During most of the childhood I went to church, youth group, was always in church events; being Amish that’s how I became integrated into Christianity as more a rule or what-not-to-do religion; I was blind, and my heart was a stone, I couldn’t ever grasp how much Jesus really did love me. I was distracted by my own father growing up, our family simple “believe” He was real, just not how real; chasing after God’s heart wasn’t the first priority that I saw my father passionate about, his deepest passion was sports. I strained to do my best to gain my father’s approval with all my heart, trying to become someone that I wasn’t.
Growing up Amish, my Mom and my Dad’s side was always fun, there was many games, family ice creams suppers I loved to go to. My mother and father turned from the Amish way and went Mennonite, and in later time, English. They didn’t totally agree with everything taught in the Amish Church. Overall, being English, and younger I didn’t understand why my extended family had the feeling I was an outcast, or how the children treated me differently to my current background.
In my teenage years I spend most of my time playing Video Games. My cousin is who I grew up with, and his family had a GameCube. And at the age of twelve I got into porn, and porn totally consumed my younger teen years. I always tried to quit by myself but it just became a huge cycle; I would stop and be good for a few days, and my own lustful desires couldn’t be overcome by myself. During that part of my life, I drifted farther away from God, it left me with a empty heart; it was where I began to despair, wonder if life was worth it. A heart that wanted to find love, a heart that longed for a real love. I went around trying to find love, joy, in many people, or many material objects that faded quickly. Soon after I turned seventeen, I found this beautiful girl.
This girl is the first time I found love, she was amazing. We met at Wal-Mart, working together, so I had known her as a friend before I ran into her again. I could be open with my heart and feel forgiveness and love, from her. I fell for her, that she was the one. When I dated her, was the first time I had finally quit porn, I could feel the love fill my heart and didn’t have the desire. But, there was one issue that stood out to me with her, she didn’t believe in God. That void in my heart came back. There were times that I felt a strong pull to get out of the relationship, but I ignored the warnings, believing so much that she was the one.
We didn’t have yoked beliefs. My eyes had opened more to who I had let myself become, when my brother started Fight Club at Grace Community Church. That my decisions, and the person who I was dating was not who God intended.
My brother and I had started going to Grace Community Church almost every Sunday, listening to Jim Brown was a blessing. I started to feel God speaking to me as we went there on Sundays; Grace Community does their announcements every Sunday morning and Fight Club was coming in August. And the one thing I recall is such an explicit voice, a pull at my heart; every Sunday they announced Fight Club until start. It was crazy to believe how crystal clear that voice had spoken. After a Sunday service at church around August, my brother asked me, “I’m signing up for Fight Club, thought it would be awesome together.” Sadly, I didn’t end up joining; the two requirements I couldn’t meet was 18 years of age, and a graduate of High School.
About the next two months is where I witnessed my life fall apart; I compromised my beliefs for my girlfriend’s desires. We ended up having sex, and I realized the importance it was that you wait till you’re married. It left a great pain, even larger void, loss of trust; and feeling as though my heart was deeply broken. My brother saw all my joy I had vanish from this relationship; finally I broke down on the inside and outside slowly in front of my brother, and my eyes opened to how far I’d let myself be give up. Even though the crying he told, “that God has a plan for my life, and that it’s hard to step out in faith, to trust God. But he created you, he created someone for you before you were created or thought up; even before the world was created.” I’ll always be a blessing from God for my brother, and what joy the next few months brought.
Last Summer(2015), my brother got engaged to his girlfriend. They had been together for 4 years prior to this proposal, and everyone was excited. I grew in my relationship with my brother during next few months before Christmas Break, being closer, there was a extreme amount of tension between my brother and the parents of his future wife. He had a job offer in Kentucky with ALDI for a store manager, he worked hard for the job, obtaining a Business Degree from IU Bloomington. Her parents weren’t on board with her moving away. But during that vacation God spoke to me, and told me to pray for my brother. After that vacation, I saw my brother’s life start to crash around him, it was heartbreaking moment in my life to me, they spoke about this decision, and decided to take a break, the wedding being called off. God allowed this to happen to my brother for a purpose, to both of us for a reason, for good. We couldn’t see the reason, or the good in any sense around that time, we trusted in knowing it was good and God was taking care of it. These scars of the past, for my brother and I will be my founded memories, to see how God carried us out from that past.
During those few months of my life, my brother and I spend more time growing together, maturing in our faith; having a deeper relationship as brothers, also with God. There would always come times when we would struggle, but we just fed off of each other and picked each other up, reminding each other that life will be tough; God is always with us during those times. As the bible verse Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says:
“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.”
I love this verse to this day, showing that we CANNOT to do this journey, this life alone, and living life with someone is what we were made for, to care for one another with our lives. To encourage each other, challenge each other, be challenged, serve others and be served is what our purpose is. To break out of our comfort zones, to reach our God-given potential. We weren’t created to stand back on the shores by the ocean, we were created to take our steps, and trust on the water, God tells us,
“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” -Isaiah 41:13
I’d say these memories are always be in my heart, these were the days my brother and I gave up our lives for God, accept what He had to offer. I learned, that His love is the only love that fills that void in my heart, his grace was sufficient to awaken me to see that we aren’t defined by our skeletons, We can’t move forward in our lives, if I can use this pain, to pour into others who let their skeletons haunt them; we let our thoughts, our past, leave us in bondage. For me this meant to surpass this skeleton, that only kept me in my past, That meant a fresh start to relationship with God that would last forever.
Having confidence against the hills, and mountains everyday has for me to overcome, and assurance, strength and trust knowing I’m not alone. That there are also others out in the world, that have and will struggle with their past knowing what we all have made mistakes; however, alive, because of what God’s grace can do. If you feel like this same way in life, maybe feeling like your shame, guilt, or afraid of what people would think about you; I know I did. God is a jealous God, He never sleeps, He never gets too busy to listen, He cares about how you feel when you cry out, let him know, than you can experience His deep compassionate love.