These are things God has done. These are Redemption Stories.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Redemption Story #15 - God's Replacement

I was born in a “Sunday Christian” home. We rarely went to church and we did our regular prayer before dinner but really we had no relationship with God. During my childhood I thought I was a Christian just because I knew about Jesus. No one in my family showed that they had a relationship with God so I had no idea what it meant to be a Christian.

When I started public school the Lord blessed me with my best friend, who was also my neighbour, and she came from a strong Christian family. We were inseparable, so until the seventh grade I attended all sorts of social church events that my friend invited me to except for Sunday morning church itself.

It wasn’t until January of 2005 that I began to attend church with my father after he had recently accepted Christ into his life again. After the first service I decided I liked it. Everyone was so happy and friendly there and I felt welcomed immediately. That’s when I began to attend church regularly.

The next year I started High School and my best friend introduced me to the local youth group. Soon I started going on youth trips to youth conferences where they would talk all weekend about Jesus. And I loved it.

In the ninth grade, I went to another youth conference. This one was in Victoria and it was the largest one I had ever been to until then. It was after a concert when a speaker came up and at the end of his message he asked "if anyone wants to accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour to come up to the front to the stage." I looked around and was nervous at first. There were thousands of people there and no one got up for a few seconds. Then all of a sudden before I knew it I was making my way to the front, through the cramped aisles and towards the stage. A lady came over to me right away and prayed with me. I accepted God into my life then.

However, a short time after this youth conference the enemy put an obstacle in my path. I started to date this boy in my high school. He said he wanted to learn more about God. I thought I could build him up while dating but instead he was pulling me down.

After a while of dating he soon became involved with drugs. I didn't want to judge him since I knew some people who were enthusiastic for Christ now, but used to do drugs in their past. I constantly told him to quit and he kept saying he would but he never did. I was naive and confused; so I kept giving him second chances thinking he really would change.


Soon the drugs began to control him; he became a different person and he started to try to control me. Telling me when and who I can hangout with and pressuring me into things I knew weren’t right. Although on the outside I looked like I had it together, I had good grades and seemed content all the time, I was trying to cover up what was really happening.


And for a while I thought that I did have it all together, that I was doing something good by helping my boyfriend discover more about God. Only he didn’t want to accept it after a while.  In the later stage of our relationship he would often become angry with me to the point were I started to get scared of being near him. This clearly wasn't a healthy relationship, and I knew this at the time. And God was telling me to “get out now” but I refused. I was too stubborn then to give control to God. I kept thinking that I could fix it by myself.


I remember one November afternoon during eleventh grade when my Dad told me that I should be only dating someone if I have the intentions of marrying them. That is when it stuck. I finally understood. I went to my room and thought and prayed for a long time and realized that I didn’t want to spend my life with this person. More importantly I realized God didn’t want me to spend my life with this person. Finally, after almost two years of dating I listened to God. I began to trust him then. 


After the break-up I felt relieved. I was sad for a few days because I felt “empty” but soon the hole was filled with Christ. See the whole time I was dating I was trying to fill this emptiness I had, it wasn’t until after that I realized only a relationship with God can do that.

Soon I began to hangout with my youth group friends again, and started becoming even more involved in the church. Others could tell I was different since the break-up. I was actually happy. And they told me that I had a “glow” now.

For about three years now I have relied on God. I trust him now. Completely. I know what it means to have a relationship with him. And I have committed my life fully to him. It’s crazy to think how only a few years ago my life was so different. I was focusing my life on a boy. I was replacing God by that relationship. I know now God is #1 in my life.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

By the way...

If you have been encouraged by these redemption stories, OR if you have a redemption story of your own that you would like to share, e-mail us at: matt@revolutionchurch.ca

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Redemption Story #14 - One More Home

I always love the chance to share my story. For me it’s the reason I live now, it’s the reason why I consider my life useful. It’s not by anything that I can do in my life, but only what God can do through me and my testimony

I was raised with the knowledge of a God. I was raised Roman Catholic, always taught to love God and obey him with all my heart. But it was only that to me, a 'teaching', nothing more. With no solid foundation to build on with my faith, I fell away.
Around grade 7 when I left private school, I began to feel tempted by the secular world. I was starting to see that there was a world without rules and what I thought was also without pain. Soon after I made some friends that showed me this new “world,” I found myself becoming something that I never even saw and that was: a fake. I put up masks to make myself appear as if I had it all together, although inside I was falling apart. My life was pretty much about surviving up to grade 9, then it became a death race.

Things took a turn for the worse when I started to learn the drums. To me drumming was an escape. I felt that music in general would accept me for who I was and for the most part, I was right. With music being my new “foundation” in life, I took my talents that I had playing drums and pushed them ahead of my masks the best that I could. I thought I figured out how to survive now, when in reality I was only hiding my masks with more masks.

All hell broke lose (literally) in grade 10 when my masks caught up with the music in my life. I began to listen to music that was classified as “gore death metal.” I was an angry poor lost child who had no means of escape from the prison cell that he had put himself into. The music served as a way to get my anger out. But that only brought more pain into my life.

The lyrics that so freely sang about death, torture, self mutilation, murder and suicide soon started to project images on my mind. I found myself fantasying about carrying out these songs in real life. It destroyed me, but because of my masks, I still appeared to have it all together. These images that I carried around with me ruled my life. I found myself only thinking about hurting the people I cared about the most. Not a lot of people in this world knows what it feels like to hang out with your best friends, only wanting to see them hurt.

This was my life and for the most part, I accepted it. But truly I was crying out for something more. I thought no one knew how I felt, I was scared to tell anyone about my problems, but thankfully, God knew about them. It was grade 11 now, and God finally decided to rock my world.

My 1st real true friend that I met in grade 11 showed me a better way. We met as two lost boys who had no real faith in God, until one day my friend became a Christian. The change in him was so radical and seeing how he changed, I got hungry for what he had.

In my 2nd year of grade 11, I became a Christian. I gave my life to Christ at such a crucial time in my life because if I would have gone on one more day without God, I'm sure I would have succeeded with my plans to carry out the images in my head. Instantly my life changed. I felt a new energy and even though I was far from perfect, I knew I had found purpose.

Since then, God has lead me to City Life Church where I got the chance to do The Masters Commission, where I have been able to go deeper with my walk with God than I could have ever imagined. Since then he has blessed me so much and now he has lead me to yet another amazing group of radical young people, that’s right, I’m talking about you Revolution church brothers and sisters!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Redemption Story #13 - The Thief

It’s taken me a while to actually sit down, reflect, and begin to write my redemption story. For a few months now, I have been waiting to be healed, waiting to be at a place of freedom and perfection so I could write my testimony. In this journey, I have discovered that my story is more a “redeeming story” …not yet complete, but in the process of redemption through full reliance and trust in the Lord.

I have been living with a secret, one I have been hiding from everyone for the past few years. I have been living a double life, believing in the devils lies and insecurities he has flooded my mind with. I have an eating disorder, one the doctors call bulimia.

Growing up, I don’t remember a time that I was fully satisfied with my body, completely confident in who I was and able to live free of the fear that body issues brought me every day. The fear of being in a bathing suit caused me to miss so many opportunities growing up, and the time my mind has spent obsessing over my image has been such a sad waste of energy.

My mom set a great example for me and showed me that a balanced life of health and fitness was attainable, but I let this desire for perfection spiral me into a bad relationship with food - leading to binges, purges, restrictions, and exercise obsessions.

It’s just been these past few years that I have let this issue grow into something greater, tear me apart from the inside out, and cause me a lot of health issues. I tried to maintain this lie for a while…hiding food, hiding receipts, hiding the purges, hiding the restrictions and hiding my fear. 

Food became my escape, my comfort, and something that made me feel good temporarily…I knew I could get away with it if I got creative with how I would deal with it after. That lead to more lies, more pain, and more secrets. It also led me to realize that it was an issue of control-while I wanted help, there is comfort in holding on to patterns I have known for so long. 

Food became my best friend and my absolute enemy. I developed a pattern of feast or famine, and lived in extremes putting my body through so much pain. For a while I believed that there were benefits to this pattern of eating; I was convinced that this could numb my emotions, help me control an area of my life, and allow me to look “normal” in social situations. 

Lately, I have realized that this eating disorder has taken so much of my life. It has robbed me of true joy, optimum health, and caused me to push others out of my life as a way to retreat and deal with the feelings alone.

It took a while for me to realize I needed help, forgiveness, and faithful prayer. This was habit, my identity, and a strange sort of comfort to my daily routine. I thought I could find healing on my own, but I quickly realized that my strength had to come from the Lord. I had slipped into depression, didn’t feel like myself, and spent days living with regret, feelings of failure, and heartbreak. 

Confession was my first step to recovery, and seeking professional help came soon afterwards. I am on this journey, having to surrender every moment to God in hopes of simply making it through a few hours on my own. 

I feel incredibly supported, loved, and prayed for…but it’s been a long and hard journey. I am confident that God will restore my faith, and bring complete healing. I am stepping out in faith and pursuing Him for my assurance, hope and strength. I know that God is going to use my story to help others, and relate to people struggling with similar issues…I am looking forward to that day.

The promises of Psalm 139:13-16 reminds me of how precious I am, and how much my heavenly father loves me. While I find it hard to love myself each day, the words of this passage confirm the passion that Christ has for His children, and the love He has for each and every individual.

13  For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place, when I
was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your
book before one of them came to be.

As I mentioned before, this is my journey of redemption, and while I wish I could have written this after “complete healing”, I am thankful for the opportunity to share my story and reflect on how far God has brought me already. I am thankful for the many who do support me and the resources that I have been able to utilize to receive help. 

This might be something that I will always be challenged with, but I know that my identity is in Christ, that He loves me, and I am his daughter - absolutely beautiful, and completely loved. For now, I am taking it a day at a time, resting in the God’s love and mercy.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Redemption Story #12 - Breaking Point

My redemption story is the simple truth: God’s love is the greatest love.

I dated someone for almost 3 years. We got along great, both went to church, both liked the same things, got along with each other’s families. But eventually, I found myself stuck in an unhealthy relationship – we were stuck in an unhealthy relationship. What we did, and what we didn’t do, affected everything in our secluded circle of “happiness”.

We were not glorifying God with our relationship. In both of our “Christian hearts” we wanted to (and thought we were) but were definitely not. We got lost in spending more time with each other and ignoring God completely while continuing an unbreakable routine of fight, make-up, make-out. We did not read the Bible together, attend church together, or pray together; we were not building our “love” with God’s love.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, the greatest love (and the only love) is described:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

I have read and re-read this particular passage MANY times. For the first time in our 3 year relationship, I actually sat myself down and realized… we were never patient, never kind, always jealous, always proud, always dishonoring, always self-seeking, always angry, always bringing up past arguments.

1 Corinthians 4:8 says this: “Love never fails”.

But our “love” had. Our love was not love. We were not happy. I recognized that we had failed. I had to trust God, and I had to trust that He had that love for me and for my partner. God brought the relationship to an end for a very important reason: We both, individually, needed to seek God and find redemption in our lives. We needed to seek God’s love before pursuing love in someone else.

One day I was on a break at work. It was rainy, I was gloomy, I was still waiting for my “redemption story”. I was upset with my life and the path it decided to take and the path it was on now. I tore out my Bible, flipped it open and there it was:

“You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, and I will exalt You.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His love endures forever.”
- Psalm 118:28-29

I broke into tears, knowing I had forgotten about a God who loves me despite my stupid mistakes. I forgot Him, but He loved me all the while. I’m forgiven; He doesn’t keep a record of wrongs! HIS love endures forever. Not mine. Not my partner’s. Not my “BFF’s”. God’s. From that moment, I knew what God wanted in my life. He wanted me to build all relationships, romantic or not, on His solid, trusting, and loving foundation. His love never, ever fails.

“You stay the same through the ages,
Your love never changes,
There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning,
And when the oceans rage I don't have to be afraid, Because I know that You love me,
Your love never fails”

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Redemption Story #11 - Deceived

When Matt encouraged us to send in our redemption stories, I wondered where to begin. I wondered which testimony God would have me bring to Revolution Church. 
 
When I was born, I was born with dyslexia. This meant that I could not read or write properly and I was supposed to fail grade 1. How does a person fail grade 1?! My parents talked to my teacher about letting me continue on to grade 2 and I was allowed to advance. During the course of that summer, my parents prayed for my healing and by the end of grade 2, I had gone from the bottom of the reading class to the top and my dyslexia was healed. A miracle.
 
In Jr and Sr High School, though healed of dyslexia, I struggled academically. One thing I knew about myself is that I had a huge heart for God and desire to tell others about Him. With that passion, a friend and I organized a Christian Fellowship Club at our secular school in Surrey and within 2 yrs grew from 2 of us to over 50 regular attenders! Exciting!
 
After school, I wanted to pursue this passion for God and signed up for a DTS aka Discipleship Training School with YWAM and during that time begin to witness more miracles. Then, in 1995 I left B.C. to attend a School of Ministry in Missions and Churchplanting. My heart was to know God more and to serve Him but what I soon discovered is that I had signed up for something I was not expecting.
 
I joined a school and church in which people were flying in from all over the world and I was witnessing some very strange behavior! I saw people (pastors even) acting drunk, laughing uncontrollably, "jerking", shaking, manifesting demons... what on earth was going on?
 
As a student I was told to take it in (step into the river), drink deeply, etc. In fact, most of the students in my class were acting in such bizarre ways, totally out of control yet saying they were in control. Really?! 
 
Finally, I had enough of feeling like the odd one out by not manifesting these actions. I made up my mind that since I had quit work, sold my car and spent the money to attend school, I had better make the most of my experience. With that attitude, I opened myself right up! Next thing I knew, I was jerking and shaking and being soaked in attention because of this. I had caught "the anointing" and I was "in". 
 
6 months later I came home excited that I was going to bring this "anointing" back to the church. The church I attended did not accept this "anointing" from God so I quit church, angry that these people could be so close minded. 
 
I left church for over a year and during this time began hearing voices. At the school we were not taught to test the spirits or to discern everything (biblical). We were taught that everything that happened was of the Holy Spirit. 
 
The voices I heard soon led me not only to quit church but work, competitive rowing which I had been apart of, close my bank account and my biggest fantasy became one of going to live on the streets. I even believed it was God telling me to do these things and that I was simply being obedient to Him.
 
One day, I took a look at my life and felt so depressed. I had nothing and was tired of fighting - voices, demons, etc. Life was exhausting! I asked myself how this could be the blessed life that Jesus spoke about in John chapter 10? 
 
Finally, I was willing to admit that I had been deceived. I had attended a school in which everything was "of God" even though it was not. I had followed signs and wonders, opened myself up to unbiblical teachings, stopped reading my bible and stopped attending church.
 
Humbled, I confessed my sins before God and man. I came clean. I started my journey back towards healing and restoration. I returned to church, found a job, reopened my bank account. I stopped manifesting and began to experience a peace and joy in simply being. Not in striving for attention or "more Lord" but in resting in Jesus and in His love for me. 
 
What I did not know is that after all this, the Lord would open doors for me to publically speak out about my experiences. Remember how I was born with dyslexia and couldn't read or speak? The Lord allowed me to speak to many groups in B.C. (even at a Full Gospel Business Mens Luncheon in Langley and I am a woman!), at gatherings in Washington State, even at a youth conference in Holland!
 
Today I am blessed that after all these years, the Lord continues to allow me to speak to individuals and groups about my experiences on how I became free and how they can to. 
 
The verses I have chosen re: the above, 'But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.' - 1 Cor. 1:27.  'But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.' -  Matt 6:33  'Test everything!' - 1 Thes. 1:21.
 
Thank you for taking the time to read this!  God Bless!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Redemption Story #10 - Seeking in all the Wrong Places

I was not brought up in a Christian family. I had a fairly happy childhood, with parents and family who loved me. I ended up hanging around with all the Christian girls in school and tried youth group, but I didn’t fit in. My best friend was the BEST example of a true Christian. She didn’t swear, wasn’t boy crazy, was friends with everyone, and just loved on people. I never thought I could live up to all that and so I turned to boys and alcohol. 

That choice led me down a path of pain and emotional turmoil, I almost didn’t survive. My views were very liberal and at the time I believed in evolution, and a woman’s right to choose, and many other “modern” philosophies and “new age” trends.

One day I was trying to debate the evolution/creation theories, with a very simple, yet devout, Christian lady. As I carried on about the Galapagos Islands and the variety of different animals being suited to their particular environments, this simple(WISE) woman said to me, “Isn’t it beautiful, how God has made it?”

It was at that moment, I believed in God the creator. I knew that if God was who (I thought he should be…) he was, all powerful and absolutely perfect, why would he have created these creatures or anything, but in a way that would suit its environment?

This was only the beginning. I now believed, but I wasn’t ready to change anything in my life and didn’t understand God’s love and grace. I thought God and faith were crutches, with rules and a life of boredom.

I became an alcoholic by the age of 20 and one night about a month after attempting suicide and waiting to enter a treatment centre, I said my first prayer.( You see, I believed and held God in my own weird and misshapen box. I didn’t say “bless you”, when somebody sneezed because I thought God would find it insulting, coming from me. ) I prayed to God that night in desperation and at “rock bottom”, I saw no way out of my despair, except for God… IF he was real and would even listen to me.

I know he heard me and I know he has been with me through every moment. It took another 9 years of trying things my own way, abusive marriage, more alcohol, drugs, having 2 kids living in this situation, it was insane actually. One night my husband hurt me in front of the children. That was it. I left. I stayed at a transition house, went in for counselling, started attending AA, and met my new husband who believed.

For the first time ever, I was attracted to someone who spoke of God. I can only attribute it to God opening my ears. While we were living in New Westminster, my land lady, invited me to a Christian mom’s group. Then to an ALPHA course. We attended together (it was our “date night”). It was through this amazing combination of events, I became a Christian. I found a mentor and a women’s group, read my bible and prayed. It was the beginnings of an eternal life. I had made so many mistakes and God forgave ME.

When I got baptized, my best friend from school came. I didn’t know she was coming. When I saw her there with some of the other Christian girls from school, I was so happy. They told me they had been praying for me for years. Wow! I am so grateful to those girls and especially to God, who never gave up on me. This “walk” has never been boring. At times it has been brutal. God has used me, through my experiences, to reach out to others. So what can I say, but, if our God is for us, then what can stand against us?

My most inspiring bible verse is Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Redemption Story #9 - Redemption from Religion

I grew up in the Christian world. The one where you do everything and anything Christian. Christian school for 13 years. Church since the womb. Youth group since middle school.

The kind of world where you know the Bible back and front, you know the classic “I’m praying for you” and “praise God!” in the good and the bad times. The Ten Commandments you have memorized. The right answers you know how to say.

This unfortunate lifestyle I like to refer to as the mind religion, not the heart relationship. I’m not mad or ashamed of the way I was raised- I learned core values that I still have, and really did feel supported and surrounded by people who loved me. The problem was I thought I knew it all, and because I spent so much time surrounded by Bible class and youth group, I never really imagined that it went beyond what I knew. What I knew was empty, boring, repetitive, and dry like toast.

After grad, I wanted to do one thing: travel. I was accepted to YWAM in England, though I only went to meet people and travel (after all, I thought I had God down pat). When I arrived, I was quickly shaken to the core.

People I met loved God because, well, they simply loved Him. They didn’t emphasize rules or the right things to say, they loved God because they knew Him. I realized VERY quickly that the God I thought I knew was not the God I saw and wanted. At first, I began to resist everything. I was afraid God was going to call me to be a missionary somewhere far away, and I was also ashamed that I missed the point for my entire 18 years.

I remember one night I was reading the story of Jonah, and something clicked. Sobbing on my knees in my dorm room, I promised God that I would stop running, and I was shocked and delighted to find that in that moment, I didn’t have to get up and search for Him. I crashed into Him: He had been chasing me the entire time. From that moment on, He began to speak, and I began to hear Him. The Bible became alive, as if I never read it before, and prayer wasn’t just something I did before I ate.

For six months I went on a rollercoaster of emotion, a wild adventure involving living on a sailing ship on the Mediterranean, crazy stories of his faithfulness and divine encounters, and repetitive God moments. In that half a year, it was as if a tube was placed between my head and my heart, and suddenly following Jesus wasn’t just something I claimed to do, it became my identity. It changed me.

However, when I got home, I fast slipped into a pit of self-pity and homesickness. I quickly discovered that my friends were different, my home was different, and my former life was different. All I wanted to do was go back to life overseas, where God was so easy to hear and life was stress-free. Four months after being back, I was again sobbing on my bedroom floor. I was about to start university, but I felt lost.

Life was HARD. I felt like I was tested and failed. The passion I had was gone, I was deflated, and I felt like a fish out of water. I would cry myself to sleep because of loneliness and frustration. But I knew that I needed to begin to live a life different from what I had before, and I begged God for a second chance. It still is hard for me to hear God, and to seek after Him wholeheartedly without getting distracted by life.

Slowly, God began using me at school, and I got to reap rewards from sharing about him to classmates. He put burdens on my heart for the city, and he placed wonderful and encouraging friends in my life. Sometimes I remember the life I was living before, one consumed with the rules, church on Sundays, the emptiness, and I cringe. I am so thankful for the faithfulness of God, and for the relentless way He pursued me in my ignorance.

He redeemed me from the rules and facts that dictate a religion, and connected all my head knowledge to my heart, sweeping me up in the beauty of a genuine relationship with him. I’ve learned that following Jesus has nothing to do with a religion- it’s a relationship, woven into the fabric of who I am.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Redemption Story #8 - Sampson's Struggle

During my highschool years, I never got involved with the wrong crowd of people. Never got into the party hardy scene on weekends, never sold drugs or used and abused them, none of that kinda junk. So then what was the thing that God did a drastic turn around in my life? Girls.

I was always dating someone or after some girl. But mostly dating someone, and mostly dating someone who did not have any sort of faith in their life. Faith, I've learned, is something super important in any Christian relationship and I wish I had figured it out long ago instead of using the 'flirt to convert' excuse.

So grade 10 rolls around and I'm in a new school with new peeps. As geek-ish as this sounds there was this girl in band class who kept turning around and looking at me. She played clarinette and I played the bass. To be honest I never really got to know her at all. We just started talking one day over msn (old technology), and my good friend figured out we liked each other and decided to let us in on these secrets. So we decided to date, over msn, and that was that. The next day at school was kinda awkward because I wasn't sure what I was suppose to exactly do. Haha.

Anyways, time went on and as bodies and minds matured, we became interested with each other in more than just a friends way, know what I mean? Now, at this point, she had been going to the youth group I was attending and really enjoyed it, as well as church with me on Sunday mornings. So that was working, but only in some areas.

We often stretched our physical boundaries whenever we could. Time and time again, and every time when I left her house to go home for dinner, I felt horrible, but the next day brought the same outcome as the last. Now let me clarify, the V card was never lost during any of these afternoons but it was still not a good place to be in a christian relationship. So to end that part of the story, 3 years of dating went by and we just lost our dating connection and split. Ya, it hurt alot emotionally, 3 years is a long time, but since then I have kept in touch with her and she had definately strengthened her faith. She's now married and attends church every Sunday and is legit about living it out.

Next - right around the time of the break up I had met another girl in school, I was coming up to the end of grade 12 at this point and with a recent breakup and no one for a grad date, we became friends. She broke up with her boyfriend on the rigs in Alberta and started dating me right after the phone call. That was kinda awkward. She was awesome, she was funny, smart, all those cliche things you say about a girl. For a while anyways.

The relationship quickly turned very jealous and controlling. Then guy friends started dropping off the radar. I lost all my friends for her. All we did was hang out with each other. No one else. And guess what we did. NOTHING! Sat on the couch and watched tv or a movie. Never did anything exciting. Other than our daily yelling matches. Sometimes it was more than one.

Things got worse as the foster home that she lived at kicked her and her brother out because of our relationship. She felt more alone even though I never left her side. During the time when I lost all my guy friends. I also lost my V card to her and she lost hers to me. And man was it tough. I mean for that moment it was awesome but in the end it destroyed our relationship and our individual lives.

Since then it became a regular occasion and just like before, every time it happened I felt horrible inside, like God was upset with me and I could feel his aching heart towards me, but I pushed it more and more away. I still attended the youth group and lead a worship band Tuesday nights but I was living a double life. That band was empty for me because I didn't really believe in it. All that mattered to me was that couple minutes that we snuck out and steamed my car windows. In the bitter end, we broke up , after a year and a half, in a massive conflict which included: Egging houses, death threats towards the other person, vandalism, harassment at work, and ultimately a restraining order.

To be honest there was two more girls after that but these will be brief. both of these girls were what you would call a 'rebound'. It took two of them to get over this second relationship. Crazy I know, stupid, I know, as well. The first girl I met through a friend and she was a strong Christian who sang and led worship at her youth Group. She read her bible every night and was always on top of her prayers. She was also the only Christian in her family. She was physically pure and all around an encouraging person to be around. I was surprising not craving that need of a physical satisfaction like my previous relationship and we kept ourselves both pure during our relationship but it never lasted that long being a rebound. I think it was 3 months.

The 4th girl was not what I was expecting. She was "sort of" dating a friend of mine and he decided to have a bunch of people over for a games night. She was there and I was there and in that evening she completely ignored her boyfriend and was quite interested in everything about me. I didn't really know what to do, and because those two weren't officially dating she kinda just decided to hang around me, alot! Which I didn't mind. I really liked her but I didn't think it would skyrocket to where it did.

We started dating and soon after I had found out she was previously married at the age of 21, as I was 19. Yikes. Although at the time it didn't seem like a big deal to me. Boy was I wrong. Things happened both physically and spiritually which shouldn't have happened. Things seemed to be going back down that slippery slope again. Then one night as I was laying at home in my bed about to go to sleep I had this thought that was put in my head by God.

Basically he was saying, 'What are you doing? Why are you doing these things against my will? All this needs to end, now'. And I just sat up for a few minutes trying to comprehend what just went on in my head. And no joke I called her up, as cowardly as I was, and broke up with her over the phone at 11:30 at night and never felt an ounce of heartache. I felt relieved and free. I felt refreshed and new. Like I was starting over. Things from there kept getting better. I had rekindled all my lost friends and gained new ones as well. I felt like I didn't have this heavy weight over my shoulders anymore. It was the greatest thing I've ever experienced.

I made a vow to one of my close friends that I would not date again until I ran a 12.5s on the 1/4 mile in my racecar. Well guess what, that didnt happen. But it did cause me to slow down in the relationship aspect of my life and focus on other things before I started being a part of someone else's. To this day, the fastest time I ever hit was a 14.7 @94 mph and I'm a married man. Life couldn't be any more awesome. Amen!!

And as a word of encouragement to guys out there who have slipped physically in past relationships, one thing I did was tell my wife, before we first started dating, all that had happened to me in my past. Including all the physical stuff that you know she doesn't want to hear. But if she carries a strong faith on her shoulders, she will have the strength to forgive you and move forward in your relationship together. Being open and honest, no matter how hard it may be, is the best best best thing to do to build a strong relationship. Boom!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Redemption Story #7 - Letting Go

I was someone who thought I had it all figured out.

Especially when it came to what kind of boy I should date. I never listened to what God wanted because I thought I knew better. I didn’t think I had to give that area of my life to God.

That prideful way of thinking got me into some pretty awful situations with the boys that I chose to go out with that included abuse in every sense of the word. I let boys run my life and dictate what I would do and how I would do it. I would not even consult God to see if this was what He wanted first. And it almost never was. I made the boys God in a sense, in my own mind.

For five years this continued until God took me and shook me. God did an amazing thing in my life, but it was one of the hardest that has ever been done to me at the same time. It was the most loving and quiet gesture but it rocked my world. My laptop started going a bit haywire one night after one of the roughest and most abusive nights I had ever had, and it started playing a song called 'How He Loves', except skipping each time and going back to the “He is jealous for me” part at the beginning. It continued to do this until the message completely sunk in.

I felt so broken, but not the every day broken that I had always felt. I felt broken for God. Through my tears, I started typing out a promise to God. “He is jealous for me. He doesn’t like it when my love, affections and trust go to others alone. Those things deserve to go to Him. He needs to come first in my life, above all else. From now on I will live out what He wants for me.”.

That was the last night I ever got abused by a boy. It was liberating, but hard. When you give your life over to a person like that instead of to God, it can be hard to give it back to God until you get used to it. I just had to pray and stay away from boys and focus on God and building myself back up to where He wanted me to be. It was hard, but I could not do it without Him.

And after a year and a half, God gave me a man that loves Him with everything he has and treats me like a man who loves Jesus should. He is nothing like the man I had ever pictured myself to be with. But this is who God wants me to be with, and I know that deep in my heart. I couldn’t be happier, and it surprised me because it was never what I wanted. It was entirely God’s choosing.

I am now someone that knows I don’t have it all figured out. But I know God does. And if I listen to Him and do what He wants, I know my life will be better than anything I or anyone else could ever make it be. I am now someone who lets God run my life, because I know I can’t do it on my own.