My name is Eddie, not sure if this is going to be a blog but I have these thoughts in my head that need to be written out. I’d like to share some thoughts and a moment in my life that I think about quite often.
Before I get into all that, I want to share with you my favorite part of the day. I travel about 90 miles to and from work, maybe 2 ½ hours a day I’m on the road. After a long day and arriving home, I sit in my truck before I go inside. I try to change gears and do a reset, I get into husband and dad mode. I married my beautiful wife Jacqueline in October 2010 and we have two handsome young boys, Jonas going on age 4 and Ezra going on age 2. As I approach the door, I get excited because I’m home.I’m with my family. Once that door opens I get to hear “Daddy’sHOME!”, “DADA!”, “Hey Babe, dinner is almost ready”…. It’s an explosion of love. I go around and get my kisses from everyone. As we all sit, the table is set, drinks and milk have been poured. After we pray for our food and we start eating, wego around the table asking how each other’s day was. It’s always so intriguing to hear my oldest tell us how high he can jump or how fast he is. How he and his grandma were playing tag or that his younger brother was crying because he doesn’t know how to speak and he doesn’t know what Ezzy (Ezra’s nickname) wants. I love to hear when he asks his momma “How was your day mommy?” After mommy is done, he will ask “how was your day daddy?” After telling Jonas how my day was… We all ask Ezzy “How was your day Ezzy?” with the biggest smile on his face and a spoon full of rice about to go in his mouth he’ll say “Good”. We all laugh because he’s so cute with his bowl haircut, kindly given to him by the our very friendly local Vietnamese barber. As we continue with dinner, I love everything about our time together. It doesn’t matter if Ezzy is crying about something or Jonas says he doesn’t want to eat. I love hearing about their day and I love being with them.
It wasn’t always like this… Before meeting my wife and attending PCOC, (my church), I was a wreck and living in sin. I was stuck in a situation, I didn’t know what to do or who I can trust with this burden I was carrying around for years. I was in situation for about six years or so and it got progressively worse. I lied to everyone about everything, it didn’t matter who you were or where I was at or what I was actually doing. This weight of this burden progressively got heavier and heavier, I soon found myself in a state of depression. I was depressed because I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know how to get out. Who could I trust? Who would understand? My family would disown me and friends would definitely be different with me. At times, I thought what’s the point? I’m too far gone. God has to be done with me. I soon saw a shift in my mindset, “God’s mad at me” and I was mad at him. Truth was, I was alone and I couldn’t talk to anyone about this secret life. I prayed asking for help, please send someone! I prayed apologizing the whole time, I’m sorry God. The depression got worse and I was miserable, I wanted out and had thoughts of hurting myself… not that I would go through with it. I was in a bad situation with no way out, but living with guilt and shame, these thoughts continue to grow.
In Sept. 2009, I attended a church conference, I felt it was pointless and useless. God is mad at me, I can’t move forward in my life and I’m just stuck. The morning session I attended changed my life. I can’t remember the message that was ministered, but I do remember it was Pastor Johnny Doris. There was an altar call, not really sure why I was at the conference or why I answered that altar call. Pastor Johnny Doris is a white guy who had silver rimmed glasses like you would see on that 70’s show. He wore a Hawaiian shirt and hewore tan kaki Dockers with some dark brown loafers. I remember this moment like it was yesterday… I was in the middle of a crowd and he was going around laying hands on people while speaking in tongues. With my hands lifted up like I was carrying something and my head down, I could hear him moving near. Pastor Johnny laid hands on me while still fervently praying, and just like that, nothing happened. He moved onto the next person. Was I too far gone for God to meet me in my time of desperation? Not quite. As I stood there he came back to me and laid his hand on me and stood silent for a moment. He has his left hand on my head and comes to my ear and says “God wants me to tell you, HE’S NOT MAD AT YOU.” Immediately, I wept, I cried so hard, I was lost for words. I was ashamed, I didn’t know what to say, so I wept, unsure of what this meant. I thought my life was done, I thought I would die in this sin.
I cried constantly not sure what was going to happen, it’s not like my problems went away. I wasn’t out of that situation, I was still in the same boat I was in. I find this moment in my life to be significant, it was like finding an paddle while being adrift in the ocean by yourself for so long. One paddle can take some time toget your boat moving, but when one becomes overwhelmed by isolation, any type of movement is a glimmer of salvation. I felt there was hope and my thinking started to change.
I wish I could say that I was out that situation in a week or a month, but it took a few months to work my way out and then afew more months to expose and confess my sins. I was afraid. I hurt and lied to my family & friends. I was afraid to look at them or anyone in the eyes. The shame I carried was real. I think of the story of the prodigal son, who took his inheritance and went crazy. He was ashamed to go back to his father, but his dadloved him and was so happy to see him. I’m sure the prodigal son was in shock and after feeling the love of his father he felteven more disappointed in himself. I’m sure the celebration of his return was great, but I bet he felt different about his father. Thinking “My dad is amazing!” he seen his dad in a different perspective, a father who loves him no matter what.
July 20, 2010 I called my brother to tell him all my shame and what had been going on for years, he said I’m on my way, I’ll pick you up in a few. My brother is awesome. He is stubborn and can have a temper, but one thing about my brother that is undeniable, he loves hard. He will do anything for his friends, he’s the guy you’ll want in your corner if you’re ever in a jam or in a bind. I remember hearing a friend say “Your brother’s heart is not as big as his wallet.” This friend was implying that my brother was a giver. My brother has grace, he was upset with me. He said that I should have told him sooner, my brother isalways willing to help. After we spoke that night, he called me the next day and asked me to come to church with him and talk with Pastor Carl.
July 21, 2010 I met with Pastor Carl after church and after dropping this bomb on his lap. He looked at me with grace, compassion and love. After that night, began a new chapter in my life. It was rough, this big weight just came off my shoulders. I moved to Brea and started a new job in Orange County. I started the healing process and lived under the Grace of God. I surrounded myself with the things of God and got involved with PCOC. After some time, the experience was like sitting in the optometrist chair and he asks you… “Is 1 or 2 better, is 2 or 3 better”, it was clear… I could see. It was great, with a big smile on my face experiencing freedom. I met my wife sometime after and we got engaged on our 1 year anniversary of dating. Two years later we started growing the family.
My wife ministered a message not that long ago and she was talking about a story she heard on a podcast. This reference came from a book called “The Comeback” by Louie Giglio, I thought it was a great story, so I picked up that (audio) book on iTunes. I couldn’t help but remember that time when I went to conference. I was lost and now I’m found, I was a liar and now I’m not. The Parable Jesus told about a man named Lazarus in John chapter 11. Lazarus who needed a miracle, who needed a healing. Jesus said to them “This sickness will not end in hisdeath.” As you read in scripture, Lazarus ends up passing away. He’s dead for a few days, Jesus comes and brings him back to life. It’s unreal stuff, your loved one passing away and having this funeral service and Jesus brings them back to life. Who does that?
In Acts 9 we read the story of Saul who persecuted Christians and God met him in the middle of the road, his life and name changed forever. When talking with my oldest boy, I’ll say to him “I love Jesus” and he will reply back with “I love Jesustoo”. I tell Jonas “I love Jesus because he is amazing and he does amazing things” I can’t help but think this so often. God will meet you in the middle of the road and change you around. When there was death, he brought life. During worship services I can’t help but feel in awe of him and what he can do and what he’s done in my life. I know this might sound cliché. but experiencing God’s love is unreal. You might be going through a tough time in your life or maybe the weight of life and stress has gotten to you. Maybe its finances and it’s made you bitter. Maybe you’re stuck in a really bad situation, God can turn that around, he will make a way. When you think you’re done and you don’t see a way out, and keep saying this is it… God will crash your funeral, he will bring you back to life. He’s not done with you. God is amazing and does amazing things.