The years continued to pass but the struggle remained. In an attempt to regain myself, I stuck to my calling. I was a volunteer youth pastor for three years at a church plant in Pendleton, Indiana. During that time, I ministered the best that I could though I was hurting inside, but I still didn’t have that fire that I needed. It was like I wanted to say to my spirit “WAKE UP!!! How long will you be down for the count?”. The youth group grew at first, but it eventually stagnated. I was unable to put the time into it that I wanted, and it became more of a labor to fulfill a need than a passion being lived out. I was removed as youth pastor after having a discussion with the pastor about my ability to commit the necessary time. I felt like such a failure. I loved the kids dearly, but I just couldn’t seem to get the job done. At this point, I really wanted to give up on the idea of being in ministry at all. I began to really believe that maybe it wasn’t for me, that maybe I should be doing something else like teaching or coaching. I could still change the lives of young people doing those things but without the pressure of being the youth pastor or being in church leadership.
I didn’t want to be a leader anymore. I really just wanted to give up on what God had called me to. How could I lead anyone when I struggled so severely doubt, fear, and condemnation? It seemed impossible to me. The only thing that I had to hang on to was that God had confirmed my calling many times through prophetic words from Dennis Kramer and others. I couldn’t even see myself as good christian, let alone a leader anymore. I mean, how is this every gonna happen? During the time when this was occurring other things were going on in my life.
I remember receiving a prophecy from a man who visited our church. He had a healing anointed as he had been healed from Multiple Sclerosis. He gave me a word, but it was a word I didn’t like too much. He said “You are about to go through some trials, but its all going to work out good”. Really? More pain? Well thank you for that encouraging word. Of course, it was an encouraging word when I needed it later. He couldn’t have been more right. I had been on cruise control for years up to this point. To deal with my doubts and fears, I simply numbed them by distracting myself with sports and entertainment. A few months after this word my wife got pregnant. I was not entirely excited about this surprise. A few weeks later, we lost the baby. My heart sank with regret. Only about a month or two after that I developed a painful form of Psoriasis. This pain lasted on a daily basis for nearly 7 months. It made it difficult for me to walk. The physical pain, however, was not the worst part. The worst part was the fact that it seemed to trigger all those emotions I had had years ago. All the intense anxiety and fear returned to me. The pain seemed to be a daily reminder that God was not with me. I had thoughts flood my mind of a life of pain before me. The anxiety, once again, felt crushing and overwhelming.
The doubt did not completely crush me this time as it had before. I had been through it before so I knew how to somewhat cope with it. However, as I fell deep into anxiety, fear, and depression again, it took its toll on my marriage. I was unable to provide the emotional support my wife needed after losing a baby. In turn, in order to ease my pain, I was constantly seeking assurance from my wife. The same pattern began again, I began to tap out all of my friends and spiritual sources for any sense of assurance and relief. All they could do was repeat themselves over and over. I was completely miserable. Little did I know, God was breaking me again.
Although I had come to believe in spiritual things I did not understand, I was still leery of the supernatural. I was skeptical of any supernatural claims made of divine healing, encounters, and prophetic words. Although not totally closed off to them. I found most people who walked in these gifting to be somewhat strange, and I concluded that none of that was for me. I had it set in my mind, that God had only called me to the practical things of Christianity. Which basically was saying, “Well, I think God only wants to use me in the things I understand”. Really, it was unbelief in my heart. Not even doubt, just unbelief and also ignorance of His Word. As it had before, my pain brought me to a point of desperation. It didn’t take as long this time. During this 7 month period where I was suffering from a Psoriasis flare-up, we took a vacation to Tennessee to see my sister for the first time in years. It was during this time that I first came upon Abiding Glory ministries which is now called Fuse Church. I felt such a peace and presence of God when I visited it could not be denied. It was like the eye of the hurricane, a calmness in the midst of my life’s storms. I knew God was in this place, and I wanted more of Him. My sister and brother – in – law gave me a teaching called “The School of the Supernatural”. After feeling the presence of God the way that I had and the peace it brought me, I decided to listen to the series and give it a try. I was blown away by the teaching. I had never heard the supernatural demystified in such a way that I could understand it. It wasn’t flaky or fruity, and everything taught in it was supported solidly by scripture. I gained so much revelation that I realized that I really could walk in the supernatural as well. That I could experience God and that it wasn’t just for other people. Oh, I had had these feelings in the past when reading about Abraham and Moses. I had thought it many times and believed it was possible, but I didn’t know how or if it was my “gifting”. This teaching actually showed me how.
This gave me a hope which eventually led to great freedom in my life. God started to lead me into the solution for overcoming these issued that had plagued me for so long, and I felt the fire begin to spark in my heart again. I will continue this now novel, ( can’t believe I’ve written this much and really didn’t intend to share this much) on my next note where I will outline how I overcame doubt, fear, shame, and condemnation. I will also share how to keep it from taking over again. I don’t say any of this as some kind of guru, I only speak from my own experience. My prayer is that this encourages and helps someone else on the path to freedom.