As a teenager, I remember walking to school asking God why he was allowing the abuse to happen to me. Of all the millions of kids in the world; WHY ME? Then as a young man, not seeing or getting the answers I was so desperately seeking, and having the church slam the door in my face, I turned my back on God. Yet, I know that God never turned his back on me. I could write a small book of all the ways he showed himself to me.
In recovery my mentor told me this – “Either God is everything or God is nothing, there is no in between.” As I let this resonate in the fiber of my being, my attitude began to shift. If God is everything or nothing, then for me he has to be everything. This meant that everything that happened to me was part of Gods greater plan for my life. To further affirm this I was guided to Jeremiah 1:5 by different pastors and men of religion - "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations."
However, these men of religion would in the same breath, saying either God is everything or he is nothing and quoting Jeremiah 1:5, looked at me and said, “However God had nothing to do with you being abused.” I want to be really clear of one thing, God gives man free will and will not interfere with a man’s choice of actions. While God allowed the things that happened to me in my life to happen, he DID NOT abuse me. In many ways he protected me.
These men were displaying the same hypocrisy I had grown up with. You cannot have it both ways. I had come to a place in my life where I was ready to move forward. In order to do that, I had let go of my resentment towards God. Between the concept and scripture I mentioned in the above paragraph, I was slowly beginning to see the purpose for all of my pain. I knew that I knew what I knew and for the first time in my life no one was going to influence me otherwise. As I started looking back over the last thirty-eight years of my life, I began to see that where I thought God had abandoned me; he was walking with and carrying me.
I was in a bookstore at The Rock Church in San Diego and I happened to pick up a book about a woman who was sexually abused. On the inside cover the author had written a scripture – Genesis 50:20 – “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”
This is now my life scripture. The minute I read it and shared it with my wife, we both had chills run up our spine. You see God had a plan for my life that started before I was ever conceived – to help the men that have been and are being emotionally, physically, spiritually, and sexually abused. You see, if I had not had the experiences of being abused, I would not be able to help men the way I can help them. In of AA’s Big Book, it tells us: “We cannot transmit something we do not have.” I’m a strong believer that if you have not walked in someone’s shoes and done your own healing work, you cannot and in fact have no business trying to help them. I have seen more damage done by people with good intentions trying to help people who were out of their league. Had I of not gone through all that I have gone through and done my own healing work; I would have no business doing what I am doing today.
The events that led me down some dark paths in my life have brought me to where I am today. Those same events gave me a dream in 2012 to ride my bicycle across America to bring awareness and educate as much of America as possible about the prevalence of the sexual abuse of boys, who the perpetrators really are, and the correlation between chemical dependency and sexual abuse: something that no other person has ever done. That dream became a vision and the vision is becoming a reality. On June 18, 2017 I embarked on the Courageous Healers Ride Across America to Stomp Out Shame and in September of 2018 I rode my bicycle from Seattle, WA to San Diego fulfilling that vision on the West Coast.
If you believe in God, believe that God is either everything or he is nothing, then nothing; absolutely nothing that has happened in your life, is a mistake. Do your healing work, get a good sponsor/mentor and enjoy the journey. Remember this, everything that happens in your life is a lesson, everyone that crosses your path, rather for a minute or a lifetime, is a teacher. When I started to look at everything that had happened to me in my life as a lesson not a punishment, my perspective began to change and my recovery jumped to the next level.