Tomorrow is my spiritual birthday. February 24th, at approximately 2:00, 1991, some 22 years ago. I was 22 years of age, when I surrendered my heart and life to The Lord Jesus Christ. It was with great exuberance and many tears, with much hope of Heaven and peace that I surrendered my heart and life.
I had no expectation of much else. Many turn to Christ to solve their problems. I too can do this, and we should. However, I did not believe that all my problems would be taken away by receiving Christ, nor was I promised any such thing.
Today, twenty two years later, I still struggle with many of the same struggles that I did some twenty two years ago. I know, that’s a horrible admission of someone whose known Christ as long as I have and especially someone whose supposed to be a mature Christian as a ministry leader, but its true. Though my struggles are not as strong as they once were. I have put many boundaries and relationships in place to help me with such, still the struggles remain.
Fortunately I’m not alone in my struggles. Some fear I cause people to be discouraged when I use the word “struggle.” However, our struggles are infinitesimal compared to so many in the world’s history. I just got out of the movie Lincoln and am reminded of how deeply fortunate we all are. They knew struggle, especially the slave man or woman. Certainly we can be slaves to our struggles as well, especially if we think we are alone or unique in them, so I share to not have you think that you are alone.
On most Saturday’s, my son Seth is my companion. If we are not doing something as a family, Seth and I are always most assuredly off on some adventure. Today was different, to my despair, as I am so fond of the company of my son. Today, Seth (13) decided that he wanted to ride to Sumter, with his friends on the school bus, to cheer their school basketball team on in their championship game. Seth wanted to do this on his own. I dropped him off at the bus, after we picked up lunch. Julie and Caroline were also busy doing things of their own and I was left alone. It wouldn’t have been bad if it were a beautiful day or if I were well enough to run or workout or ride, do yard work, etc. I, however, was trapped with a sinus infection on a cold rainy day–all alone.
I never mastered being alone. I do not believe that I was created with the personality to do well alone. From as early as I can remember, I could not stand being alone and would struggle, when I was alone. There were and are also times alone that The Lord has spoken to me and I have found much solace. However, more times than not I do not care for being alone.
As a child, I was mostly alone. My sister was 3 1/2 years older than me and we were not close. My father was always working or traveling, and when home was usually spending time with my sister in some form of athletics. I would play alone, either hours on end with legos, a train set I was fortunate enough to have, many toys, in local creeks, etc., but usually always alone. There were local boys but they typically made fun of me. If they were nice to me, I was never allowed to have children in our home. I had two twin beds in my room, but never encouraged or allowed to have sleep overs, nor was I ever invited to have one at any sort of friend’s.
We moved a great many times after age eleven, and changed from public to private to public schools. All the above made for a lonely life that I was never any good at. A companion, of sorts, I had was a dog that loved to roam that I did not see too often. I found much joy in one house we had that backed up to two ponds that I fished at every day, but we only lived there for one year.
One of the things that drew me to the gay life was friendships, love, and acceptance; though I found it to be short lived and selfish.
After accepting Christ, it was a very hard time for me. I felt The Lord tell me to leave all my gay relationships, so then I was completely alone. Fortunately I had a dog, named Freckles, that was always there waiting on me and I often took him everywhere with me. It wasn’t long that The Lord had me start reaching out to men in the church and telling my story and asking for help. Relationships grew, but I was still left often alone. I would say that a big reason that I left the lifestyle was for family, a wife and children, and a life long companion.
Today, I love my family and I love my relationships with godly men and women in my life. I still struggle with many of the same things that I did some 22 years ago, especially loneliness. I leave to pick my son up soon, and I’ll be glad to see him. However, there will be lonely times again for sure–short or long rides in the car, times alone at the house, etc. I’m not always strong in those times, but I know that I’m not alone. The Lord is here with me and I know that many others are out there in the same struggle. We are not alone. I pray that The Lord provides us the solace we need in our struggles, and in our loneliness. Surely, He will provide.