Don’t Follow In My Footsteps Because I Might Have Stepped In Something

[thats me in the middle way back]

My life has had many
ups and downs. I’ve spent a large amount of it in the dark. It’s taken me far
too long to recognize my sin issues. Luckily now that I have, it didn’t even
take a day to realize I had to take care of them. Recognizing them was only the
beginning. Coming to understand where they started and how they have affected
me for so long was the next step. In a previous blog I wrote about my issue
with intimacy. I can’t recall but I may have mentioned that I have a trust
issue,  on top of that I have a serious
issue with patience.

Let me explain what
I’ve found so far, and what I’ve been doing to tackle these issues. 

EARLY ON

When I was young
life was great. At least as far back as I can remember I was always close with
my mother, and father  was a fun,
hard-working man. During the day dad would be at work, my brother would be at
school, and at home my mother and I would hang out. I had plenty friends in the
neighborhood, in fact they all lived on my street and were in walking distance
even for a little five-year-old me. My parents and my friends parents were
friends, and from what I can remember we had a real tight community.

Every other weekend
or so our parents would let us stay with our grandparents. They were so fun to
be with, and cared about us a lot. My grandparents would take us to church on
Sundays, and although I couldn’t comprehend a thing that was going on, at least
they had the best in mind for us. 

I remember times
when dad would come home and wrestle with us. Every single day my mom prepared
dinner, and boy was it delicious. She had the very best recipe for pork chops.
Afterwards typically dad would be so tired from work he would fall asleep for a
little bit. Later in the evening my parents, my brother and I, would sit around
the television and watch shows like Friends, Roseanne, and every now and then
we would catch an SNL rerun. During which dad would have me play
“foot-doctor”, which consisted of pretending to work on my dads feet
with toy doctor’s tools.

With our
neighbor-friends we would take regular day-trips to Geauga Lake. My brother and
I, as well as our other friends, did not like rollercoasters much then so we
would stay in the arcade all day. In between rides our parents would come check
on us and make sure we have enough money to keep playing.

We were a typical
middle class family, and for awhile it seemed like we had it all together. 

A few year passed
and I started to notice my parents arguing a bit more. Bills would pile up on
the dinner table, and dinner was less prepared and more microwaved. Our
neighbor-friends moved and instead of having parties at home my parents would
go out to the bars and have my brother watch me. The frequency early on was
similar to the amount they would take us to our grandparents house. We didn’t
go there much anymore and instead were told to stay at home.

Over time the amount
they would go out increased and it started to hurt quite a bit. I would cry for
them to stay, but they left anyways, every now and then they would give me some
money to make up for having to stay at home with my brother. Other days we
would still go to Geauga Lake, except it was just my brother and I and them.
They would still give us money for the arcade, but by the end of the night they
would drunk. The drive home was always scary. My father would swerve around
like a mad man or fall asleep at the wheel. Luckily we never got in an
accident. It wasn’t too long after that that we stopped going altogether.

All the neighbors
that were friendly had moved and although there was a couple guys on the street
my age, we never were really all that close.

Eventually my
parents would go out every single day. Once in awhile the cable or electric
would be off, or we would have no food and have to call them at the bar to
order us a pizza.

Before you knew it,
we barely had parents anymore. I rarely saw my father except for late at night
when they would get home and he would be so drunk he would fall asleep
standing.   During this time my mother
had to get a job and worked as a lunch aid for awhile at an elementary school.
I can’t recall how long that lasted, but eventually she left there to work as a
bartender. My father would go straight from work to whatever bar my mom was
working at, and they would stay out after she got off. Every morning my mother
would complain to my on the way to school about how she wishes dad didn’t
always come straight to her job because she needed her “me” time. Yet
the cycle continued.

I had a best friend
at school, he was probably the most popular kid in my grade. He could do
backflips, and he was good-looking so all the girls liked him. We remained
friends throughout a couple of grades, but eventually he moved a few cities
over. For a time we would still hang out every now and then, but it was hard to
keep up with the distance.


FRIENDS

As I edged closer to
being a teenager I started skateboarding. With skateboarding came a large group
of new friends. It all started one day at the skate park when I met a guy with
my same middle name and same exact birthday. He hit it off quick and it wasn’t
long before we were best friends. We got pretty close for a couple years,
skateboarding and hanging out just about every single day.

Later I would tell
him some of the dark struggles I had with my family and he would listen. Yet
every day at school everyone at lunch would know about it and I would get made
fun of ruthlessly. I took the hits without a flinch because my best friend was so
cool, I had to submit. I couldn’t write him off because then I would be left
once again without friends. I bottled this all up for quite some time.

Eventually the
depression hit me. For a long time I just lived with the pain of everything in
my life, but at this point I could actually feel deep sadness. Not one person
knew how sad I was. There were times when I was seriously considering killing
myself. I would sit at our dinner table with a knife, sweating, crying. I just
wanted it all to end.

GOD

I stopped hanging
out with this group of people for a bit and started instead to hang out with a
kid who lived further down the street. We were never friends but every now and
then we would see each other, whether at the rec center or at school. He was kind
of crazy but it was always a fun time. Every day for awhile we would play The
Game of Life in his basement. One of those nights his mother came down and told
him to get ready for a bible study. I was the furthest thing from interested in
a bible study. In fact he knew that and told me not to come. At the time I was
drawing pictures of Satan, and the Grim Reaper, and considered myself an
atheist.

I decided to go
anyways, even though he told me not to. I had nothing else to do, and nobody
else to hang out with.

I was greeted rudely
to my first ever bible study. There were three guys at the dinner table that I
knew from the skate park. They were the best skateboarders in the city. I
couldn’t believe my eyes. I was blown away by how mean they were, but to say to
my old skateboard friends that I was hanging out with them seemed like an
awesome gift. So I did just that, and they didn’t believe me. 

Even though they
were mean I kept going back. One of the bible study leaders was nice, and he
seemed so cool that the other guys being mean didn’t even phase me. I went for
a couple of months and eventually learned about Jesus Christ and how he died on
the cross for my sins. They told me I could have true hope, joy, and love. They
told me I could have all that, and all I needed to do was make a simple prayer
to God. It seemed pretty amazing and something I wanted, but I did not accept
him right then and there.

A couple weeks
passed and I was feeling very lonely. It was three in the morning and my
parents were still out, so I was scared. I tried to ask my brother if he thinks
they are okay or not, but he slammed his door. I was alone. I was crying for a
bit but then remembered the conversation about Jesus I had with the guys. I
closed my eyes and prayed to God to accept the gift of His Son. Immediately
after I was done I was calmed by the Lord and able to fall asleep. 

In the morning I
noticed all sorts of things in nature, how beautiful was the sky that day. The
trees, the bushes, even our un-kept lawn with all the dandelions. Beautiful.
The sadness I had that was so deep was turned into joy overnight.

IN LOVE WITH THE
LORD

I spent the next few
years telling everyone I knew about God, trying to get them to come to my bible
study and receive the same gift I did. During this time our little men’s bible
study shrunk. Most of the people that were there when I started to go were gone
except one. Even though he was mean at the beginning we actually became good
friends. We spent a hell of a lot of time together whenever we could. I also
spent a lot of time with the bible study leader. I had friends that I knew
really cared about me. Finally people I could trust were in my life. What a
relief.

It was so different
and I loved it. We got kicked out of our house and had to move into an apartment, yet I wasn’t even phased. I would think back to wanting to kill myself and laugh and pray
to God in thankfulness. I read the bible all the time and prayed to God all
day. He truly had saved my life!

For about three
solid years this is how my relationship with God was. He would show me things
in my life that I needed to change, and would push me to exercise my spiritual
gifts. I was young, but I wanted nothing but to spend time with other
Christians, and make it to any event where I could build more relationships.

At some point the
other remaining guy from bible study decided to walk away too. He got a
girlfriend who took up all his time and I rarely saw him. By this point I was
used to people I was close to leaving my life, so I wasn’t all that phased by
it. I had other friends, so it wasn’t as extreme of a loss as before. It was
sad, but not that sad.

However once again I
was fully alone. It was just me and God in Bedford. The rest of my friends
lived close to an hour away. I spent my free time with the Lord. Praying and
reading, and learning about God.

SOMETHING CHANGED 

The joy from a new
walk with God started to fade. My thankfulness turned to pride. I still had
success in my walk with God. I was able to reach people for God, but my heart
started getting darker.

As I got closer to
graduating high school I started to rely again on the Lord to help me with that
and to get into college. For a moment I was extremely thankful, but I got
distracted by a girl. The next seven years I wrote about here .

NOW

I have seen my sin
full now. It’s gross. Yet, the Lord has given me comfort knowing I will
successfully deal with it in time. You can see from my life why I have issues
with trust and intimacy. My problem with patience is not as related, but it is
still a problem. I can’t say for sure where it came from, it may be genetic,
who knows.

From my parents
checking out, to my friends leaving me over and over again, it’s a miracle I
ever trusted the Lord. But ever since I wrote the blog I linked above I’ve been
trying hard to get closer to God. No longer is my relationship strictly based
on what I must do, but now its something I want to do. My time with God now is
much like my early days as a Christian. I’m excited and joyous, and in love
with God. 

I’ve been studying
Peter for a bit now too. I wrote the blog right before this one that talks
about how I was going to start doing this. At the time I believed the Lord was
showing me I should study him simply because I felt I’m like him. And I do
believe it’s partly true. I believe the Lord has a serious plan for me and Him,
and has had his hands on me this entire time. I believe my future with him
includes some big things and like Peter, whom was ignorant for awhile but
became a pillar of Christianity, I think I have something in store from God as
well.

However recently,
through studying Peter, I found out it was actually a direct answer to prayer.
Maybe I’m like Peter in that way, but what God was trying to show me as I
prayed for help dealing with my intimacy issues, I found Peter to be one of
Jesus’ best, most intimate friends on earth. Although some (Zak) seem to
disagree, I believe he was in fact Jesus’ best friend out of anyone else, even
John. How beautiful it was to find this out and see how God treats his best
friends (and really anyone who wants to be close to Him).

Not much time has
passed, yet I’m more in love with God than I have been for the past seven
years. I was in darkness the entire time and had to suffer many things I could
have avoided. Don’t do what I did, please I beg of you, turn to God because you
want to. Don’t read the bible because you’re supposed to. Don’t pray because
you’re supposed to. Go to God out of desire, not duty. A sign my old house read “Don’t Follow In My Footsteps Because I Might Have Stepped In Something”, I always found that funny.

 _______

Lastly, keep
checking over on lifeofpeter.xyz for more articles on the life of Peter. I’ll
be posting more soon!