Falling Down… Time to Get Back Up

I have shared this part of my story with a number of people, but not a large majority of people.

Over the past 4 years, I have been on a journey; this journey has not been easy and still isn’t always easy. A lot of the story has only been revealed to me over the last year.

Let’s start in 2014. This is when my life started to change, I think a good place to start is my education. In 2014 the CGA, CMA and CA designations decided to unite under the new designation CPA. Well, I was a student in the CGA program, and when we (me and other students) tried to get information regarding the transition, we were met with answers of we aren’t sure what will all happen, just keep taking courses so that they can transfer. For some reason that I’m not even sure of this really affected me and I began to feel extremely discouraged. I kept taking courses as suggested, but the motivation was gone, and discouragement had taken over. I failed 3 courses in a row. When you are already discouraged, this does nothing but make your self-esteem drop. Let it be known, that I am not trying to blame CGA or CPA for anything, it was just a trigger.

That summer I stopped taking courses, and began to seclude myself, and start up bad old habits like a porn addiction I thought was dealt with. Satan knew my weaknesses and exploited every single one of them. Over the next 2 years, I would find myself sinking lower and lower into this pit.

The next attack came in late 2015/early 2016 when I began to obsess about my body image. I knew I was overweight, and with the added pressure of society constantly showing what the ideal male body should look like I decided I needed to change, not for God, but for me. So my new year’s resolution for 2016 was that I would stop eating sweets for 6 months. It worked! I lost 30lbs by the time my Brothers wedding came around. However, even though I looked healthy on the outside, I was not healthy mentally or spiritually. Looking back, I can remember that on a regular basis (maybe once a week) I would think about driving my car full speed into a hydro pole. I never thought of myself as suicidal and wasn’t even aware I was doing it on a regular basis, until afterward. Living life to be healthy for the sake of being healthy is not ok. Living life to follow God is the only way.

This would be the lesson I would re-learn over the course of 2017. Through all of this, I was still involved in youth ministry and Sunday school, but I had begun to distance myself from the Sunday morning service. I would use excuses like “I was too tired” or “I would watch a sermon at home”. These were lies I was telling myself and others. What was really going on was subconsciously I was too afraid to face those around me that would probably be the ones who could help me. One day though I got caught. As I was leaving Church one Sunday, I got a text from Autumn Dueck, the youth pastor at the time. It read something like “Which Church are you going to?” I replied, “I’m actually going home, I had a long weekend.”. A LIE! But man was this a wake-up call. Later that afternoon I sent an honest response, explaining things as I saw them at that time (my eyes have since been opened to seeing so much more of my story). Starting that week I made a commitment to myself. Be more intentional! I started attending church weekly, with the intention of learning. I started greeting people and actually having conversations and opening up. It has made a tremendous change in my life.

I know now that this was a valley I had to go through to re-ignite my passion for Jesus, Church, people and youth ministry. I’m not perfect and I still make mistakes (secluding myself on occasion) but things are still going up!

Two verses that have really been my internal anthem over 2017 are Isaiah 40:31 and Psalm 103 (the whole chapter). I am so thankful for the people that have challenged me and encouraged me through this time, and for an amazing church family. Can I end with a few prayer requests? Please pray that I stay strong in my faith and continue to seek Jesus every day, pray for wisdom as I mentor youth over the next 4 years, and finally for endurance to continue to be intentional every chance I get.

Thanks for reading, this has been a very hard story to write (I had planned to post this months ago)

 

Jordan

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Marriage “From the Outside Looking In”

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So yesterday my sister Aly and my new brother Tim got married! What an exciting time for not only them but the people that surround them as they embark on this new adventure together. God has been the center of their relationship before their marriage and I imagine that He will be the center of their marriage as well. I decided to do a post about marriage because I wanted to give everyone an idea of what marriage should look like, and what the Bible tells us about it.

Let’s start at the beginning, “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”” Genesis 2:18. So here we see that God wants someone for the man, so what does he do to fulfill his wishes? “Then the LORD made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man.” Genesis 2:22. Now we see that God makes another human from the man, but this human is different, this human is a woman (Genesis 2:23). From these verses we can see that the idea of marriage came straight from God, there was no thought from the man or the woman. My question is this, why do so many marriages fail? The answer is the same answer that I have been finding to so many of my questions, it is simple answer. We are human, we live in a world consumed by sin, we have failed, how can we expect a covenant designed by God to work without God and in a world filled with sin… We can’t there is no way to make it through a marriage without God. So what does God say about marriages, what are his instructions to us?

The New Testament is what God has given us to guide us in our new lives, after Christ sacrificed his life for us. So what does the New Testament say about marriage? I want to focus on what it says in Ephesians 5. “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body of which he is the Savior.” Ephesians 5:22-23 (emphasis mine). “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” Ephesians 5:25 (emphasis mine). Here we see a clear picture of what is expected of a couple, that the wife listen and submit to the husband and in return the husband must love his wife. So what does this mean? So often I hear from people that they think this is a sexist thing to say, but in fact it is not. God created two separate beings as we can see from Genesis 2, he did not intend for both man and woman to have the same functions/roles. The goal of the writer here is to define these two separate roles that have been given to us. Submit does not mean that you are now a slave to your husband, it means that you should trust your husband to know what he is doing and trust that he is being lead by the Lord. The next part is a simple idea, husbands must love their wives. This idea is simple, but it has a broad meaning. When the Bible says love it is not talking about the superficial love that the world has created, no it is talking about love on the scale that God has created. It is talking about a sacrificial love. Finally, because the woman submits to the man he must be Christ centered so he can lead his family in a way pleasing to God.

So now to get back to my Title “Marriage “From the Outside Looking In”” I chose this title for two reasons. One, I am not married so I have no idea what a personal marriage is. Two, I was writing about what a marriage should look like. I say should, because we are not perfect beings and there will be struggles in everything we do, including marriages, but there is hope in Jesus Christ our Savior, and we can be forgiven for our mistakes.

Finally, I want to say that I am extremely proud of Alyson & Tim Neufeld, they have demonstrated what a relationship can look like if it is Christ centered, not saying that they didn’t argue before their marriage, but that they could always come out of an argument knowing more about each other and about their relationship with God. I am extremely excited to see what God will do through them and through their marriage, I will pray for them and support them with kind, encouraging and loving words, as they start this new chapter in their life, I love you guys and will always be here for you!

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