We all have a story to tell. Proverbs 27:17 says, ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person learns from another.’ The best way we can help each other through life is to tell our story. Your story can be good, bad, happy or sad. Whatever it is we need to share it with others.
This is my story.
A spanner was thrown in the works a few years ago when we had our first child Oliver. The comfortable husband and wife set up was thrown into craziness when Ollie arrived. Don’t get me wrong, I love that boy and he is a little champion, but the dynamics changed in the house. Lisa, my wife, was spending a lot of time with him and I was working and keeping a business running.
It was through this time, Lisa struggled with the change and so did I. The life I was living was pretty normal, as if nothing had ever changed. I was having a great time at the cricket and footy clubs, getting home when I liked, full of more than one or two beers. This wore very thin after a while and pushed my wife to the limits. As a bloke, I was in my own little world, unaware of the struggles a new baby can give.
Now, as I’ve grown up, my faith has been a big part of my life. I was brought up in a Christian family with two awesome parents, two brothers and a sister. This gave me a good foundation on how to live my life. In those days we hung out at a youth group and a lot of my mates went to church also. Along with this, was the weekend sport. In winter it was dodging horizontal hail at footy and on the hot summer days it was smashing sixes at cricket. (Well, okay, it was maybe nicking fours to the boundary!)
As I came into adulthood, I started making my own choices about God and whether or not I attended church. I became slack in attending and felt I didn’t need God in all parts of my life. I didn’t really know where He was at all. I believed if I went to church every now and again, all will be okay. As time wore on, life seemed to be going on as normal, until about three months after becoming a dad.
I often lived my life on other people’s terms. In my mind, I felt I had to go along with the crowd to feel accepted by them. This led me into trouble on a number of occasions. The final straw was when I came home absolutely out of my mind drunk. Ollie was dealing with silent reflux as a baby and Lisa was at a wit’s end. Coming home in this state was no way to live and be responsible for my family. I had to change the way I treated others. Especially those closest to me.
Thankfully, Lisa said, “This has to stop.”
Now this isn’t about a wife nagging at you or me being perceived as under the thumb. I’ve heard the discussions in the pubs amongst a group of blokes. “Oh that bloke, he’s under the thumb and she’s a pain and all she does is nag.” No those comments are crap and us men have to stop it.
I needed to take the responsibility of a new baby seriously and put my wife and baby first before anything else. I wasn’t doing this.
Not long after these events, I spent a week-end in Canberra at an event called Better Blokes. It’s for ordinary blokes wanting to become better husbands, better dads, better mates and ultimately a better bloke.
It was at Better Blokes that something changed. It’s very hard to explain, but something changed deep inside me. Identity was the topic of the first session. The speaker said, “That no matter who you are, where you’ve been, what stupid things you’ve done, there is a God… a Heavenly Father that loves you unconditionally just the way you are.” Someone turned the lights on in my heart and in my mind. I was trying to be accepted by others, but I realised God was the only person that matters. He loves every part of me. Even the silly dry jokes I make and the incorrect words I sing to Cold Chisels, Khe Sanh. I didn’t need to succumb to others, to be accepted.
My heart changed that weekend and I entered a real relationship with the Creator of the universe. I came home a better husband and dad than the one who left. I came home and put all my trust in God. I trusted Him with my life. Three years later, He hasn’t let me down once.
Today, I live my life with contentment and peace, knowing where I sit in God’s eyes. He has changed my heart to be accepting and loving to all people.
My family is now the number one priority. I now prioritise having dinner together, bathing the kids and reading bed time stories. Such simple things, but they are what I value most.
Throughout my story were some tough times. I struggled for a while. But those tough times are long gone. I’m thankful now that I’ve come through the other side a better person. We’re no different to a knife being sharpened on a steel. It goes through hard abrasive times to become a sharp useful tool. It can now do it’s job properly. We’re the same.
So can I encourage you to share your story. Whatever it is. Share it below if you feel. We’re here to learn from each other.