I felt the need to repost this.
Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face continually. I Chronicles 16:11
Thanks for bearing with me so far. I want to take a moment and tell you about myself. My thoughts, motivations and some of the circumstances that have been part of my life. I wish I had lived a perfect and wonderful life, no mistakes, no difficulties, only living through Him and for Him. But, such is not the case, I have travelled far from Him. Thankfully, He never travelled away from me. So, please, take a minute, read on and hopefully it will help you make sense of me and my motivation. And, now my journey begins.
WOW! I never thought I’d find myself trying to blog. I say trying, because I never have done this before, and I’ve hardly read any for that matter. But, here I am. I ask you all to bear with me as I grow in the process while I try, make errors and then try to correct them. Much like Christian life, while going through the process of living we make mistakes. Some are easily fixed while others much more difficult, if near impossible.
Now, if I were one of the readers (if there are any) I would be asking myself: Why is he writing this blog? What is this guy trying to say? What is he rambling about? Will any of this make any sense? And, to answer all those I should explain a little bit about why I even decided to try this. Now, before I go further, I will say that because I am human, I have failed. I have faced heartache and pain because of those failures. Worse yet, I have caused others in my life to have heartache and pain as well. And, while I never intended, such is the effect of life at times, compounded exponentially when poor decisions and living without Christ. I will try, as this blog evolves, to explain things that will help others understand where I come from spiritually, some of the trials and tribulations, some of the victories and how I am striving to live for Him.
Before I start answering the questions I would like to give just a little information about me. Now, I won’t be able to be completely straightforward as too many details will possibly make others feel I am talking about them and possibly bringing negative attention their way. That is not my intent and because of that, I may at times be a little vague. I also, will for the time being, not say a lot about me. Not because I am worried about people knowing who I am, possibly judging me. Believe me, I have very seriously judged myself and while not afraid of others’ judgement, putting a name and face to someone sometimes interferes with the message. Many people like to point out old sins and then say, well, he sinned so I know this is all a farce. It is not, but to prevent interference with the message, I am going to keep me out of it. It may also cause those I love, those that are, or have been, in my life to be scrutinized unfairly. I don’t want to write this to cast others in a negative manner.
I am a professional male, late 50’s. My profession is helping people. No, I am not a minister. Many careers and professions involve helping others and at this time what I do is not relative to the blog. Likely, in the future, I will say things that will make my career obvious, and eventually will more likely than not reveal that and more details about myself, but for now I will leave it at that. If there are ever names mentioned, they will be fictitious names, even though the circumstances will have been real. Like Dragnet: the stories you will hear are real, but the names have been changed to protect the innocent. I was raised by a strong Christian mother, a saint of a woman that had me in church every Sunday. My father, while not a church going man, was in his daily life, more kind, caring, compassionate and far more Godly than most people you see in church. He did not minister to people from a pulpit. He didn’t talk to folks about Christ, not that he didn’t have conversations about Christ, but did not do as some that choose to be very overt in their Christian lives. He demonstrated the values that Christ preached about. Yes, I was in church regularly as a child, but as I came into my teen years I did as many and became rebellious. I can’t say I fell in with the wrong crowd, because to be honest, I tried to hang out with the wrong crowd. During the 70’s, drugs and alcohol were always part of those groups. I was using a variety of substances, marijuana and alcohol mostly. I never could convince myself to use heroin or other intravenous drugs thank God for that. After high school I started dating a girl, and several months later we were married, I was almost 19. No she wasn’t pregnant at the time. Eventually, we had children, our first when I was 20 and while they were young, about 10 years later than I should have, I decided it was time to go to college and prepare for my desired career. Of course, going to college late, and having children created issues. I obtained a military scholarship to pay for my education and then after completing it, was in the military. I spent time in Iraq and a few other places that helped shape who I became. That is a very, very brief autobiography of sorts. I promise to fill in details as time goes, when those details are relevant and hopefully helpful to the point I hope to make.
Throughout my life I was Christian-ish. What do you mean Christian-ISH? Well, I say that because, no matter where I was, how far I got from Him, I always KNEW He was there. I always believed in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. But I didn’t always know Him. I didn’t always, in fact, to my shame, almost rarely lived for His glory. I attended church off and on, sometimes for a few years at a time. I tried to be active in church, I volunteered for a lot of activities. Sadly, I never really fully and completely surrendered all to Him. I thanked Him in good times and begged for His help in the bad. But, never really, really lived a good Christian life by striving to make every day about Him. I would eventually drift away from church. Always some excuse that I wasn’t able to attend. I had to work. I worked late the night before. I had a test to study for or a paper to write. It is easy to find excuses if one tries. Over the last few years, I faced some marked personal tragedies and losses. Things we will all have to face. These things were the most difficult things I with which I was forced to deal. During that time, my wife wasn’t giving me the support I felt I needed in my time of pain. During my time of pain and suffering I found myself; well to be honest, I did not find as that indicates a certain passivity to the events that occurred and I sadly was actively involved in placing myself there, in a process of working a lot, always finding something to keep me occupied and other ways that served to help me ignore the pain and kept me from dealing with it in a spiritually and mentally healthy way. It did not help me get through, rather it helped me avoid, the pain I was feeling. When I finally realized, or admitted, what I had always known: The true comfort I needed would never come from avoiding the pain of human existence and losses related to that or by not facing the pain to get a healing. The only hope for comfort was in Christ. I spent a lot of time praying. Fighting my human mind, still not willing to completely let go of things. Then, when I listened to Him, I spent even more time praying. Asking for peace, comfort, guidance, happiness. I spoke with a pastor who spent time with me in prayer and I found at that point I was finally ready to let God have me, to stop fighting what I knew to be right and just give it all to Him. All the burdens, all the heartache and sorrow, all the pain. As long as I tried to carry those things I could not get the peace, comfort and joy that I wanted and needed. I did so then. He has given me peace and comfort. Not total and complete, but I feel that is my human self not letting Him do so. Well, to be honest, that has not been easy. I struggle with the human side of things and don’t want things to not be the way I want and to be angry about things. But, day by day, I continue to improve. I continue to seek Him to make things better, to make me better.
OK, you say FINE, but answer the questions. And I might as well answer in the order I asked. So, again, please bear with me. I try not to ramble and hopefully you will bear with me. Sometimes, correctly or incorrectly, I feel I am like Andy Griffith telling stories to teach Opie. Things may start out far from where they will end, but things in the story are relevant and if you can stand to bear with me, it will make sense. Or, at least in my mind and hopefully yours.
Why is he writing this blog? I would sure wonder. Well, to be perfectly frank about it, I initially elected to try this as a catharsis; to help myself purge negative emotions that interfere with my walk with God. I do this for a selfish reason: I want to help myself release all the negative feelings, to process my thoughts, to see what ways I need to seek HIM for the release, looking to Christ to change my way of thinking. I also write hoping that by reading about my trials and tribulations, my sorrows (yes, yes, I know, very much self inflicted) that someone, even if just one person, will read this and find some comfort, will find peace, will find joy, will find Christ! The last is the most important of all and if one finds Him, the other things will follow.
What is this guy trying to say? In a long, drawn out way, I am saying that there are sorrows, challenges, difficulties. I’ve faced failure and adversity. If you haven’t noticed, LIFE IS HARD! I know, I have been poor, I’ve worked two jobs, I worked full time and attended college, I have been to war. I have had illnesses, injuries, personal losses. Life is HARD!!! Finally, when I got to the point of accepting His mercy, I find that, even if somethings are still hard, the hard things are so much easier with His help. God is there for us, to help us and make us stronger, to make our lives better. All we have to do is let him. I will as time goes here, try to tell you about things that Christ is doing for me. Reflect on times He would have made things easier. Even if going through those times knowing He was there would have been easier. We all have hardships but Christ makes them a little, sometimes a lot, softer. And, with saying these things, I hope to help others realize that while we are all unique, we all have common problems. We all have different shortcomings, but it isn’t about each individual, it’s about what makes us human, what makes us alike in some manner. Then, using the common thread, see how something I went through, though different, is still similar in some way, and hopefully what helped me with my problem will help someone else.
What is he rambling about? Well, hopefully, at the end of each blog entry, there will be some clarity on that. For now, my ramblings are because God is so very good. He has given me so much more than I deserve. His love, protection, mercy and He gave me salvation, which I did not earn, did not deserve. He just GAVE that to me. He is so much better to me than I have ever been to myself. God is a great, might, merciful and magnificent God. I ramble, because He is so good, and even though I like to think I have a better than average vocabulary it falls so very short of truly saying how great He is.
Will it ever make any sense? I sure hope so. I hope and pray that He guides my words to help someone out there. Writing this, thinking about how mercifully He has treated me has already helped me. I pray that Christ uses my words about my experiences in some way to help someone find inspiration and to help them have a closer walk with God.
Finally, to summarize my thoughts right now about the why, the what, the rambling, the sense of the purpose is to try to help me remember to look to Him for the help I need with my daily struggles. I am not writing this attempting to say how great I am or to otherwise draw attention to myself. I am not one that has ever enjoyed too much attention, preferring to be more or less anonymous to a large extent, to blend in and not stick out a lot. I don’t write this trying to make someone else feel bad about themselves. I am not writing to say look at me, I am a righteous and Godly man. I am writing to point out my own failings and through my life stories, daily struggles, my trials and hardships to say; Look at what a gracious God we serve. To remind me to serve Him in all times, the good and the bad. So that I have reminders to give Christ the glory he deserves. I plan to use anecdotes, examples of my failures, observations about shortcomings, none intended to do anything but serve as teaching points to help me, to help others and to give Him the honor he deserves. I am not a strong, strong Christian. I am weak. I have failed so miserably. I am new to trying this all again, and definitely new at doing it earnestly. I beg that no one think I feel I am better than anyone else out there. I am not and I won’t pretend. I will incorporate scripture in my input as I share my thoughts and feelings on what those passages mean to me and what they have done for me. I hope and pray that someone out there can relate, can understand, can use my experiences, feelings, observations to help themselves or others become stronger in Christ.
I would like to thank you for making it this far. I hope you will bear with me. I promise that not all entries will be this long. But, starting out something is never simple and takes some organization of thought, some structure to begin with that I can build upon. I hope this helps someone out there. I hope that doing this helps me to serve Him and learn to walk with Christ daily and to remind my daily to give HIM the glory.
I pray that God keep all safe and well. That He keep His hand on your lives. That He blesses you all to the fullest extent possible. I pray that those I have hurt look to Him to find forgiveness for me and my bad judgement and to forgive my shortcomings that have caused hardship for them in any manner at all. I pray that all savor the richness of His grace and truly experience all He has for each and every one of us.