Honestly, not much to share here (relative to this website!) – but I’m sure I’ll prattle on regardless!  I’ve never been afraid to share my story.  I am who I am, mistakes and all – yet I believe it is who I am today and what I stand for that is more important.

I was raised in a strong Christian home, with 1 older brother.  We moved house a fair bit through various country towns while my Father furthered his career while I was young.  I never minded as I found it easy to make friends, but my brother was the opposite; by the time he made some friends he always felt we’d be moving again.

I was heavily involved in sports which meant I always had people around  me that I knew and had a level of  friendship with.  I was also involved in Church youth group and music groups.


Police

Pre-teen years: I got into trouble with the police for shoplifting when I was about 10 years old – I got caught up with the adrenalin rush after I saw some other kids doing it.  We also stole and smoked many packets of cigarettes, which ironically was what I thought I’d be more in trouble for when we were all ‘found out’.  It was only when I faced my mother after school that day that I understood what I was doing.  “We don’t care about the smoking” she said – “it was the stealing”.  That was the first time it really hit me with any clarity what I had been involved in was very wrong.   Still, I  recall hearing this little voice quietly saying to me “don’t do it” –  before it even started.

After it all became public knowledge (there were other kids involved that I didn’t even know about!), most of the children at school had been told that by their parents that they weren’t allowed to play with me anymore.  My Dad took a  job in a new town and I believed for the next 20 years that I was the cause  of us having to move again (that’s another story).  The pain I caused my family lasted years.  I had become the ‘bad child’, the ‘guilty one’ – the one that couldn’t be trusted.  I felt every ounce of my parents suffering and knew I had caused it.  I cried myself to sleep for many nights begging God to forgive me, trying to convince Him I was sorry.  There was no quick fix.


Teenage years:  On the positive side, it shaped me for the years to come, especially through my teenage years.  While my friends were getting caught up with smoking, shop lifting, drugs & the like – I just said ‘no’.  It wasn’t a ‘mistake free’ period by any means, but I was far less tempted to get involved in things just because my peers were doing it.

When I started living in a Christian boarding house while going to University, I started to realise the hypocrisy in my life.  To my Christian friends I was a strong, God focused, clean and wholesome guy.  Yet underneath I started to recognise the facade.  I split up with my High School girlfriend (she was still at HS) early in the University year and God confronted me with my duplicity.  I was having my ‘Y junction’ moment. I realised that I had been living my Christianity vicariously through any parents faith.  I knew who God was was, I prayed, went to Church, walked the walk  so to speak – but I knew it wasn’t something I truly believed in to my core.  It was all sell-able to the highest bidder or self-interest –  and I hadn’t even realised.

I had a choice.  Continue the way I was, all Christian on the outside, but dead on the inside – or seek Jesus for real.  I chose Jesus.  I chose to turn my back on my current life and walk a new road.  I ended up face down in the floor in tears, pouring out my failures, seeking a personal relationship with Jesus for the first time.  While my relationship with Christ changed forever that day – he became my personal Saviour – I still didn’t understand forgiveness.  The next night I ended face down on the floor again in tears, just as I had done the night before and when I was 10 years old.  This time Jesus stopped me.


 I had been forgiven, but I struggled to understand the difference between mourning my mistakes, being accountable for the consequences, and being free.  Forgiveness isn’t about magically forgetting the past – it’s about being set free from the separation it causes between you and God.  On the cross, Jesus took the price of that separation on Himself, enabling us to be re-connected with the Father.

John316-sm

Forgiveness isn’t a ‘right’, something we can earn or even deserve – It has little do do with ‘us’.   It has everything to do with the love that God has for His children.  How much He loves us – displayed by the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, on the cross.  That’s more love than I’ll ever comprehend!

For me – that’s how I understand it; by realising I’ll never be able to fully comprehend it.  God gives the ‘gift’ of forgiveness to all who believe and repent (turn from their sin) – we then need to accept that gift.  In times of our greatest suffering and grief, especially if caused by our own actions, forgiveness can feel unobtainable.  We can ask for it, receive the ‘gift’, but then leave it un-opened or even try to wrap it back up and return it because we feel unworthy.  

It is the truth though – we are unworthy, but as I mentioned before;  forgiveness is not about us – it’s all about Jesus.


 

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