I’m a technical type guy. A proud five-decade pioneer in the computer industry. I worked with some of the first mainframe computers and then some of the first personal computers for companies such as Xerox, Honeywell, American Express and IBM.
If a system was broken, I directed someone to fix it. If an organization was broken, I fixed it myself, without anyone’s help. If a fix for a technical solution could not be found, I’d direct a workaround. If we couldn’t find a workaround, I’d direct the engineering of a whole new system or solution. I drove myself hard and giving up was not an option!
Maybe that’s why I suddenly pulled off to the side of the road on the evening of October 21, 1995. I had run out of options. In a single moment, my entire personal history of pain, despair, and loss flashed before my eyes and I realized my old life couldn’t go on.
Focused on building my career, I had allowed my home life to crumble. My first wife, Sandy, and I had three children: Scott, Amy, and Michael. Our first son Scott would die of liver cancer at 14 months, leaving me broken and disengaged from my wife. Our marriage dissolved after 12 years. Then, three years after we were divorced Sandy death from a brain aneurysm left me even more lost and powerless.
Not long after, I married again. But the stability I hoped for never happened. I mistakenly allowed my new wife to further estrange me from my son and especially my daughter. Troubled from the start, that marriage would rankle on for more than a decade.
What’s more, the career for which I had sacrificed my personal life was also falling to pieces. A job loss plus the suicide of my father helped me begin slowly to realize this world is broken. Our “only chance” is to put our faith in a God that might be able to make sense out of our failures.
Another career move brought me to Chicago where, for the first time since my youth, I began consistently attending a church. Still not knowing how Jesus fit into my life, I joined a Bible study group of IT professionals. Thankfully, God gave me the good sense to allow these men – many of whom years were younger than me – to mentor me through my questions about faith as I shared the story of my life.
I was on the way to meet with that small group on a Saturday morning when my brokenness finally caught up with me. There on the side of the road, I shouted a one-word prayer that changed everything, “Help!” As promised, God heard. Instantly a sensation of total love permeated my entire body. It felt like a warm blanket of molasses covering me from head to toe. At the time, I didn’t understand it was the Holy Spirit entering my body.
I took a new job in Seattle with IBM. Again, working long stressful hours. And once again, I allowed myself to fall in love and start a new life with a new bride. But Arlene was different. She would bring light to my life, not darkness and I marveled at her gracious spirit as she shared her faith with family, friends, strangers, and me. This wonderful woman was in my life for just 26 months, until colon cancer took her from me.
Looking back, I realize Arlene’s death was the first loss I ever experienced that did not bring a devasting torrent of anguish. The heartbreak was painfully real, but like her life, Arlene’s death was brimming with hope.
That transformation into a true believer in Jesus Christ led rapidly to journeys of restoration and forgiveness. Not the least of which was – after nine years of estrangement – my relationship with my daughter was renewed. Also, after usually being the most experienced technology person in my professional circles, a new sense of humility allowed me to accept advice and wisdom from younger guys. When I told those men, I was going to quit our industry to become a pastor, they gently suggested that we can all give back to the Lord in many ways. They counseled me to keep my current position and use that platform to disciple men across the community and nation.
A truth I love to share is that life with faith isn’t always easier, but I know absolutely God is always with me. We grow the most when we endure trials and troubles. God stretches us but also equips us to persevere and take His Word into the world.
Journaling through my pain during Arlene’s cancer and death, I came to understand there is always a brilliant light at the end of any dark tunnel. That light shining through the darkness is Jesus Christ. Those poems and prose became the foundation for creating a website to support men in their life’s journeys and to lead them in accepting Christ as their Savior. After several years of writing, reflecting, planning and praying, the mensgroup.org website was launched in January 2012.
In September 2019, I will have been happily re-married 18 years. That's right, my fourth wife. Peggy has been my partner in building a life filled with an abundance of blessings, absolute joy and a never-ending blanket of God’s amazing and everlasting love. My life has become a solid confirmation that God really does love us and uses us all in His divine plan.
Blessings to you,
Help us to reach more men and
enable them to lead Godly lives.
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