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21 June, 2011 / theexpositor

The Most Personal Thing I have Ever Written…

The past few months have been incredible for me and I wanted to take this opportunity to share them with you.  They are both very personal in nature.

Recently I was able to make contact with my daughter Hannah. This is most significant since it has been many years since I saw her last. The events and circumstances that led to our being separated were my fault, and while I had the best of intentions, I made some very poor decisions and conducted myself in a very irresponsible and selfish way. It was shortly after Hannah left that I realized how stupid I was but by then it was too late, and she and her mother were gone. I tried desperately for many years, to find her, but to no avail.

A year or so ago, with the help of my sister Allison, I was able to acquire a location for Hannah, and was able to make temporary contact with her. Then, a few weeks ago or so she and I connected for what I hope is forever, and most recently, I was able to hear her sweet, angelic voice for the first time in all these years.

Not to make myself out as some sort of victim, because I’m not, but it has been so long, and now to finally have contact with her, is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given. I hope that in the coming weeks we are able to meet again in person. I have dreamed of that day so much and I pray it will come to be.

To Hannah, my darling daughter, please forgive me for not being there for you all these years. You have always been in my mind and in my heart. My love for you never died and if you will allow me, I will spend the rest of my days trying to be a father to you. I am so proud of you and I love you so dearly. And to your mom; thank you for loving and caring for our daughter and for all the sacrifices you made. I only hope that you can find it in your heart some day to forgive me.

_____________________________________________________________

 

Then, in my life, as I’m sure everyone can admit to, there have been many blessings and many trials. I would not begin to focus on the trials so much or to spend a lot of time on them here. I would rather focus on the mercies of a gracious Lord, who continues to amaze me every day.

Being somewhat in a spotlight, with the radio programs, the blogs and such, leads many to believe they know me, when in reality there is much about me that I don’t discuss, either because it’s irrelevant or if it’s of such a personal nature that it doesn’t need to be spoken of.

In early 2010 my marriage legally ended, after over 5 years of being alone and seeking reconciliation, it ended and a divorce was sought and granted. I will not go into any specifics as it serves no purpose. But needless to say, it was a sad, heart-wrenching and devastating ordeal for both of us.

During that process, I cried, I screamed, I questioned God and myself, I doubted, I searched my soul, I poured through Scripture, I sought the prayer and counsel of others and to a very few confidants, I whined…a lot. It was incredibly difficult that the relationship had ended and I will freely admit to this day, it still hurts to a degree. But, God is gracious. He is merciful, and while I have failed Him many times, He has never failed me. I continue to humble myself before Him, praying for us both, and asking Him to break and mold me as He chooses.

God has placed some very special people in my life to help and guide me or just to love me and pray for me. I think of my best friends Danny and Scott, who sat and listened to all of my whining and crying; who sometimes offered feedback or many times just offered a listening ear. Their love, care and guidance have meant more than I can express and I cherish them greatly.

There’s Mildred and Edward, who have prayed constantly; who would send me a text or an email that always seemed to arrive at the just the moments I needed them most. They are God sends and I cherish them deeply.

There were many others who came along and offered me nothing but love and encouragement. They laughed with me when I need a chuckle and cried with me when I needed to shed tears; they prayed for me and cared for me. They gave of themselves and invested their hearts in me and I have been very blessed to have them in my life. I will always thank the Lord for their friendship and will always have the warmest feelings for them.

So after all of this, as I prayed seeking the Lord’s will, for me as a believer, as a father, and as a single person, I have arrived at this moment in my life. Over the course of the last 6 years I would ask the Lord if this was my destiny, to be alone. I wrestled with it but was trying to accept perhaps that it was indeed the Lord’s plan that I remain single. To be honest with you I didn’t like it but my prayer was that the Lord helps me to accept and deal with it or clearly show me His direction. I wasn’t praying for Him to send me a relationship or even a spouse. I was simply praying for Him to show me the way, whatever it was.

There were a few others that were praying the same things and wasn’t until a short time ago that I began to realize answers to those prayers.

It amazes me still how the Lord can do some things just because He wants to. There is a special person in my life now whose name is Donna. She and I have known one another for some 10 years or so. We attended the same church together and worked in some ministry projects together in the past. I had always had the highest regard for her and always looked up to her. For what I can only attribute to grace, a while back we became reacquainted.

We started spending more and more time together; we have prayed together, studied together and attended church together. I am so impressed with her love for the Lord, her steadfast commitment and especially for her humility. I have always considered her to be on higher spiritual level than me, and even though I have been blessed to know her better…I still hold her up. She is a gracious and caring person, and I am confident the Lord brought her into my life.

She is a beautiful woman physically but even more beautiful spiritually. Being around her I’m drawn to want to love God more, to want to please Him more, and I will admit, sometimes I’m convicted of my sins and faults too. Donna holds me to a higher standard, not in a haughty or critical way; it’s more in a way of encouragement, in a “too whom much is given, much is required” sort of way.

I love her but I also like her, if you know what I mean. We are incredibly honest with one another and try to lay everything on the table, even if it stings a little. I am so thankful to our merciful Lord for bringing her into my life. Never did I imagine that this wonderful lady would have any interest in some old broken down man like me, and frankly I’m still amazed by it; but I’m not doubting it or rejecting it.

So, with all the baggage, the history, the background, the struggles,besetting sins, the worries; the Lord has brought Donna and me to this point. We have prayed, sought counsel and prayed some more, and we have arrived at the conclusion that we wish to be wed and if she will have me I will spend the rest of my days on this earth loving her and cherishing her.

She and I know that our joy comes from the Lord, but we also recognize that His joy also works through the vessels He chooses to use. I’m convinced that He put us together; two people who thought we were destined to live and serve our lives as a single soul, have been graced with a tremendous gift.

This gift isn’t for self gratification or to pass credit to one of us. This gift has been from the Lord and was given for a purpose and design; to bring Him glory.

Thank you Father, for loving me; a miserable wretch apart from Your grace; Thank you Lord for never giving up on me, even when You could; for showing me mercy when You could have judge me; for strengthening me when You could have easily let me fend for myself. Thank you Father for all the ones you placed in my life to love and lift me up. Thank you Father for the gift of placing Donna in my life; May we be found worthy in Your sight and be found faithful. May all that we do glorify You.

 

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10 Comments

  1. Ingrid Schlueter / Jun 21 2011 10 33

    God bless you, Mike! I am so happy for you.

    • theexpositor / Jun 21 2011 14 51

      Thank you Ingrid and God bless you.

  2. The Seeking Disciple / Jun 21 2011 13 14

    Life is hard. I am sorry to read your struggles. Yet I find my hope in God as do you. Over the years that I have been a disciple of Jesus, I have failed Him many times yet He has never failed me. Despite my sins. Despite my questions. Despite my heart breaking, He has remained faithful. That is why I love 2 Timothy 2:13. He remains faithful even when we are faithless. What a mighty God we serve! Keep your eyes on Him brother.

    • theexpositor / Jun 21 2011 14 50

      Thank you brother.

      2 Timothy 2:1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

      8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

      If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
      12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
      if we deny him, he also will deny us;
      13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

      for he cannot deny himself.

  3. Todd Upchurch / Jun 21 2011 16 05

    Mike,

    Reading your story made me think of mine; simliar in some ways and different in others. In the end, I wondered if God had made some kind of mistake or was punishing me. Finally, the Lord brought a wonderful lady, like yours, into my life who is my loving help-meet.
    These character building events sure are tough but ultimately are worth it.

  4. Brett S / Jun 21 2011 19 04

    Well happy father’s day to you, Mike Corley! Glad to hear about your daughter.
    There’s only one perfect Father, and the rest of us all fail our kids in one way or another.
    My prayers continue to be with your family

    • theexpositor / Jun 22 2011 8 07

      Thank you Brett for your continued encouragement. It means so much.

  5. Paula Coyle / Jun 22 2011 10 53

    Aww Mike I am so sorry to hear of all your personal struggles (not that I wouldn’t want you to share them). It helps me get a fuller picture of you as a person.

    That is a beautiful testimony of God’s grace in your life – that you continue to seek reconciliation and admit your wrongdoings as we all should. That Christians, REAL Christians, really do struggle with marriage-breaking issues. None of us have done it perfectly, but the Lord is faithful to use our error as a teaching opportunity to conform us to the image of his precious Son, teaching us about reconciliation and restoring the years the locusts have eaten.

  6. Paula Coyle / Jun 22 2011 10 55

    heh that sounds funny… I’m sorry — it helps me get a fuller picture of you as a person. I should say I’m sorry to hear you have had such struggles – but thankful you shared, as it helps me get a fuller picture… etc.

  7. Douglas / Jun 22 2011 13 23

    Amazing grace how sweet the sound…

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