Recently. I was reminded of a diary I once kept and had started writing almost thirty years ago... It stirred my heart and caused me to remember things long forgotten. And, in a round about way, brought me to this forum.
But more on that later, perhaps. I felt a desire to write down some of my experiences as a reminder, to myself, of all the great things the Lord has done in my life. I invite you to join me on this journey of rediscovery, although I cannot promise it will be interesting, exciting or mind blowing in any way. I do hope it offers some encouragement to those who take the time to read it
The first decade.
I was born in a hot, dusty outback mining town, in 1960's Australia. My dad, a young Dutch immigrant, had pursued my mother to this town after first meeting her at church in another small town, in a different state, where she had being living with extended family. He lived in a small caravan behind the local Salvation Army Citadel.
My father was outgoing, energetic, hard working and a "born preacher". He once told me, as a child he would go into the back yard and 'preach' to the birds and animals. His father was a hard working laborer, a committed Christian and also loved to preach or just talk about Jesus when given the opportunity. My grandmother was a beautiful Christian woman with seven children and the biggest heart you can imagine.
My mother was young. Just sixteen when she met dad. Life had not been easy. Her mother was a "rough as guts" outback shearer's cook and her father was an alcoholic. Mum and her sister often spent their afternoons and evenings outside the local pub, waiting for their parents to stop drinking and take them home. My mother had been shipped off to live with her Christian aunt and uncle after completing school at age 14.
Not long after my parents were married, they were greeted with a new addition to their small family, but it wasn't any easy start. I had serious health issues and my parents were told more than once: "If you are religious, you may want to call someone". Three times they were told this. Three times I survived. As a result, my mother often told me: "God has a plan for you life".
Shortly after my birth, my parents were advised by doctors to move to a "seaside" climate as this might be beneficial to my health. So we moved to a fishing community on the south coast, and kept moving every year or two for the next twenty five years. My younger brother arrived within two years. Like my dad, he was outgoing, adventurous and actually enjoyed the constant moving around. Me, not so much, although my health did improve.
My parents were committed Christians and soon answered "the call" to Christian ministry. So, I started attending Bible College (for the first time) at the age of three. Got to get 'em while their young. Two years later, we moved to our first 'appointment', a year after that to the next one, and so on.
Obviously, I was young and don't actually remember a lot of the details from those early years. I do remember one very significant event. My grandmother passed away quite suddenly when I was eight and my father was completely devastated. We were living in Tasmania at the time while my grandparents and uncles/aunties were all still living on the "North Island" as it was jokingly called in Tassy. I was too young to fully understand and could not attend the funeral for logistical reasons but it did leave a mark. These events had other lasting ramifications. Many of our extended family members, including my heartbroken grandfather, returned to The Netherlands soon afterwards.
... to be continued.
A small part of my life story, but the most important by far! ❤️ Well, it started with the conviction I felt on Easter Sunday back in 2012. I realized I was a sinner and needed Jesus desperately. I had been praying to God for awhile, and he had sent me people across my path to give me words of encouragement. The one I heard quite a bit when I was going through this process (and the times after that) was that God loved me. I just knew I had to be saved, but the timing didn't match up. IT took a long time for me to get baptized (I got baptized in November that same year). Some of it was also because I didn't feel I was quite ready to do it. Which is weird~! Because you should never put something so important off! None-the-less, I was baptized, got saved, and repented. I was a brand new babe in Christ. I was doing well, but I was still struggling with some issues in regards to sinning. This had a lot to do with my past, and how I was "groomed" for a certain lifestyle. I will NOT go into details but let's just say it was bad. Despite becoming a new creation in Christ.. That old lifestyle still left an almost indelible mark on me. It reflected in the way I carried myself, thought about myself, and even talked. This led to many more problems down the road, and many new traumas to process. But at the time I was saved I was attending school, college to be exact. I had decided to stop going to school because I could no longer afford to go and did not want to take out anymore student loans. I knew this is what God wanted. He didn't want me so deeply in debt I couldn't do anything. At that same time, I was living with my mother. She was not doing well health wise and needed to move into a senior living facility. I could not go with her. I had no job, and was about to be homeless. At the time, I was praying to God about what to do. However, my struggles with sin kept him from really listening to me. Imagine talking to a brick wall.. (It took me a long time to realize that too!) So, I made the decision to go with a family member to live with them for awhile until I was back up on my feet. This was the worst mistake of my life! It led to all kinds of unspeakable things, and drove me far away from God. HOWEVER, despite it all God would NOT let me go. I was gently convicted by the holy spirit that I was in sin and was not repenting. So, through many, many days of weeping I repented unto God. I asked him to forgive me for being so sinful. While I was there I was unable to get on my feet and move forward in my life. It was only when I left that things started to fall into place. I was able to have a few close family members scrape up some money to get me a plane ticket home. Well, I missed my flight by 10 minutes. The flight attendant was nice enough to issue me another ticket for FREE for the next day. She even offered to buy me food. I told her that I had absolutely NO money to get another ticket to get home.. Thank you Lord! When I got home I was able to get insurance, something I couldn't get where I had moved to for awhile. I got a stable job, and my own place to live. Unfortunately, it took a turn for the worse. I was put into the hospital on Christmas Day. There they diagnosed me with all kinds of mental health issues. Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and many other diagnoses. It was from all the trauma I had faced over my life, a lot of it was abuse I had faced when I was young. The great thing is.. The medications that I take are all covered by my insurance, and so is my therapy to help me recover. I'm currently attending EMDR therapy and it's very helpful to me. I'm grateful for all God has done. Unfortunately, I was not well enough to go back to work, but God continued to provide for me. My mother and I moved in together and we help each other out. I'm currently awaiting an answer from SSI to see if I'll get any money (ongoing payments) since I'm not currently able to work. God has sent all kinds of money from unexpected places as provision. We've grown closer, which I love, and I'm awaiting instructions on what he wants me to do since I cannot work anymore. I used my job as a way to show God's love, and be the best example I could be for my fellow employees.
By Jonathan BeWell
Please forgive me. I have been addressing you all wrong. I cannot claim a righteous anger defence [11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you-who are you to judge your neighbor? - James 4:11-12 New International Version (NIV)]. God wants better. I cannot scare you into heaven anymore than I can drag out of hell. God is in control. He makes and lets everything happen. All has and will happen for Christians' good [28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28 (NIV)]. My questionable Facebook activity has led to this apology and following testimony. May it encourage you and give you hope. Praise God.
Jesus Christ saved me from homosexual tendencies [10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers-and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine - 1 Timothy 1:10 (NIV)]. In my dark past I flirted with ideas, the scene and foreplay of man on man sexual relations. In the moment of those times it was a distraction and escape from my living hell. Such activity always had bad consequences [35 "Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution." - Ezekiel 23:35 (NIV)]. Yet like a nicotine addiction I was drawn back to get lost in that fleeting moment of oblivion. It and I was miserable. I will not give details here and now publicly. In person I am happy to answer questions and share Christ's solution with you. Praise God.
I love you. I care for your well being. My half life of suffering has grown great compassion and empathy. I weep and mourn for the lost, rejected, down trodden and oppressed, spit upon and left for dead. I know and understand because I was there as one of them. Now I am found, nurtured, lifted up and suffering gladly only because of Jesus Christ [17 But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,' declares the Lord, 'because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.' - Jeremiah 30:17 (NIV)]. Praise God.
He saved me from my living hell involving depression, drugs, marijuana, alcoholism, willful sin, pornography, homosexual tendencies, the occult, blasphemy, loneliness, numbness and people who accepted this and let it persist [3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do-living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. - 1 Peter 4:3 (NIV)]. Now I am healed, restored, alive and well because I believe and am born again. I bear much fruit and look forward to a bright future in Christ. I will never return to the enemy. It pains me to look back or even be reminded of such serious suffering. I am sorry for your suffering. I am sorry I made you suffer. I continue to repent. Life is good to wake up to eternally because of the Son of God, my personal Saviour, our Lord [12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." - Acts 4:12 (NIV)]. Thank God.
"...When I went to college, I was feeling like homosexuality was my core identity. I just knew that Christianity was never an option for me. Not ever. I just thought I'm a gay man, I can't ever be Christian. Never the twain shall meet.
...I just put God even further on the back burner, and didn't even think of God at all."