March 11, 2015 by Mathew
(This is part four of a series regarding my testimony. Parts one through three precede it a few posts back.)
This past September marked sixteen years since I started my amazing journey with God. To bring this series of posts regarding my testimony to a close for now, I want to share where it has led me in life.
When this walk first started I was overflowing with joy and happiness. I wanted it to never end. I was also very afraid. I knew that if I continued to hear the silent voice of God and experience His presence it would set me apart from other people and make me even more “different” than I already was.
Within the first few weeks after that first night, God presented me with the fact that I had arrived at a fork in the road of my life. He gave me a distinct sense of what things would be like down each of the two paths before me. I could surrender myself to Him, accept the gift He had shared with me and, let it change my life forever. Or, I could go back to the way things had always been, let the voice of God and the part of Him that I had experienced fade into the background and, end up living my life the way most everyone else does. I was aware that there would be hardships and challenges if I chose to surrender myself to God and walk with Him but, I would have rather died than give up the love, beauty, and intimacy I had experienced in His arms. Needless to say, I chose to walk the same road that God was taking.
As a result, my journey so far has been a beautiful, wonderful blessing that’s far surpassed anything I ever would have dreamed of or thought possible. It has resulted in me becoming, in my heart and spirit, a man that is so much more than I ever would have been otherwise. What this journey has also been is a long painful struggle as, over and over, God has plunged me into the flames of his forge while continuing to hammer and shape me into the man that I have become.
The path that I have taken has meant giving up many things that I might have pursued in life. But, it has also meant that I have grown and matured in ways that would not have been possible had I chosen any other path.
– One of the first things I surrendered to God – with an abundance of sorrow and tears I might add – was my deep overwhelming desire for a wife. As part of that decision I have chosen to not date, court, or pursue romance with a woman until I feel God would have me do so. I surrendered to God my need for love, emotional intimacy, and marital companionship and allowed Him to be the one to fulfill those places within me.
By giving my desire for marriage to God and letting Him be the one to have a marital relationship with me, in my heart and spirit, before anyone else has, two things have transpired. First, I learned how to have an absolutely amazing relationship with our creator. Second, God taught me by way of his own example, how to be a husband after his own heart. He taught me what husbandly love truly is and formed it into my heart and spirit. He has shown me the process of sharing emotional and spiritual intimacy and given me an immense capacity for it. He has shown me how a husband and wife are to care for and grow one another. My relationship with God has given me insights into marriage that, by all rights, a single man who has never been married wouldn’t normally have.
At the time, all those years ago, I didn’t realize just how unprepared I was for marriage. Now that God has spent these many years demonstrating his version of a marital relationship to me, I understand that marriage is not at all about me having a wife. For a man after God’s own heart, marriage is about being a husband to that wife. If it is God’s will for me to someday be married, He has prepared me for it.
– Another thing that I surrendered to God early on was my sexuality. I was already committed to remaining a virgin until marriage but, my surrender went beyond that. The abuse and incorrect teaching I experienced growing up meant that God needed to repair the damage that had been done and ensure I possessed a Godly view and knowledge of both sex and myself. As a result I have received a depth of healing and level of understanding about sex and sexuality that I would not have had without God. I am a thirty eight year old virgin and will likely see the age of forty as one but, what I have received from God has been worth remaining celibate to a late age.
Sacrifice and Servanthood
– When this journey of mine began. I was going to college and working. I had a distinct set of skills, gifts, and talents that could have taken me far in life. I had a heavy duty workout regimen and was in excellent physical condition. I had the potential to achieve my dreams. I had a certain “glory.”
About a year after that first night with God, my baby nephew came into my life. At the time I was living with my dad – a heart patient – and my grandparents, both of whom had steadily declining health and mental states. It wasn’t long before I found myself with a choice to make. I could either leave them and continue to pursue my own life and glory or, I could stay and give up that potential life to serve and take care of them.
I chose to be a full time caregiver to the wheelchair bound and dementia riddled. I chose to help care for and raise a child that was not mine. Staying meant pouring so much of myself into others that I was unable to maintain my physical condition or keep my skills current. I wasn’t able to hold onto my dreams or my glory.
What I gained was entrance into a part of God’s heart that had been closed off to me. I gained a knowledge and understanding of our savior and his sacrifice that I couldn’t have had otherwise. I came to know my grandparents and, in doing so gained a deep awareness of my heritage. I came to be best friends with my dad and share a closeness with him that most people never have with their fathers.
Often others look at my life and gauge me by my material and worldly worth – money, career, looks, accomplishments, prestige, social status. There is little to me in that regard. Where I am abundant, where my worth and value as a man lie, is in my heart and spirit. That’s where I am and, that’s where most people generally don’t look to find me.
The works God has done in me over the course of my adulthood have manifested themselves in three primary books that I am working on:
Even when I was a preteen I had the distinct notion that I was supposed to serve God somehow in my life. God left me with the impression that He had something special for me to do. I didn’t have any kind of idea what that was until I began my walk with Him at the age of twenty two. That’s when God gave me the relationship that He and I share today and made it clear to me that I was to write a book about that relationship. Fueled by the fire of my youth and driven by the raging inferno of my passion for God; I cranked out a book in a little over a year.
While not insignificant, it wasn’t the caliber of book God had in mind. This wasn’t to be just any book; it was to be a very special one about a very special concept. It was going to require many years of blood, battle, bliss, and beauty to birth from my heart and make into something worthy of the work God had started in me.
This book shows how a Godly marital relationship between a man and a woman should mirror a person’s spiritual relationship with our creator. It shows how a proper relationship with God serves as an example and should define an earthly marriage.
Sixteen years later and now in its third major rewrite, I am still working on this book. If I never accomplish anything else noteworthy in my life, I know I am supposed to finish and share this book.
One night, in the year before I began my close walk with God, I lay in bed thinking about and imagining everything under the sun. Suddenly, God’s wordless voice came into my thoughts and prompted me to ask him for something I wanted for my life. It was a very unmistakable experience.
I was really into strength training and weight lifting back then. I maintained two to three hardcore workouts a day, six days a week. I pondered things for several minutes before I replied to God in my mind, “I want be the strongest person in the world. Maybe even who ever lived.” Of all the things for someone to ask God for, I had to ask for that. Years later I was in one of the blackest times of my life. There was no apparent reason why I was going through the immense pain and suffering that I was. One day, as I drove past one the rougher neighborhoods in town, God spoke to me in my heart.
“I am giving you the strength you asked me for. I am making you into a powerful warrior to do my bidding on my battlefield. You have to know the same suffering as the hearts of people in that neighborhood and elsewhere before you can fight the battles I will send you into.” Ever since, I have been acutely aware of God growing and maturing me into a man after his own heart.
This book is about what God intends for a man to be. It is about the worldly things that, contrary to society, don’t constitute the makings of a man. It is about the way men should view, regard, behave toward, and perceive women and; how they largely fail to do that in our modern culture. It is about the traps and pitfalls men must be aware of in our society.
This book is about the blessings and struggles I’ve had with an issue in my life that I consider to be a God given gift, albeit one that carries with it an immense burden. It is about how I have managed to deal with something that most people consider a curse. At this point in time “Gift” is a very personal story to me that I am not quite ready to share with others.
I suppose, for the time being, this wraps up this series of posts sharing my testimony and where it has led me in life. I know they have been somewhat long and cumbersome and few people may ever read them but, what I have written about is immensely important to me and I felt that it was worthy of being told.
I hope to have more things posted on this blog soon and, with any luck, they will not be as long and burdensome to read as I fear these last few posts have been.