At the age of four, something happened between my parents that left me with a life-changing, unbeknown obstacle, which would forever alter the future of my personal life. Although I had no idea how the event would cause me to think differently about my life as I would grow older, it didn’t take long to feel its effects.
The divorce of my parents was not an easy one for me. In fact, it was the very thing which caused me to engage, for several decades, in a self-destructive lifestyle. What made the event even harder was the ongoing back and forth relationship my parents chose to have as I was growing up. One year they were together, and the next year they were living apart. For fifteen years of my life, I was in the custody of my mother, and would float along with her through her choices to try to make it work with a troubled husband. The same man I struggled to call my father. After my mother remarried, she and I were right back in another dysfunctional relationship. She and her husband were together, then apart. I was still in the middle of the same dreadful life. That made it even harder for me. Being stuck in the middle of an unstable home life took the life out of me, in more ways than one. As most of my peers were learning about the valuables of life from their parents, I was learning about many burdens.
I sometimes wonder how my parents had truly grown up. I often wonder what it is that I didn’t learn about them. Were some of those things they had experienced, learned and ultimately became into adulthood, the very reasons why I had experienced what I had as a young man growing up between them? Surely, neither one of them had intentionally meant to hurt an innocent child, yet, I do believe their ignorance at the time hindered their realization of causing me harm. That really, honestly, made me believe they were only worried about themselves. This belief I had as I was growing into my teens began to make me feel very unloved by the two who should have loved me the most. As I sit here today, I am wondering if their personal experiences as they grew up are the reason why my life was dysfunctional within those years of needing positive role models. The years when a kid needs a dad, a mom, a teacher and a confidant.
Being an only child and witnessing some of the things that I had is something that I do not wish upon anyone. Verbal and physical abuse, as well as other things that children should not be exposed to are things that were seared into my developing mind from a very early age, and continued well into my teens. Those unhealthy traits, both learned and defined by being in constant contact with a source at home, carried over into my adult years.
Several years ago, I had to begin to unlearn those unhealthy hinderances.
I met a woman who was the opposite of me in many ways in 2011. She had a definition of love within her that was one I was not used to. We began talking after my advances. She was so kind, gentle, funny, and honestly, not ready for a relationship. She had several bad experiences with previous relationships, three children she was raising on her own and the typical battle wounds after a divorce. I was a sweet-talking man, and I had a heart that was willing to give, but I also had all of the residual scars from a lifetime of fighting.
I’d like to say that after my wife and I were married, our life was great. Unfortunately, that life was made very difficult because of my bad, habitual, dysfunctional, unloving and downright heartless ways. Sure, most marriages are something that both people have to adjust to, but my ways within the marriage were, in many ways, much like the ones I had grown up experiencing. The screaming, mental abuse, destroying objects and chasing my wife down to get my ridiculous points across to her shut-off, hurting ear was destroying our marriage. It didn’t take long for her to pack up, take her kids and leave.
There was something my wife had said to me somewhere within the time after moving out that had me dumbfounded. She had said, and this is not verbatim, that she loves me and just wants me to get better. She had gone on to say that if I would learn to change my ways that she would be there waiting.
I sat for many months, alone. During that time, I was going through so many changes. Tons of them. I was still learning to live without illegal drugs and alcohol after only being clean for several months. I was learning how to not be a religious freak after having the worst possible brainwashing experience within an institutional nuthouse. I was attending cognitive behavioral therapy after a recommendation from my physician. I was also reading the New Testament almost everyday.
I had gathered a lot of information about what was going on within myself in a very short period.
This period was probably one of the most important times within my life to date. Not only did I have a desire to be with my wife and a desire to show her that I loved her as well, I began to understand the very definition of love in many new ways. Possibly, more of the way she had understood it. I say that because of the way her family was, compared to mine. But I digress. I began to see the love and respect I should have, not only for myself, but for everyone I encounter.
All of the years of going through the battles without love as the ultimate goal only caused a world of trouble and sorrow to gain the upper hand. Without the true definition of love, and that true definition being the name of Jesus, our Lord, and what He truly is, I could not find rest.
As I was learning about all of these things that go on within me: all of the things that are not part of what God had intended; the sinful attributes, I began to see just what the Lord had done, for all of us, when He sent His only begotten Son to be crucified. He released us from the bondage of sin. That, my friends, is the true definition of love.
So many may not know what sin is who come along and read this post, or the other posts of my blog, but I can tell you firsthand what the consequences of sins are. I can assure you that without the hope and assurance that Christ provides, one will stir and squirm within an ongoing fight with themselves. Much like my parents. Much like me. One will keep looking for the answers to the ongoing battles, within themselves. One will keep trying to convince themselves that they alone, apart from the true God, are the answer; the only power that will fix what is broken. Only to, whether it be within a short or long run, find themselves hopeless, all over again.
I had a long run of sorrows and heartaches without a focal point to keep my eye on. That “focus” is the true definition of love, only found in Christ Jesus. Knowing Him is the key to understanding how to unlearn all of those things that used to keep me from being the best version of me.
Jesus is not a religion, He is the way to God. He is the way to the healing that can be found within one’s life of pain. I sure don’t put His name out there to give anyone false hope, and I sure wouldn’t claim Him to be the true way to fix all that hurts if I didn’t personally know better.
Please learn the Bible. Please learn to listen to His Spirit. Please, put yourself behind the lead of the Lord who awaits your willingness to let Him show you how to follow.