How I found my way back to God
|All of us come to a point in there life where they question who they are and where they are going. I found myself at that crossroad near the end of 2006. After thinking about it for some time, I realized it was something that had been simmering inside of me for a number of years.
Now, here was my dilemma-no matter what I tried, I wasn't finding any answers. As my wife can attest, we had many an argument about this topic. I was angry, reclusive and self-centered. My life was centered on me-my problems. Nothing else mattered at that point in my life. My family was flying apart, piece by piece. My anger drove my children away. My reclusiveness was driving my wife away. I was a mess. If we look at the bible, in James 1:20, we see that "the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God". I found that out first hand. Also in James 4:1, we find that "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Aren't they caused by the selfish desires that fight to control you?"
My wife finally convinced me to try counseling. I went, grudgingly, and, surprise, it didn't help. What I was feeling was not something that was a head problem. That much I knew.
The truth was that I had gotten as far away as someone could get from God. I found myself wrapped up in worldly matters-life stuff. I was worried about things like money and self-esteem. I was focused on number one. To make matters worse, I was given several trials-losing a job, being in court with my ex-wife numerous times and my car dying a painful and horrible death-actually two cars met that fate.
My oldest son, told my wife about this church that he went to. He was excited. Now, keep in mind, my son was the last person I would expect to go to church, much less, enjoy it.
Well, my wife and I (actually, more my wife) had been looking for a church. She considered attending services in her parents' church, but she wasn't crazy about the pastor. My wife wanted me to go to church with her that first night, but I declined. I guess I was still in a "me" mode. She went and I stayed home and played video games, as I recall. She came home. She said she liked the service, but she didn't seem that excited.
Well, I finally decided to go to church the following week. We took our children that night. When I got there, this crazy man greeted us. He was so excited, he scared me a little. I was surprised when I learned he was the pastor. That night, the pastor was finishing up a series called Boundaries. I didn't really get anything out of that service, but something inside of me seemed different. I decided that night that I come back and give this crazy guy another try the following week.
Over the next few months since that first night, it seemed life got tougher. I had several challenges presented to me in a very short time.
My oldest son was asked to leave his home due to a mishandled investigation by protective services. He's married and has a child on the way. He hasn't been able to spend time with his wife and has been missing out on their pregnancy. Thankfully, he's been able to move in with us. My wife had a cancer scare. My ex-wife seemed to get angrier and was bringing more and more pain to our family through her selfish actions. Some of you out there might be asking yourself, Is this guy here to give a message of hope or misery?' Read on, and you'll see.
I knew I was in that church for a reason-that much was certain. I figured that out when I started hearing messages from the crazy guy that were meant for me. He wasn't crazy anymore. He was an honest and sincere person and he was talking to me. I was still skeptical so I decided to keep a low profile. I just listened and learned.
I finally started to feel comfortable at church. I also started to look around and I was seeing a marvelous thing-love. These people didn't know me, but they accepted me. It was like the feeling of a comfortable pair of shoes.
In Acts 3:19-20, we see Peter telling people at the temple that they must "Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Messiah already appointed for you, Jesus." Well, that was me-a sinner. I was on the other side of God, but it looked like I was starting to come around.
I still hadn't figured out two things-who I was and where I was going. During announcements, one night, the pastor mentioned men's group. They had just started watching a video series called "A Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. There-the word that I was looking for-purpose. Maybe my answer was there. I decided to see if men's group would answer my questions.
When I got to men's group, one of the other men in group was running the presentation that night, and he gave us handouts. I hate handouts. We talked about the lesson plan for that night and then we watched the video. I still have that handout. I refer to it every now and then to see where I was and where I am today.
That night, I took that quantum leap and told Jesus that I accepted him as my savior and I wanted Him to drive the bus. My driving skills, as evidenced in how my life was going, weren't the greatest.
So what's changed? In the real world, I still have bad days sometimes. I'm still fighting with my ex. What has changed? I have found a purpose-writing. Yep, I now write dramas and comedies for my church. We use plays to help people see the bible in a contemporary and understandable way. My wife and I are back on track and very much in love. My kids have been introduced to God and they are reading the bible daily (their decision, not mine). They want to do more for their church family and the community as a whole.
My wife swears I'm on drugs because I'm so peaceful most of the time. Actually, she says she's jealous. You see life, will still be life. We can't change that, but, through God's love and mercy, we can change us.