There’s a lot I can take credit for in my life.
My screw ups.
Things like that.
The turn my life has taken over the past few years is not one of them.
More than ten years ago I was a believer, but I was a just-inside-the-gate-of heaven type of guy. I did as little as I could so that I felt “saved,” but had not really done much of anything with the Gospel, or myself.
I was neither financially, spiritually, or romantically viable. And probably some other viables, too.
I believe the saying now is a “hot mess.”
A former relationship had rendered me skittish about sticking out my neck in any real way, so I didn’t. I just sat back and waited for the next thing to happen.
It didn’t, even though there were a couple of opportunities with some really nice, really great women who probably would have made me happy.
My discipleship and spiritual life were mediocre, at best. I was part of a ministry that changed my life over around a five-year period, but that was due to God being glorious, and me at least being smart enough to stand out of the way and let God use me a few times. I almost feel like I had nothing to do with it. Maybe I didn’t.
Financially, I had a decent job that payed well enough, but I was utterly stupid about money and it amounted to naught. Plus, it was in the cellular industry and there was always a measure of uncertainty attached to it.
I made so many bad choices it makes me shudder to think of it now (not that all my choices now are perfect, but they are at least considered first).
I needed to get away, to think about things, and where my life was going. I needed to pray. I had what turned out to be a misguided feeling that if I could just meet someone, my life would be better.
Well, actually, that was true. Just not in the way I thought.
There were a couple of lame attempts at online dating that I really never expected to succeed. So they didn’t.
I considered what was wrong in my life, and why all that stuff was so hard.
I’d had a few relationships here and there, but they always went in the toilet after various periods of time.
I could not blame the women, not really. I had chosen to pursue them in most of the cases. And eventually I always just…face-planted.
I’d always had more female friends than male ones. I guess that was because of my childhood and adolescence, which I’ve written about several times. Not inclined to repeat any of that here. Anyway, it seemed to make things easier, but not really.
There was the feeling of being with someone in a “safe” way, but it also gave me the opportunity to take things in the wrong direction emotionally, which did end up happening once. Also, once physically, which was the biggest mistake of my life.
Also, it removed the risk of me meeting anyone else, because it seemed like girls weren’t all that interested in guys who hung out with girls most of the time.
Most importantly, though, it was not appropriate. I don’t believe now that God made us that way—at least not me. I copped out for a very large part of my life.
And then it came to pass that God allowed me a moment of clarity about my life, and the conclusion I came to was this one: I was never going to right my ship and my life if I kept doing the same things over and over again. It was clear I didn’t really know how to handle things—I’d never learned.
So that meant the “why” was because I had never asked what God thought about my relationships, or if I should even have one.
A day or two after that conclusion, I was fooling around online—watching YouTube clips and skimming around a couple of dating sites. I signed into MySpace to play some online game and saw I’d gotten an email from a young woman in AZ. I didn’t know her, but she was pretty so I didn’t delete it. I read it, though. I didn’t get any voice from on high telling me what to do.
So I kept skimming, and watching concert clips.
A short while later, I went to Mexico for a short vacation with two good friends (yes, they were female. No, there wasn’t any tension that way). We had a condo a few short steps from the Akumal beach.
I sat out there the first morning, and I read a little scripture and scribbled in a notebook. It became my habit over the next few days, between snorkeling, sightseeing, and drinking margaritas.
I think it was the second to last day when I wrote this:
“God, if you’re ever going to make something happen for me with someone, you have to make it really clear what you want (yes, I gave an order to the creator of all things). Because I don’t know what I want, but I know I don’t want this—this life—anymore. I don’t want to die, I just want it to be different.”
There were a few more things, but that’s the part that matters most for my purposes today.
Shortly after returning, I pulled up MySpace at work and wrote a reply to the Arizona woman who’d written me.
Her name was Jenny.
Everything flowed from that. From the beginning, our conversations were easy and authentic. Transparent.
It went quickly, but felt right from the very beginning. It felt like that clarity I’d asked God for.
Jenny and I were married on May 16, 2009.
Today, we have two crazy boys, and we own a home. Things are looking up, and get better all the time. We worship and serve at First Christian Church–Yuma. We are leaders in the Prayer Ministry there.
The pastor is a Godly man named Jeff Elzey who is also a great guy. We are able to worship every week with our best friends and family, and that is wonderful.
Yes, there were quite a few bumps and a pretty significant breakdown along the way, but it feels like those things needed to happen now as part of my personal refining. And some pain was involved, but so was healing.
My life is full now, and fulfilled. Listening to God brought all of that about. Asking him to take control of that part of my life and my heart helped. Otherwise I would have discarded all the little clues he set in my path—never been great at grasping subtleties.
I love the life God has set before me.
I love my family, and all the friends I’ve made since becoming part of things at my church and in my community.
My job is better than it’s ever been.
I take no credit for any of it. I just think there are so many blessings in being faithful. Not perfect—just faithful.
Listen to God. Listen FOR God.
It will change your life.