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What I learned in my "Dark Age"

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and support this past year. Special thanks must be given to Jennifer Votaw Crow, Robert Koke, Craig Groeschel, Marty Grubbs, Patty Gail Patten, Rick Reynolds, Jon Chasteen, Adam Starling, and Dale Swanson. My journey to healing would not have been possible without you.

I realize that my failure has impacted many and I now pray that my healing will bring hope to all. I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Your grace and mercy mean the world to me.

Writing every day gave me the opportunity to explore the depths of God's love and the richness of His mercy. Below is an excerpt of my search for meaning in all of this.

I have learned much during this, my personal modern day “Dark Age”.

I have learned a new level of God’s love.
I have learned that God really is ever-present.
I have learned that God is very patient to listen to my grievances.
I have learned that life consists of more than stuff.
I have learned that pain is both an evil enemy and a very close friend.
I have learned that none of us can be trusted.
I have learned that disciplines are critical to healing.
I have learned that I’m not in control and never really have been.
I have learned that control is an illusion.
I have learned that people that I didn’t know as friends are.
I have learned that it’s okay to be screwed up.
I have learned that it’s okay for people to know that I’m screwed up.
I have learned the power of authenticity in life.
I have learned that honesty isn’t the best policy, it’s the only policy.
I have learned that failing doesn’t have to be fatal.
I have learned that Christians have as much trouble forgiving as non-Christians.
I have learned that as long as there is pain, there is punishment.
I have learned that suffering is not optional for any of us, it’s just hidden in some of us.
I have learned that we will either suffer together or alone but we will all suffer.
I have learned that denial is the great deceiver.
I have learned that Satan gets more credit than he deserves.
I have learned that I’m the real enemy of my own destiny.
I have learned that we are all inherently self-centered. (Different than selfish)
I have learned that I will never be liked or loved by everyone.
I have learned that all of us are judgmental we just wear it differently.
I have learned the beauty of grace and mercy.
I have learned the ugliness of judgment.
I have learned the true meaning of mercies triumph over judgment.
I have learned that nobody owes me anything.
I have learned the power of love.
I have learned how precious the gift of love, grace and mercy are.
I have learned that worry is a waste of time.
I have learned how difficult it is to NOT worry.
I have learned that healing cannot be rushed.
I have learned that patience is more than a virtue, it’s a necessity.
I have learned that I am capable of more evil than I thought.
I have learned that I have unlimited potential to sin.
I have learned that only God can protect me from me.
I have learned that I’m stronger than I thought.
I have learned that I’m weaker than I thought.
I have learned that I only have today.
I have learned the power of the words “I’m sorry”.
I have learned that weakness is strength in God’s economy.
I have learned that crying is okay…even in public.
I have learned that if I don't like me, why should anyone else like me.
I have learned to place a high value on other people’s feelings.
I have learned that I wasn’t made to be worshipped and I should not be trusted with too much appreciation.
I have learned that my value is not found in what others think of me but in God’s love for me.
I have learned that striving (for me) is a sin.
I have learned that this life is short and eternity is more than likely going to be very long.
I have learned that hope is critical to my health.
I have learned to be less politically correct.
I have learned that God really does discipline those that He loves; today I know that He loves me.
I have learned that one mistake doesn’t define me.
I have learned that I must not waste a sin or a mistake.
I have learned that a change of scenery doesn’t mean that there is change in me.
I have learned that forgiveness is not an option.
I have learned that spiritual disciplines must happen moment by moment and day by day; that’s what makes them disciplines.
I have learned that a man is lucky if he has one great friend; he is extremely blessed if he has more than that.
I have learned that I’m solely responsible for my feelings.
I have learned that many of my actions are the result of my feelings.
I have learned to be more aware of my feelings.
I have learned that feelings only become bad when they cause us to “act” bad.
I have learned that only God knows good and bad.
I have learned that I’m not near as good as my mother said that I was.
I have learned that pleasure and work are equally important.
I have learned that we all have a public persona and a private persona and they don’t always look the same.
I have learned that nothing slips by God.
I have learned that just because I’m alone doesn’t mean that I have to feel lonely.
I have learned that the only sure thing in life is that I’m going to die.
I have learned that living, and how I live, is up to me.
I have learned that any promise that is not from God is only a good intention.
I have learned that everyone is probably doing the best that they can.
I have learned that I can do better.
I have learned that my judgment of others will not change them.
I have learned that that even my future will soon become my past so enjoy today.
I have learned that tomorrow will soon become yesterday.
I have learned that I can’t make people believe in me or trust me; they are both a gift to me should they happen.
I have learned that the greatest thing that I have to offer on this earth is my service to others and my compassion towards others.
I have learned that knowledge without wisdom is like a car without fuel.
I have learned that there will be good days and bad days as long as I live.
I have learned to slow down and drink in minutes instead of chasing after hours.
I have learned to appreciate the good things in life instead of thinking that more good things are necessary for more satisfaction.
I have learned that my achievements will be forgotten but my acts of love will remain in the hearts of the recipients forever.
I have learned that without grace we would all cease to breathe.
I have learned that my life should be an instrument of service today and not a trophy of accomplishments for future generations to honor.
I have learned that bad behavior can become a fond memory if it serves to make us more like Jesus.
I have learned that decisions made based on pros and cons are the enemy of faith and obedience.
I have learned that gratitude brings as much joy to the giver as it does to the receiver.
I have learned that humility can be rejected but it cannot be denied.
I have learned that if others abuse my grace that it doesn’t minimize, dilute nor negate the act of grace itself.
I have learned that I am not responsible for the outcome of other people’s lives.
I have learned that being judged is normal practice in a fallen world.
I have learned that judging others who have judged me only poisons me.
I have learned that everything that I’ve preached about God for the past 30 plus years is true.
I have TRULY learned that “God is a good God.”

My love to all,

Mark