Jerrad Lopes helps every day families learn how to follow Jesus in every day life.
I gotta be honest with you, right up front. I don’t really feel like recording this podcast. I am right in the middle of a really, really tough stretch. A little over a week ago, I returned from a trip to Africa, which was an amazing trip where it felt as though God was really grabbing a hold of my heart and mind and drawing me closer to his plans.
Then I got home.
Right off the bat, my wife and I just weren’t in sync. I was wanting to share with her all that I had seen and done, and was struggling to be clear. She wasn’t there, and she had her own stories to tell and we had to discuss several practical and financial things that had to be dealt with… and we simply weren’t communicating well.
Then, in the middle of all that, I received a message from a guy in the Dad Tired Group on Facebook, encouraging me that he and his wife were praying for my wife and I at that moment… he didn’t even know what was going on right then, but he knew that there had to be moments when my wife and I would struggle as we worked along in our ministry.
In hindsight, it was almost as if God had used His Spirit to prompt him to send this message to me. Sad to say, but his message came right before things “hit the fan” for us.
Now, my wife and I have had a particularly rough year-and-a-half. I own that. But, it had seemed that we had come out of it and things were on the uptick. However, this last week or so has been the worst season of our marriage yet. And, we got into a huge fight.
This is terrible for a guy like me who too often runs from conflict.
No excuses… I’m just a coward when things get too rough. And that night, I took off. I went on a long, long walk. I thought that I wanted and needed to process all that had gone on between us, but I was just angry, hurt, confused, and frustrated.
The next day, I “walked” even further. I went to the airport without a plan… and flew out of the country. Now, realizing that I was in a really dark place, I had called my best friend and asked him to go with me to help keep me out of trouble.
So, I ran to Mexico.
I was highly emotional, without much hope for my marriage. I was gone for two days and to be honest, my running away didn’t do much good at all. In fact, when I finally saw my wife, I told her that the only reason that I came back was for the kids. I told her that I really didn’t want to be married to her. I wasn’t trying to be hurtful – my goal was to be honest. But, the truth was that I was just a jackass.
Yet, after A LOT of talking things through, we arrived at an agreement to try… for me to try to be less of a coward and not run away; and she would try to feel safer around me and not put up walls between us.
We also set up appointments with counselors – both individually and couples counseling.
Now, it’s only been three days. But, I can honestly say that the last 36 hours has been great. At least for now, we seem to be on the road to real healing.
So, why am I sharing all this?
First, I have felt like a hypocrite. Even while all this has been going on, I’ve received so many messages from our Dad Tired community – even while in Mexico. Guys would write and say how our podcast has helped their marriage while I was in the process of abandoning mine. There is no way around it. I sucked.
Secondly, in the midst of all this crap that’s been going on, I’m actually learning by wrestling with the Gospel. I’ve said it a thousand times: We don’t bail because God didn’t bail. And now, these words have hit me, and continue to hit me, between the eyes.
That’s the good news of Jesus – we were a wreck, and He never leaves us. That’s the whole point of marriage, too. And I suck at that.
But, Jesus gives me hope. His story is a model for me. His faithfulness is a guide for me. I need to give everything that I have, if for no other reason than the fact that He gave everything for me.
Finally, as I once heard Matt Chandler say, “If you make much of Christ, people will make much of you.” Meaning, there is a natural desire for people to be drawn to people who magnify Jesus. Now, I’ve spent most of my life trying to point people to Jesus, and as a result, people have been very complimentary of our ministry, our podcast… and even me.
But, the truth is that I don’t have it all figured out. In fact, I pretty much suck at this whole “be like Jesus” thing. I know that I’m not qualified to be in any sort of church leadership position. But, I will continue to be honest with you guys here and continue to be a part of the Dad Tired community – through this podcast and through Facebook.
Because this story is not about me.
It’s all about each of us being called to follow Jesus. He is our example. He is our guide. He is our only hope. He is our model of what it looks like to be a real man.
So, thank you for your prayers.
This isn’t easy… not at all. But, the battle is one that can be won. My prayer is that my marriage will shout of the greatest love of all – the love that comes from Jesus!