Patrick R.

Patrick R.

from KS
Story #624
I am so glad you’ve taken an interest in my story! I am certainly amazed at the journey my life has taken and hope that you enjoy reading it and find some encouragement through it. In many ways, my story is pretty ordinary, at least to me. I was raised in a Navy family with my younger brother and sister. Moving around was pretty common and I never really had one place to call “home”. That changed while we were living in Orlando, Florida for my High School years. It was here that I met my High School Sweetheart, now my wife, and actually felt rooted to a location. As is often the case, once I had a girlfriend to pull my attention, my interest in other things began to lessen. Up until that point I had been really into role playing games, computers, and Sci-Fi/Fantasy books. The philosophies and ideals common in those mediums had shaped my beliefs over the years and by this point in my life I was a pretty firmly rooted atheist. To me, religion was an unnecessary item and something for weak-minded and simple people. This belief caused some minor issues in my relationship with my girlfriend but nothing that interfered with our growing closer and eventually getting married and joining the Navy right out of High School.

As you may imagine with two young, selfish kids now locked into a close relationship and the added stress of a military career, we had a rough start and fought often. It was during these early years in our marriage that our differences in beliefs really began to cause problems. As a result of our struggles, my wife was beginning to return to her Christian beliefs and this was met with increased ridicule and scorn from me. Things came to a head one day and after a rather heated argument I asked for a divorce. I felt there was no other option for me and was greatly relieved when I finally had the words out. Little did I know that shortly before this my wife had re-committed herself to following Jesus Christ and His teachings. She asked me to give her some more time before a final decision was made and I agreed. As I look back now I can honestly say this was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I honestly do not remember much of the time surrounding this fight and delay but I do know that shortly after that I was deployed on my submarine and was soon deep under the ocean with 150 of my new closest friends.

There was some relief from the fighting and conflict but I was not happy and knew it. It was this isolation and misery that was ultimately used by God to change my life in ways that I still find amazing. While patrolling somewhere under water in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean I was confronted by a shipmate for some choice use of language that was, honestly, pretty common. His objection to my speech was unusual and really got my attention. In the weeks that followed we had many conversations about life and at some point his belief in God and commitment to Jesus Christ was brought into the discussion. In the middle of my misery, and the ocean, I finally realized that the biggest problem in my life and marriage was me. I distinctly remember lying in my bunk one day and telling God that I was giving up and that if He was truly there then I turn my life over to Him. I had reached the point where the beliefs I had mocked most of my life I now saw as my only hope of rescue from a life of misery. From that time forward God has continued to work in my life and has been gracious and merciful in ways I do not understand and certainly do not deserve. My marriage has been restored and the wife who I fought with so often is now my best friend. He has blessed us with a wonderful family and some great memories together in our soon to be 32 years of marriage. I still marvel at the thought that I had asked to end it after only two years...what I would have missed had that happened!

There is more to our story and details to be told that show both the mercy and grace of God but I will save those for another time or for a more personal discussion. Suffice it to say that there were issues in my personal life that still affected our marriage and relationship even after committing to follow Christ. Some changes were immediate and dramatic, others were very difficult and painful. All have been accomplished with God's help and provision.

I hope you have found my story encouraging. If so, please let me know and possibly ask about some of the more specific ways I have seen God work in my life.

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