Who am I? This is the question isn’t it?
Well, that depends on who you are. I am male, husband, son, father, friend, follower of Christ, RN, coworker……and so it goes.
Truthfully, I’m just a dude trying to figure out how to live a meaningful life.
That’s the short answer, here is the longer version of our (mine and Dawna’s) story.
We met at a Sunday school party. She was stunning, she had on a denim jacket with a white scarf. The woman that changed my life. Her name is Dawna, and now, 13 years later, she is just as stunning. The first night we met, we were standing outside talking, she was telling me how she was packing up her house and 3 kids and moving from Texarkana, Texas to Springfield, Missouri to go to college. I remember thinking what a fascinating person she was, not to mention stunningly beautiful.
It took her a little while to realize it, but she eventually came around to the fact we were meant to be together. We were married 2 years later.
We went through the blended family routine, not unscathed, but we made it. We both were in college, all the kids were still in school, and we lived on love and amazingly little. We both graduated, sold our house in Texarkana, TX, loaded up the family, and moved to Fayetteville, AR.
Dawna started work for a dialysis clinic as their Social Worker, I started working as an RN at the local hospital on the cardiac floor. We started looking for a house. That’s what you’re supposed to do, right, the American dream? House, career, family, bondage to all the things of the world, some semblance of retirement, then we die and go be with Jesus? That’s the Christian American dream?
How quickly the plan fell apart. We bought a ridiculous house in Bella Vista, AR we had no business buying, Dawna was working all the time, I worked 2 jobs to pay for all the nice things that in my mind were quickly changing into various piles of junk I had to work to keep. I remember at one time I had 3 jobs and was working 6-7 days a week, I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I cried out to God one day on my way to work to save me from this madness. Dawna and I were fighting all the time, the kids were losing their minds, and everything was falling apart. But hey, we had nice stuff!
We were still going to church, every Sunday. On the outside, we looked great, we had everything going for us. On the inside, Dawna and I were both a mess. Somewhere around 2008, we began experiencing a shift in our lives. I came home one night, Dawna made me, and I mean SHE MADE ME, sit down at the kitchen table. “This isn’t working, either this stops now, or let’s split our stuff up.”
I’m not going to get into this now, but I’ve been through a divorce before, and it is completely devastating. Never again will that happen to this guy if I can help it!
I sprang into action, I remembered how much I had once loved this woman and I did NOT want to lose her to what our life had become. I had just had a guy at church recommend this new book called “The Love Dare”. I went out the next day and bought the book. In this book, there are a series of 40 daily love “Dares” that are to be completed on my own. The book is not about changing my spouse, it is about bringing me back into line with a Godly love toward my spouse. It is one of the most challenging things I have ever done. At this point in our marriage, Dawna and I were despising each other, we had nothing good for each other and were seriously looking at how splitting up was going to be carried out.
I told Dawna what I was doing and that I was going to allow God to save our marriage. I’m chuckling now as I remember her response, “Whatever”. Hey, it’s where she was.
I began the book, I began learning of a true Godly love towards my spouse. About 2 weeks into the Dare, she began to notice, not respond, just notice. About 15 days into the Dare, she began to respond. At day 25, she was going through the Dares with me. At the end of the Dare, day 40, my wife and I were in love again. Simply miraculous.
That was 7 years ago, we are still in love. When I start to slip, Dawna will say, “Check your Dare, your thinking is off!” (Sometimes, living with a therapist is insufferable!!!!)
Ok, need to back up to 2008. A lot of really important things started happening. Sometime during the time when we were doing the Love Dare, Dawna and I sat down at the kitchen table and had a serious talk about television. We were both working a lot and would come home, make a quick supper, plop down in front of the succubus (TV) in the living room around 6-7 PM, and there we would sit until 11PM or later. The conversation would generally consist of Dawna yelling at me to mute the television when the commercials would come on. Dawna HATES commercials and I kind of like the commercials, especially the funny ones. Isn’t it wonderful how opposites attract?
We turned off the satellite in 2008. We have not had cable or satellite, except for a short couple of months, since. We bought a satellite a few months back, had it on for several months, and then decided it was trash and turned it back off. I really don’t know what we were thinking! Actually, I do, we didn’t have internet radio and Dawna wanted it for the satellite music. Now that we are back in an area where we have internet, we have turned it off.
Another thing that happened in 2008 is we began the process of weaning ourselves off the dependence of all this nice “stuff” we had acquired. We got rid of the house in 2009 and moved back to Fayetteville. I weaned down to only one job.
Also in 2008 we went through Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University”. We learned just how foolish we had been with our money and how money and the world had been controlling us. We took control of our money.
Dawna and I were beginning to question a lot of things about our lives at this time. One of the things we were really becoming discontented with was our worship. We were spending a lot of time and effort working with a local church, and it just kept feeling like we were wasting our time. We were “doing” all the right things of course, tithing, singing on the praise team, playing the bass on the praise team, home studies, and youth activities. It all just felt…….empty. Without purpose, like our efforts were in vain and not enough. I have since learned that the Emergent Church was creeping into the group we were worshiping with. I don’t know if you have read or studied anything on the Emergent Church, I won’t spend much time on this other than to say that I HIGHLY recommend you spend time researching the Emergent Church. It is evil. To watch one of their services, tune into any Joel Osteen presentation, enjoy the feel-good prosperity gospel that is NOT in the bible.
That’s what we were beginning to see in our church, it sickened us.
Are you picking up on anything here yet? 2008 was an amazing year of growth for us.
In the latter part of 2008, I met Stella Griffin. Miss Stella. What an amazing woman she is. She was a patient of mine while I was working home health. (Miss Stella has given me permission to share her name in my story, so for those of you who are medically trained, I am NOT breaking HIPAA laws.)
She would put a daily bible verse on her answering machine each day with a prayer. I used to call her daily just to listen to her message. Miss Stella was a Sabbath Keeper, she wouldn’t let me come see her on Saturday. I thought it was odd, but I went along with her. When I discharged her from our home health services, she gave me a DVD called “The Final Events” by Amazing Facts. I took the DVD fully intending to throw it away.
To this day I have no idea how that DVD made it into my house, but I came home one evening to Dawna sitting on the couch with her bible and a notepad. “You won’t believe what these people are saying!”
She told me what she was watching and I told her to throw it away. She went to Amazing Facts and started watching their “Prophecy Code” presentations. I started watching them with her. I could not refute the clear, Biblical, truth Doug Batchelor presented in these messages.
In 2009, we were became Sabbath Keepers.
We sold everything we owned in 2011 and began traveling January 18th 2012. I am still a travel nurse. What a journey this has been!
It is now late February 2016. We have settled in Colorado and are no longer traveling. We bought 5 acres in the mountains with a small mobile home on it. We are in the process of getting the fifth-wheel ready to sell and are moving towards the self-sufficient mountain lifestyle.
More to follow.
Earnestly contending for the Faith,