She pushed the door closed behind me and then I was alone in the winter dark, standing on the cold cement slab of her front porch. We had just been together in the most intimate way two people can be, physically. And here I was, drained, the wind catching the sweat at the roots of my hair and where my body touched my clothes, dead on the inside.
When we were finished, the feeling was gone, and so was the connection between us. Nothing. Nothing in common besides what a few minutes ago had been bodies tangled, holding on to one another … holding each other down with aggression.
The wind was blowing cold, down from the mountains and across the prairie until it slammed into these neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city — on the outskirts of everything. I had never been to this town. I had driven out to meet her — for the sole purpose of putting our bodies together. And now it was just me in all this strangeness.
This was it, I told myself. I was going to quit this. Break the string of these meaningless connections. I didn’t, of course. There were more. But that night two years ago in the frozen January air was the first time I realized the path I was on was destruction.
This all began quite innocently. I began online dating with the intentions of meeting a real woman – one who I could find a connection with, who would make an excellent mother, who I could entrust my soul to. What I found – immediately – were women my age were as amped up for physical contact as you might imagine men to be. Sex was so easy, and I wasn’t the instigator. I was a willing recipient in this strange new world that was so different than the intimacy of married life.
I questioned it right from the start. But my friends and some of the people closest to me — men and women — encouraged me to “have fun.” I was the envy of some of the married men I knew who were surprised at the level of dissatisfaction I had with random hook ups. As long as I was “careful,” their advice was to enjoy it to its hilt.
That wasn’t me. And they had no idea what the “hilt” was. There wasn’t one — just more and more of the same.
In the midst of all the craziness, I wanted someone to come home to – someone who would shoot me straight, who I could care about, and yes, make love to. But the path, once you begin to walk it, is hard to turn off. You begin to believe all you’re worth is a few minutes of someone’s time, just for the physical and nothing more than that.
The string of meaningless connections led to a shift in expectations. I continued meeting women online and, soon, if a woman hadn’t slept with me by the second date, I wondered what was the matter. Had I done something wrong? Was I losing my appeal? Twisted, twisted logic.
Where do you turn when you’re lost like this and you need healing? When you’ve transformed into something that hurts other people, that no one you know would believe you’ve become? Where do you go then?
I went nowhere, at first. I shut things down. I retreated inside myself and focused my life on my kids. And then, it happened. In the middle of an ordinary work day last spring, while I was between tasks, I heard a voice inside me (more like a feeling) that told me I wasn’t fulfilling my life’s purpose and I could be something more. Somehow in that message, I knew it was talking about my children too. While we have always had wonderful relationships together, we weren’t walking a path toward anything meaningful. We were directionless.
I knew then I wanted to spend some time with God’s word, but I also knew all I had to read was a student bible (written in language intended to connect with high-schoolers), so on a whim I checked out a King Jame’s bible from the library and immersed myself in God’s word. And He went to work on me immediately.
As if His plan was unfurling specifically for me, a friend invited our family to church, and at the end of that first sermon, my daughter, Annie, was saved. That was a wake up call to me that if I was going to listen to God’s voice and be the true spiritual leader of my family, I needed to move immediately.
On May 8, 2014, I gave my life over to Jesus Christ during a quiet prayer at my kitchen table with a good friend I’d met while coaching my son’s baseball team. I still marvel at how the Lord works — how these people are dropped into our lives seemingly for no reason, at first. Only later do you recognize His intent.
Her texts — and ones from other women — still show up on my phone from time to time. “Hey,” they usually begin, a temptation to step back on the dark path. I know what will happen if I respond. I’ve seen where that path leads. Those ladies are like meat on bones to me now. Their bodies alive and beautiful, but their spirits cold and dead.
In Colossians 3:5, the apostle Paul writes, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
Once God has spoken to you, you can never turn back.