My journey as a new Christian was the most exciting adventure I had ever been on.
I felt like I had won the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! Now all I had to do was present it at the gate for admission. Oh man, was I wrong…
Here I was on top of the world; not even realizing how quick I was becoming lukewarm water and evaporating into nothing. I had no fellowship to guide me, no understanding of what it meant to grow in His Word, and I didn’t understand the precious relational impact of prayer. I was a newborn not even able to raise a bottle to my own lips.
Naturally, I went down my own path with my golden ticket in hand; oblivious to the struggle awaiting me…
Thankfully the LORD graciously tried to steer me in the right direction in 2012; for that’s when He brought along the most important disciple and mentor I have in my life. Adam and I met via an online running forum; where God used our experience in ultramarathons to draw us into a close friendship devoted to physical fitness and striving to seek Jesus.
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Unbeknownst to both Adam and I at the time, we would come to share countless life experiences over the next several years. We have become closer than biological brothers and are there for each other in all situations. Our wives give us each plenty of heartache about our ongoing “bro-mance”; but there’s no doubt God ensured our paths would cross. Thankfully, Adam has never missed an opportunity to guide me towards a growing relationship with Jesus.
The LORD knew I would need all the help I could get in the next year…
In 2013, I encountered the largest struggle of my life and, due to my own hard heart and foolishness, I would hit absolute rock bottom.
You see, during a deployment to the Middle East I had to leave my 18 month old son and my six month pregnant wife in the middle of Alaska for six months. We had a pretty good marriage to date; but, it was about to be put to the test. Unfortunately, we were ill-equipped when I left because Christ wasn’t in the center of our hearts or the center of our marriage. The fact is we were still struggling with a recent miscarriage and we (mostly I) didn’t communicate well.
As the months went by, I became more isolated than ever before.
Satan was beginning to corner me and launch an all out assault on my young faith. I wasn’t ready and began to struggle with pride, selfishness, lust, anger, hypocrisy, and it was all encompassed by deep self-induced isolation. To my own dismay, I dug myself deeper and deeper. In reality, I should’ve put the shovel down while calling out to Jesus, my wife, and Adam for back up. I should’ve been entrenched in the Word and prayer.
Instead, I bought every single lie Satan threw my way.
All I heard was that I “wasn’t good enough”. I was failing as a Christian, a husband, a father, a friend, a brother, and the list went on and on.
Admittedly, looking back, I’m ashamed. I didn’t even put up a fight… I just gave up and surrender. All battle fronts were demolished and it was time I began to accept that I would be going home to a failed marriage, a failed family, and a failed faith.