23 Mar Piercing My Armor
By Adam Richard
I grew up in a somewhat unique family structure where I was fairly disengaged from my mother and father, and instead, lived with my grandmother and my aunt from elementary school up through high school.
Although this was much different than most kids’ upbringing, they both were great “parents” with a desire to keep me on the right path, regardless of the situation. During this time, God also brought multiple men into my life to serve as role models for me to grow with, to learn from, and eventually to help me reach the point where I turned my life over to Christ. Even though I am incredibly grateful for those men who took time out of their lives to be intentional about building into mine, there was still a gap that needed to be filled (or, better yet, an armor that needed to be pierced).
Our daughter was born and I began to come to terms with the struggle of being a father, when I had no actual earthly father to model myself after.
Fast forward twelve years. My wife, Lindsay, and I were expecting our first baby. We had just moved to a new area where we had no real close connections, and were also new to Northshore. I remember feeling somewhat nervous and anxious about all the changes, but hesitated to fully show my “emotional cards” in order to feel in control of the situation. This false control only lasted a few more months. Our daughter was born and I began to come to terms with the struggle of being a father, when I had no actual earthly father to model myself after. I remember feeling emotionally flat-lined at times and regularly wondering what it meant to love this little girl as a father (and furthermore, with my wife, as her husband).
This wondering began to create chinks in the armor that I had been building up for so long; armor that had protected me from being more introspective. The more I tried to keep them closed, these chinks turned into gaping holes, which in turn left me confused, frustrated, and more vulnerable to hearing God’s voice.
This is where I really started to plug into Northshore and connect with other men. The process started with a Wednesday night men’s group as we read through and discussed the book, The Search for Significance. Reading through and digging deeper into the content with a group of guys helped me recognize where I had been getting my significance, and then refine it to the point of needing to transition where I was getting it from.
These connection points with other men have helped tear off more layers of my previous armor and have begun adding a whole new, better set underneath.
After this group ended, I joined another men’s group that was doing a study on family origins and their impact. The material and weekly conversations with these guys helped me dig deeper into questions I had and hone in on the gaps that needed filling.
Shortly after, I connected with Pastor Jonathan and he invited me to join another men’s small group focusing on how to be a leader at home, at church, and at work. These connection points with other men have helped tear off more layers of my previous armor and have begun adding a whole new, better set underneath.
As I continue the lifelong journey of learning what it means to be a better husband, father, and brother in Christ, I am excited to serve at Northshore in ways that create space for more guys to have the same type of experiences I have had. Whether through the annual Man Camp, Wednesday night men’s small group, hobby/interest groups or additional opportunities, I am ecstatic to see guys leave behind the armor that we so easily (and comfortably) build around ourselves, and get connected with each other.
After all, we really are better together (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) and if you don’t want to believe that for yourself, do it for the one guy’s life you will change when you choose to invest in him.
I am looking forward to continuing to see how an ordinary group of Northshore men can make an extraordinary impact for Jesus when we grow together.
Northshore Men, register to attend the upcoming Men’s Breakfast to get connected in community.
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