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Fear has been the defining character of my life. I was sheltered quite a bit as a child by loving parents, who meant to do the best they could to protect and love me. But they didn’t prepare me for the harsh world.  A world where kids would pick on me because I was such a sharp dresser with my silk homemade shirts and car motif homemade pants. While I was raised to love others, I couldn’t fathom why these complete strangers who I looked up to, hated me so much.

This life kept coming at me, creating a duel person, the Sunday dude who knew all the answers to the bible questions, and was one of the fastest at finding the verses during sword drills (bible search game).  Then one day we changed churches, great church, unaccepting teen group, now I was making everyone mad at the things I worked so hard to excel in … and it hit me one day … “If I hate them first, then it wouldn’t surprise me when they didn’t like me back.”

“I couldn’t fathom why these complete strangers hated me so much.

That was my life for a while from my late teens to my early 30’s.  I did “get saved” during this time, but far from fully getting what that meant.   Life happened to me all the time.  Some good, some bad.  Marriage, kids, professional drummer, videos, touring, rock-n-roll life, all while hating my fellow humans. This “Don’t let anyone in too close, they will only hurt you.” attitude didn’t take long to put strain into all of the life happening to me.

Then my mom died … my Christian Rock solid foundation.  Life went a little off the rails.   Marriage became divorce, music career became rock n roll lifestyle with all the excesses. Family became back burner to popularity seeking.

Then the God I once loved, “showed up”, again, in a backstage moment … while putting on my pre-show face … I saw someone in the mirror … a complete and utter stranger. Who is this guy looking at me?  Where did the kid that loved go? Gone.   Life kept moving fast, remarried and tried so hard to get back to that kid again.. left music, joined a church, got involved and even taught youth group weekly. But when you sew so much discourse for so many years, sometimes … discourse is what you reap. Chaos is an understatement.

The entire world I thought I was fixing, came crashing down. All at once, I was no longer a family man, attending church, and doing God’s work. Life was ripped out from under me in almost an overnight time period.

Within a year I was now single, alone, working harder than I ever did for almost half my income, and in the midst of my most desperate moment. God showed up again, in a new church, those humans I hated so much, showed up, accepted me for me, actually didn’t let me drown in me or this world.

God showed up. In my deepest depths of hell, God showed up; using people. Strangers, my enemies, those who have always hurt me, they showed up and though they were far from perfect … they helped lift my eyes up, to where they need do be. Jesus. He was always there, always holding me up, He was always reaching out to me. Trying to get me to see the truth.

“God showed up.  In my deepest depths of hell, God showed up; using people.”

I’ve always lived my life, thinking I was saved. One and done type thinking. But … while I can’t pin down the actual date of my conversion, I know beyond any doubt that I have Jesus now. How?  Because it was pleasure for me to hurt others, physically, mentally. I took pride in never crying, that’s for the weak. My old nature was to bring pain.  And somewhere over these last few years … God has broken that old man, opened my heart again, and I can say now with pride, I love. I love again. Like Jesus.

Life hasn’t gotten any easier in practice, but it has been much easier living in the joy of the Lord.  God’s love squashes out the hate, gives me strength, and leads me on the path.   I’m not perfect but I’m working hard with the perfector of our souls.

I am changed.  God has changed me.  And now .. I live like God intended me to be: loving God with all my heart, mind and soul, and loving others as myself.  Love has cast out all fear. Fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of weakness, fear of non acceptance, fear of truth, all fear is removed when God’s love is present.

“I love again. Like Jesus.”

Thank you Jesus.  I love you.  All of you.

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