Growing up my life was kinda like this picture. No color, no joy. The people around me were like these trees. Just as weak as I was and feeling like they could break at any minute. Potholes and broken roads were at every turn. I burned a lot of bridges with people that I held resentment with. For the first 30 years of my life I was living this Hwy 80 life, when there was an entire Interstate 20 right next to me.
Then one day it all came crashing down. I was working three jobs. My regular job and also trying to run two small businesses of my own. You see, I wanted to be rich. To have power and notoriety. I lost my businesses and almost lost my family. My beautiful wife and two kids were ready to walk out the door. I deserved it. I was a terrible husband and father that only thought of himself. I was "doing all this for them" to give them money and "things". But that's not what they wanted. My pride and desire to have worldly things had consumed me like the vines on this building until one day my legs literally collapsed from underneath me.
Some of my friends had been trying to tell me about this "other life". This "I-20" life that was focused on others and not myself. That was focused on happiness and a contentment that didn't involve power and money. They told me that Jesus loved me and that he could help me.
They invited me to church and welcomed me and my family with open arms. I took baby steps at first. I just committed to going on Sunday's at first. I didn't make any major decisions or become this Jesus freak. It just felt right and it felt like I was finally on the right track and the darkness I felt for so long finally started seeing light again. Those dead trees that had been all around me starting growing vibrant leaves and the new life of green surrounded me.
Salvation Is Here
Then one day it happened. I had just left church and it started to sink in. I heard a message that Jesus had died on the cross for me. I never really knew what that meant until that night. It meant that before Jesus there was no way for a sinner like me to get to heaven. But because Jesus died on the cross I had a way to get to heaven. I prayed to Jesus and told Him that I know that I am a bad person, that I had done a lot of sins in my life. I told God through many tears that I was sorry and that I needed him to come into my life.
It was just that simple, and suddenly that emptiness and void that I had felt for years was overflowing with joy and peace. I was a new man at 30 years old. I felt like a kid again. A kid not afraid to look silly. To raise my hands in praise. I felt clean and like I had a new start as a new child. I felt like God had taken away all my guilt, my shame, my sin. He let me start over again, and even though I still fail sometimes, he is faithful to forgive me and now I know he will always love me.
It's been over 12 years since that day. I'm still not rich monetarily, but I am rich in so many other ways! I thank God everyday for rescuing me. I thank Him for saving my marriage, and for teaching me how to raise my kids. I love him and talk to Him everyday. I call on Him when I'm tired, when my daughter takes off down the highway on her way back to college, and when the sunrise comes over the horizon and I start snapping pictures. My life today is kinda like this picture. With Jesus up high in the sky, I am below trying to be a reflection of Him.