Hi I’m Tony,
A few weeks ago my wife asked if I would share on her blog for the marriage series.
You may have already read the stories of mine and Jamie’s life, so I won’t retell it here.
I will tell you that most of the bad decisions I have made, that hurt our marriage and family were done out of fear, pride, and disobedience.
I was afraid of a lot of things but too prideful to admit them, I did my own thing.
I had no clue what it would take to be married. I was deeply in love with Jamie, but I had no idea how to love her the way God was calling me too. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, I often thought that would be enough.
I was considered a nice guy by the people who knew me. But I was prideful, not outwardly but prideful nonetheless.
Some of the words I spoke were often things like: “I got this, It’s all going to work out, Don’t worry about it.” The truth was, I had no clue and I wasn’t about to ask for help.
I realized after God got a hold of me, those phrases I used were often my way of procrastinating, deflecting, and blaming others, especially Jamie.
I refused to take responsibility for my life choices and therefore laid it all on her to manage the outcome (totally impossible).
I would walk away from God and when things got really bad I would run back to him.
He had been trying to get my attention for years.
I should have owned up to the things I had been doing, but again my pride rose up and I let it win.
God never gave up on me.
Day after day and year after year he was faithful to show me the error of my ways.
A passage I have grown to love is Hebrews 12 (The message):
“My dear children (Tony), don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves he disciplines; the child he embraces he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He is treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training. So why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live?”
To be honest I had done so many things that cause death to my life, with my marriage and with my kids. I wasn’t living at all.
I sat under great men teaching me the word of God. I had friends that would hold me accountable for my actions and still there were times, (many) where I refuse to humble myself. I would agree on the outside while pride swelled slowly in my heart.
But again God continued to love and discipline me.
If I could especially address men with these next few words:
So many times in my life I’ve allowed pride to take me so far off course. I would get to a place of self-pity. I would allow the voice of the enemy to speak to my wounds and tell me how unfair life was. I thought whatever was happening at the time was not my fault and I needed to do things for myself and make myself feel better, I deserved it.
It was that kind of self talk that began to destroy my life. I walked deeper and deeper into a tangled web the enemy had spun for me until I wasn’t sure what the truth was anymore.
If you are a husband and/or a father, I want to encourage you.
We are called to lead and serve our families.
We have been given the leading role, to make life great filled with the things of God or we can bring destruction to it based on the things we do, the words we speak, and the life we might be living in secret.
My secret life included porn and marijuana. I thought porn was a guy thing and it wouldn’t hurt anyone. I used marijuana to escape and I convinced myself that it was helping me manage stress. One of the many lies of the enemy.
I never thought I could hurt Jamie the way I had. The world of pornography brought death to my marriage. There once was a woman who loved me, and honored me, trusted me, and believed in me. I single-handedly tore that down. I never imagined my choices would bring lasting consequences on my kids as well, something I regret deeply.
After years on this path I came to a place of repentance.
Not the usual I’m sorry I got caught, but a place of complete surrender. A place where I needed to admit my failures and take full responsibility for all that I had done. No more excuses, no more blame, no more feeling sorry for myself and no more being disobedient to God.
One of the toughest things about this life is, even though you may have stopped playing in the devil’s playground, sometimes the consequences last a lifetime.
I have repented to God, Jamie and the kids. The miracle, they were all still there waiting for me to come home and be the husband and father He intended me to be. That shouldn’t have happened, but by the grace of God it did.
Life is not easy, this place of healing is like being in a hospital after a major car wreck. I have to depend on God, the great physician to bring us healing. I can’t do this life in my own power anymore. But I do have to wake up everyday and surrender, obey, and trust God to bring me through. I’m reminded often of what I could have lost. It helps me walk humbly.
1 Peter 5:5-8 ” God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God .”
Don’t let the lies of the enemy steal what God already has for you. I’m definitely not proud of the way I have lived. But I was given another chance and with God’s grace I will finish the race.
2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their lands.”
Thanks for letting me share.