Everyone has a story:
Life is full of chapters and each one adds to our uniqueness. God made us all and gave us a will of our own. He wants us to learn how to love Him by learning how to love ourselves and others. Good things as well as bad things happen to most everybody. All the “bad” stuff in my life was because of my decisions and choices.
I was raised by good parents in a Christian home. Like any family we had struggles and problems. We attended church twice on Sunday’s and Wednesday night prayer meetings the whole time I was growing up. Two sisters, and brother were older, a third sister was younger than me. By the time my younger sister and I came along mom and dad were pretty tired of being parents all the time. We got away with a lot and were both spoiled by our older siblings.
It was fun to be involved in the youth group at church and in the summertime, mom and dad sent me away for two weeks to Camp Tadmor in the Ozarks. I must have been nine or ten when I asked for Jesus salvation.
My part-time job in high school was working in an auto parts store. As soon as I could I joined the Army. It wasn’t long before my view of the world started heading in the wrong direction. I stopped going to church and walked away from all I had been taught about God; dumb idea. After serving three years in the military, I was honorably discharged. I prepared for a career and got married. We had a child and soon after divorced. My daughter survived a car accident in which my ex-wife died. My daughter was very young at the time and it was hard to see here lying in a hospital bed afraid of what had happened, too young to understand why her little arm was in a cast and there were stitches in her face. She grew up and is a beautiful young lady.
My life continued in a tail spin for several more years. One day, while out of town on a business trip, I came to grips with my craziness. I had all the toys and trappings of success and yet felt very much alone and empty. In addition, I was financially broke. Along with my money problems, my emotions were scrambled because of the stupidity that made up the sum of my decision making and choices. People on the outside, looking in, saw me as successful; no one really knew how fast I was trying to tread water, putting on a front that was making me very tired.
Down on my knees in a hotel room, on a business trip, my prayer was, “God, please forgive me,”. Having no other place to turn, at the end of myself, I prayed asking God for forgiveness. It took almost fifteen years from the time I walked away to come to the realization that my life, the sum of my decisions and choices, was a mess. There was no one to blame but me. From that moment on my determination has never wavered; to follow Jesus teachings and learn how to live a life that has been a far better choice than the one I had pursued. That prayer was the start to re-building my life on God’s terms instead of my own. It took almost as long, twelve plus years, to straighten out all the messes I created. During that time, I met my wife of 31 years. Before we were married, I asked her, “Are you sure you want to do this?” God in His grace blessed me when she said, “yes.”
All the details, trials and tribulations that brought me to this place and this little story are irrelevant and not necessary to share here compared to the life God has laid out for me. I am willing and would share those details with anyone who cared to hear it all. Suffice it say, I am being restored one day at a time because of one simple fact, one simple act, an act required of all of us, surrender to the One true God, the God that created the universe. I surrendered and have never been more at peace from that day to this one. I surrendered to God and His way of doing things and abandoned my own ideas about what makes someone successful. I live for the approval of just one, my Heavenly Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I am blessed with seven children and 12 grandchildren. Thanks Jesus, for all you do, especially the part where you never gave up on me.
Tony Ruesing email@example.com