I had no clue when I lined up against (then 13 year NFL veteran) Ray Brown in a pass rush drill in mini-camp for the Detroit Lions that it would be the last time I would ever take the field. That was May of 2003.
This knee injury was only a physical sign of the deeper pain that I had caused over the previous four and a half years. The choices I made cost me the honor of being named a Football Team Captain at the University of Michigan. Ultimately, my decisions robbed me of the ability to maximize my experience in Ann Arbor, Michigan from 1998-2002.
There is nothing worse than living your dream in misery. You have everything ever wanted, yet you are not happy. So you look for ways to find more happiness. Something or someone to spice things up. Something to provide some instant gratification.
Like a drug, once we have a little, we want more and then that isn’t enough so we want even more. Before we know it, we don’t care who we hurt to get what we want.
When I injured my knee, it forced me to SLOW DOWN enough to feel the impact of all of these decisions. I wanted a fresh start, I wanted to change, but I didn’t know how.
I was committing sin again God. That’s it. That’s the cause and the effect was separation from God.
Sin was impacting the lives of those around me.
A few months after my knee surgery I flew to Vienna, Austria with a friend. One week into our three week trip, I called and spoke to my girlfriend of over five years. While I was gone, she had learned of my double life.
She said, “I can’t believe you have cheated on me all these times.” Finally something clicked. Lying was not an option any more. I had to tell the truth. So with great remorse, I shared the truth.
Immediately, a calmness came over me. Like a boost of adrenaline that reassured me this was the first step of many that would get things on the right track. I remember saying these things to my, now, ex-girlfriend:
- I’m going to stop drinking
- I’m going to stop hanging out with certain people
- I’m going to go to church
At that time there was, literally, nothing I could say or do to restore this relationship. Ultimately, I was saying these things to myself, it wasn’t a desperation plea as much as it was a proclamation. I hung up from that phone call and went straight to Airport to catch a redeye to go home. I was not sure what I would find when I got home, but I do know that I had never felt so alone in my entire life, and yet oddly at peace.
Looking back the most difficult part was there was no one helping me. Only I knew all that I had done, only I knew all I had done to find happiness that had left me unfulfilled. I had no coach, teammates, friends or girlfriend to aide me through this. I was alone. So I thought.
In a divine set a circumstances, just a few days later, I found myself in Akron Springfield High School, where Maranatha Bible Church was holding Sunday services, with my ex-girlfriend.
I was thinking, “This is the only thing I haven’t tried. Like football practice, like a game, I’m all in. Whatever they are doing, I’m doing.”
Jerry Harpool, shared a message about human relationships titled, “Are you in Holy Wedlock or unHoly Deadlock?” It was at that moment I believed Jesus was the Son of God.
I didn’t say a sinners prayer. I didn’t pray with anyone. I had simply come before God with a repentant heart, seeking Him, and He shed His grace and mercy with me. (Not to say you cannot say a sinners prayer and be forgiven.)
I think about this moment every day.
I speak of it often with others.
I’m hopelessly grateful and emotionally moved to tears as I write this now, over 13 years later.
I still don’t know what I’m doing. I do have a teacher, a coach, a friend in Jesu, who loves me and whom I love.
It’s because of His love for me that I love Him, I read His word, and I try to follow Him obediently everyday. Because, without Him I’m lost, alone, empty, hopeless, afraid, and broken.
Jesus Christ has reconciled me to God the Father by dying for my sins. Jesus Christ has reconciled the relationship with my ex-girlfriend Molly, who has now become my amazing wife and the mother of my six children.
Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.
More next time. Husbands please read the word of God to/with your children. Below is a link to some questions you can cover and discuss as a family after you read.
My wife, Molly had the great idea of using the helmet as the “reading stick”. So whoever was reading was wearing the helmet. Of course I wanted to get a picture of her with the helmet on. By the time I had the camera, she had “bumped” Olivia to read.
One thing we have learned as a family. Reading at or around the dinner table is not a good idea. Seems the presence of physical food distracts from the presence of spiritual food. Last night I experimented reading at a restaurant, with hopes that we would have different results. Ah…no….it was not a great idea. Little to no retention. Evident by going through the Reading Comprehension Questions.
We hope you enjoy using them.