“Jesus and I are movin’ on!!”
It was during a counseling session with my pastor and associate pastor in a small office in a small church where God gave me the statement that would carry me during the worst days of my life.
Looking back, I was still a baby in my walk with God. Even though I had been saved a few years before and did my best to gain wisdom through going to church and hanging out with the right people, I found myself trying to hang on with all I had.
Divorce papers were serve on the day that OJ Simpson was found not guilty in the murder of his wife and friend. The one thing I really remember that day was the thought that he was found not guilty and I was found guilty; of having to serve his sentence through divorce. Well that sucks!!
Now I can see how my inabilities to communicate my feelings, even on a basic level, led to issues in our marriage. I did everything I could to reconcile and in the end, she just wanted out. (Insert blame, speculation, and the past here)
Thank God I had my brother, Dave, and his family along with my church family to help me during that time. As a Christian and striving to be more like Jesus every day, it was the hands and feet of those God blessed me with around me with flesh and bones that just loved me through my struggles.
What Dave did for me was exactly what I needed, though it may not work for you. He told me that he loved me and would be there for me anytime, anyplace, and for any reason. He also said he was not going to be all up in my business about it, but to just come to him when I needed him.
My dad is a wonderful man and raised us boys to be rather self-sufficient. In so many ways, it has allowed me to figure things out on my own, thus learning through trial and error. It worked, to a point.
What Dave did was to give me the space to figure it out on my own while providing the support I wanted when I was ready. But I needed more, so much more.
That more was Jesus!! I had to fill in all the space with the love, grace, and mercy that only God could give me. I was saved, yet I needed to allow Him to guide and lead me, and heal me to make me whole again.
The best example of this was one night in an evening when I felt so discouraged and beat down. I just needed to spend some time with Dave and his family. Guess what. They decided to head out of town to get away for a couple of days without telling me.
I lived just a few doors down, so I walked back to my dingy apartment. I think I cried more tears that night than I ever had before or ever will again. I needed my brother, my best friend. I needed…….. God!!
Looking back, it was the best thing in my healing process. I needed to get to the point of total desperation. I needed to hit rock bottom. And I did!!
And then God. What did He do? Sitting here writing this, I have no recollection of what happened next, but I can tell you that it was Him using what I thought was my strength (Dave) to show me that God is now my strength. Fully and completely, I now received God as the only answer to all of my needs.
What is sort of funny is that the statement above was something God told me before I missed Dave that night. I finally knew, deep down in my soul, what it means to walk with Jesus.
Fast forward a few years and I am now living in another town and guess what? Yes, it happens AGAIN!!!
Divorce #2. What in the flip just happened, and now what? I trusted God and did everything right I thought, but yet again, I am facing the tragedy of divorce.
After only a few months, I am faced again with that foundational relationship with God. This time, I was prepared. Yet after two and a half years or trying to reconcile, it was final.
But God was there for me every step of the way. Dave and his family moved away right after I did, but I had a relationship with God now that was my foundation, unmovable and unshakable. Even though the enemy did his best to cause me to stumble, my God was faithful and held me in His arms through it all.
Now you may be wondering why I am telling you all of this. Well, I want to encourage you that God loves you and wants you to be blessed, even through your toughest and most difficult struggles.
After my second divorce was final, I immediately called my boss to tell him I was moving and had decided to transfer with the company. I had decided to become involved with an amazing church in Jacksonville, Florida and to join their worship team. God had something awesome for me, but I did not know how awesome, until I let go and let God lead me.
I met my brother, Dave, (this is now the third place where I have moved to be close to him and his family) at his work the moment I rolled into town and we went to lunch. He told me the worship team was having a little worship time as part of a huge New Year’s Eve party.
That night I met my wife, Christy. She was a member of the worship team and close friends with Dave and his family. On New Year’s Day, the very next day, she had already planned on being at Dave’s family’s house. God was up to something.
Within 17 days, were went on our first date and we were married less than 9 months later. We have now been happily married for over 12 years and have 2 wonderful children. Together we have helped hundreds of people in various marriage and divorce groups over the years while serving in other leadership roles at Celebration Church.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
My point in telling you my story is not to tell you that everything will work out for you like it did for me. I wanted to share that what God did for me He can and will do for you, if you let Him. God gave me a foundation of peace and wisdom that led me to healing and wholeness in Him.