Every once in a while I get an email that reminds me why we do what we do. Bent Tree exists to be used by God as he transforms people into disciples of Jesus Christ, here and around the world. I received this note recently, and the young man gave me permission to share it with you anonymously. It reminds us of the transforming power of Jesus — he really does change people! Hang in there everyone, God is touching people powerfully in our midst. Enjoy!
I've never been one to share this kind of information. But because of what happened and how it happened, I feel like I would be selling God short if I didn't share this.
My wife and I have been married more than 16 years, and we have been members at Bent Tree from the beginning. As all marriages do, we've had ups and a lot of downs. Good times and a lot of bad. We spent months in the NICU with premature twin boys, and have experienced God's blessings with their progress over the last seven years.
But the last few years have been especially tough for us. I let stress at work, low self esteem, and bad decisions nearly destroy myself and my family. I gave in to the temptation of prescription drugs, alcohol, and pornography, and asked God to take a back seat while I ripped my family apart. I asked him to take a back seat while I took pills that caused me to stumble around the house, oblivious to the damage I was causing my wife and my boys who were watching. I told him to look away as I looked at images that I knew would break my wife's heart and drive a wedge between us and take years to repair. I told him not to listen as I yelled at my wife in front of my boys, and displayed an anger and rage that I had never felt before.
I remember taking shots of vodka before going to Bible study to listen about being a good father and husband, because I didn't want to feel the pain of failing. I quit talking to God because I felt I was too messed up and too far gone, and he wouldn't want any part of the mess that I had created. I gained 50 pounds, was stressed beyond what I felt I could handle, and just wanted God to get away and stay away...
But he pulled me closer.
In December 2015, I felt God nudging, so I decided to make changes. I took my focus off of myself and placed it on God and my family. I started getting up at 3 a.m. every morning to spend time with God, pray for my family, and work out. I wasn't sure if the damage I'd caused my family would be repaired. But I knew if it could be repaired, he could do it. And he did.
My wife and I are closer now than we've ever been, and I'm not at all tempted with alcohol, porn, or pills. Over the last six months, I've watched God work miracles in my marriage, repair damage, reconnect a beautiful relationship, and I've experienced so many intimate God moments at 3 a.m.
Looking back, I see that Satan was ruthlessly attacking my family from every angle, and he was winning. But God had other plans for us, and I'm so glad!
There's so much more to this story, but I felt like I needed to share that much with you. I just wanted to let you know how God's been working "back of house" with me and my family.