How Divorce Broke Me

The road to progress isn’t always pretty. And many times, the things that are the most unexpected and unfortunate can be the things that create the greatest breakthrough.

I only share and write about what might give hope and inspiration to others. So as I share this very personal battle that I’ve been through, perhaps you will see a new perspective on the trials in your life, as I have.

Transformation is something people often only see after the fact. They see the end result, the finished product. And it’s these outcomes that typically become the focus. Because everyone want’s to see the positive changes.

But there is a part of transformation that is rarely shared or highlighted. It’s not pretty, not worth taking a selfie over, and isn’t something you’d typically read about in someone’s social feed. At least not in a positive light.

But it is a very humbling, yet necessary side of the process. This side that is seldom talked about is what I call, The breaking. 

I’ve overcome what I would consider to be a lot in my life. I overcame being a chubby kid and lost 100 pounds. I overcame my childhood poverty, my lack of formal education and built a business that I’m passionate about.

I work in a community that I love,, and am raising my kids in a better neighborhood and environment than I ever had. I could say that I’m living the dream.

I thought I knew what it meant to break generational curses. I thought I knew what it was to rise above. But I came to find out that as much as I thought I knew and as much as I had experienced in the past, my deepest revelation of transformation had yet to come.

At 23 years old I was married. 3 weeks later, we found out we were having a baby. At 24 I was a husband, a father, living in a 500 square foot apartment and coaching clients out of a garage in San Francisco. And I was loving all of it.

I thought I had already faced my tough times, and that it was only up from there. I thought I just needed to figure out the pieces, grind, and make it happen.

2010 Joshua and I.

I thought I had paid my dues because when life looked hopeless for me, I surrendered everything and made commitments to God. I said yes to Him when it looked like there was no reason to say yes. I overcame family adversity, personal identity struggles, and kept the faith.

And now it seemed like it was all coming together. I was married to a beautiful wife, and had a healthy son. We were living in the city I loved, and I was doing what I loved for work. So now I could just step into my calling and my destiny was on it’s way.

And that was the first mistake. I thought I had paid my dues, and that I could just do my thing now that I was on track. I didn’t realize that the very thing that got me on track, that gave my life a second chance, was God’s grace.

And that very thing that got me to where I was, was to remain as the center of my life, my marriage, my business. But I thought I was good now. I thought I had this, and that I’ll just take it from here, God.

Fast forward 10 years, and circumstances in my personal life were drastically unraveling. The accumulation of things that went un resolved over the years finally broke open.

I was suddenly facing divorce and a broken family. It seemed like an ultimate life failure. All the good that had happened up until that point seemed like a waste. I was devastated, to say the least.

I always thought the greatest thing that happened to me was finding my wife. The story of our family, and what we came from. And as challenging as it was at times, nothing was as inspiring as our story.

And because of that, I thought that losing her and my family separating was the biggest tragedy and failure. Because there was too much good to let the bad win. There was too much potential, for it to stop short. And everything in me was breaking, because it just couldn’t end like this.

The memories we made as a family, the trials and obstacles we had overcome, the life we built together. All to end in brokenness. And there was nothing I could do to change it.

And it was in this nightmare which had become a reality, I was forced to face my struggle with control.  And as I did, I realized how little control I actually have of so many things in my life outside of myself.

Control in many ways had been a key to my success. Because let’s face it, if you want certain things to improve in your life, you need to control certain variables. But my need to control became my downfall when I thought I could control outcomes.

I thought I could control my future. I thought I could and needed to control other people for the wellbeing of my family. And when I saw things and behaviors happening that I thought would potentially hurt my family, I went into control mode.

It’s crazy what a person can become when they let fear guide them. When they let the focus become what is going to go wrong. What is not going to happen that needed to. The things that will be destroyed if things don’t change.

When fear became my focus, I caused a lot of pain and frustration. There were hurtful things I said and did. And there were times I got angry and reacted. There were things I wish I did more of. There were important things I did not prioritize.

As I’ve gone through this season of personal trials, I’ve recognized the hardness that life’s misfortune can cause in a heart. It’s easy to justify, to blame, to begin to see the world through a darker lens when circumstances turn for the worse.

But I realized that It’s also life’s trials that can serve as an opportunity for our hearts to be purified. To break the chains that keep us from our potential. It’s a process of surrender that not many choose to endure.  

Because the pain of being broken and restored is not passive. It requires you to revisit the pain. To work through it. To forgive. To actively let go. To actively focus on what’s good. To choose to have hope for the future. To believe that even though it may look horrible now, what’s to come is worth it if you keep pressing on.

And during this process I realized that being broken was the greatest victory and gift of my life. That everything in me that would hold me back from the potential I was created for, was being broken and restored. Because if you’re going to reach your potential, you need a solid foundation.

I’ve been chosen to be a voice, and I will testify to how I’ve overcome. And as I testify to the goodness and transformation in my life, I do so to inspire others to overcome the giants in their lives.

So just like David and his 5 Stones, it started with faith, it ends with faith, and it was faith everywhere in between.

So as I leave behind and forget the former things that held me captive, I thank God for doing a new thing, and now I can perceive it.

Next Generation: Break The Cycle

As I’ve gone through this season of my life for the past two years, God has put this message on my heart over and over again. And in doing so, I’ve come to realize how much I have overlooked such a vital aspect of life and humanity. The family.

How almost every issue as well as solution in our society, can be linked back to the family unit. That the health of the family unit can make or break communities, culture, the world.

But for that to hold true, so must this…

That family was created by God with a specific design, for a specific purpose. For His glory to be reflected by humanity, and fill the earth.

God is a God of intention. Everything He creates, He does so with specific and intentional design. Every aspect of His design carries a purpose and is formulated into His creation, to produce what He intended.

When all variables of the family are in alignment with God’s intended design, it produces good fruit. But if the variables are out of alignment, whether by choice or by circumstance, the fruit is tainted. 

In other words, instead of healthy and wholesome people coming out of healthy and wholesome families, we have broken families producing wounded and broken people.

And this brokenness manifestats itself in negative character traits and behavioral patterns creating social issues in which we struggle to find solutions for.

Perhaps we are simply failing to realize that the structure of the family and it’s intentional design is simply irreplaceable.

As people, we’ve been given the gift of free will. Because there can be no such thing as love, without choice. We are free to choose what we believe. Free to choose what and who we follow. We are free to choose how we steward our hearts.

But with this freedom, comes responsibility. And because of choices made over time, we have now become a culture which has shifted it’s values. A culture that elevates emotions over morals. Fact over Faith. Logic over the word of God.

A culture who cares more about what people say about us, than what God says. That derives self worth from the world, rather than our Heavenly Father.

We’ve become a culture that is encouraged to pursue our dreams at all costs. That doing what we love is more important than loving.

That working harder is a justified replacement of our family time. Because after all, it’s all for the benefit of our family, right?

We’ve become a culture that esteems what we produce, higher than what and who we are. We’ve taken the highest producers and put them on a podium, rather than recognize that each one of us is a creation of a loving creator.

In this culture there are some families that look like fairytales, some that look like tragedies, and some that fall in between. Many of which are broken and dysfunctional at the core. 

This brokenness and dysfunction stemming from wounds that were never healed, cultivated into families, and passed from generation to generation.

It’s become easier to live life wounded, than to go through the process of healing. It’s easier to find ways to cope, than it is to revisit, confront, and deal with the source of the pain.

And if gone untreated, these wounds manifest themselves in our character and behavioral patterns. And after time, these flawed patterns are no longer something we address and work to restore. Instead, we own them as part of our Identity.

And now, we’ve created a culture that says, “yes, we are all flawed, accept it. Let’s all come together and embrace our flaws.” We then accept our character and behavioral flaws as we label them our uniqueness. 

But once these flaws have been accepted as identity rather than behaviors stemming from brokenness and dysfunction, there can be no healing.

If we never recognize that we are broken, we cannot change. Once we believe it’s just part of who we are, there can be no restoration. Because you can’t restore what was never broken.

So now we have broken and hurt people who never dealt with their wounds. Who don’t even realize they are hurt anymore, because they are modifying their behavior and their beliefs in some form or another in order to cope.

Then owning those behaviors, character flaws, and beliefs as part of who they are, and how they view the reality of the world. Where there is no longer truth, but instead a self created perspective of what truth is.

This only perpetuates the cycle of brokenness and dysfunction from one family to the next. From one person to the next, as the ripple effect of their beliefs and behaviors affect those around them.

This is how a culture shifts. This is how communities end up with issues they cannot find solutions for. If there is no truth to stand on, deception can and will come over anyone.

To walk by faith and not by sight, is a choice. We can let what we see and our own perspective define truth, or we can choose to believe the words spoken by the one who came and died for us.

When His word doesn’t add up to our own view of reality, we choose which to believe. It’s called faith. The essence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

As one who has overcome and continue to overcome, my own brokenness was bred from a cycle of brokenness. A cycle which I was completely unaware of, as I unknowingly became part of it, and reproduced it in my own life and family.

I often tell clients, “The thing you think is your problem, likely isn’t your problem. And the reason you can’t find a solution, is because you’ve dismissed the real problem altogether.” 

As a child there were things that I dismissed as identity. My internal beliefs created my view of reality. And without me even being conscious of it, these very things sowed seeds of fear and worry in me from a young age.

And as I developed, those seeds of fear and worry developed into character and behavior traits. Things like anger, the need to be in control, and the need to feel significant, just to name a few.

And since I derived the truth collectively from my own experience, from what I could see, and what others believed, I could only see my flaws through a lens of deception. It was a lens I subconsciously created in order to cope.

I saw control as discipline

I saw anger as being strong. Not being timid, not being scared. Not letting people disrespect me. 

I saw the need for significance as ambition. As being driven. As being a go getter.

I took all my character and behavioral flaws, and subconsciously put a positive spin on them, proudly owned them as who I was.

If someone would have told me I was a controlling guy with anger issues, who only worked hard out of his need to feel significant, I would have laughed.

Because in my mind I was just a driven guy, with the discipline to do what it took be successful, and the strength to resist and overcome what stood in my way. And that right there is what the world would applaud. But the truth was that I was just deceived.

My behavior was my way of coping. And if we do not have truth, we all find ways to do so. Instead of me coping with drugs or alcohol, women, porn, shopping or partying, I chose other forms of addiction which I justified as being noble.

I thought I was rising above, but in reality I was sinking. All the while I was simply trying to fill a void, heal wounds that could not be healed through exterior things. And while I thought I was breaking the cycle, I was perpetuating it. Affecting the ones around me. The ones I loved the most.

It’s one thing to know the potential repercussions of doing something wrong and doing it anyway. It’s another thing entirely to do something wrong while thinking you’re doing right, and for the right reasons.

It’s called deception.

The phrase, “What you don’t know, won’t hurt you” is a lie. In fact, God said something very different.

He said, “For lack of knowledge, my people perish.” In other words, what you don’t know will actually kill you. What you don’t know, keeps the cycle going. Without truth, we perish.

But here is how we can break the cycle. I believe people inherently want to do good. It’s in our DNA to do better, to be better, and to change for the better. Growth and the desire for growth is something God created in us.

The first step is realizing we are broken. Because you can’t fix what you don’t realize is broken. And if we don’t have eyes to see what is really happening, we are powerless to change, to improve, to defend.

We live in a world and a culture that is constantly throwing punches to knock us off the road to our God given destiny. It’s the punches we don’t see that knocks us out. And unfortunately, it’s not just us taking the shots.

Our own unresolved issues become our children’s issues. The wounds that are not healed in us, we subconsciously inflict on our children. Just think of the fears, the behaviors, the habits, and the beliefs that were modeled to you as a child.

The lens we see through, the beliefs we internalize, the things we justify, all affect the way we live our lives.

The way we live our lives is what creates ripples. And these ripples influence the circle around us. The circle closest to us. In particular, the next generation.

This is how things like racism, poverty, and abuse still exist in families from generation to generation. It’s all a cycle of deception. A cycle that can only be broken with truth.

And not only can we break this cycle, but we can create ripples of love and truth that transform people. That transform families, communities, and eventually the world. Do you see where this can go? As far as we are willing to live it.

I’m declaring the cycle stops here. That the pain, brokenness, dysfunction, and deception being passed from one generation to the next, stops here. And that happens, only when we go back to the beginning. 

Acceptance is not the solution. Death and resurrection is the solution. This is not about adapting and advancing. This is about demolishing and restoring. Restoring people and family to what it was created to be.

Regardless of what our earthly family situation is, we all have a heavenly Father who is perfect in every way.

A Father who is our creator. Who created us uniquely with intention and for a specific purpose, with a specific destiny to fulfill.

A perfect Father who sent his son to die so that in all our brokenness, pain, and dysfunction, we could be restored to what he originally created us to be. In His Image. And He is Love.

And from there the ripple effect happens, society is changed, and God’s glory fills the Earth. As was his intention from the beginning.