What has God been up to in my life – craziness would pretty much describe it. I guess as I sit on top of the ‘mountain top’ this morning and look down it is hard to realize that this part of my journey has only been 2 ½ years. Some days it seems like so much longer than that. Anyways, as I look down the mountain and look at how I got to where I am now it is pretty amazing. For me the life change and the beginning of me allowing God to really move in and through me started when we found Impact…err Phil found his office at Voyages. I think Natasha was a little shocked when I told her I wanted to go back the second week and then the third week. For me it was authentic people…open, honest, and truthful. Where I came from this was not “normal” at church and I had checked out of church because I saw no point of being part of a show.
New Zealand had a huge impact on my life. Part of it was leaving my sheltered little world, although I had previously been to Canada… three times, and seeing there is another side of the world. The biggest part was the interaction with the lives over there. Cession was awesome…pretty weird to be at a church on the other side of the world and be thinking this could be Impact…there are not many differences, sure that guy talks funny but so do Phil and Jason sometimes. The country is breath taking beautiful. It was awesome to reunite with Ryan and Angele. The people were very friendly and went out of their way to take care of us. The thing that impacted me the most was meeting a guy named Neville. Neville was our “chauffer” from Auckland to Napier, he is from Living Waters Church in Napier…he is pretty much their version of our Cy Floyd. He knew the country like the back of his hand and I got to spend a lot of time with him as we drove through the country of New Zealand. I don’t know exactly how to describe how that relationship has changed and impacted me…it was obvious that Neville loved our group even before he ever met any of us. Being with him for some reason opened my eyes and really began awakening me to life.
New Zealand led to me dealing with some things from my past. I don’t know if you all have noticed but I tend to be quiet (that was a joke…its kind of obvious) I had the tendency to deal with things by stuffing them down and ignoring them. I am certain that for me the things I ‘stuffed down’ began coming out in different areas of my life: Crohn’s Disease, my marriage, my relationship with God, my relationship with family, etc. I had an AHAAA moment one weekend when Natasha was away visiting her cousins. Things started to click in my brain about how I didn’t really dealt with a few certain moments in my life and how those things affected me, because I was trying to live life like they hadn’t affected me because I didn’t want to relive them. Dealing with these things has had a huge impact on the relationships in my life…God, Natasha, family, work, friends.
It is awesome to see how God is using those things to put me in situations with the people in my life that makes sense for me to share my story with them…it also freaks me out. I have a guy that I work with that I could just sense something was not right with him…I really felt like I needed to ask what was going on in his life and share what was going on in my life. We spent a couple hours talking about our marriages and how we are similar men that do stupid men things and think stupid men things and how those things affect our relationship with our wives. Lately I have been dealing with family issues from my side…parents and sisters. I had a pretty awesome moment with my youngest sister a couple weeks ago. Long story short…I thought we were going out with her and her husband for dinner…I didn’t understand that they had noticed a difference in who I was and wanted to hear what was going on in my life….Natasha has a different story to this that may be funnier but mine is more accurate. Anyways, we have some history that involves some wounds that I inflicted upon her. As I look back on it, it is pretty apparent that Satan was pretty happy we didn’t get along. I know God was in that moment as we both healed and I am sure that it was only because God is working in and through both of us that that moment happened. This weekend my two nephews…who are more like the brothers I never had came to Impact. If you missed them…you couldn’t have they make me look like a midget. Man, I want them to “get it”. It was an awesome service for them to be at with Phil talking about going after the things that matter rather than the things of this world. I hope that they see that in my life and I pray that they understand it and don’t go the way the world is pulling them. I guess the thing I am most struggling with right now is knowing what to say…also feeling comfortable to say it. Twenty minutes after something is when things usually start popping in my head that I should have said.
I have spent a lot of time lately reflecting in my journaling. It is crazy to see what God is doing in my life. My relationship with God is crazy different and my marriage is probably just as crazy different now days. As I look back I also see all the people that have been part of my journey…there are Impactors, New Zealanders, and I just met some more Epictorians this weekend. The relationships I am developing are so much different than the relationships I thought were “deep’ a few years ago. I was talking with Andrea about this at the Epic bootcamp. A couple months ago I got sent on one of those missions I sometimes get sent on Sunday mornings. Andrea asked me to go to their house and find a game board in their basement. Afterwards I emailed her about how normally in our world if you are close with someone you might have refrigerator rights and that’s about as far and deep as it goes. I am thankful that I have friends like the Struckmeyers where it goes much deeper, deep enough that I have laundry room rights.