I drove my eldest son and his wife and two of our grandchildren to the airport at 5:30 am so that they could fly to Tucson AZ to spend time with their other grandparents. They flew in from their home in Bogota Colombia a few days before Christmas so that they and our other two family members who live in Columbus could spend some time together.
It was a fabulous, hilarious, and deeply moving time for me on Christmas day and we all gathered with our other son and their 3 grandchildren and my daughter and her husband. And here is the most amazing thing for me…we all really love one another and even zoomed in our other son who is teaching in China and could not be here…thanks Covid-19…please just go away and die.
What is so amazing to me is not that we all get along so very well because there are no internal battles going on between families. We all genuinely love one another and will do anything for one another. And…I almost threw all of that away with 8+ years of a growing addiction to porn and sex.
After 16+ years of me working very hard and consistently on my own personal recovery, the miracle that my wife has chosen to forgive me and love me is astounding to me. Plus, that all of us have done and are doing what we need to do daily has taught me what is truly precious and worth fighting for. Yes, my sinful sexual choices have scarred all of us for life…but the wound continues to heal as we spend time together.
By the sheer Grace of God, His dying for my sins, and completely forgiving all my sins He has allowed me to still be with my family for if I had lost them I do not think I would have the strength or even the desire to continue living. And what really touches my heart is that I know many men who have lost it all. They are alone, ashamed, and afraid that they have caused irrefutable damage to loved ones who either do not or cannot be willing to give forgiveness.
Others have been given multiple chances to do the work on their addiction and return to the family. They have tried…really tried hard to stop their addiction and find healing to their broken relationships. However, the damage was not just broken bones that can heal. There has been an amputation from the family and rarely does trying to reattach the severed limb bring enough healing so that the limb is once again functional.
So, I wanted you all to know that I was on the edge of that precipice where my wife and family could have pushed me off the cliff and away from them forever. How did my wife find the ability to forgive me? She received the ability to do that because she asked for it from the Lord. In her own words, she said she did not want to flush 26 years of marriage and our family down the toilet and would give me a chance to do what I said I wanted to do.
Well, I have done that only by the grace and strength God has given me. I often wonder why me and not somebody else? Why are we 42 years down the road with a marriage and family that is still together and has a genuine love for one another?
I can tell you one thing. It was not by my strength and abilities. It was not because I was smart enough, strong enough, and godly enough. Absolutely not!!! I was a broken man whose life became a train wreck of my own doing and I was Humpdy Dumpdy and could have never put those pieces together again. Everything my family thought I was…was a lie, a sham, a mask disguising to the world who I was inside.
And about the only thing I can say about it was I knew…I absolutely knew that if there was going to be healing it would have to come from God. It would not be me trying harder. I had been trying to stop for years. I was an addict. I had an addiction. And now that the truth was known it would take the healing work of God to ever make things anywhere close to whole again. To continue to be loved and forgiven by my wife and kids…would take a miracle.
For the first few years, it was day by day. Some days yielding a glimmer of hope. Other days ripping off the scab that was beginning to form in my marriage to get down deeper to the damage sin had caused in me and in my family.
However, I learned what every addict needs to learn regardless of what their addiction may involve. I learned to live one day at a time. To me it was no cliché being repeated endlessly without meaning…just words coming out of my mouth. My life slowed way down to a pace I could maintain…walking one step at a time.
Not having a vision of what might happen if I was lucky but discovering what I needed to do…and then trying to do it daily. Causing me to believe that if I would do my part the Lord would do His. Yet even in that walk of repentance, there were times when I was weak and still made some bad choices.
At first, I was in such a state of brokenness that I could barely get out of bed…hogtied with depression and anxiety. Hearing the whispering from hell that God was done with me, and I would never recover…nor would I ever find forgiveness. Voices I learned to ignore. Thoughts I needed to replace with the truth that God has always and will always love me. That He knew these stupid choices I would make before He created the universe, and He could then use me for the works He had planned for me.
He never caused me to sin. I made those choices.
Not to climb the ladder of my personal success with people being in awe of me and what I could do. But to descend to where so many Christian men have fallen and help them believe that God still loves them and has not finished the work He has planned for you. To get down into the crap of other people’s lives and try to help them up on their feet, showing them where the rungs are to begin their own climb.
Even amid this incredible family of which I am still a part…there is a deep sadness for the pain I caused them. However, had I not experienced that pain and allowed them to see the depths to which I had fallen…I would not know the pain of what so many men are experiencing as they are living out the truth that the wages of sin is death.
However, the possibility of resurrection to the life God has for you remains. More tomorrow…