I grew up in a divorced family. I was the youngest of four. I learned a lot from the mistakes of my siblings and I vowed to myself to never get divorced. However, like my parents I did want several kids.
When I was sixteen, I attended a private school, there was a weekly chapel service where I personally confessed to God for salvation. My mom took us to church when I was 8 and when I was 10, I half heartedly confessed salvation in on a Sunday morning. You know, how Baptists will present you to whole church afterwards, that what they did to me and my mom was right there also. But, when I was sixteen, at the chapel service, God spoke to me and said ‘Let me save you.’ I said Yes! Therefore, I know I am saved.
Years went on, I joined the Marines at 18, but two years previous to this I lived with my dad and grew attached to him. We would talk occasionally about the Bible and one day he told me he was scared to read Revelation because the imagery was overwhelming. Being the serious kid I was, I took it to heart and went to pray to God, ‘let me understand the Bible, so I won’t be scared like my dad.’
While in the Marines, my dad died. As I was traveling to get to him, in the hospital, he became unresponsive therefore I never had a chance to speak to him. Needless to say, I was devastated as was the rest of my family. I spiraled down, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, into a deep pit of sorrow and suicidal thoughts. Having no real spiritual community in Marines, I felt alone. After realizing I could not go through with suicide, I turned to prostitutes. To my own shame, messed with the wrong girl and got herpes from her.
I was living my own life, not submitting to God and got the due consequences. After the Marines, I continued to slip into self hatred and deeper sadness now knowing I had herpes. My problems shifted from my dad’s unexpected death to having personal health problems that no doctor seemed to care about or give good solutions. I accepted my pitiful fate and told myself I would never have a family. Well, this was horrible because that’s the one thing I grew up knowing that I really wanted it.
Years went by living like this, until I couldn’t lie to myself any longer and at bedtime I would cry in my prayers to God for healing. ‘God, please help me! God, please heal me! I don’t want to live with these lies, in this situation, I need hope, I need friends, I need a chance to start over…!’
Peter writes in his letters, those who have suffered physically are through with sinning…well I can relate to that because I feel like I tormented myself emotionally to the point where I was suffering from lies. Lies hold us in bondage and cause us pain. In the end, I was sick of that situation and cried out for help to God.
Eventually, I met a girl at a local church who I was attached to immediately and she attached to me also. It was like magnets stuck together. I said to her, ‘I feel drawn to you.’ And she said, ‘I feel the same way.’ We hung out and eventually, I told her my about my painful past situation. Overall, we mistook our connection to be physical but God intended it to be spiritual, she and her family were compassionate towards me and I felt like I wasn’t alone anymore, which lead to my initial healing.
I also met a friend at my work place and he boldly told me, ‘there is nothing you have done that God won’t forgive…there is no reason to be ashamed…’ is what he told me. Then he said, ‘what is it holding you back?’ I said, when I was 19 I got herpes. He did not even flinch. He said ‘so.’ God loves you more than that. It was a moment of realism for me. One hand, herpes wasn’t so big after all and on the other hand, God loves me and had forgiven me because I sought out his healing. I would later go on to testify in front of local churches about my life. And, I boldly told my family and relatives about my past. It was so freeing. Halleluyah!
Later, I heard about a Christian brother who had gotten AIDS and later repented of a sinful life, God blessed him with a wife and later he had a kid. Neither the wife or kid contracted AIDS. Years later he died because of AIDS. So, he turned from a worldly way of living and was blessed with a family yet still died from his past mistakes. I heard that and immediately thought, if a guy with AIDS can have a family so could I. I was disconnected with the medical community and did not want any prescription drug. Therefore, what I share with you is to the glory of God alone.
I would go on by the Spirit of God to move to Denver and work at job where my future wife worked out. Ha. I met her and we started to hang out. She visited my church and I visited hers and I went to her salsa meetings. Ha. We hung out as friends because on the very first day we ever went out by ourselves, I told her straight up about my past. She understood. She was humble about it. And we continued to hang out. I looked to God and accepted that whomever I would have a family with they had to know first, before we fell in love.
Weeks went by, we still hung out and we had our fights and her parents visited and met me. They disapproved of me. Additionally, it was not easy for my wife because I come from a Hebrew Christian background at the time we met. So, I introduced her to Saturday Sabbath, kosher diet, Jesus’ Hebrew name Yahshua, etc etc. Going to Passover instead of Easter and celebrating Hanukkah instead of Christmas. She had her doubts, naturally.
I am different in my walk with God. So, finding a wife was not easy. Yet, I stand here today married after 7 years with 3 kids and one on the way.
Even now, our struggle is homeschooling from a Bible standpoint and waiting on God’s will instead of trying to make our own decisions, and also fitting in with other believers.
We are ever at the will and hand of God. Going and doing when lead to do so by Him.