Saturday, February 5, 2011

Freedom from the past...

     God's forgiveness is absolute; we are the ones that struggle with forgiveness (both giving and receiving). Until you truly believe this in your heart you can not experience true freedom from your past. It is much easier to believe this in your mind than to allow that belief to travel eighteen inches to the heart.

     What I am about to share with you, many of you know about my past...most of you do not. This part of my life goes back to early 2004. This was a time when I was working for a publication company during the week and working in a friends bar on the weekends. At this time I was living a life of total immorality. I was drunk every weekend (fringe benefit of being a bartender), I was living in promiscuity, smoking one to two packs of cigarettes a day, and the occasional joint would top things off. I was a poor steward of relationships in my life (both family and friends), I was a poor steward of money, and outside of the gym I was a poor steward of my own body. Needless to say I was on a path to sure destruction if things did not change.

     I know, most of you are saying you already knew that about me...well here goes the dropping of the bomb. On one particular night while working at the bar someone came in that evening I had not seen in several years. Someone I had been attracted to. To make a long story short after closing down the bar and getting out around three o'clock in the morning I made my way over to her place. This led to the miracle and blessing that is my son Andrew. Well, when his mother came to me to tell me she was pregnant I did not believe here whereas due to my promiscuity this was the fifth time in my life I had been told this same thing and yet I had no children. As hazy as this part of my life is I do remember this moment, I also remember losing patience with the situation and advising his mother that she should just go get rid of the baby. Yes abortion.

     You still with me here?

     Am I proud of this moment? Of course not. Is it completely out of character for me...I would like to think so, but you can see I was living life in a destructive manner and I am sure I caused lots of people pain in during those years whether intentional or not. Especially the mother of Andrew. I can only try to imagine the pain my reactions and words could have caused her. I know this...I am EVER so grateful that our almighty God works all things for His glory. I am ever so grateful that she chose NOT to go through with it.

      Over time Andrew's mother and I lost contact so I assumed it was just another bluff. Honestly I was curious and did try to find her through the internet on a couple occasions and I even called the phone number I had for her with no luck. Then on July 16, 2008 I received a message via MySpace from an individual whose moniker I did not recognize. I assumed the message was spam and almost deleted it. Luckily I did not and after a couple days I realized who it was! This began that journey on which I am still traveling called fatherhood. It has not been ideal, but I am doing the best with what I have and I am confident that in the end things will be great!

     Now to the forgiveness part. I struggled immensely with guilt, shame, fear, etc. I was only four months into moving back into relationship with God at this time. At that time I was still unaware of true forgiveness and freedom. Luckily He has spoken to me and drew me into Him throughout all of this. I can now live in freedom and I am focused on doing the best I can to be the best father possible with what I have been given in this season of my life. I hope and pray that the day the truth is revealed to Andrew he can find it in him to not allow all of this to hinder his life and growth into the man God intends for Him to be. God obviously has big plans for him considering all of this.

     I hope that if you have something that has held you in bondage of guilt or shame or anything else for that matter that you know that God's forgiveness is absolute. Others may not forgive you, but if you sincerely apologize from the heart, confess your sin towards them, and ask for their forgiveness that is all you can do. You must choose to receive God's forgiveness and healing and the freedom He has promised us and move forward in your life. Use your past mistakes to help you grow as an individual not to stunt that growth.

     Prayer Request

Now I am about to head into a new season of fatherhood here. Last year I had a court hearing for the child support side of things. Last week I had a mediation hearing for legal shared custody/visitation. Both of which were somewhat frustrating due to the fact that I have not been present and so I am simply a voice coming out of a speaker box. I have a hearing this coming Monday to have the courts legally establish guidelines and parameters for the shared custody/visitation. Whereas Andrew is now six years old it is very important that I have your prayer support so that God's will be done through all of this and allow for me the best opportunity to be the father God desires me to be. 
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