Always in His Hands
I grew up in a Christian family. Some of my earliest memories are about my family being at church. My father is a pastor, and throughout my childhood I always helped and served in any way that I could. I have a good father, he is honest, loving, and a good example of our Heavenly Father.
However, his faith didn't mean that I had a personal relationship with God. I made a commitment to follow Christ when I was young, was an active part of our youth group at church, and a leader in school and church activities. I met the girl who became my wife at the age of 9. We started dating in high school and we've been together ever since – marrying each other at the age of 19. On the outside, I had it all together.
During all of this time, starting when I was a teenager, I struggled with an addiction to pornography. I was able to keep it hidden for years and years – all the while working for churches and growing our family. In 2008, I hit the bottom. I was living a double-life, and completely empty on the inside.
At this time, going to church was just habit. Inside, I felt like I had died. I was so ashamed of my actions that I tried my best to turn off all of my emotions. I began to wonder if God was real at all. Inside my heart grew bitterness and anger, fueled by shame and isolation. I certainly couldn't freely share this struggle and my sin with anyone.
But one day after my wife came back from a women's retreat, she confronted me, and told me that I needed to make things right with God. She knew that I had struggled with porn, but had no idea how deep it had gone. That day, my heart broke. I confessed my sin to God and asked Him to begin to heal the wounds of my soul. As I lay on the floor of my room, all alone, I felt His peace and His presence fill my heart again – as I had as a child. I felt Him make me new again (like Jesus describes in John chapter 3, being born again).
But this was only a beginning. I still had to confess my sin to my wife and to the leadership at my church. What happened next was a beautifully painful process of restoration. He showed me how I filled the empty and painful places in my heart with lust and other things instead of him. My life was now open, and the fear and shame that I felt before disappeared. My relationship with my wife is now stronger than ever because we walked through a process of healing.
I know that my sin was destructive, and that God didn't want that for my life, but He used my weakness to make something beautiful – to restore life to my soul. I realize now, looking back, that although I strayed and faltered in my faith, not once was I ever out of His hands. His grace and His sacrifice have healed my soul and given purpose to my life.
We are now happily serving the Lord in France, working with local churches here, and sharing my story of hope, grace, restoration, and redemption that can be found in Christ alone.