Boys are different; or, the ones who have walked in, through, and out of my life sure are. Each one is oddly unique, but curiously similar. Deep thinking, observant humans have a way of finding one another. Josh is this type of person; and, lucky enough for me, he was willing to share insight into the mind and heart of what God is building and resetting within him.
Before you jump into a part of Josh’s story, here are five things you need to know about him:
1. He has been a follower, but is growing into a leader.
2. His nephews bring him the greatest joy.
3. He is a lover of all things food.
4. Loving people well is important to him.
5. God has written “Trust in me” on the Tablet of his Heart.
Since I knew you well in high school, self-worth was something you wrestled with often. Where does your worth come from now versus then?
“I think growing up–from 17 to 22–I learned that high school is a lot about the people around you. Initially, my self-worth came from them, from friends and family.
Looking back, the things I dealt with in high school feel childish or small, in a way. Honestly, the time after high school is when life became real. After my first year of college, a 2 ½ year relationship ended abruptly and my grandpa got sick. He was the leader of our church, and a foundation of my faith. Shortly after, he passed away. Finally, I found out I had failed out of the engineering program at Oregon State University. My physics final had been the day after his funeral.
Looking back, those three things were the foundation of who I was. My grandpa was my spiritual leader. My girlfriend and school were my future. To have that all taken away at the same time was left me empty.”
“I cried out to God, ‘I have nothing! I have nothing left!'”
“That moment was a turning point in my life. I was a different Josh from then moving forward. Prior to, life was a little naïve. But, my experiences granted me the opportunity to see other people’s hurts and understand how heavy hurt is.”
“To answer your question fully, my story of the last few years is understanding God’s love and recognizing that is what my worth comes from.”
How did you get through?
“I didn’t, really.”
“I had suicidal thoughts for a season, but they didn’t last for very long because I recognized ending my life wasn’t an option. Depression, on the other hand, was Satan’s daily tool to keep me down. Honestly, it just took time, day after day, and continuous prayer.”
“But the entire experience just completely reset me. Having the whole house and foundation of my life ripped away…led me to having an honest conversation with myself.
‘Okay, I have nothing; but, I have God. Am I going to rebuild on that?’”
Did you have to consciously choose to have faith in God when those life events happened?
“Yes and no. Having head knowledge, I have always known that God will not fail me; but, truly believing that in my heart took awhile.
One of the biggest struggles I face in my life is knowing things about God, but not living them out or believing them in my heart. I know a lot about the Bible and God, but that knowledge is almost a curse. I start to take those pieces of truth or understanding for granted. So, knowing all the stories in my head is deceptive, thinking that I have lived it in my heart.
Choosing to live by faith was a battle…because my heart didn’t want to, but my mind knew I needed to.”
As has been shown through Josh’s story, and the many others shared on Tablet of the Heart, each of us experiences times in life when the faith we have is stretched to its limits. Two options lay ahead in moments like these. The faith we carry within us can shrink, shrivel, and grow bitter at our circumstances. Or, faith can and will be shown how capable our soul’s are at resetting–in times of anguish, fear, or trial. May this story, and the one being written in your own life, expose not how easy life is, but how exquisite brokenness can become when it is placed before an all-powerful Author.