2 Year Anniversary

Today marks the 2 year anniversary of being married to my wonderful wife! I have already finished writing out my testimony, so you may go and read that on this blog if you would like; but the first year was absolutely awful for us. We were both childish and immature. But I can honestly say that God has changed us in miraculous ways. I am so happy I married my wife Krystal.

Baby, I am overjoyed to have you in my life as my wife and best friend. I hope to have many more wonderful years together as we walk hand in hand with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. You are a beautiful and godly woman, and I can’t imagine going through life with anyone else. Happy two year anniversary, my love! I look forward to growing old with you! 😀

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Life Change

After the miscarriage, my wife went through a period of intense depression. At first, the experience brought us extremely close together, but after a while, we began to fight again. I think, deep down, my wife was scared to lose me because our child died. The doctors scared her so much into believing that she may never hold a solid pregnancy. But not long after, we were pregnant again. We still had fights along the way and struggled with how to love one another, but that second pregnancy began to change us drastically.

This time through, we fought way less than in the previous pregnancy. We truly began to grow closer together. Then, my wife had to quit her job and go on bed rest as advised by her doctor. At that point, she was going to a high risk doctor. Well, in December 2012, they admitted her to the hospital to be on bed rest there. It was AWFUL! I slept up there every night (except for one where an argument drove me out), but it was an awful experience! I felt sick so many nights because it was so cold, and the bed was awful. Furthermore, the nurses woke us up several times during the night. But we endured, and they released her on January 14 of this year. That experience brought us even closer together by the end of it all. Then on March 2, our precious baby boy, Solomon, was born. Praise be to God! Being able to hold my child in my arms was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Unfortunately, my wife and I still argue to this day (but who doesn’t in a marriage?), and I still have lust struggles from time to time; but God is using each and every experience to grow us, teach us and extend His grace and mercy upon us.

I had a rough life growing up, but God used all my experiences and sins to transform me into a man after God’s heart. This is my testimony up to date (for the most part), and I hope my honesty and openness will encourage others to share their testimony and realize how important our testimonies really are. Remember, this isn’t YOUR story…it’s God’s story. Thanks for reading my testimony blog. God bless!

Experiencing Heartache

When my wife and I first got married, we were awful. When I say ‘awful,’ I really mean it. We were hateful, rude, argumentative, stubborn, impatient, etc. The sad truth is that we didn’t know how to relate to one another in a marriage, and we were having difficulty living with another person, especially someone of the opposite sex. I still had a lot of lust struggles and my wife still had insane low self-esteem and insecurity issues. This is where our premarital sexual experience began to REALLY hurt us. We knew it to be a mistake when we had sex before marriage, but we never knew how much hurt it would bring us.

When we got in fights, we would bring up the other’s sins or struggles and criticize each other, because we were so angry and didn’t know how to turn arguments into problem solving. We didn’t handle anything; we merely fought and hated each other. Things got really bad even a few months after we got married. Krystal became pregnant which was a blessing, but we were torn between happiness and despair because of our constant arguing and hatred towards one another. Eventually, I slipped up and fell into the sin of pornography. I hadn’t looked at porn for over a year, but I became relaxed spiritually. Krystal found out about it (no, I didn’t even confess, which caused worse problems), and we hated each other more. There was a lot of hurt because of my stupidity.

Eventually, our fights became physical. And not just one-sided, though there were definitely times of that. It was sad, but we would both got physical with each other; our anger and bitterness had pushed us to a whole new level of arguing. Unfortunately, we both came from families where arguing was violent and abusive (whether physical, emotional, or mental). And even though I wanted to be different from our families, we ended up being just like them. Something terrible happened shortly after I looked at porn (but I won’t share the details since I’m not sure if my wife is comfortable with that part).

But another tragedy occurred: we had a miscarriage on February 7, 2012. We were to have a baby girl, and we had already named her Naomi Grace. She had kicked through my wife’s cervix and had started an early, unexpected delivery. We were only 19.5 weeks pregnant, and when our baby girl came out (at 11oz), her lungs weren’t developed enough for her to survive. My poor wife had to deliver the child she had carried for nearly 20 weeks only to see her dead. Now I, being a man who couldn’t experience the joy of carrying a baby in my belly, couldn’t fully feel what she was going through or even understand completely her hurt. I hated that. I cried a ton that day and for a while, but I knew I wasn’t hurting as badly as my wife. Furthermore, Krystal couldn’t even stop to take everything in; she started hemorrhaging immediately after and they had to give her a blood transfusion to save her life. I honestly thought I would lose both my baby girl and my wife on the same day. I sat in the hospital room alone while she was back in an operating room with the doctors under anesthesia. I almost lost hope, but praise God! He spared my wife, and with that tragic day, He began to change our lives from the inside out.

Seeking Purity

On January 17, 2011 I confessed my love to my future wife Krystal. I was glad to hear she loved me back. I regret to say that we ended up sleeping together before we were married, as that not only hurt our relationship with God, but it also hurt our relationship with each other. But we did have premarital sex, and that decision would bring great hurts (particularly insecurity issues for Krystal). I had held out and kept my virginity for nearly 23 years but I slipped up at last–I fear because of all my pursuits of sexual gratification throughout the years.

But after that, I decided that Krystal would be the woman I would marry, not because I had given my virginity to her, but because I truly loved her and wanted to be with her the rest of my life. So on June 18 of that same year, I proposed. That night I took her to the play Beauty and the Beast and took her to some of our favorite spots. At the end of our date, I proposed to her at a donut shop, the same one we met up at for the first time of hanging out. By August we were married, on the 13th. But before that happened, I will share a ‘fun’ little adventure we went through.

As we were nearing marriage, Krystal decided to get on birth control so when we got married we wouldn’t get pregnant right away. She had to get blood work done and all that and she received her results which informed us that she had Chlamydia. She was so torn up about that because, since we had premarital sex, that meant I probably had it too–and I did. She felt horrible since I wasn’t her first sexual partner, and she ultimately gave me Chlamydia. But I knew I had made my own choice, and I didn’t resent her for what happened; furthermore, I praise God that it was nothing worse, for we got treated and the Chlamydia is gone forever! From all our sins, I couldn’t blame God if He had punished us more harshly; but I believe God relented from punishment and instead gave us a trial, something that could be overcome…discipline if you will. And yet He was so kind in that we didn’t have to suffer a worse disease. Next post, I’ll talk about life as newlyweds and discuss our trials through learning to be a functional, young married couple. Until then, God bless!

War of the Last Remnant

The current website for my upcoming book series, War of the Last Remnant. The first book of the series is entitled, The Alchemist’s Stone and will be released in July!

Devotionals by Joel

Here is my official page for my upcoming book entitled War of the Last Remnant: The Alchemist’s Stone. I hope you check it out as I will be updating the page as I get closer to publishing. The book will be released this July! Go to War of the Last Remnant

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Following After Jesus

After I was baptized, I was invited by a friend to go to a Student Life retreat for kids in elementary school. I was honored to be a camp counselor for a group of second grade boys. It was such an awesome experience and it helped me to develop a childlike faith and joy for being found in Jesus. After that, I met a guy named Cameron who just started attending my church. Within a short time of knowing me, he told me I was different from everyone else–that was a shock to me because he meant it in a good way. He invited me to go with him that winter on a mission trip in Mexico. I debated it for a while and honestly was about to decline the offer out of fear, but God grabbed hold of me and told me very clearly to go. On the night before Halloween that same year, I ended up meeting my future wife, which oddly enough I had already heard about through a mutual friend. We were driving when we met (don’t judge us). She was with a group of friends headed to a club and I was headed to a restaurant with a group of guys from my fraternity. Anyways, we exchanged numbers and started texting that night.

Honestly, I only had ill intent in my heart at first. I was still struggling with porn, though my struggle with it had decreased drastically, and I simply wanted to hook up and fool around. We even talked about meeting up later that night, but it didn’t work out. Praise God for that! But we kept talking and asking questions about each other and one night my wife mentioned she was heading to a Bible study. I was shocked. I didn’t realize she believed in God, and I started to see her differently. We met up after a few days at a donut shop. We played cards, ate donuts and talked for a while. It was great getting to know her. Then in December, I took some of my college finals early and went off to Mexico, which was hard on our relationship since we had just decided to be exclusive. Before we had become exclusive, I decided to do away with pornography.

While in Mexico, God laid it on my heart to end the relationship. I struggled with that and even considered not listening to His voice. After Mexico, I returned home and spent Christmas with my family; I only saw my wife, Krystal, once on the day after Christmas. After that, I went to a Christian conference in Nashville and God spoke to me again to break up with her. I was so confused and sad that entire trip, and when I came home we broke up–but it was oddly a mutual decision. I honestly started opening my eyes to start a new relationship, but God was telling me to avoid any other relationships. He confirmed that I was supposed to get back together with Krystal. At that time, I needed to learn to release my reliance on girls and my desire to be in a relationship. God was trying to teach me things before I got too serious and messed things up as I too often had. Sadly, I didn’t listen to everything He told me, but God was changing me in ways I couldn’t even imagine. More on that next time! God bless!

My Life Transformed

After the break up with my girlfriend from the YMCA, I slowly became more and more depressed. I was always searching for love. I looked this way and that wherever I went just trying to find someone I could chase after. But the lust in my heart had corrupted me, and I rarely (if ever) looked at girls purely. I hated myself. I hated my life. I just couldn’t understand why I had to ogle and fantasize about every pretty girl that came my way. I was no hero, no honorable man. I was sick, a man confused and twisted. I hurt many women in my life, ones who probably just needed a strong man in their life…but that man wasn’t me, not at that time anyways.

In a desperate attempt to make more friends, get out of my world of depression, and, of course, meet girls, I joined a fraternity at my college. I knew several people in the fraternity from high school and other random encounters, so it was nice to find a place where I was accepted. But I quickly began to realize that I wasn’t happy there either. All the women I met were either taken or simply did not respect themselves–and how am I, a person who struggles enough with lust, supposed to respect someone if they don’t respect themselves enough to cover up? If any women read this, for the sake of yourselves and men out there, cover up! Modesty is worth a million times more than a revealing body, and a good man will love you more for your modesty.

Anyways, I started a new thing in that year of 2010. I began to tell women my motives from the start. I would straight up tell them, ‘I’m interested in you and would like to date.’ A mentor in my life gave me that advice and so I put it into action. But it failed…over and over and over again. Then during that summer, I hooked up with a friend’s ex-girlfriend. I don’t know what happened to me. I used to believe that you never try to be with a friend’s ex. But at that point in my life, I had given up. I stopped caring, and I only saw women as instruments of pleasure. So we hooked up and made out a little. I had fun the whole time, but then something changed. Afterwards, I drove this girl out to a movie theater (she was meeting some friends). I didn’t talk to her the whole drive pretty much. I felt crappier then than I ever have in my entire life. I dropped her off with a short, uncaring goodbye, and then began to weep bitterly. I called a friend who was also going through some lust struggles and we met up at a McDonalds to talk. I poured out my frustrations and sadness to a group of friends and decided that day that I wanted to go public with my faith…I wanted to get baptized and turn my life over to Jesus. Next time, I’ll discuss my testimony further as I started to live for God. God bless everyone!