21 Jun 2018 A Life Rebuilt
By Jeff |
I was baptized as a child but too young to understand what it meant. I didn’t grow up in the church and just sort of lived life the way I felt was the best for me, so I made some terrible choices and mistakes along the way. I put myself, my family, and my career at risk while trying to make my life my own. Over the course of the last eleven years, my life and my decisions have slowly unraveled and brought me to my knees. I was trying to live life on my own, without God, and it simply wasn’t working. My life was empty, I was in perpetual pain and fear, and I just didn’t understand why my life was the way it was. I lost my way entirely.
In 2007, I was on a combat mission in Iraq when a bomb exploded. The bomb took the lives of two of my friends and colleagues. I was not physically injured, but I was damaged psychologically. I began drinking heavily, feeling guilt and pain for my friends dying and not me, shame for not being able to pull myself out of the sinking depression I was in, and sporting a dangerous level of machismo and bravado that I had never felt before.
I divorced my wife who was the mother of our children, and I tried my best to balance a co-parenting situation from across the United States and Japan. My children grew distant, and another man was introduced into the picture who is now their step-father. He was able to be there for my kids when I couldn’t be. Nothing I did, no effort I made, seemed to be enough to hold my family together or draw my kids close to me.
In 2007, I was on a combat mission in Iraq when a bomb exploded.
I later married Lettie, who was also in the Air Force, who had attended to me in the ER after the explosion in Iraq. She recalls that moment even though it is gone from my own memory to a degree. Excited about my new marriage, I tried to make my life work. In 2014, I began to take my marriage for granted and committed adultery while I was deployed. Upon my return, I started to go to church to seek healing and to save my marriage, thinking that was the answer. I didn’t put a lot of effort into it or give it all to the Lord. I simply just went to church and thought all my problems would go away.
In 2016, I continued to drink and make poor decisions in my marriage, which caused my wife to leave for a time. Due to my actions, my children started pulling away from me but on their own this time, rather than being pulled from me like they had been previously. I had hurt their step-mother, which hurt and disappointed them; I had essentially pushed them away. I was completely and utterly broken. I could not find love, comfort, fulfillment, happiness, or forgiveness anywhere in my life. I felt that I had nothing left, and, for the first time in my life, I felt suicide was an option.
It was then that Christ introduced some people into the life of me and my wife, people who remain our dear friends and family to this day. They brought both of us to Christ and opened our hearts to Him. I began to understand the love Jesus has for me. When I opened my heart, I immediately felt comfort and a sense of purpose. I began to be able to truly repent and transform. I felt forgiveness and finally had the ability to admit my mistakes so I could be forgiven.
They brought both of us to Christ and opened our hearts to Him.
I retired from the Air Force and Lettie and I moved to Bothell in September 2017. We sought out a church to call home and found Northshore to be welcoming and a good fit for us. We learned through Northshore of the Alpha program, and it answered a lot of questions and grew my/our faith in Jesus even more. The Alpha program may not have been a “turning point” in my journey to Christ, but it was an absolutely necessary tool to have for my journey. Without Alpha, I don’t believe my convictions would be as strong as they are today.
Jesus has truly blessed my life since I have sought Him. He has changed everything for me as well as my marriage. I have faith that He’ll continue to work in my life and heal all the other parts that are still broken, because I am still broken. I have begun to understand what love truly is and that everything happens in His time. I now know what love is, and His name is Jesus.
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