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A Journey back to Faith...

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Member
I imagine my testimony has some things in common with others here....I've never written this out and I think its something I need to do.

I grew up in a church going family....and the first church I remember attending, from about kindergarten until I was 9 years old, it was awesome and laid a really solid foundation for a young child...I learned about Noah, Jonah, Samson, about the birth of Jesus and the Resurrection. I'm Canadian but our family moved back and forth between the US and Canada....and the strong foundation that was laid was when were living in the States. When we moved back to Canada when I was in the 4th grade Church was still part of our life, but it was mostly a Sunday thing....in the US our Church had all kinds of activities for kids, Bible School in the summers, outings, picnics, theater....there was always something. Regardless I continued on my path and was confirmed at the age of 13.....I attended a Christian youth group when I got to high school....but then at 17 I turned my back on God, but He didn't turn his back on me......

When I was 17 I was pulled away....and I actually wrote a poem about it back then, I don't remember the words of the poem but it basically expressed the view that it was MY life....and if God gave me my life then it was MINE, it was for me to live the way I wanted. If I turned my life over to Jesus then it wasn't MINE anymore....I ended the poem with something like....If my life is mine then I'll live it as I see fit, but if my life isn't mine then go ahead and take it....a pretty arrogant challenge to God obviously, an ignorant self centered teenager convinced he would take the world by storm who didn't want Jesus holding him back.

Life progressed okay....but I made a lot of mistakes, nothing horrendous though...I didn't fall into crime or drug abuse or anything, but by my later teens and early 20s I had become quite a drinker, a weekend warrior. Then at the age of 30 I got married, had a decent job....life was going okay, a son a couple years later and then 5 years after the son a daughter....we owned a home, life wasn't perfect but it was okay. My carefree weekends were gone, I didn't drink much anymore but that was okay, I didn't miss it.

Then a train wreck came along.....I was betrayed, not just by my wife but by someone I thought was a close friend. I reacted very badly....my world had been torn apart and I didn't have a Rock to lean on....I was consumed with anger, and if it wasn't for my father things could have gone very badly, I ran to the bottle....my Dad convinced me to stop drinking....not forever is how he put it, but at least until things had normalized, I promised and kept the promise. It didn't stop there though, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and was dying....she was my biggest supporter, my ally....she was the one who always had my back, in whose eyes I could do no (or very little) wrong. When she died I felt like the ground was slipping away beneath my feet....I was struggling to find work...I moved in with my widowed father and did the best I could to keep a relationship with my two kids, picking them up from school every day and working any night shift job I could find so that I could see them as much as possible.

That's when God came knocking....a pastor friend from years back got in touch and I started going to his church. It wasn't much to be honest, but it was enough....hearing God's word through Scripture kept me going. I say 'it wasn't much' because the church was not one that I considered to have a strong Biblical foundation....my pastor friend loves Jesus, but the church itself....I don't wish to be judgmental because I genuinely believe God used that church to bring me back....but its far from being evangelical and has a very loosey goosey view on scripture. At that point in my life though it was exactly what I needed....I went to a Pentecostal church one Sunday and did not enjoy it, it was too loud...too much waving arms....it was not what I was used to. I kept going to Pastor Scott's church, and through conversation and prayer I made a monumental decision....at the age of 42 I decided to look into joining the military, in Canada you can join at any age so long as you're able to fulfill at least a 3 year commitment before reaching mandatory retirement at 60.

My son was 10 and my daughter 5, and even though it broke my heart to leave I headed off to basic training at the age of 43...I explained to them then and since, that my life was going nowhere and that I needed to get back on track. I could have seen myself at 50+ being pretty much broke with my kids being ashamed of me. While at basic training and later on exercises I attended Chapel regularly, and I broadened my faith experience. When you go to a military Chapel the pastor might be United Church of Canada (the denomination I knew best) or Anglican (like Episcopalian in the US) or Lutheran, Christian Alliance, Baptist....you didn't get to choose.

And I started dating again...a woman I had met while working one of my night shift jobs, we started seeing each other. She was more than 10 years younger than me and had never been married....and she'd been raised Roman Catholic. I was then posted to Quebec, which is French Canada and over 500 miles from the area in Ontario where I was from. Distance relationships are hard obviously, and the only way to have her come and live with me was if we got married....otherwise she would get none of the benefits of being a military spouse until we'd lived together for a full year....so in Sept of 2012 we were married. We started alternating between protestant English services on the base (Lutheran/Anglican/United chaplains) and a RC church in town....the RC services were all in French but as time went on I became pretty much fully bilingual and I was there to hear the Word.

A year later in September 2013 we were blessed with a son....at 47 I was having a third child. I'd kept in close contact with my two older kids, they'd come out to visit me and I'd traveled back to see them as often as I could. After the little guy came along though more challenges were tossed at me....my father passed away in June of 2013, just months before the birth of his 9th grandchild. Then in May of 2014 my wife started having mental health issues, she had to be hospitalized for over 2 weeks while they sought the right medication to treat her condition....things got better but she was still struggling. Late in 2014 I was asked if I wanted to be posted back to Ontario, I was told there was no guarantee but that they'd try....they tried and succeeded, in April of 2015 we moved back to Ontario....to the unit I'm still with, working 12 hour shifts rotating between days and nights.

Back in Ontario we purchased a home and after a few weeks adjusting to our new town and my challenging schedule we found a church....another United Church, and I went faithfully most Sundays as my schedule permitted. It was comfortable...I knew the routine, the way the service went....but I felt there was something missing....I was hearing the Word, but it was like I was tasting a great meal, but I wasn't getting enough...I was still hungry....I couldn't wait for Sundays to come when I wasn't working so that I could get more.

Then God stepped in again last year, in the summer of 2018 my son was 4 and was playing soccer...the coach as it turned out was the Pastor of another church in town. I'd driven by Pastor Ryan's church many times but never taken note of it except for noting that it was much larger than the one we attended, and I assumed it was a more evangelical church....not my style. At soccer I talked to Pastor Ryan and asked about his church, then I was amazed to find out it was the same denomination that I had attended when I was growing up in the US back when I was in kindergarten to grade 4. I had to check it out and I haven't looked back.....there are so many activities....and I'm organizing a men's basketball night...the Church's mission statement is 'Rooted in Christ to impact community through relationships'....I know that God was pulling me still closer again, through this new church I found out about a local Christian radio station which is pretty much the only thing I play when in the car...and I bought a radio for the house to play it there....the music lifts me up.

I volunteered at VBS this summer and there was a song that choked me up....I think its called 'Good in Every Way'.
The words get to me...."I'm gonna lift my voice and glorify my King...He is a mighty King and worthy of our praise...We give Him everything He's good in every way".....Why does this song choke me up....because I know its true, He is good in every way....but I know that I am not, and I know that I have not been giving Him EVERYTHING....I've been giving more than I've ever given in my entire life, but I'm still the prodigal son who has squandered so much....and I know its only by God's grace through Jesus' loving sacrifice that I am saved, even though I'm not worthy of being saved....that amount of Grace cuts right to my heart and shames me....

I've almost written a novel...but it helps.
 
Unworthy Servant
Staff Member
Greetings,

thank you so much for sharing your story!
thanks also for the song. I had it on 'loop' while reading your testimony and as i am a slow reader, i think it must have played about 20 times by now.

He is a mighty King and worthy of our praise... He's good in every way !!!

Jesus is Lord


Bless you ....><>
 
Moderator
Staff Member
Hello Brother,
Awesome, and thank-you for sharing. Books are good when they are about God, and testimonies of how He has worked in our life, even when we're not aware of His doing so even better. I'm sure you'll be adding to it!!!

Song chokes me up too! He gives us everything, and we in self-analysis see so little that we give in return. So, the best we can do is keep on walking with Him Brother, and continue to be molded into who He wants us to be. He'll present us with the opportunities to help grow His Kingdom, and our Home.

I'm a retired military man myself. So, I can appreciate how difficult it must have been to have some one shouting out orders, who could have been one of your children!! Unlike you, I didn't wait long to do so. I was 17 years old and my knowledge of Jesus was a mix-mash of Lutheran, Jehovah's Witness, Christian Scientist, RCC, and one night of Pentecostal! :smile: Our God draws us from every place on Earth, and every manner of life one might be living in to make us His.

God bless, and again thank-you for sharing.

I hope your wife is doing better, and will lift up prayer Heavenward on her behalf.

With the Love of Christ Jesus.
YBIC
Nick
<><
 
Loyal
@StrugglingInCanada Welcome to the forum and thank you sharing your experiences with us.
Stay with the Lord brother! He is always available and is always watching over us. Lean heavily on Him and you will continue to see more and more clearly a vision of Him and of His Way:

"Where there is no vision, the people perish:... " Prov 29:18
 
Member
Hello Brother,
Awesome, and thank-you for sharing. Books are good when they are about God, and testimonies of how He has worked in our life, even when we're not aware of His doing so even better. I'm sure you'll be adding to it!!!

Song chokes me up too! He gives us everything, and we in self-analysis see so little that we give in return. So, the best we can do is keep on walking with Him Brother, and continue to be molded into who He wants us to be. He'll present us with the opportunities to help grow His Kingdom, and our Home.

I'm a retired military man myself. So, I can appreciate how difficult it must have been to have some one shouting out orders, who could have been one of your children!! Unlike you, I didn't wait long to do so. I was 17 years old and my knowledge of Jesus was a mix-mash of Lutheran, Jehovah's Witness, Christian Scientist, RCC, and one night of Pentecostal! :smile: Our God draws us from every place on Earth, and every manner of life one might be living in to make us His.

God bless, and again thank-you for sharing.

I hope your wife is doing better, and will lift up prayer Heavenward on her behalf.

With the Love of Christ Jesus.
YBIC
Nick
<><
Thanks so much Nick...I have many more chapters to add. My wife is doing much better...still some challenges, but its only through struggle that we get to know what true joy is.

Blessings on you and yours brother.
 
Member
@StrugglingInCanada Welcome to the forum and thank you sharing your experiences with us.
Stay with the Lord brother! He is always available and is always watching over us. Lean heavily on Him and you will continue to see more and more clearly a vision of Him and of His Way:

"Where there is no vision, the people perish:... " Prov 29:18
I'm staying, I still have moments where doubts creep in....but I'm well armed and know how to deal with them. Walking in places of encouragement like this helps me deal with the times when the road is harder....thanks for sharing that quote, so much truth. Blessings.
 

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