted to follow.

So with 2 disgruntled teenagers, we closed a chapter in our young, blended family.

As the Carpenters sang….we’d only just begun.

the layers of an onion

Change is difficult.  We all like our routines.  There is a certain level of comfort in them.  Let’s be honest.  Our routines are sacred ground and we don’t like anyone messing with them.

Our family has endured a lot of change over the last couple of years.  Juli and I have been married for almost 2 1/2 years now.  Bringing 2 families together definately has its challenges.  There was a lot of change for all of us when our families came together.  Learning each other’s habits and routines has been a task in and of itself.  Then you throw in personality differences and how we communicate and you have quite a show on your hands.

There are little things like how you do laundry or load the dishwasher.  In the big scheme of things they don’t really matter.  But I do things one way and Juli does them different.  CHANGE!  Juli taught me something very important (I am learning it but it took awhile): just because it is done differently doesn’t mean it is wrong.  But there are bigger changes too.  How we do the finances.  Parenting and discipline.  Where we go to church.

Let me say this.  There has been a lot of bending and sacrifice since our families came together.  There have been some a few a lot of late night conversations as Juli and I try to figure things out.  Honestly?  Most of the tension in the last 2 years has come from my lack of bend and sacrifice.  Sometimes it just plain hurt to do things different.

The layers of my onion were being peeled back and I didn’t like it.  Not one bit.

God was doing a work in our entire family and we really felt it.  Look at Jeremiah 18.1-6

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying:  2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.

5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!

We were on the Potter’s wheel.  Juli and I wanted to be used by the Lord.  We knew that He has a bigger purpose and plan for bringing us together.  But living out His purpose requires change and transformation.  For some reason we often think that it will be God doing the transformation.  Essentially I am telling God that my plan is a pretty good one therefore He needs to bless it.  If anyone needs to change, it is Him.  God, I don’t want to go down that path, this one looks a lot better…ok, follow me.

That doesn’t work out.  Then we figure that if anyone needs to change it will be our spouse.  God, I’ve got a good thing going on over here…if you can transform Juli’s heart to match mine, then we’ll be good.  All of this family tension will dissipate when You get done with Juli.

I didn’t understand why this Potter’s wheel thing wasn’t working.  All Juli had to do was stay on the wheel.  It’s because God wanted me on the wheel with her.  There was no doubt God wanted to transform us.  But it was going to take both of us on His wheel to get the job done.

Being on God’s Potter wheel is very uncomfortable.  Our motives, thoughts, and weaknesses are exposed.  God was using Juli and I to shape each other.  He can do that through the power of the Holy Spirit.  I just didn’t know what He was doing at the time.  I spent so much time thinking that Juli was personally attacking me that I couldn’t hear what she was trying to say.

There was a lot more onion to peel.  God was just getting started.

 

Finding God when He wasn’t lost

My purpose on this blog has always been transparency.

There are enough people hiding.  Too many facades.  Granted, some people don’t want to be known.  Some want to be left alone.  But that shouldn’t be the case in Church.  There are too many people who are hurting.  And hiding.  Hiding behind their pain.  Their past.  So the facades go up.  The facades are easier to manage than the reality of their pain.

I’ve been living behind those facades.  I’ll get to that in a bit.

I have not written in a long time.  I guess you could say I have been refueling myself.  Finding myself.  That sounds so cliche.  In all honesty I have been finding God.  You didn’t know God was lost? Well He wasn’t.  But I was not very connected to Him.  So I had to find Him.

So that is what my next few posts will be about.  My pursuit of God.  My pursuit of healing.  Trying to find God in the middle of a lot of pain, hurt, and my past.

I have struggled with the process of writing.  Sometimes I felt guilty about not writing – wondering why in the world I would pay for a website if I wasn’t going to use it.  But I didn’t have any desire to write.  I didn’t feel like I had anything to say.  My words are coming back to me.  So I will follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and write.

Disclaimer: I never wanted to lead anyone astray.  I never wanted to speak anything that wasn’t true.  Had you asked me a year ago I would have told you that I want to point people to Jesus – that I hope my words will in some way help others find their way in this life.

You can’t really lead anyone anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going yourself.

No, I didn’t want to lead anyone down a wrong path.  But I was leading with a wounded heart.  I spoke out of pride, pain, and broken trust.  So God graciously pulled the plug.  On ministry.  On writing.  I had to get back to the basics:  Finding God.  My marriage.  My boys.  Until then, nothing was going to work.  I’d be spinning my wheels.

So what you are going to read over the next few days are some posts about this journey Juli and I’ve been on.  I am praying about what  God wants me to say and where I need to be silent.  I will leave it at that for now.

Be back soon.

Rainbows and Unicorns

I like my life to fit into a nice little box.  A series of boxes actually. I have this idea that life should work a certain way.  Feel a certain way.  And when life doesn’t fit into my neat little boxes, I get grumpy.   To be  honest, I’ve been going through what I’ve called a funk.  Can’t really think of a cool way to describe a funk.

I will describe a little of what I’ve felt and gone through.

Remember the boxes I mentioned?  Well, I feel like my boxes have been turned over.  Dumped out.  Emptied.  I’d try to clean up the mess but nothing seemed to work.  Clean one up and 2 more would fall off the shelf.  Try to catch my breath only to notice one box is leaking.  Clean up the mess!  Refill another box only to have the bottom fall out.  Nothing seemed to work.  I thought I was working hard to fix my boxes but all it got me was feeling tired and frustrated.

What does this look like in real life?

Trying to communicate with your wife but the words don’t seem to work.  Trying to talk with your kids and all you seem to get are blank stares or arguments.  Desperately holding onto any routine or habit – not because it works but its all you know.  The habit may not work at all.  But you feel stuck.  I felt stuck.  I felt as though I could see the answers to my problems…but they were just out of arms reach.  That drives me crazy.

Juli and I stepped back from  a lot of our involvement in Church things.  We were so dang busy.  We still are.  But something had to give.  The changes messed with me.  I think there was a part of me that needed to be stupid busy.  As if my busyness was connected to God’s acceptance of me.  When we stopped some of the activity I noticed feeling depressed.  I felt broken.

This just isn’t a good place to live in.

I felt like the wind had stopped blowing in my sails.  I didn’t have a lot of desire to do much of anything.  I wouldn’t say that I was running from God…but I didn’t feel like spending a lot of time with Him.  As a Christian, there is a temptation to live life with a lot of rules.  I bought into that big time. I would have made a good Pharisee.  Rules, rules & more rules.  Rules for the rules.  How to keep the rules and what rules to follow when the rules are broken.

It is exhausting.

I don’t have any feel good answers to offer.  Some of you may relate to this.  I can’t say I’m completely out of this funk.  Not quite yet.  But I’m getting there.  I know that I have to change some bad habits.  How I see God.  How I relate to God.  Letting God in all of my boxes.  I logically know that God loves me.  But living out that truth is another thing.

Because if I lived like I KNOW that God loves me unconditionally – then I wouldn’t hold onto the rules like I do.  So I am choosing to trust that God really does have a plan for my life and that He will get me there.  He has a plan for my marriage & my boys.  But I have to trust Him.  I can’t relate to God through rules and obligation.

This post may not be all rainbows and unicorns – but I’m pretty sure that we aren’t promised that anyway.  Thanks for reading.

dealing with the pink elephant

Juli and I were stuck in the drift.  That place in a relationship when  you drift apart.  The pink elephant enters the room and parks itself on the couch between you and your spouse.  This is also a place where a lot of people settle.  They see the mountain as too big to climb and they give up.  They may or may not get a divorce.  Some stay together for the sake of the kids.  But their life and marriage has gotten extremely stale and no one is happy.

That sounds miserable!  Juli and I knew deep down that neither one of us signed up for miserable.  Our vows are important to us.  We took a leap of faith and got married again.  Sure it was scary but we loved each other!  We decided that we needed to deal with the pink elephant.

Something had to give.  It just wasn’t going to be our marriage!  So we started having some hard conversations.  I’ll be honest.  I don’t look forward to those conversations.  They make me nervous.  Anxious.  I want to do anything but have those conversations.

But having these conversations and sorting through the drift is what I didn’t do in marriage #1.

I know deep down that Juli is worth it.  I know that God put us together.  I know that God will be with us in all circumstances, conversations, and situations.  How do I know?  Because He said He would.

I know that God is with us in the drift.

Juli and I are talking more.  Dating.  Spending time with each other.  We took the assessment from Gary Chapman’s The 5 love languages.  We know each other’s language and we are committed to speaking that language no matter how hard it is.  Is it easy?  No.  Rewarding?  Yes.  Do we have it all figured out?  Heck no.

But that’s why I haven’t been writing.  I love writing.  God’s given me a gift of speaking my mind on this blog and I enjoy it.  But my marriage comes first.

I know that the benefits will come.  The ripple effect of our efforts will make our marriage stronger.  Our boys will see what  a marriage is supposed to look like.  All of the work will pay off.

How does this hit you?  Where does it land?  Do you need to deal with a pink elephant in your marriage?  Don’t waste any more time.  Do it.

when history repeats itself – part 2

Thankfully, God revealed to me that I couldn’t stay how I was and expect a great relationship.  Did He want me to be happy?  To be married again?  Yes.  But He wasn’t done transforming me yet.  I wasn’t ready for a relationship.

By the way, He is still transforming me.  That is a process that won’t stop until we are face to face with Jesus.

I was on a mission.  I wanted God to show me the things that I needed to work on.  I wanted to heal.  I wanted to do whatever I had to do so that I could be “ready” for another relationship.  God started showing me what I needed to tweak, change, and let go of.  Areas of bondage in my life.  Pride.  Stubbornness.  Porn.  Fear.  Anxiety.  Communication.  At one point I was ready for God to stop.  I thought I had enough healing to do!

After a time of healing, counseling, and some single living, God blessed me with an amazing woman. I had been single for about 4 years when I met Juli.   We dated and married after a year.  Juli and I believe that God pulled the 2 of us together.  He knows our hearts.  He knows our history.  He knows what we need.  He also knew it would not be easy.

When Juli and I were dating, I was, again, very involved in my church.  Men’s ministry.  Small group.  Youth group.  Pedal to the metal and go – go – go!  I made an assumption that Juli would want to get involved with the church too and didn’t think about all of my commitments.  Juli did get involved.  God took her into some situations that really pushed her out of her comfort zone.

In the back of my mind I knew we were maxed out.  Our calendar was full.  Between church activities, Juli’s retail job, and the boy’s busy schedule – we were tired and stressed out.  I knew we couldn’t really maintain at this pace.

But we pushed on.  The calendar stayed full.

That is what a good Christian does, right?

Then my past came knocking.

I need to spend time with my husband.

We need a consistent date night.

Am I important to you?

I struggled with these questions.  How could this be happening?  Again?  Does she not see all of the things we are I am doing?  Men’s ministry.  Youth group.  Small group.  Juli was involved too. Don’t get the impression I left her at home while I went out and made myself busy.  But Juli knew that a full calendar and a stressed marriage wasn’t going to work over the long run.

I felt the drift.  The drift is never a good thing in marriage.  The drift is when you are in the same room as your spouse but you feel like your 300 miles apart.

Something needed to change.

Again, I will respect your time.  Back with more soon.

How did this land with you?  Can you relate?

when history repeats itself – part 1

I haven’t written in awhile.  It’s not because I don’t have anything to say :) I’ve had a lot going on in my life.  I’ll get to that in a bit.  If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know that I have a desire to be as real as possible.  Being open can be an encouragement to you.  If I can share and talk about real life things – then you can too.  Maybe the things that I write about will hit home for you.  If these words touch you in some way, then take it to God and ask Him to help you be obedient.

It is hard when you start seeing your past repeat itself.

That’s how the saying goes, right?  That history will repeat itself?

Well that’s great when it’s someone else’s history.

Allow me to tell a brief piece of my story.  I was married straight out of college.  21 years old.  That marriage lasted 12 years on paper.  Emotionally it was over after about 10.  Problem was I didn’t really know the marriage was falling apart.  You may be wondering “how can you be married and NOT know your relationship is crashing?”  Well, that may be another post for another day.

During my first marriage, I completed a Graduate degree and my ex-wife went back to school when our son started kindergarten.  We were very busy and involved in the church we attended at the time.  In year 11 the wheels started falling off.  I was in a spiritual rut.  I was going through the motions.  And I ignored all of the requests from my wife.  Problem was that I had ignored these requests for years.

We need to spend time together.

We need a date night.

When can we get away, just the 2 of us?

I was good at putting on band aids.  Fix the problem just enough to stop the bleeding.  Over time, those band aids were useless.  Unfortunately, that marriage ended in divorce.  There were a lot of issues and problems in that first marriage.  Communication.  Addiction.  Pride.  And when those weren’t dealt with, the relationship got sick and was severely malnourished.

So I entered a time of healing, reflection, and soul searching.  I asked a LOT of questions.  Made some mistakes.  Had to learn how to live life as a single dad.  Ultimately, I wanted God’s healing.  I spent a lot of time looking for that “right” girl because I wanted to get remarried.  Honestly, I got tired of looking.  I just didn’t seem to have much luck in the dating world (which is pretty brutal today :)  God shared with me that I needed to focus on becoming a man worthy of dating – THEN He would take care of a relationship for me.

I’m going to stop here.  Too much to tell and I want to respect your time.  More to come soon!

This isn’t meant to be a Debbie Downer post.  Just part 1.  How do you relate to my story?

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