*This Article is written by Pastor Robert House. A short bio of the author will be at the end of the article.
My purpose in writing this is to tell my own truth and not to talk bad about anyone else or their experience as a pastor, stepfather, husband and even simply as a Christian but just to write out my own thoughts on what I have experienced so far in this 10-month journey of change.
I have known my wife since I was in the 6th grade but we were never close because I was older but her family was active in the church as I was. Everyone knew me because I was one of the few blacks in the school. My wife also played sports with one of my close friends so I knew her through that association. Around September of 2017, she messaged me and told me how much I meant to her during that time since she grew up in a rough situation and we begin talking every day.
On November 25th of that year, we were married. At the time she came with a two girls seven and ten who because of their parents’ inability to stay married due to their lack of commitment, wisdom and a variety of other problems caused by in their own past baggage. I am thirty-two years old. I had never even been engaged before. I was a brand new pastor of a church who had been given a three bedroom home by the church to live in for free, a seminary graduate and I opened this door of ‘family’ at this point in my life.
“My point in writing all of this is to tell you that loving a person is great but relationships are hard and if you are like me where you only believe in divorce in two circumstances abuse and adultery then you must be willing to work at the marriage every single day.”
You are probably thinking it was for sexual reasons and the truth is we waited until after we were married before being intimate. I wasn’t a virgin. The truth is I didn’t live on biblical moral grounds when it came to sex because I was never planning on getting married so my sex life, though it was unbiblical was great. So what made me get married?
First of all my biblical interpretation of scripture is that God orchestrates everything in our lives (Ps. 135:6) so He is the one who decided that this is the woman I need in my life and these are the kids that I need in my life.
For the sake of illustrating my new life to you, I am a 6’3 black man and my wife is a twenty-nine-year-old white woman with blonde hair. Both of her girls are also blonde haired and blue eyed.
God was definitely behind all of this because I was of the belief that I didn’t have a need for anyone in my life, or so I thought. But God thought and directed differently.
Secondly, I was addicted to having a ‘good time,’ which led to a lot of irresponsibility on my part. Because I wasn’t accountable to anyone besides myself and I could always procrastinate. All of my previous relationships had been me being with other irresponsible women because I didn’t want to have to commit or sacrifice.
Even in my friendships of twenty years and more I had never really had to sacrifice because when you are single you get to make your own rules. Giving that up was something I had never planned on doing- so to do it at the peak of what had been a re-birth of my life came out of nowhere.
A few years ago, my grandfather, my hero had a stroke. I lost control of my emotions which lead to me losing control of myself and my life which made me not want to feel, eat, or breathe. I wanted to die but that wouldn’t have even satisfied me because then I would have still had to exist. I think really what I was wanting to do was to stop existing altogether, physically and mentally.
When I was going through this sadness the people that I needed the most to help me didn’t. In fact, they abused their power by poking more holes in my boat than I already had before rather than giving me a fair shot to get better. As a result, my soul was eternally sullied with sadness and I could never get back to myself.
A part of me subconsciously needed to create a life for myself fast. I was afraid I was going to slip back into numbness, otherwise. Then came my wife and her children. I was rescuing my wife, by giving them a fresh start and home, but she was rescuing me too- we needed each other.
“One of my closet friends said to me before I got married to remember to “Forgive, forgive, forgive”
And let me tell you, I love her: I love the sex, her smile when she lets me lead. I love the girls and I love that I am the Christian in her life and she needed that just as I did. My brother Zac always tells me that I have to stay on the straight and narrow because God gave these girls to me to help heal. Some days its more than I want and some days I don’t even enjoy it one bit. My prayers with God have become a lot more honest and intense but the good thing is He can handle it and I can say anything to Him (Ps. 94:19) and He actually speaks to me through His word.
People say if you could go back and do it over again would you? And my answer is absolutely not and its not because I don’t love my wife and girls its because I wasn’t prepared to be what they needed. My point in writing all of this is to tell you that loving a person is great but relationships are hard and if you are like me where you only believe in divorce in two circumstances abuse and adultery then you must be willing to work at the marriage every single day.
You can be honest about your situation like I am and still be transparent because that is where you will find your ability to be able to love the person that you are married to at the capacity in which they are able to receive the love that you are giving them.
One of my closet friends said to me before I got married to remember to “Forgive, forgive, forgive” and I think that is the best advice I got not only in marriage but also when it comes to being a stepparent because I love my girls like they are my own but they don’t know how to receive that at their ages because I am reminded “your not my daddy”. What do you do with that when you are the provider- my wife doesn’t work. I have provided a life for them where she can stay at home and I work three jobs and she can homeschool them. They are well taken care of but they are right- I am not their daddy. What do you do? In those moments you forgive.
“What is the most important thing to remember about any place you are in your life is that God knows the state of your depravity and He will do what needs to be done in your life to bring all the glory to Himself in your life because Jesus wants you to be Holy before anything else in your life- Trust God and everything will work out.”
And hear is the truth you have to forgive instantly because if you hold onto anything longer than twenty-four hours it will stay longer than you planned on it staying and change some of the ways you view your love towards your kids- and notice I am not saying step kids because my money isn’t “step” my time isn’t “step” and living in my house isn’t “step”- just because the kids can’t see your love for them doesn’t mean you don’t keep giving it to them.
Ok I am done with this article I hope that you have gotten something out of it. But there are a few closing notes that I want to leave you with. The point of what I have written is to give you a small peek into what I did almost ten months ago but also to let all “Step Fathers” and new husbands who go from being bachelors to married men know that it is OK to feel the way you feel somedays and know that if your marriage is 80% good most days and 20% challenging other days. That’s about normal. Also read your vow’s before you get engaged every time you get upset with your then girlfriend because I want you to remember that you are going to be committing to those things after marriage and then you can’t back out of the relationships unless adultery or abuse- EVERYTHING else you are biblically required to compromise on.
So here is the finally part: 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 I want you to read those verses and if you can do this in your marriage, engagement or relationship then you will be fine. What is the most important thing to remember about any place you are in your life is that God knows the state of your depravity and He will do what needs to be done in your life to bring all the glory to Himself in your life because Jesus wants you to be Holy before anything else in your life- Trust God and everything will work out (Rom. 8:28)
#DraftedByJesus #PastorHouse #1stBaptistBlufordIL
ABOUT PASTOR ROBERT HOUSE:
Pastor House is thirty-three years old and married to his wife Rachael, and is the bonus dad to Paige and Chloe. He is the pastor of the 1st Baptist church of Bluford Illinois. He is also a supervisor in the parks department for the city of Mt Vernon Illinois were he oversees people who are doing their community service and trying to pay off their debt to society. He is the only African American pastor in the Salem South Baptist
Association and the first black preacher in the one hundred and thirty-three years of his church’s history. For enjoyment, he substitutes in the local school district to help inspire young people. He is a professional foodie and his life mottos are, “Stay principled and not emotional and don’t turn a mess into a disaster.” You can also find him monthly on the tv show ask the pastor on TCT network