Redeeming The Lost Years

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“Even though I was involved in a youth group growing up and was a Bible major in college, I didn’t prioritize my relationship and time with the Lord,” said Rob Guild. “I started to first experience the negative effects of this when I married my college girlfriend. We struggled in many ways but specifically, romance and intimacy were sources of contention throughout our relationship.

“A little after our son had been born, we found out my wife was pregnant with our daughter. At this same time, I found out she had been having multiple affairs while I was traveling for work. I was devastated, but I knew I would raise her as my daughter no matter who the father was. I was a night truck driver at the time and spent my nights driving, praying, and thinking about Psalm 139. I knew God was knitting together my next child.

“Time passed, and we moved around the country with our two children following different jobs. Through our challenges and struggles, my wife told me she wanted a divorce. I wanted to work on our marriage, but she had already moved on to a new relationship. It was one of the worst years of my life.

“One night while traveling for work, I remember wondering what I’d done to make my life come completely unraveled. Everything I’d worked for in my life was completely gone. I recalled Proverbs 22:6, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.’ I thought to myself, ‘I know what I should be doing, I’m just not doing it. I should be pointing my children to Christ. I’m a Bible major that is the chief of hypocrites. I haven’t even read the entire Bible.’

“I realized I couldn’t fix everything, but I could start reading my Bible.

“The next two years were two wild and crazy years for my life and my faith. I reconnected with an old family friend, Brittany, and we started dating. She was the daughter of my youth pastor growing up whom I’d remained in contact with for so many years. I told her about all of the baggage that I was bringing into our relationship and reminded her that I was a ‘package deal’ with my two children from my previous marriage. She admitted that for so long she thought children and marriage were not going to be part of her life, but she was committed.

“After our wedding, I realized what I’d experienced and seen was spiritual stagnation in my life for years. I never wanted to let that happen again. I felt like I’d wasted so many years, but soon learned that God can redeem the ‘years the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25)’.

“Brittany learned about the Blended Family ministry at Watermark, and we decided to check it out. We felt so out of place when we looked at the other families and people around us. We felt like square pegs trying to fit into round holes. But we truly felt Watermark was where the Lord wanted us.

“Eventually, we pursued Membership and joined a community group with five other couples. They were all so nice, but we were just so different. Professionally, financially, physically, and culturally, we were almost opposites. I knew we just had to roll with it and trust what the Lord would do.

“We set on a path with our community group that has so many times revolutionized our faith and relationships. God knows what you need before you need it. We trusted Him with our lives and found so much fruit from obedience.

“For me and Brittany, it felt like everything in life was getting better and better, but for my ex-wife, that was not the case. Our kids started to see a vast dichotomy in their two families. Housing was often uncertain and temporary when they would go visit their mother on weekends. They were in some unsafe situations under her care, and this really affected trust both ways in our co-parenting.

“Because we didn’t have custody of the kids on weekends, Brittany and I realized there wasn’t an opportunity to bring our kids to church. We desperately wanted to disciple and shepherd them, so, in the meantime, we would go through Watermark Kids online curriculum while we spent hours driving them back and forth each week to visit their mom.

“The constant issues and problems with custody and living situations were very challenging with two growing kids, but I took this as an opportunity to be open and authentic with them. One night after a lot of chaos and frustration with their circumstances, I told our son, ‘I hate that sin has consequences. We live in a broken world, and the consequences of my sin and broken marriage are affecting you. And even though the consequences are still here, I am forgiven, and God still loves me. I am sorry that this is happening because of sin in my life before you were even born.’

“I feel those lost years, but I know God is redeeming them. He says I don’t have to worry about that. I know I can’t go back in time, but I can make sure my kids see me trying to live a life that is honoring to the Lord. I get to show them that I live differently than the rest of the world because of my salvation. And I get to watch them thrive in ministries for students, like Wake at Watermark, to learn how they too can live differently.”