My separation began in August 98, when without warning, I found
myself alone and the single father of an 8 year-old. But the real
story began much earlier.
My childhood consisted of an unstable mother and an uninvolved
father. Things got worse as I grew up. I was on crutches throughout
junior high years. I was considered a cripple, nerdy and I was fat
to boot. Hostility and indifference became my tools to survive.
I became a master at aggression and intimidation.
These attributes served me well in my career. At
twenty, I made more money than anyone in my family. I learned that
I could challenge and scare people into submitting to my way of
doing things. If not, I would dish out the punishment. One story
stands out in particular: It involved stop and go traffic and a
driver who cut in front of me. The result of the ensuing altercation
was a soda can bouncing off his forehead and me being trapped in
I know now that God protected me that day because,
as a wise friend has said more than once, "God must have a plan
for your life, or you'd have been dead along time ago." I'd like
to say this was a one-time deal, but it wasn't. There are so, so
many more examples of my destructive responses to anger.
I thought that this kind of behavior was behind
me when I came home, but I was wrong. I see now that the verbal
assaults on my wife may not have involved throwing soda cans but,
they were still assaults.
The week my wife made her decision to leave, I
made a purely intellectual decision. I decided to attend the Separated
Men's group at Saddleback Church. It was an intellectual decision
because I had no intent to believe, no plan to become a believer.
I had no idea that Christ had plans for me.
In the group, I saw peace and wisdom in the men around me--a peace
The following month, at the encouragement of the
group leader, I attended the annual Men's Retreat. It was there
that I made the choice to invite Jesus Christ to be my Lord and
Savior. Pastor Tom Holiday was kind enough to baptize me and two
others that very night. From that point on my life changed.
With God's help I have acknowledged and worked
on my destructive responses to anger. Through the strength He provided,
I've committed myself to working on me, working on me, working on
me. I've made friends that will last a lifetime. One year later,
I'm an apprentice in the Separated Men's group. In November 1999
my son, now 9, was baptized. Seven men I've had fellowship with
in the group have also been baptized.
Then, in December 1999, my wife returned. We are
slowly putting the pieces back together. We still live apart, but
there is hope. I believe that God has a plan for everyone. He has
a plan for me and for you. It's His plan to prosper us, not to harm
us. He promises that we will reap a harvest of blessing, if only
we don't give up. .