From my youth I pretty much just lived life the way I wanted, and to be honest, it never really led me anywhere great. I saw a glimmer of hope in my 20s when I met the woman I would later marry. Although we had some good times, we also had our share of struggles, and over time the struggles began to take over. By our 7th year of marriage divorce seemed to be the only option for us. We tried several things to work it out. We had earlier sessions of counseling, we tried reasoning with each other, just nothing seemed to help. I was starting to feel there was no hope. I remember we were on the way out and I was working my way through a divorce packet. That week I got the call..
I got the word my Grandfather died. Grandpa was a World War II Vet turned Pastor. It was in a bunker when he made the decision to change his life, “if he ever got out of there”. He survived the war, went home and then went to school to become a preacher. He walked with the Lord from that point on. So when I learned of his passing my mom, dad, sisters and I made the plan to fly out to Minnesota and attend his funeral service.
At the service I remember sitting in the church pew alone, watching a slideshow. Both through the memories I had of him, and that slideshow, I can see how fulfilling, and content he was in his life. Even through they faced issues with their health in their later years, they still looked so content. Something happened to me that day, something changed in me. I felt broken and I couldn’t hold back the tears even though I tried to with all my might. My heart changed and my attention was on the Lord for the first time in years. Perhaps more-so than its ever been.
I went home with a new plan, a plan to follow Christ and his ways. To be the husband God calls me to be. I began this journey by going back to church. At first this was very difficult and the issues seemed to spiral out of control. I finally came to this point of full surrender. And that’s when everything began to really change. Everything I was taught from my earlier years about God and his word began to make sense and become clear to me. It was like the blinders were taken off by the grace of God. I remember in the midst of a breakthrough in our marriage, it was in that moment of surrendering and following Jesus. And in that moment of reconciliation between me and my wife, I received an experience of being in the presence of God, as we were going through a time of forgiveness. No doubt, God was there. There is no way we could have went through that without him. He blessed me with the understanding of true forgiveness, and by his word and his finished work at the cross, he offers true forgiveness to you and me. I recall hearing in my heart and mind a very clear “now you see” and I knew it was Jesus. And as I’ve been following, his word continues proving true again and again. Today life is so meaningful. Marriage and life will always bring its share of challenges but with God in our lives, its different now. We have a genuine love for each other. God brings Joy, contentment and hope. I wouldn’t trade any of these few recent years for any of the years prior to knowing him. I love God for being with us through it all and helping us. I love him for all he has done for me. I feel we literally tried everything, but it was God who set us free.
A special thanks to my Grandpa and Grandma for being a light into our world…