Right now, when I look back on the last 6 months, I see that I have been brought quite a distance from where I was. I have gone from being a man caught up in protecting himself and his interest, complete with the self-righteousness I had earned in my view of religious matters (all the things I wasn’t doing) to becoming a man who is willing to give up control of how the future unfolds and follow his creator on a great adventure. I have gone from being a man who used people to help get the outcome I wanted and starting to become a man who is celebrating people for who they are, not for what they can do for me. I have gone from being a man who would cower away from a challenge because of the possibility I may be hurt and as a result show that I am fallible and am becoming a man who knows he is broken and wounded but is confident I can continue moving forward because God is leading the way.
I have encountered God and I am experiencing his grace and forgiveness. I am beginning to understand the depth of his love. I am beginning to understand who he created us to be. I am beginning to understand that the redemption that he gives, the eternal life that he promises, is not just something that we experience when we leave this world but rather that he desires every bit of our lives to be just like the perfection of the garden.
I have begun to take on a new identity as well. The lies of the Enemy spoke to me and the wounds that he created in me, even from a very young age, shaped me into something that was different than what God had in mind for me. I was full of pride and arrogance. I was right and I was going to let you know it. I was, to say the least, an ass. There were so many parts of my persona that I created that were in place only to protect me from being hurt by other people. For example, I had to have the right answer so that people would accept me, so that people would need me. I need to be needed. When I saw myself through the shame that I created, through the lies of Satan that I believed, I needed to protect myself. If people only knew the truth about me…God sent me to Seattle and I was believing that it was to learn something to save my marriage, perhaps even something magical, but in reality, Dr Hawkins and Mr Knopf (my counselors) helped me face who I was, why I was that way, and showed me that I could be somebody different.
These last 7 weeks since I have returned from Seattle have been spent in solitude, reflection, and evaluation. I have been processing my hurts and have begun to move forward…but only because of a greater search, my identity according to God. God has been stripping away the lies that I have believed and begun to replace them with his truths. It is part of the reason, if not the major reason, why being in the scriptures is so important, so that our minds can be filled with his truths instead of the lies from ourselves, the world, and from the enemy. It is when I find myself with him, in his love, do I begin to see the bigger picture for my life, and only then that I can begin to forgive the people that have wounded me.
Perhaps some of you knew from the moment you first heard about this dilemma that Kim and I find ourselves in that this was about so much more than just our marriage. This journey is about our marriage, but also about us specifically as parents, and coworkers, as neighbors, as friends, as children of the living God, about our eternity and future ministry.
This season has come for the purpose of getting us ready for the adventure that lies ahead, a journey that is full of life, and grace, and joy. This season is not over, the painful truth is evident, but the expectation of what is to come eases this aching inside me.