Archive for the tag “Baggage”

Objects in the Mirror….

Philippians 3:13 – Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead

Let me start this post by saying to the married guys out there, DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE!
The main reason we, as Christians, propose “til death do you part” marriage is because it is Biblical.

But, as a divorced man, I am starting to understand the reasons behind that. It is very much like driving a car. As you are driving the speed limit, you begin to see that car speeding up “on your left.” (that was an inside joke that only Mimi and her boys will understand) As that car gets closer, you think it is a few car lengths behind you, but it is really right on you and you run the risk of an accident if you change lanes.  Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.

And that is just how it is with past marriages.

You might think that the past is far behind you, but it is really much closer than it appears.

I want to share my story here for those who might be going through something similar. But I want to preface this that I am currently in the throes of this and haven’t always made the right decisions or act in a loving manner. Also keep in mind that the effects of divorce will most likely last your entire life. There will be some good growth that comes from it, but there will also be negative baggage as well.

When my marriage ended years ago, I remember pleading with my now ex to just let me in. There were many nights I cried to her and to God for just to be included in what she was thinking, what she was doing. I had spent years not including her into my life, and when it came down to the end, she wouldn’t let me into her life.

Fast forward to the present.

Matthew 6: 31-34 – Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Mimi and I have been dating, pretty hardcore now for almost 2 years since we first claimed the status of “in a relationship.” But, about a year and a half ago, Mimi moved to the area. She was going to move to Virginia anyway, but a few months after that, to ramp up the relationship, she moved to Maryland, about 10 miles from me.

She gave up everything to move here.

When she did, I almost immediately put the brakes on the relationship. Not completely, but I would not let her and her family into my family completely. It took me almost 6 months to invite her to one of my kids’ soccer games.

Soon after moving here, Mimi started asking me to let her completely into my family. Unfortunately, I was scared. Just as my ex would not let me into her life, I would not let Mimi into mine.

That has been one of the factors that have led to our recent issues.

Mimi is a wonderful woman. I am very blessed to have been brought together with her. And because of the baggage that we both have from our past broken marriages, our relationship is at risk.

That is a painful place to be.

You see, since I was completely broken by my ex not letting me into her life even though I begged for it, I must have subconsciously told myself that I would not let myself be hurt like that ever again. Unfortunately, when we do that, we end up hurting others because of our walls.

I owe Mimi an apology for the wall I have in my heart. Regrettably it is a wall I never would have really found until I was in a serious relationship. But it is a wall nonetheless.

Moving forward, I am unsure of the future of Mimi and me. It is something we have been discussing a lot lately. And it is a discussion we need to be having.

So how does one move forward?

Well, I honestly believe that marriages are meant to be forever. God put that plan in place, I believe, because of the damage divorce does to his creations. It causes significant pain. It causes us to build walls that we may not even know we have until we need to confront them.

But what about if you are already divorced and dating someone?

First and foremost, give it to God. God is the only one who can show you where the walls are and how to take them down.

Second, stay close to the person you love. If you begin to break each other down, then that leads to a vicious cycle that is hard to end.

Finally, study the Word and learn about what love is. If you fortify your heart and soul with the constant definition of love, then you will practice it, even when your walls are trying to block it.

So I hope my story helps others a little. I don’t know how this story will end, so hopefully I will post another update near the end of the summer. And hopefully we will have a happy ending to this story.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Bags Fly Free

Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us

My absolute favorite airline, Southwest, has a “Bags Fly Free” campaign going on.  Most other airlines charge up to $100/bag that is checked.  Southwest does not.  To say I love LUV is an understatement.

But in life, we all have baggage.  And for most of us, the older we get, the more baggage we accumulate.  If we had to pay for our emotional, spiritual, and physical baggage over the course of our lives, I would reckon to think that we would live our lives a little more carefully and intentionally.  Unfortunately, in this life, bags fly free.

I’ve been dating a wonderful woman, Mimi.  Our relationship is great.  God has blessed us beyond measure with a single goal in life, to see our families and others come to Christ.  Mimi is not only a very physically beautiful woman, but her spiritual side amazes me every day.  Our relationship can be summed up in the phrase “iron sharpens iron.”  We help each other understand the gospel of Christ in relationship to what is going on in our own lives.

She and I have been dating since August of last year.  At first, it was difficult.  She lived in Minnesota and I live in Maryland.  Over Christmas, she moved to within 2 hours of me.  We’ve been able to see each other much more consistently, but still can’t just easily get together when we get off work.

To offset our lack of being able to get together physically, we’ve taken to Skype.  While on Skype, we spend a LOT of time talking about our personal lives and our spiritual lives.  We decided to go through a devotion together called Devotionals for Dating Couples by Ben Young and Dr. Samuel Adams.  It is a great devotional that takes us through a 9-week devotional that investigates our spiritual lives and helps us to get on the same page in our relationship with God.

One thing we have learned in the past 7 months is that we both have a lot of baggage.  I’ve spoken on here about my past divorce.  Mimi has also been divorced, although for very different circumstances.  Regardless of the circumstances, our pasts have resulted in each of us with our own set of issues to get past in this relationship.

The same can be seen in all relationships everywhere.  Whether it is Mimi and Fred, relationships at work, or even the church, we all bring our baggage into our relationship.  Ours is a world in which everyone seems to be a victim.  How can we get rid of the baggage and move from victim to victory?


We are not defined by our past circumstances, our present ailments, or our baggage.

Look at some of the Biblical characters just to get an idea of how people with baggage became victors in their situations.  These victims of their circumstances called upon the power of God to overcome their issues.

1 Samuel 30:1-6

While David was away, the Amalekites came and destroyed the city in which he and his men lived.  David’s men were speaking of stoning him.  David did not let this moment take control of him.  He suffered through it with grace and prayer and let the Lord lift him above his circumstance.  While his men were sinking in their despair, David was setting in place his foundation for rising to power.

James 5:10-11

You can’t have an example of bad circumstances without thinking of Job.  But I don’t want to just tell you to read the book of Job (which you should anyway).  The book of James puts it very well when he explains Job’s situation.  He breaks it down into three elements:  suffering, perseverance, and blessing.  Job suffered.  WOW, did Job suffer!  But Job also persevered in the grace of God, staying close to Him in prayer, and in the end, Job came out with a lack of baggage.

Acts 16

Paul and Silas go to Macedonia, cast out evil spirits, and then get imprisoned.  But during their imprisonment, which they could have been depressed about, they praised God.  Because of their perseverance, their praise, and their belief in the God of miracles, the jailer came to Christ.

Every single one of those situations could have ended with the person or people letting their circumstances take control of the situation.  What would have happened if David would have moped around?  His men would have seen him as weak and stoned him to death!  What would have happened if Job would have allowed his extreme circumstance to drive him into depression?  He never would have been used as a strong instrument of God!  What would have happened if Paul and Silas simply hardened their hearts while in jail?  Their ministry would have ended RIGHT THERE and the spread of Christianity would have been in jeopardy!!!

God wants us to grow from our circumstances, not wallow in them.  His design is for us to turn them in to stepping stones to victory.

So how can we claim victory over the circumstances?

1)      Choose to LIVE!  Deuteronomy 30 tells us that death, bad circumstances, and trials will follow us.  But so will blessings, prosperity and LIFE! (if we choose it)  Many people have been beaten down by the negative circumstances in their lives.  Most people don’t see a way out.  But God has a way out of your circumstance!  Have hope in the God of HOPE! (Romans 15:13).  When you feel life beating you down, fight back.  Yell loudly “I CHOOSE TO LIVE!”  After you have done so, write down what you are going to do to turn yourself around.  Journaling is a great way to get out of depression.

2)      Know you are LOVED!  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and His love falls into that category!  He will not forsake you even though you are forsaking your commitment to Him.  He does not love you any less.  Romans 8:31-39 proves this to us.  Read those verses, but focus on one verse, verse 37.  After you have chosen to LIVE, yell out “I AM MORE THAN A CONQUEROR!”

3)      Have FAITH!  When we walk by sight, all we can do is see our circumstances.  When we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) then we look beyond our circumstances and to the power of God.

4)      Be ENCOURAGED!  Look at Philippians 4:8, Paul encouraged the reader to think on that which is good.  Even David, in 1 Samuel 30:6 focused on the strength of the Lord, especially when his men were looking to stone him to death.

5)      CARRY ON!  Do NOT give up!  If you are saved, the Devil knows the only way he can stop you from living a strong life for Christ is to give up.  If you give up, the Devil wins!  If you CHOOSE to keep trying, then you WILL be victorious!  You WILL overcome!

So bringing this back to Mimi and myself, yes, we have baggage.  Yes, we struggle with Satan attacking us through any insecurities that we may have.  But we have CHOSEN to LIVE.  We have CHOSEN to LOVE (and be loved!).  We have CHOSEN FAITH.  We have CHOSEN to ENCOURAGE one another in our relationship.  And we have CHOSEN to PERSEVERE.

Regardless of all of the free bags that are flying on our trip together in this life, I have found myself smitten (yes, I ACTUALLY used that word) with Mimi and am blessed with an opportunity for each of us to grow from being victims to being victors.

I know that there are people reading this post who are going through significant trials right now.  Perhaps you have lost a job and are at risk of getting evicted.  Perhaps you are suffering from the death of a loved one.  Maybe you feel stifled by your circumstances.  I pray that you reach out.  It is time to get you connected with a church, if you aren’t already.  If you are, it is time to consult with your leadership at the church.

I want to be able to pray for you.  Please reach out.  You can email me if you would like at  God wants you to be victorious over your circumstance.


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