“But God, that’s not the testimony I want.” Actually, I don’t think anyone would have ever chosen the testimony I was given after my first marriage ended with my spouse leaving it. You see, I was given a second marriage, this time with a believing spouse, and an opportunity to raise “his and her” children in a Christ-centered home. It was particularly meaningful as my parents had divorced when I was very young and the break up of my first family was devastating to me. I was certain that my testimony was going to be one of “second chances” and “blended families” and for two and a half years it was exactly that. Even though there were certainly some challenges from sharing custody of my son and daughter and her son with our former spouses, I still remember getting up every morning and saying, “God, you can’t be this good!”
We did many of the things that Christian families are told to do; pray together, have nightly devotions followed by game time, have date nights, eat meals together, attend and be involved in church and ministries together. As a matter of fact, it was just three months before one such ministry event, an outdoor Christian revival that my wife and I planned and self funded, that something happened that would drastically alter our marriage and family dynamics.
While we were raising our children in a Christian home, they were living dual lives. The other half of the time they were living in homes where the Word of God wasn’t taught and they were exposed to some of the evils of the world. Unfortunately, for my 12 year old son, that included pornography which he accessed on an unprotected computer in his mother’s home. You see, just as there is a God who loves us and wants the best for us, there is an Enemy of our soul who only wants to steal, kill and destroy and he knew exactly where and how to attack my family. He used my son, who acted out what he had seen on my wife’s only son. It all came crashing down on us in a moment, like a bomb had gone off.
My morning, “God you can’t be this good”, quickly turned into,”God, why did you allow this to happen?” The next weeks of trying to fix the damage and to put the family back together turned into months and then years. To make matters worse, my children’s mother used it as an opportunity to improperly cut off all my contact with my son and daughter at that time when they needed me the most. It was a pattern that would be repeated time and time over the next couple of years, and no contempt orders from judges or social investigations confirming the parental alienation would stop her behaviors. Despite all that I tried to do to help my wife, she just couldn’t cope with the hurt and decided to build a wall around her and her son, and I was not going to be allowed back in, figuratively and literally. I was losing both my wife and my relationships with the children, all that I cherished most.
About four years into a unwanted marital separation and an all consuming effort to try to right the ship, I realized that I was not going to be able to fix either situation. I couldn’t change or heal my wife’s heart and I had to let her go on with her life as she desired, raising her son without me. I also couldn’t stop my former wife’s behaviors. The stress my children were put under by me pursuing my relationships with them were taking a tremendous emotional toll on them and as painful as it was for me, I realized that I loved them too much to put them through that any more. It was truly a King Solomon “split the baby in half scenario”. It was time to surrender them to her for a season.
So where did that leave me? For quite some time, stuck in a place of self pity and trying to adjust to my “new normal” with those still in my life. I did have some church and social relationships, but they were all fairly superficial as for the past five years I had been consumed with trying to save the relationships that I most cherished. While I had been attending church during that time, I had no energy or time to invest in others or be involved in any ministries. I did draw remarkably close to God through it all though and clearly remember God asking me one day, “When are you going to get off the bench and back in the game?” He was right. The Enemy was behind what had happened. He didn’t want me or my family serving God and sidelined me for years as I tried to repair those things that only God could fix. By me sitting around lamenting what had happened, the Enemy was winning. It was time for a new beginning.
At that time, I was really pursuing a healthy outlet that I had discovered, CrossFit. It was becoming a passion and I remember God prompting me to write on my box’s “Goal Board” that I wanted to start a CrossFit ministry where I could combine my passion for the sport with my passion for Christ. I began that effort in earnest and God led me quickly to FAITH RXD through a social media post. I knew that God was calling me to start a local FAITH RXD chapter. I attended an Iron Sharpens Iron event and in November of 2016, I did just that. I am now blessed to lead others in my chapter as we love on the local CrossFit community and share the message of God’s great love for them. I am able to offer others encouragement and the hope and comfort that God gave me over these past few years. I know this is what God has created me for and it gives me great fulfillment.
You might be wondering what my turning point was in this trial. It was when I really became to believe that God is sovereign. It was when I stopped asking God “why?” and instead started asking Him, “how?” ‘How do you want to use this in my life?” While God certainly didn’t cause what happened in my family, He allowed it and for reasons that I might not fully understand this side of Heaven. I have seen some ways that He has used it for my good as He promises in Romans 8:28. My faith has never been stronger and my character has grown more Christ-like through it all as I turned to Him for help and healing.
So for now, that will be my testimony. I will wait patiently for the return one day of my children who both know that I love them dearly. I will approach life one day at a time and serve God through FAITH RXD by serving others with the gifts and talents He has given me. I feel blessed to have been given so many people through this ministry who love, support and encourage me and they will do the same for you if you choose to be part of this family. Finally, I will hang on to this verse in God’s Word and encourage you to do the same through any trials you may face: “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalms 27:13-14