Sometimes, you cry out, and it makes all the difference

I sat in this very seat a month ago a broken man, a failure.

I intended to send my pastor a quick note asking him to pray for me.  What actually happened was time disappeared, and what'd been pent up for months spewed out of my heart, down my touch-typing to an email that Scott said was too long to even attempt reading on his smartphone.

The subject line:  "I'm broken..."

And I was.  Uncertainty and doubt clouded me, truth and lies were my constant companions.  I put so much crap on myself that I was paralyzed to do anything about it.  I was angry and entitled, all the time.  That very week, I'd exploded at one of my colleagues in a meeting (mom taught me a great phrase for this: "Tearing your ass"), then done the same things to my kids multiple times.   I just couldn't stand...anybody.

Within, I just felt shame, shame that I'd let my past transgressions leak back into my life, that I wasn't strong enough to shy away from them, that I wasn't strong enough to overcome my deficient brain chemistry and self-destruction.  In short, I resented myself for not being perfect and letting everyone down.  Home, work, friends, some poor schmuck I met at the gas station--they all got the "Baptized in vinegar" me, so to speak.

Not.  Good.

So, that email, that cry of barrenness was a step.  And there were more painful steps to follow:  Busting the crappy distant relationship I had with my wife to replace it with honesty and accountability, letting some things go at work, remaining clean through another dose of the UK Emergency Room, staring at my bank account, my empty FSA, and the "no raises" memo from the powers-that-be and understanding how long it'd be 'til I saw Dave Ramsey baby step 2 complete again.

So, how is this hope?  Because I feel different.  Hopeful, blessed even.  Last night, I stared up at the Perseid meteor shower with my wife, after what remains of my diaspora Small Group watched 29 kids for 4 hours so people could have some "adult time" for themselves."  Rather than feeling down, depressed or exhausted, I felt *energized*.  Some of the conversations I'd had with my small group were those moments where you realize you're exactly where God wants you to be.  I talked with my wife, had some libations and understood how blessed I am in that moment.

In short, I've learned the kernel of James 1:2-4:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  (NASB)
I'm such a baby, and such a baby Christian.  I just don't want to remain that way, and I'm excited (and scared) about where that's going to take me and my family.

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