Young Adult:  After a couple years of University I realised my chosen career path was not ‘me’, so I deferred my studies for a year to get my head around it all.  ‘What is the purpose of life?’ stuff.  After not being able to find a job doing ‘anything’ – yes I would have worked anywhere – I got pretty despondent.  There weren’t many jobs available at that time and because I was only ‘deferring’ my studies people weren’t quick to give me an opportunity.  

Then one day I just gave up . . . .

Yep, I had had enough – I didn’t care anymore.  My life was pointless, I had no view of a future and God sure wasn’t doing anything to help.  I wanted to get angry at God  and spite him, show that he’d had his chance to help and blew it.  For me, my ultimate defiance to God was to go into a Pornography shop.  Yes, I could have done much worse, but it was symbolic – something I knew without question he’d not want me to to.  So off I headed. North.  Somewhere heading north there was a Porn shop that I’d driven past before – that’s where started walking.  I had all day.  Nothing mattered anymore – just showing God I’d had enough was all I wanted.

I walked about a mile and reached a playing field that I needed to walk across.  I got to the other side and stopped.  I just wanted to yell at God; tell Him all my struggles, fears, despair – but I knew He wouldn’t be listening – He’d already given up on me, so I thought.

I started walking around the outside of the field – ranting, raving, cursing, blaming – it was all coming out.  Over 3 hours later I was still there – walking the perimeter.  God had kept trying to get a word in, but I wouldn’t listen.  “Trust me” he’d say.  “Look where it’s got me” I’d reply.  Eventually, I was exhausted.  I had nothing left.  There was nothing else left to say – I was stripped to the core.  There was silence in my head – very surreal.

237564949063892013ZfIhyW8ucThen I heard a gently, quite voice “trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”.  I was humming a tune I knew to a bible verse I knew: Proverbs 3:5-6.  The verse just kept repeating itself and I tried to fight it – I had been trying to trust God and it got me nowhere.  The verse remained.  Finally when I realised I had nothing more left in me – I got it.

“Trust me with all your heart. Stop trying to hang on to control and figure it all out by yourself.  Stop thinking that you know everything.  Let go and Let ‘God'”.  I let go.  I let go of trying to understand and control my circumstance, to stop trying to be ‘God’.  In tears I prayed – “help me to trust you.  Help me not to rely on what I think I know.  help me to believe in You, not my arrogance”!

God had to empty me to zero before I understood.  I needed to trust Him with EVERYTHING – not just the bits I thought I couldn’t handle.  Finally I was at peace.  I found a new strength in Him.  I learnt that I truly was not alone.  The next week I got a job.

Our relationship:  I had met my wife at a friend’s Church a few years earlier.  As she was some years younger, so I didn’t pay her much attention  until a few years later.  I actually called her one year while she was away on vacation work (the same one you’ll read about in her story) to ask if she would come to my company’s Christmas party. I wasn’t really seeking a ‘date’ – just a friend to accompany me.  Ironic timing?  I remember when she came back from that trip.  She took one of her friends outside (we were all at Church Youth group) for a while and it was clear that when they returned they had an emotional discussion. Didn’t think much of it at the time though!

I’m not sure the timing of all of this, but sometime later she started dating my best friend at the time.  Cute couple.  Some weeks later while he was at my house, he shared with me the story of her vac-work trip that she had recently confessed to him (further story is in her pages).  He was shattered. In the context of a strong Christian social group – it was no small incident. Sexual purity before marriage was something to strive for, not to casually give away.  The relationship ended shortly after.

Later that year a group of us went on a camping trip. Ironically, the girl I thought I liked, the girl that others were trying to set me up with – and my future wife – were all there!  Without detailing the whole weekend, one night her & I sat up until about 6:00am talking.  Sharing almost everything from our past and family relationships.  This is when I first learnt of the struggles with her mother.  Many ‘skeletons’ from the closet were revealed that night.  Once we returned, there were a number of days that week that she ended up at my house – meetings, collecting camping gear – among others.  We would hang out and talk further, often just sitting back and listening to music and enjoying the stillness together.  By the end of the week it was obvious we were very comfortable with each other’s company & realised that something was ‘going on’.

Becoming a couple was met with a mix of peer acceptance.  My ‘best friend’ didn’t handle it so well.  3 years later he told me he thought we hadn’t considered his feelings of us getting together – even though it was him who ended their relationship.  That is the only time I have spoken to him since we became a couple – 17 years.  Very sad.  Shortly after we accepted we were ‘together’ (it more or less just ‘happened’) she tried to tell me of her vac-work experience, even knowing that it ended her previous relationship.  I told her that her ex-boyfriend had shared enough details and that she didn’t need to tell me anything.  We talked about it (just non-specifics) and then we prayed.  God was setting us up for a clean start.

Her next Vac-work:  A year had rolled around and she was heading off for another round of vacation work.  By now we knew that we’d be getting married, but we didn’t want to have a long and pointless engagement.  She has never worn much jewelry, so she had no desire for a big flashy engagement ring,  so we decided to  get ‘officially’ engaged only a number of months before the wedding date.  It was a sad day to face her leaving for 3 months. We stayed up all night to watch the sunrise.  I had no concerns regarding her trip.  I believed in her and that she had deep strength through learning from past mistakes. We had also begun a God-centred, forgiven and fresh start with each other. No skeletons!

During that time away, we booked the Church, the Minister & the catering for wedding, which would be in one year.

It was a hard 3 months, but she finally returned.  As a minor ‘bump’ in our relationship, she confessed that she had kissed a guy on New Year’s eve while away.  She was terribly lonely and wasn’t strong enough to resist his ‘moves’.  I was just glad she was strong enough to not repeat the scenario of the year before.  We prayed, I forgave.

We moved through a year of family strain for her.  I had asked her Father for her hand in marriage, then a few days later proposed to her.  When we told her Father he gave us both great big hugs and his blessing.  Her Mother was sitting in the living room watching TV when she told her.  Her response (from her chair) was “that’s nice”.

Her Mother wanting to be a part of her daughter’s wedding, after spending years of not being part of her life.  In one incident, after returning from a Bridal Show, her mother turned to us and said “you know I’m not in favour of you getting married”.  I was not totally shocked – I’d learnt enough of her mother by now.  I simply replied “I appreciate you thoughts, but we’ll do what we want”.  I have never been intimidated by her mother’s subtle emotional pressures – I’ve been able to see them for what they are from the outside, which enables me not get sucked in.

It was a tough year for many reasons, but we battled through together and finally the day of our wedding arrived.  We were finally together as one.

 4 years in:   While were trying to get pregnant with our first child, she attended a student conference while studying for her PhD.  When she returned, she told me that she had been involved in a game of ‘Spin the bottle’ with other students.  I was dumbfounded.  “There was no clothes coming off” she said, “just kissing”.  I asked her if she had kissed someone.  She said “one guy”.  After all our pre-marriage issues, one would have thought she had grown up past this sort of thing.  I stormed out of the house and walked around block for an hour or so – just to make a point (I’m not really an angry guy).  She tried to get angry with me when I returned (for walking out and scaring her) but I explained she had no right to be upset with me – she chose to do this while we were trying to start a family!

We talked about it and once again – I forgave her and we moved on.


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