Growing up in a Christian home was a foundational part of my life which is why I am so committed to God today. However, I am not the man now that I was in earlier years. I have dealt with tragedy, ups and downs, and my own personal victories and failures from my own decisions. Here is my testimony of how God really did pull me up from the muck and mire.
When I was a kid, my parents took me to church every Sunday and also to VBS every summer. I had a great time in church learning about God and playing with friends. The problem with me was that I focused way too much on friends  on way too little on God. I devoted my free time to activities that involved growing socially and not spiritually. By the time I reached high school I was basically doing my own thing. I wasn’t praying. I wasn’t reading my Bible. I was 100% pleasing myself. I thought about other people’s needs, but I never thought about God.
In high school I was devoted to doing things with friends all of the time. I dated a few girls and I went places with them that I should not have. I completely disregarded God in most choices that I made. I was living for my own satisfaction. I was not faithful to God with my sexual purity. I smoked marijuana on a few occasions. I smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes every single day. I got into drinking alcohol because my best friend’s dad bought it for us when we were 17. We went camping for a week and he bought each of us a 24 pack of beer. At the time I thought I was living the good life. Little did I know that I was far from it.
After high school, I started attending a local junior college and I was still smoking cigarettes  every chance I could. I could feel the damage I was doing to my body and I didn’t even care. It wasn’t until I went to my Sunday school teacher’s house that I felt ashamed. My teacher never said a word to me, although I know she could smell the cigarette smell on me. I left her house feeling ashamed of what I was doing to my body and I quit that day and never looked back. I decided then to attend a Christian college for a while. While there I met a girl from back home and I decided to drop out to get married. I then went back to the small secular junior college instead. I found a job in order to get married that would support us, while I was attending the junior college. While engaged I was also not sexually pure and it completely took away the beauty of the first night of marriage for me. It was tainted because of my lack of self-control. I had enjoyed all parts of our relationship physically and left nothing for the marriage night. There was nothing new. I honestly didn’t even care either. I was still focused on myself.
While married, I wasn’t living the life that God had called for me. I didn’t pray with or over my wife. We never read the Bible together. Neither of us read the Bible on our own time. We were two different people living two different lives for our own satisfaction. We looked really good on the outside though. We were in church every Sunday. We went to small group Bible studies and planned double dates with fellow church friends. We looked like we had everything together, but we both were falling apart. I started to drift away from my wife and then tragedy happened. In the matter of seconds, three dear friends of ours were struck by another vehicle and killed. The mom died instantly and her two children, ages 3 and 11 months, fought as long as they could but gave up the fight at the hospital. The period of time following was one of my darkest. Here I was asking God, “Why would You let this happen?” as if I was a holy man who had been tight with God. Like I said before, I wasn’t focused on God at all up to this point. After some time of grieving, I came to a crossroad where I felt an overwhelming sense of shame and guilt for the life that I had been living. I recommitted my life to God and tried my best every day to be the man that He wanted me to be. However, I still had disconnection with my wife. As I tried to draw close to God, she was drifting farther away. Eventually she left me for another man and we got a divorce. I tried desperately to make things work with her but she was on her way to make herself happy. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like a complete failure! What would my children think of their daddy? I was ashamed that my life had come to this.
The separation from my wife before the divorce was finalized was tormenting me. During this time is where I really felt and understood the love of God. One of my dearest friends from church called me every single day to talk with me and pray with me. I vented to him about being separated from my children every week. Not being with my kids was killing me. Not being with my wife was also killing me because I was trying desperately to reconnect with her so divorce would not happen. God used this man to show me the love of Jesus and that is where I truly was pulled out of the muck and the mire. With help from my brother in Christ, I stayed faithful to my wife all of the way until the divorce was finalized and I focused completely on God. God used the divorce to show me how much I had chosen to “divorce” Him every single time I ignored Him to play the whore with my own sin. I broke down and wept for a long period of time. I asked God to forgive me of my sins of spiritual infidelity and I have not looked back. I am not the same man that I was before that point. It took me 33 years to hit rock bottom and look up to my precious and gracious redeemer.
After I hit rock bottom and cried out to God in desperation, I felt His peace that passes all understanding come over me. I knew in that moment that things were going to be alright. God uses sin to make things beautiful. God hates sin, but He can still use it to make things new. God showed me the sin that was in my heart and He wiped it clean as I cried out to Him. Now I am a changed man! I crave Christian fellowship . I want to know God on a deeper level every single day! I have an outlook that recognizes all of the many blessings which God has given me, including my children and a job. As God paralleled my physical divorce with my own spiritual divorce, I became a new creature! Since that time (late 2011) I recommitted my life to Jesus through baptism at my church on March 10, 2013.
God allowed me:
- to sin
- to do my own thing
- to mess my life up
- to struggle and hit rock bottom.
He did all of these so that I would recognize how much I truly need Him! I now no longer think of past failures but strive for victories! Jesus Christ of Nazareth died on a cross at Golgotha for me and He is what I think about every day! Now I am living for less of me and more of Christ! Christ is more than enough to keep my soul alive and thriving! May God bless you as you live a life worthy of the calling!
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