In yesterday’s post, I shared 3 things I am learning through the #Blogtober guest post experience. Today, I am unveiling a fourth. This experience has also introduced me to new bloggers creating excellent content.
Chad Campese, chief blogger at Christian Fraud, is one example of discovering a new blogger creating cutting edge content and fostering honest conversation.
Chad is a husband and father who works as a police officer when he is not busy writing or blogging. In our emails, Chad repeatedly made it clear that he is new to this whole blogging thing. His content is compelling—even gut-wrenching at times—as well as convicting. I pray you enjoy his offering here on my blog and take time to check out Chad’s blog as well.
Without further ado…
Stained Glass, Rebellion, And Battling For A Daughter’s Heart – With A.R.
“Must you taste your children’s blood, drawn by the enemy’s sword, to realize the intensity of the battle in which you pretend to engage?”Wild Will Hayes
There’s a fraud among you.
He ran for far too long. He could do it, fix it, and thrive in life, all on his own. He didn’t need God. Until he did. Until his daughter did. Until God showed him that he didn’t have all the answers. Until he couldn’t fix a heart that was breaking into a million pieces.
He had reasons for not trusting God. The hospital room was quiet, still, no noise, no commotion. He was coming to check on his brother after the accident. As he broke the barrier of the door, he was shocked at what he saw. No one had warned him.
Would death never stop? How many times could God force his wife to tell him that she’d lost another child? His dad was in bad shape, though, granted, he had done that to himself.
We get our initial visions of God from how we relate to our fathers.
And he definitely didn’t need God if that’s the case.
His mom, she’d lied to him all this time. So had the church. Everyone that ever told him there was a loving Father worthy of praise. All those years wasted. Or, maybe it was the life he led that he was being punished for. No wonder he walked away from it all so long ago. The church, God, they were useless.
Until they weren’t.
But maybe we shouldn’t start there…
Church wasn’t an option, it was punishment. Every Sunday. Skipping? No way. It was what they did. Dad was gone. Divorced. Adam saw him on the weekends. His dad never had to go to church. Never wanted to either. Why should Adam have to?
After Sunday, he went to Catholic school full time. Thank God, literally, for Saturdays.
Adam had questions. Why do we do this? What is God? Why do we come here? But he couldn’t ask. You were supposed to believe. To have faith. For everyone else it was easy,
Natural. For him, it was a mystery. One that he was happy to finally stop exploring. He didn’t need God and God didn’t care about him. Funny, at times, he felt the same way about his dad.
At eighteen came freedom, and life. He found college, girls, partying, drinking, more girls, another party, and a dash of studies mixed somewhere among the late nights and even later mornings. Freedom, rebellion, whatever you’d call it, it felt like Heaven.
Until it didn’t.
Until he witnessed the destruction rebellion causes. Until he watched his own father waste away into desperation.
Adam became a parent at twenty five, but not to his own kids. To his dad. One night, walking through those double doors, the coldness of the institution walls crowded around him. He had ten one dollar bills in his hand because patients could only have singles for the snack machine. Just in case they had the opportunity to get away to buy drugs.
His dad was a role model. Of what not to do. Of where not to end up.
Gambling, drinking, addiction. He thought about it as he left through those same double doors. It could never come to that. Never. It was time to grow up. Time to make a change. His current relationship was toxic.
She had almost stabbed him with a kitchen knife a few nights back. Just missed his leg. Another inch and he’d have been calling the police, instead of just her parents to come get her and take her as far away from him and the situation as possible.
It was then he felt the call.
“Come back. I’ve got life for you. Real life.” He can’t say if he heard God’s voice, or if it was his mother’s lasting impression, or maybe a mix of it all. “Come back! There’s meaning here, direction, purpose, hope.”
But he couldn’t. Like so many of us, he felt like a fraud.
Why would God call him? The life he’s lived these past years. Everyone else would see right through him. How could he sit next to his mom? She’d tried so hard to lead him down the right path and he just chucked it right back in her face.
God would never hear his prayers. Why did he need God? His own dad, distant, uncaring, though that probably wasn’t intentional. He had his own demons. Why did Adam need him? If he didn’t need his dad, why need God?
Steady. He just needed steady, purposeful, and meaningful. A wife, family, kids, the natural progression. It was that way for a reason. It was what he needed to do. And it was time to grow up.
She popped up as a match. He recognized her on the screen, ten years later. They went to high school together. She couldn’t stand him back then. He was a brash jock who didn’t care about anyone but himself. That’s what she said. She wasn’t wrong. Would she give him a shot?
The jokes ensued. No way. This is crazy. They even broke it off three times during the year they dated. She already had two kids from a previous relationship. A ready made family. Was he ready for that? Could he handle it? His mom didn’t think it was a great idea.
“What are you doing?”
He remembers her asking him so many times. But for a guy who was ready to get the hell out of the fast lane and into a nice cruising speed with a purpose and a place to go, a ready made family was just the thing.
They grounded him, instantly. He was thankful. He had done it. Accomplished what he set out. And all by himself, at least that’s what he thought at the time. God was still gone from the picture, and Adam was good with that. He could handle life.
Then, the phone call. As they walked into the room, looking back now, Adam can only thank God that his wife was there. He hadn’t been told that his brother had died before he saw the white sheet over the body.
A car accident, the fault of another driver. Sudden, unexpected, an exit from life. Then, over and over and over again, his wife miscarried. How did he fix that? He had no control.
God, are you kidding me? Are you punishing me? What are you doing? Why?
Do you even care?
Then, it happened. Their oldest daughter from his wife’s first relationship was heading down his same rebellious path. Public middle school was taking a heavy toll. She was learning things, seeing things, and being approached in ways a young woman never should. She was changing before his eyes and present in a battle he wasn’t sure how to win.
What could they do? Church, Catholic school, no way. He knew what kind of impact that would make, what it did to him. But it was only getting worse. There was a battle going on for her heart, and someone needed to help her fight back. He had to rely on someone else. On God, on the church, no longer on just his pride and problem solving. He had no control.
It was God, screaming this time.
“Take up the sword man! Your daughter’s heart, her life is at stake. It’s time to let Me lead, you can’t be passive in this battle. Come back!”
He and his wife made the hard decision. Their daughter hated them for it, at first. Maybe he’d lose her anyway, he thought, as she fought back against them. But he had to try.
The transformation, after some time, was amazing. The way she’s changed, the things she says, finds important, the life that returned to her face and her heart. He was amazed. She was different. It was different. God was in it. He was there. Changing, transforming her life, and calling Adam through it all.
“Stay in this battle, for your family, for your daughter. Let me lead it, for everyone. From today onward.”
Through her voice, and her experience, there was something so special and amazing about it that he can’t describe, just like he can’t describe God. And maybe that’s a good thing. He’s not the absent father that his own father was, even though that was the label he gave God all these years.
And he knows now his daughter will see him in a much different light. He’s part of the battle for his family, being led by the One who knows the enemy, and always will come out victorious. She’s been the vessel God’s worked through, a vision of rebirth, a way to be saved, a way to find new life.
He’s starting to find peace, a life, and a purpose as he tries to intentionally lead. He credits the community at St. Michael’s in Worthington OH. It’s a blessing. A new start. A wonderful experience and guide.
Looking back, his salvation, his rebirth, started on that day so long ago that God showed him his father and He said, “No. This can’t happen with you. Never. I’ve got bigger plans for you.”
There’s a hunger now, a peace, and even if he doesn’t know where God is, or why He lets things happen as He does, it doesn’t matter. His daughter is proof enough of that. But there’s a call within his heart that puts every question, each complaint aside, and just says, I’m in. I don’t know what you have for me, I don’t know where it’s going, but I’m in.
All in. Let’s go…Father.
Yes, there was a fraud among you, and his name is Adam R. But he is no longer a fraud. And he gives all the credit to the One who pursued, patiently waited, and has finally and thankfully, started to take over.
His family has a special saying:
Our last names may not match, but our hearts do.
And now those hearts are connected to the One who gives life, and life abundant. For that, for his family, Adam is forever grateful.
Written by: Chad Campese
Ready to be honest about who you are and where you’ve been? Join us. Dive into the deep. The meaningful. An honest and open take on faith and life. Think your story can help someone else? Get on the list for interviews or to receive regular blog posts.
Chad Campese is a father, husband, police officer, newbie blogger at Christianfraud.com, and author of the book Confession of a Christian Fraud. He holds a BA in Christian Counseling and psychology and is an expert in living his life and faith as a fraud. These days he simply relies on the leading of Christ as he tries to slowly and purposefully take life one day at a time.
Powerful, right !?!
Again, be sure and check out Chad’s blog. If you dug this post, hit me up with a like or two. Feel free to share your impressions in the Comments below.
I pray you are blessed by today’s guest post. May the Lord, our God, shine His favor upon you.
The Devotional Guy™