A Heartfelt Mind-Meld: Just Breathe!

First, I apologize to all my followers and random readers!  It has been too long since I have blogged, and I apologize for the delayed absence.  This is hopefully the start of a series of posts, but more on that shortly!  ON WITH THE POST!!!

A friend of mine recently encouraged me to begin this series of posts. You see, she’s a single-parent too, and had begun to share from a Single-Mom’s perspective. In the process of her posts, I began to notice things that I had yet to solve in my head. Well, she thinks many of us guys might deal with the same questions, so here I am! I hope this is helpful!

So, a bit of my story, I think, is pertinent. The question with any story is, how far back do you go? You see, no story ever truly starts in the beginning (Star Wars had a long history, Star Trek had the journey to intergalactic starships, and even Mary Poppins had history with Burt!). I guess I’ll give you the “It’s a Wonderful Life” fly-over from my college days forward. I apologize, in advance, for the length. I just don’t know how to tell a story without walking alongside you through it.

When I was in college, I had recently lost my Dad, and I was still seeking deep friendships. I hadn’t realized the depth at which God was trying to reach me, mostly because I kept God at an arm’s length, wanting out of hell, but…well, to put it kindly, I wanted all the junk that earth could offer. (Yeah. That’s probably the best way to say it without getting graphic.) I wanted to play in the world because it looked like so much fun! People there had people who loved them, wanted them around, and even wanted to make them happy. Sure; it was all a give-and-take system, but boy, it looked lovely!

Wow, negative sounding, huh? Well, I guess I should explain a bit more. I’ve always been kind of a nerd. (“No! You don’t say?!? A guy with a blog called Through Nerdy Lenses??? A nerd???”) But even worse, I was a Christian Nerd. And how’s that worse? Simple, I didn’t fit in…anywhere! As a nerd, I wasn’t one of the cool kids who rode skateboards (though I tried), played the cool sports (though I went out for football once), nor did I have the cool house, live in the cool area, etc. As the Christian, I was an outcast amongst nerds; I didn’t play Magic, didn’t believe in Evolution (and the evidence I had for Creation was dismissed, regardless of its validity), nor did I engage the Star Wars Universe or Star Trek Universe to understand the ins and outs and details of those worlds. As such, I floated; I was cool enough as a fellow believer but still an outsider, and I was rejected by the nerds as a Creationist-fool.

Hmm…dark, right? Meh. This was life! It’s not like I sat and wallowed in it, but it did contribute to who I became. I was always looking for that person who made me feel like I fit in. And she did. Who? Well, as I was at college, I met this freshman (mind you, I was a several-years-in freshman) who totally rocked my world. She was pretty, fun, and she treated me like any other human! My nerdy side excited her, and my Christian side made me a friend for her. All around, it began to feel like a match made in heaven. I marveled that this could be, but it was! It was not long (and I mean, not quite 90 days even!) before I approached her Dad. I asked for his perspective, and by the time the conversation was over, I was asking for permission to marry her.

If that sounds like a mistake, then you’re only partially right. Here’s the irony of this whole thing: God kept leading me into a massive error. “Whoa!   Did you just say God led you into sin?” Ha! Far from it! No. In fact, God led me into a wonderful relationship that I partly screwed up, but more accurately, God used to get my attention. And here’s where I fast forward!!! =)

9 years from that fateful conversation, through many ups, downs, backs and forths, she and I were 7 years married, living in a mountain town, raising three wee-babes. I was not a perfect husband (no one is…trust me), and I brought my own failures and baggage into our marriage. From the get-go, we had struggles, and over the years, I thought things got better. In reality, they were getting horribly worse. Like a cracked foundation deep under a house, my marriage was crumbling, and I was blithely unaware. In fact, I had recently acquired a job that gave me that feeling that I was making a difference (beyond making money). That job had helped me be unaware because, as I would later realized, I had put it as more important than my family.

In the months prior, many issues had caused pain in our lives; one child was in the hospital with a serious, but short-lived, illness. Another child had been in for observation. Last of all, the woman I married had struggled with some medical issues, the most serious of which was a liver malfunction and the least of which caused us to hold off on having any more kids for a short while. This all set the stage for the perfect storm, which stripped the last off of her. Over several weeks, she began to change; she started smoking, drinking (though I never realized how much), and I was told, from a friend at church, of a time when she had suddenly called to get a sitter. One day, as I considered these things, I punched out as early as I could from work and headed home. I called home to tell her I’d be home, and that was the end of that.

When I got home, my world forever changed! My children were home, but I could not find my wife. In an attempt to keep my emotions from overwhelming me, I went into investigation mode. I quickly began digging up the evidence and details of all that had occurred. Over the next 18 hours, I had recreated a timeline of the events of that Tuesday and knew what had happened. Within 48 hours more, I finally got answers, which confirmed my worst fears, in the most painful of ways. My wife had run off with another man. As I told a friend at the time, “I feel like I’m back in High School and my steady-girlfriend just asked if we can just be friends. But she’s my wife!?!?!”

I’m a lover, not a fighter. LOL! It’s mostly true. I fight for many things, truth, justice, and love. But when I am deeply wounded, I can’t fight at that moment. I don’t think most men can. When you really feel that deep-cut, it knocks the wind out of you. Another infamous quote came as a friend drove me to a lawyer he trusted; my head was spinning from the inside-out, and I couldn’t believe it was all happening. As I sat in the passenger seat, trying to consider what to do, I spoke the truth, “I think I’m gonna throw up.” “Go for it. I’ve got rubber mats,” was his response. It made me laugh, and helped make the pain more bearable. (Within the next 6 months, this friend would go home to be with Jesus.)  Originally, Legal Separation was filed, hoping that there would be a reconciliation, but before long, I was informed that it would be a full Divorce.  In just under 8 months, I went from a life I loved, living my dreams, to a life I had never wanted, even in my nightmares.

But here I stand, 4 years later, raising my children. I am 4 years divorced, emerging from bankruptcy (at least, the payments part of it), and God has proven Himself faithful so many times that I have lost count! (And I probably missed a few times too!) I get the incredible blessing to raise my children to know Jesus and to help them understand the simplicity that it is to follow Him.

Dear reader, my first message to you (in this hopeful series) is this: just breathe! Take a deep, sucking breath until your lungs will hold no more, then blow it out like a balloon that’s been let go!

I dearly pray that no one EVER has to go through what I did. At the same time, I know that many more will! And that breaks my heart in ways few will know. So, dear reader, if you are among those many who will go through this, know that you have my prayers! Know that you have a friend to fight alongside you, even if from the distance of the internet. And, most of all, if you are a brother/sister in Jesus with me, then you should know that we serve a God of miracles! Perhaps I will share more on that another time, but I will say that I and others have seen God work in miraculous ways through the judicial system. Nothing is beyond His ability…let me say that again. N-O-T-H-I-N-G is beyond HIS ability! Ask of Him, and let Him prove Himself to you. That’s not an invitation to make God your slave, as if He has to prove something to you, but it is an opportunity to lay your Isaac on the altar and watch Him provide the Lamb!

Vires et Honorem!

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