Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Torture: Right and Wrong

I am so sorry that I disagree with so many people on this issue, especially Christians. I am sorry to see the Bible's message perverted to the point of isogesis as opposed to exegesis. I am sorry, and I hate to sound heretical, but to those purporting to be enlightened Christians, this is how it is going to sound. If you look at the TORTURE of Christ before His death, and are comparing that to "waterboarding" you are seriously missing the point of the sacrifice of our Lord and SAVIOUR! Wake up! He was tortured to save our souls from eternal damnation.  Oh yeah, and HE was blameless.  He was not a terrorist.  He was not hell-bent on the destruction of human life.  Quite the contrary.  He was hell-bent on saving it!  Why do so many Christians close their eyes to this?  Why do the blinders of the church continue, in so many ways, to distort perceptions of what is and is not righteous?  Right and wrong are black and white.  But where they meet is the gray area.  However, in the gray area we find clarity in projecting the outcome of our actions.  Imagine you are asleep and a man breaks into your home.  Imagine you get out of bed and sneak out to investigate.  Imagine you see a man in the hallway.  He doesn’t see you.  He opens the door to your daughter’s room.  Pop!  A gun goes off.  Your daughter is dead.  The man then comes out of her room and goes into your son’s room.  Pop!  A gun goes off.  Your son is dead.  You have already called the police.  They are on their way.  The man then comes to your room.  Levels the gun on your wife.  You follow the advice of the Bible and turn the other cheek.  Pop!  Your wife is dead.  Pop!  You are dead.  Yes, you are all in Heaven.  Yes, you are with God now.  But you, in your na├»ve misconceptions of right and wrong allowed your family to be killed.  You took the sacred gift of the Father and allowed another to desecrate it!  The time and place for turning the other cheek is so often misinterpreted.  Loving your enemy does not mean you do nothing to stop him from bringing you harm!  Some of you are probably saying,  “Wait!  I never said I’d let the guy kill my family and me!”  Well, in not allowing torture to get information, you may already have allowed someone to kill you and your family!  Imagine that!  Now imagine that you are at home.  You have a second chance.  This time, you do things a bit differently.  You hear the man break in.  You wake up.  You grab your gun.  Your wife calls 911.  You go downstairs and see him.  Sneaking through your living room.  He too has a gun.  You realize that your family is in grave danger.  This guy doesn’t want to sell you encyclopedias.  Pop!  He dies, your family lives.  He was your enemy.  You were commanded to love him.  But you killed him.  You broke a commandment.  But you saved your family from destruction.  You honored the gift that God gave you.  You protected His investment in you.  But you broke one of His rules to do it.  Or did you?  Evil does not negate evil.  But there is still another side to this.  You speak of revenge.  You speak of vengeance being the Lord’s.  And yet you forget that the book of Matthew chapter 7 says 1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. 6"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”  Now you may say I am taking this out of context, but the script is fairly cut and dry.  Our place is not to judge.  Our place is not to tell others how to live.  Ours is to live according to the precepts of the Christian walk.  To love one another.  To take pride in our work.  To take joy in our family.  And to honor God in all we do.  Do you honestly think that God was happy with 9/11?  That would be a preposterous thought.  Now here is the thing.  Here is where you will really get mad at me.  You say that the Bible says love your enemies.  I believe that too.  But in loving our enemies are we to let them go on to plot murderous plots?  To keep turning our cheek?  To allow more innocents to die at the hands of a “Holy War?”  If you feel like that is what we should be doing, you are sadly deceived.  The evil of this world flourish because the good in this world do nothing.  Turning the Cheek is not my lot in life.  I am a man of action.  We are to be like Christ.  This is a command we are all familiar with.  Christ was a man of action.  He acted.  He did not sit by and watch.  He acted.  He did what needed to be done.  You think He turned the other cheek?  Why yes He did.  But at times He did not.  When He overthrew the tables.  When He calmed the storm.  Whenever it became apparent that the situation needed a call to action, He acted!  And yet you will point out that at the end of His life, He was tortured and did nothing.  Said nothing.  You are correct.  But at the same time you miss the point.  He did this at that point in time because that was what the situation called for.  He lived His entire life knowing that this day would come.  Where the fate of mankind lay upon His shoulders.  You could say that He did nothing.  But you would be entirely wrong again.  In His silence, Christ was acting.  His call to action was to be strong and show mankind that the Son of God Himself came and endured a greater punishment than anyone had or would have ever gone through.  His strength was directed toward the future of all mankind.  As a Christian I have to believe that it is our responsibility to direct our own strength the same way.  We are dealing with an enemy who neither believes in our God nor cares about the safety of His people.  And yet many of you say you will turn the other cheek because you know where you are going when you die.  Well, what about your unsaved neighbor?  What happens to their soul when they die in a hijacked airplane?  What happens to all who do not believe when an attack causes their death?  We, as Christians, are called to minister to those that do not believe.  What happens when our mission field disappears?  You must love your enemy, not hate them.  However, so many believe that the opposite of love is hate.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The opposite of love and hate is indifference.  When our enemy strikes us the way we have been stricken, to turn the other cheek would be indifference.  We do not want it to happen again.  But we do very little to prevent it because we to not want to torture.  I am sorry, I love my enemies, but if torturing one saves just ten innocents, I say do it.  There is no hatred involved.  This is business.  This is life.  You make a grown-up choice you need to take your punishment like a grown up.  Just remember, you never know who’s life will be saved, but a life will be saved.  How much is that worth to you?

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"...Now self-improvement..."

“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.”

For the first time in my life I can honestly say I am not afraid of anything. I spent nearly 30 years of my life afraid of this and that. Afraid of public toilets. Afraid that when I fell asleep the Gmork would eat me. Afraid of demons and the devil. After all these years it took me less than three months to realize none of that matters. Fear does nothing to build you up and everything to restrict you. Fear restricts everything in your life. Your character. Your career. Your family. Your love. Your hate. Your body. Your heart. My fear of losing everything was what drove me to madness. To depression. To alcohol. To laziness. My life was not being lived. It was sitting on the darn shelf collecting dust. Half gone for all I know. It wasn't until Mr. Balding Geriatric reared his gray mustache that it clicked in me. "You stupid idiot, it's all gone. It's all been gone for a long friggin time." To quote one of my favorite movies, I was "Polishing brass on the Titanic." (-Tyler Durden) The mess of my existence, if you could even call it that, was slowly eating away at me. Now, awake and with eager eyes, I look at the future and I run towards the unknown and I don't give a care what's there, or in my way. I am running faster than a freight train. The sheer inertia of my being could destroy a black hole. I don't know where I'm going but there is no point being late. I know I love my kids. I know I love my God. I know I am worth more than all the garbage in the past. I know that, in life, bad stuff happens. I was afraid of the worst for so long. Then it happened and I came to a realization, it wasn't that bad. It hurt for a second then it was gone. And now I am running. Screw the hurt. I'm over it. Let's do this! The future is what you make of it and mine's gonna be fricken fabulous. You see that blur on the horizon? It keeps moving ahead of you? And you can almost make out it's shape? It keeps crossing your path? You can almost feel it sometimes? That's your future. Get off your butt and chase it! Getting off your butt is a daily thing. You don't just do it one time and it's finished. You have to motivate yourself. Find your drive! For me it was losing the love I thought I had. The pain of a harpoon in my back. The pain of being the fat ex-husband begging her to come back. The pain of knowing she was doing something new. That's when I got off my butt and I did something new. I get off my butt on a daily basis. For my kids. For my parents. For my friends. For my God. But mostly for me. So that all those reasons I get off my butt for can have what I have. Peace. Grace. Love. And commitment. For me, getting off my butt is my commitment to myself. My promise of a new life and never again growing stagnant. I'm down to 185 and size 34 now. It's been almost three months and I don't even miss the her. I am finding friends every day. I am doing things I never got to do, whether because of fear or allowance. I am enjoying life. Having a blast. Kicking butt. My kids have flourished through a process that should have destroyed them. Sure there's the Monday every week where I have to retrain them in discipline and obedience when they come home from mommy's house. But, thank God, they are only there 2 days a week. My children are my hope for the future. My life is my joy. Every tattered, tainted and stained thing in it. I'm not trying to be arrogant or cocky. I'm not perfect. I'm screwed up. But I'm ever changing. And that is what being fearless is all about. Changing. Constant change. Screw the hurt. I'm going to be 30. My life is too short for it. You need to be happy with who you are before you can ever truly experience love. And I feel that love every day when I look into those little tiny eyes. I see the hope that even if I screw my life up again and again, there were at least three successes in my life. And I know for a fact that they will do better than me. So every day I run so they can see it. So they will never grow lazy or complacent like their old man did. So they will see the reward in taking care of their bodies. So they can realize their potential and grasp for it with every inch of their tiny little arms! So they will set goals for themselves and attain them. So that they will see the truth and know the lies. So they will feel the love their daddy has for them. I want them to grow and know. I am not afraid any more because I know that my children will see their father, not as perfect, but as flawed and tainted. Not broken, but rebuilt. From the ground up. Every day is a new day. And new day's bring bright futures. Be not afraid of the unknown. Be not afraid of death. Embrace it. For even in death there is rebirth. See it for what it is. Fear is the broken spine of your psyche.

Monday, April 13, 2009

In Repair

Read the words and really soak them in.

"In Repair"
by Our Lady Peace

Well it's good to know that you'll be okay
I've been waiting for this
And I'll be there to sit
While you pray no one's blaming me
I'm not supposed to wait
When they open up your heart...

I have been good
I understood
Like a machine they'll fix you from the start
I'm in repair
The life that we share
I know that I'll be lost in
But we're always in repair

Lock the door, lock the door
And it's good to know that you'll drive away
From this car crash nightmare
And I'll be there to help you again
There's no danger
We're just killing time again
When they order up new parts

I have been good
I understood
Like a machine they'll fix you from the start
I'm in repair
The life that we share
I know that I'll be lost in
But we're always in repair

Take this time to figure it out
Know the wire, the fuse, the things that you doubt
The wheels, the air, the metal, the mouth
Something, something, something
I have been good
I understood
Like a machine they'll fix you from the start
I'm in repair
The life that we share
I know that I'll be lost in
But we're always in repair

Take this time to figure it out
The wire, the fuse, the things that you doubt
The wheels, the air, the metal, the mouth
Something, something, something


So, after a very enjoyable weekend, one surprisingly decent movie, and a great visit with an old friend, I am back into the proverbial routine again. The girls are here sleeping in the next room and I lay in my bed on my laptop staring at the line of dead pixels on the left. Yes, Tim, I would love to own a Mac. But I am finding it hard to feel anything but anger in these hours. Honestly, I feel as though the time for loving is dead and gone. Now is the time for me to move on with my life. I have honored my end of the deal. I have been faithful to her and to God and to my kids, and she has made it clear that all she knows about monogamy is that it is a type of wood. And after a brief conversation with her tonight, it is solidified in my mind what needs to be done. I will stay the course with my focus being the safety and care of my three kids and the restoration of my own life. God has blessed me with a core of family and friends who have all begun to come out of the woodwork and reveal their true nature to me. And I must say that I am beginning to finally be able to breathe again. My lungs hurt and my head hurts, but God is showing me His love every day. From hanging out with my friend who I had not seen or spoken to in 12 years, to meeting new friends in my daily goings on. Knowing that God is a just God, I feel a sense of fear for her and what her future will hold, as I found in my own life that God does not forget our unconfessed sins. So it is with a great sense of foreboding that I carry any conversation with her. In the end, only she will be accountable for this mess. But even now, it's no longer a mess! I am cleaning it up and I am finding things I lost long ago in the process! You know how when you lift up the couch cushions you find change, crumbs, boogers, a glove, a sock, a two year old hot dog... Well that's my life right now. Some of the things I am finding are things I need to repent of, the rotten hot dog, the crumbs. Still many are things that I had lost and have now found. Funny how you even forget memories through your own selfishness. The point is that I deceived myself for far too long into believing I deserved what I had. It wasn't until recently that I actually came to the realization that what I had, did not deserve me. Not one bit. For years, I gave of myself all that I had. My energy was wasted in the pursuit of her happiness. But she would remain insatiable. Unhappy. And not because of me. It was because she never understood the fundamental attribute of happiness. That it is not permanent. That it is a fleeting moment trapped by the movement of your spirit and remembered by your subconscious. By the time you feel it, it is already leaving. The trick is to hold onto those God-given moments and cherrish them so that when they come around again you will recognize them and grab on to them so that you can feel them again! Happiness is not a perfect relationship. Happiness is not the perfect man or woman. The three do not exist. Happiness is being content with what you have and enjoying the one you are with. Happiness is being given a circumstance and finding joy in the knowledge that God has allowed you to go through this, whether good or bad, and that in the end you will find your strength. You will find your love. You will find your true heart. I loved my wife. But I will find that love again. Maybe never in her. But surely, as God is the Great Healer, I will find my peace. As the days progress further and further, I find myself pressing on in the joy that my God has a better more complete plan for me. One that involves a future without pain or sorrow. I have always said, "Nothing is too far gone." And mostly, when I said it, I was referring to my relationship with Kris. Now, however, I believe that it was not me saying it at all, but God. Saying it to me. Saying that I was not too far gone. It's ironic. My heart, in tiny peices and God wants to put me back together. I feel so flattered and yet so humbled. I guess, in life, you have to view yourself as a work in progress. You are not perfect. You never will be. But you can still eliminate some of the rancid things along the way. For so long I have fought this deconstruction, but now, I am ready.

I am Called to a Higher Purpose

The weekend is over and I find myself standing at the Event Horizon. The Mirror image of my past and my future have finally fractured in two and this precipice is now my home. My children need protection. And I am that protection. The forgiveness is over. It has been done, but when the same mistake is made again, and again, you still forgive, but you move on. If someone kicks you in the balls and you forgive them, do you stand there and let them do it again? No. You forgive, but you walk away.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Something About Nothing

So, I am still sitting here wondering, a dangerous thing for me. Not about anything in particular, but many things which are there to poke and prod me. I keep thinking about the call I just got from my wife. She found a place and is moving in this weekend. I should be excited to finally have the house to myself and the girls, but I am more saddened by the situation in general. But God is in control and I have nothing to say about that. Not that anyone will read this, other than a few of my Facebook buddies, but life is hard for everyone. No matter who you are and what your situation is, there is always someone else who has it worse than you. But that someone is seldom close enough for you to see and thus you sit and feel sorry for yourself instead of opening your heart to the grace and will of the Almighty. One of the most difficult things for me is to trust and open my heart. I have always been a control nut. Still, I am trying with every fiber of my being to let go and give it up to God. At least there is still hope, no matter what is said.

Nothing is Too Far Gone

The Joy of Suffering Long:

So here I am sitting at my desk, an alien in a familiar environment. My head hurts from an incident last night which is far to embarrassing for me to explain here. Suffice it to say I am not so good at, shall we say, chasing? Today I had a theophany. For those who do not know what a theophany is, here is the definition: Theophany, from the Greek, theophaneia (meaning "appearance/showing of God"), refers to the appearance of a deity to a human, or to a divine disclosure. For me it was the latter. And actually, to be honest, it came to me last night as I was laying in bed waiting to hear from my estranged wife as to whether or not she was safe and had found a place to stay. Alone in my bed with thoughts to wander, my mind began to drive me places I did not care to see. Who was she with? Where was she sleeping and with whom? I lay there contemplating silently and fighting back visions of our own past intimacy superimposed with the face of whichever guy may or may not be taking my place in her life. Men from the past, men from the present, men I have never known or even met. I saw the glow in her eyes as I had seen so many times throughout our own relationship. What the hell am I doing laying here in my bed? I need to get off my back and start fighting for her! I need to go look for her! I need to call her to make sure she is safe! At least a text message! Something, anything! What the hell is she doing to me?

I almost got out of bed. I almost woke up the kids. I almost loaded up in the car to set out for what I am sure would have been a long sleepless night of darkened streets and empty parking lots and carless drivethroughs. That's when I felt something float over me like a breeze. In my ear I heard a faint whisper. I'm not really sure what it said, but I can tell you I know what it meant. Surrender. Let go. Let Me do My work. So for the first time since all of this hit, I put down my phone and stopped waiting for her to call. I'm not sure why I did it. It is very much out of character for me, but this time, I felt it was right to let her go. And I fell right to sleep.

I woke up this morning and I felt groggy. My head was pounding and all I could see was light. My eyes hurt and I tried to squint to shut it out, but it didn't help. It just made my head hurt in a different way. I readied my little angels and dropped them at daycare. At work five minutes early, I started the daily monotony. When you break into a routine, your mind will wander, and mine tends to revisit all the sad and lonely places. And that's exactly what mine did today. Where did she stay last night? Dear God, just tell me she didn't sleep with another man. A month's worth of recovering and this is how my day begins.

At eleven, I went to meet Brandon for lunch at the Toxic Bell. My mind recoiling from the previous evening of talking to lawyers, friends and parents, all of them saying the same thing. "Get her out of your house! She's eating you alive!" Sitting down to eat, after the small talk and the blessing, he seemed to know just what to say. "Are you listening to God or to people?" Explaining how hard it is to feel God say one thing and to hear your parents command you to do another, where do you draw the line and how do you let them know without hurting their countenance? I told him that everyone around me says I need to get her out of the house. That she is wasting my time and my resources. That she is using me. That I need to fight for support. But everytime I try to do something along those lines, I feel the Holy Spirit whack me on the nose with a rolled up "Miami Herald." I know that what she is doing is wrong, but who am I to talk? Was I not ten times worse to Jesus? My sins put Him on the Cross! My idols kept Him from enjoying a place at my table. My atrocities drove my wife into the arms of another man!

All this pain I feel, is allowed by the Holy Spirit because I need to grow! My life has been such a mess from my past rebellion. My heart was so hardened that I never felt the light of day on it. But now I see that I am not a tree growing in a field, but a tree growing on a cliff. My roots have to find their way to the water. They have to grab hold tight so that the wind cannot carry me away. For on a cliff there is but one way to go if you fall. And yet, only one way to grow! Right now, my roots are digging deeper than they have ever been, but it's not enough. I need to feel this pain. I need to find the water. God knows that and He knows that I can take it. I will still hurt and I will still be sore from it, but He does not want me to be callous. When you are callous, you lose your ability to feel. Right now, all I feel is pain and sorrow. But I know soon, I will need to feel love. I will need to feel it so that I can return it. Love is not the opposite of hate. Indifference is. Indifference is the callous heart that gave up a long time ago. It is the orange that grew so much peel to protect it's flesh from the cold winter that it neglected it's purpose. Now it has no flavor. It has no purpose.

Now here's the thing I find myself doing. I am a man, and thus my nature is to take the wheel. I want things to happen and I will stop at nothing until it is finished. Part of letting go is to let go of this nature and hand it over to the Almighty and trust Him to do what He promises. Part of letting go is stepping back and saying, "God, I want this so bad, but here it is. Take it from me and don't let me convince you to give it back." I am a talker. When I get into a situation, I talk it out. I talk and talk and talk ad nosium. I thank my mother for this gift/curse. I think it is why I am such a good salesman. And I know it is why I never gave God control in the first place. I guess there was a part of me that thought that I could talk my way into heaven. How sad is that? Brandon opened my eyes to his own way of taking control in his own life and I found it to be identical in every aspect to my life. He said I needed to communicate with her through a mediator. He said if I talk to her, I am simply going to push her buttons, because that is my nature. And vise versa. In light of hearing this I realized what God was trying to tell me last night. He was trying to tell me to leave her to her own devices so she can hear HIS voice and not mine. I never really thought about the fact that the more I talked to her, the less she could actually hear God talking. No matter how right anything I say to her is, it still falls on deaf ears and only serves to validate the pain she is already running from. Pretty tough to admit and grasp, but it is the truth. In the end, I would rather she hear His voice and not mine. He speaks words that give life and healing. Mine are just words of pain and anguish, no matter how lovingly put. I feel peace and joy, not always, but regularly. I feel blessed, not always, but regularly. And I know it's because I serve a Savior who cared enough for me to want me to grow and not be complacent. Who wanted me to finally get the hell up and finally take my relationship with Him seriously. After all, what kind of friend really wants to stick around while the other sleeps on the couch all day? I'm glad that my Savior didn't give up on me the way other friends have.

Long suffering is no cake walk. You see that guy sitting in the chair at work? Looking so peaceful? You see that smile on his face? You see the bounce in his leg as he taps his foot to some silent beat? You see him muttering a prayer under his breath? You can almost feel the joy in his heart. Almost.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Recounting Fatherhood: An Unapologetic Recovering from Separation and Divorce

I am writing this article for possible publication. (And obviously editing for length)

Recounting Fatherhood: An Unapologetic Recovering from Separation and Divorce
by, Brent Posada

I had always thought of myself as a Christian. I prayed everyday, "God I hope this movie is worth the money..." I had always thought of myself as a good husband. I did everything my wife needed. Dishes? Check. Laundry? Check. Dinner? Check. Kids to bed? Check. Check. And I had always thought of myself as a good father. I worked to keep a roof over their heads. I spent every waking hour feeding, changing and scolding them. I thought I loved them. I even thought my wife loved me. But how can you really love something when you really don't know what love is? My life was not great, but it was livable, until he came into her life knocked me to my knees. Sometimes it is on our knees where we find our greatest healing.

Complacency is a funny thing. It hits you when you least suspect it. It holds you like an intimate lover and it strokes your hair whispering reassurance in your ear. Its seductive manner is as such that you simply become comfortable. It lulls you into bed and promises relaxation. But it is in that bed that the worst of fears creep up on you and eventually fall asleep in your arms. I am ashamed to admit it, but that's me you see lying in that bed.

I've been there about six months and I can't get up. See that grin on my face? That's what I called peace. See the way I hold that pillow to my chest? That's what I called love. My pajamas? Comfort. My bed? Home. You see the TV in the corner? That's my real god. Yeah, I prayed every day. I prayed that God would help me with this and that. I prayed that he would show me His face. It never occurred to me that with my mind I was praying to one God, but with my heart, another.

Look at the wall behind my sleeping mass. You see the family picture? That's me with my wife and my two daughters and my son from another marriage. Yeah, I was married once before. No, it wasn't her fault. It was all me. I dropped the ball. I gave in and left. In a way, what happened next was my payback. If you believe in that sort of thing, but we will talk about that later. For now, let's focus on this marriage. The one that just ended.

We've been together 4 years, married less. We have two daughters together aged three and two. They are my little princesses, and they have no problem telling me that on a daily basis. In a way this story is about them as much it is my walk with God and how I found that again for the first time. It took almost thirty years, but God finally popped in to say hello, and this time the door was open.

A little bit of back-story and I promise you will understand what in the world I am talking about. I am a PK. For those with little knowledge of the church jargon, PK means "Preacher's Kid." This can mean one of two things. Either wildly rebellious or clean cut and down to earth, seldom having an exception. For me, I always thought I was the latter. In retrospect, I have denied myself in saying this. I was the rebel from the start. I just never admitted it for reasons that closely resemble ego and or pride. I started smoking at age 18. Drinking at age 20. And sex? Lets not go there. Let us just say that I had a problem with honesty with my first wife. But, like I said, we do our best healing on our knees. I had no idea how thick the calluses were on her knees.

My marriage to my first wife ended with the infidelity that spurned this new and ending marriage. From the start, my wife had a problem being honest with me, and to a degree, I with her. I never lied about major things. I never cheated on her, and I honestly never even looked at another woman with lust in my eyes or my heart. She was the woman I chose, with all her flaws and all her goodness. I gave everything to her and our relationship. I never even flinched. It came naturally, as I thought it was supposed to be with love. However, there was one thing I never gave her, as my father so eloquently put it so many times. And that was a relationship with God. We were a Christian couple, but only in name. Not in practice. Not even a little bit.

At first our relationship was perfect. We enjoyed each other’s company more than being apart. We did everything together. We went out. We ate fast food and drove fast cars. We played games together and watched movies. To everyone around us, our relationship was enviable to the degree that I had friends and co-workers coming to me for advice on their own relationships. The ironic thing is that I told most of them to do the one thing I was not doing in my own relationship: “Put God first and the rest will follow.”

After two daughters and my son from my first marriage, things began to change. I noticed my wife beginning to become restless. Her patience for the kids grew thin and she began to lash out at my son. Her attitude seemed that of jealousy, stating frequently that I paid more attention to him than to my daughters. Simply put, I had him 2 very short days a week and I soaked up as much as I could then, but I never neglected my daughters. And I never neglected her. I’m not saying I was a model of perfection in a father and a husband, but I did everything I could for my family and especially my wife. In Ephesians chapter 5 verses 21 through 25 it says, "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;" I fully submitted to her, but there was never the submission in reverse. Nevertheless, I loved her in spite of all these things.

After our big move into our dream house things seemed like they would only get better. Instead they got worse. We began to fight more and more. Tensions over her inability to assist in daily chores because of the difficulty of watching our children began to come to a head and my temper began to increase. Her neglect of the house turned into disrespect of our own personal property and the children. Crayon and marker on the walls became a regular occurrence. I dreaded coming home and kissing her as she left for work as I knew the mess that awaited me after my eight-hour workday. She would work for 4-6 hours in the evening during which I would be cleaning and catching up non-stop with all of the housework, minus the “tidied-up” living room, all the while taking care of the kids and putting them to bed.

Sleeping late was her addiction and thus my children would stay in their room by barrier of baby-gate until she dragged herself out of bed anywhere from 10am to noon. In January, I began dragging her to the sofa so the kids could play there while she slept and hopefully woke up earlier. I would wake up at 7am, shower, shave, change the kids, feed the kids, move my wife to the living room and be off to work. I would then work eight hours, come home, take care of the kids, clean up the daily mess, put the kids to bed, do the laundry, dishes, and whatever else hadn’t been done. Then a home she came and it was time to watch TV or do whatever she wanted because she could not go to sleep yet. She said she wanted to spend time with me, but deep down I knew it was just superficial.

It was during this time I began to drink fairly heavily. I had struggled with it in the past, but this is when it hit the hardest. From the futility of the thankless daily routine and the outright rejection of anything but superficial intimacy I turned my frustrations toward alcohol. All the while God made a tent outside my front door and routinely knocked to see if I was ready for Him to come in. I sat in my chair drunk and frustrated hungering for the sweet release that never came. She sat beside me growing more hesitant with every pointless breath. Her sleeping in was only a symptom of a greater problem. She was not happy. The monotony had stretched it’s cold dead hand over her spirit and had crushed it.

As the routine began to stagnate for both of us, arguments became the norm and we grew further apart. To try and regain excitement in her life she began to invite several male co-workers over to hang out. I would be lying if I did not see it coming, but I wanted to believe that she truly only wanted friends. However, as time began to batten the hatches on our fate, I saw the true colors of the situation with stunning clarity. I was holding her back from the affair she so wanted and longed for. She was turning to the comfort of another man instead of turning to me for her comfort. To be honest, the me of yesterday would not have been much of a comfort to her. I was not in a place with my walk with God to have given her even the smallest degree of solace. I was still doing things my way. In retrospect, I was more of a father figure to her than the husband I needed to be. Though, not for lack of reasons, her behavior was bordering on the low end of childish.

Her sleeping in and neglecting my children had come to a head with me and I was grasping at the proverbial straws as to how to handle it. Finally, I resorted to a video camera set up on the bar in the living room, hoping I could show her the tape and allow her the ability come to terms with her neglect. She found the camera and assumed I was trying to catch her. Her immediate response was infidelity and the request for divorce. Her obvious disenchantment with marriage had come to a head. Which brings us to the current circumstances of my journey.

Having never really understood what it was to have been on this end of infidelity, I really had no idea what I was in for. I did, however, have a stunning example that had been there in front of me for the last four years. My first wife. All I had to do was look at the way she had treated me and I could see Christ. And in that moment, I realized all the pain and hurt I had not only caused God, but her and my son. Like I said before, prior to her leaving me, my walk with God was kind of a run in opposite directions. My Bible was actually in my laundry room covered in lint. But The first night after she left, I picked it up and opened to Isaiah 56 and 57. If you read it, be warned, you may not like what you hear. It deals with complacency and illicit pursuits, partying, and neglecting God. As I read it, my focus was my wife and what she was doing to me. You see how selfish I was? I could not even read it for what it was, God talking to me about me. He told me, "The idols among the smooth stones of the ravines are your portion; they, they are your lot. Yes, to them you have poured out drink offerings and offered grain offerings. In view of all this, should I relent?" Isaiah 56:6

Dear God, "Please Don't!" For a couple weeks I sulked and cried knowing my wife was in another man's bed and could care less about her children. During that time she said and did things to me that no man should ever have to endure. But something had changed inside of me. Something was working on my heart softening it so that I was able to respond with nothing but love and care. She was having intimacy with another man, but I was having intimacy with God. My heart, all the broken pieces, screamed for love and affection and was met by the silence of the Hand of God at work. At first He just rearranged the pieces for me, showing me how they were going to fit back together. First was cleaning my house. The disaster of Katrina proportions. My best friend, Kelly, and her boyfriend came over and we had a cleaning party. It took a solid six hours to decimate the mess, crayon off the walls, mop the kitchen, clean the bathrooms, and empty the garbage from the coffee table and under the couch. Six hours and I could already feel the depression turning into something new. I was not sure what, then.

The next week my parents came from Florida and my brother from Southern California to stay with me and help me get off my butt and back onto my feet. Hugs were plentiful, and encouraging words were always ready for me. My mother burned through four years worth of laundry as my dad put up all the child locks I never had the time to do. All the things I had asked my wife to do on numerous occasions were now complete and I could not understand how she could not have done them in the past. Then I remembered my childhood favorite Bible passage, “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest- Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man." Proverbs 6:10-11

Again, I had to baton down the urge to point too much at her, as I was guilty of the same thing on yet a greater level. And as I have told you that I realized everything my wife was doing to me was what I was doing in my relationship with God, well, I cannot take credit for that discovery. The first few days after D-Day, I sought pity and solace from any ear that would listen. I wanted my wife back and I wanted my life back. I cried. I read my Bible. I prayed, but I really didn't want to hear it. I wanted to hear her voice telling me she loved me and wanted to come home. I wanted to see her face in my doorway again with longing in her eyes. (Truthfully, there is still a part of me that wants that to this day. But without God there is no tomorrow.) I sought answers to questions I was not ready for answers to. Why did this happen? Was I really that bad? etc. Then a random wave at a friend I hardly talked to in the supermarket parking lot tipped the scales in my own personal "Rube Goldberg."

After waving at Brandon, I parked at Wal-Mart and went inside, completed my purchase for work and left. Arriving at work I parked and Brandon pulled up. We talked and he explained that he heard what had happened to me from our mutual friend. He then informed me that he had been through the same thing in his own life and that he would love to talk to me later. I called him when I left work. It's not that I had not talked to anyone else about my experience, but I found solace in the words spoken to me from experience.

Now understand, my father comes from 30 years of pastoral service which includes quite a bit of counseling. I talk to my parents on a daily basis and they speak to me out of love regarding anything I may have done or has been done to me. But sometimes the words of your parents fall on deaf ears. And that simply because they are YOUR parents and you have heard many of the same things over and over throughout your life. This is my own problem and something I work on on a daily basis. But the words spoken to me that night in my tears and anger and frustration hit me in the stomach with a punch that resonated for weeks after. I had cheated on God. I had raised idols in my own life that had set themselves on my mantel waiting impatiently for my daily worship. God, however, sat in my closet patiently awaiting my return. Occasionally I would dust Him off and turn my questions and requests to Him, but the prayers of a deceitful heart fall upon deaf ears.

For years I had called myself a Christian yet lived in lust and corruption. My heart was laden with treasures that were drowning me in the sea and I was oblivious to my own need for the breath of the Holy Spirit. And I set this example for my wife and my kids! How sad is that? I never took them to church and made up my reasons why and made up my mind that I did not need it. Still, my parents faithful prayers and my friends encouragement carried through, and the morning after she asked for a divorce and chose another man over me, I loaded my girls up in the car and took them to my old church.

I entered the lobby and immediately felt the breath of God on my face. I was home. I realize now that I do not need church. I do not need to go on Sunday, but I do need the breath of God and the fellowship of other Christians to sustain my countenance and comfort my spirit.

Back to the words of my friend. I listened to him talk and I felt peace about my own situation. No matter how alike his situation was to mine, I know that my situation may or may not end the way his did with reconciliation, but it is my obligation and my joy to honor my commitment to God and my wife. Whether she chooses to honor her commitment to me or not is irrelevant. That day I learned what it was to serve God and be blessed through my pain. I'm not saying I do not hurt. I do. On a daily basis I think about the betrayal I feel and I get sick to the point of vomiting when I think about the intimate relationship my wife carried on with a co-worker. But when I think of that, I also think of the pain God must have felt every time I looked at something impure. Or the illness He felt every time I chose sleeping in over going to church. Or the mere disgust He must have had when I left my first wife in much the same manner. I ask not for sympathy, but for the ability to give testimony to the power of God to pull you out of your despair and give you a chance to breathe again. Don’t believe me? Read James 1. But a word of caution, you had better understand the meaning of considering it joy to face your trials because the alternative is quite unpleasant. Life is too short to focus on your pains. As Private Trip (Denzel Washington) said on “Glory,” “Buck up!” When you weather the storm, face it! Put your face into the wind and scream as though no one can hear you, “YOU ARE MINE AND YOU CAN’T CONTROL ME!”

My wife has since broken up with the "other guy" and has moved back in with me until she finds another place to live, but she has not committed to working on our relationship, only to hold off on filing for divorce. Our separation is now legal in the eyes of the Law, but in the eyes of God we are still married. I will honor her as my wife not only because of this, but because I love her and I want her to come to the Lord and be saved. I want to see her become the woman God wants her to be. I want to see her be a mother to our two daughters. If we get back together it will be only through God and His perfect plan. I will not settle for less.

In this storm I am in, I feel peace. I feel the peace that passes all understanding. Love is not just a word, it is an action that never stops. I urge you to not use that word in vain. If you say the words and do not have the fortitude to back them up with your actions, you will pay the price I am paying right now. I told God I loved Him and I did not back it up with actions. I stagnated. And it took my wife leaving to wake me from my stupor. This is an ongoing battle with no end in sight and I intend to be long-suffering as my friend also told me to be. Right now, I am broken. Completely broken. But God is fixing me. I have an amazing family that flew halfway around the world to be with me in my hour of need and have been a constant source of encouragement in my life. My mom especially has been the one to kick my butt into gear on more occasions than one. I have the Simpsons who have watched my kids while I worked while my wife was in her own world. I have my brother who dropped everything to come see me. (Thanks Tim) And I have He who began a good work in me. And HE will carry me through until completion. I believe that with my whole heart. All the broken pieces.