Aug 31

Epilogue: New Identity

Identity

Image used with permission from Lisa Bliss Rush. http://www.lisablissrush.com

Epilogue: New Identity

As time passed, I tried to get on with my life. Doing the best work I could at the hair school and staying out of trouble. Life was not perfect or easy and I still suffered from my human identity. This meant that I made mistakes from time to time. No one ever gets it right, only one man did and He was God so there’s that. So, I tried to be a productive member of society, a role model to the students that I taught, and a good man.

In Nov, 1997, I met a beautiful woman named Lindsay, who had an uncanny resemblance to the young Audrey Hepburn. She was enrolled in the Cosmetology program at Capitol and there seemed to be some attraction between us. I can’t say that I was a perfect catch for her, but everything about her intrigued me. At that time, my heart was hardened from a failed relationship and I even told her not to get close to me.

She captured my heart and we fell in love. On March 13, 1999 I married the love of my life. I truly feel that God put her in my life to complete some of the work that he was doing in me. Being married to her has been the best thing that could have ever happened to me. She not only made me a husband, but with the addition of three beautiful daughters, I became a father. The most terrifying role a man could ever take on but at the same time, the most rewarding. My heart swells with pride at the accomplishments they achieve, the beauty they possess, but most importantly the hearts that they have for others.

Lindsay challenges me to uphold the God given roles that I possess and just like everything else in my story, if I do it on my own I will fail. So I rely on God to give me the knowledge, wisdom and strength to live in the same house as these four women. It has never been simple or perfect but it is so worth it. Love is not a strong enough word for what I feel for my family.

On September 11, 2001 our country changed forever. After the attacks a huge wave of patriotism swept our nation. War was imminent and everyone backed our service members no matter what branch of service or what job they held. It was amazing seeing how much love and respect was shared with anyone wearing a uniform.

It was at this time I became very unsettled. My father, brother and sister were all veterans and my youngest brother had just signed up just months before the attacks. As America hailed and praised our men and women in uniform, I began to develop a deep sense of guilt and shame about the actions that led to my incarceration and dishonorable discharge.

This feeling wouldn’t go away and it cut deep into my soul. It was hard to go to work every day feeling like that. I was feeling like there really was no significance to what I was doing. That in the grand scheme of life, I was irrelevant. Men and women were going overseas to fight and die for a cause.

In no way, shape or form did I ever want to leave my family to go to war. It was in knowing that even if I did want to, I was blacklisted from serving. The time that I spent in the Army was good for nothing. The worst part was, every time someone said to me, “Thank you for your service” it dug the knife in even deeper. They meant well, but I just couldn’t shake these feelings.

This same thing would happen around Veteran’s day and Memorial Day. Holidays honoring those who serve or have served and for remembering the men and women who died while serving in our country’s armed forces.

A reminder that I live in a country that was fought for with blood, sweat, tears and lives. I know that I walk around every day with the freedom that was provided for me. My heart is heavy and my head hangs low because I was discharged from the Army with dishonor. My selfish actions are to blame and I accept full responsibility. Having failed my family, my country and God miserably, I deserve the death that each military grave represents.

Yes, I know now that I am forgiven, and I know that God doesn’t look at me this way. However, it seems, the consequences of my past still haunt me year after year.

Knowing that I am forgiven by God’s grace is not enough. I need to surrender my past to Him and rest in my new identity daily. My conviction does not have to define me. I have to leave my old identity and accept my new one.

It is time for me to step out of prison and into the arms of Jesus.

1Peter 2:9 (NLT) …For he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

You do not have to be defined by your past, you have been forgiven and can have a new identity in Christ.

 

New Identity (Click to Tweet)

Thank you for reading my story, please feel free to share with anyone that you feel needs to hear this message.

 

Also, this is the rough draft for my book. If you would like to help make this a reality, I need a sigifigant number of email addresses. If you have not subscribed, please consider joining the list. Add your email address to the field up at the top of the blog or the one that sometimes pops up when you are about to leave the site. Thank you so much!

If this is your first time reading my true life story and would like to start at the beginning click the title below.

The Fort Leavenworth Story

  • Great post David, you can really feel the angst you felt and the struggle in finding your new identity.

    • David Mike

      Thanks! I still struggle with it a bit. Not as much right now. It is all self inflicted though, because no one has ever made me feel this way.

  • Jane Tuttle

    Yours has been a heart breaking journey and knowing you came through it with hope is equally emotional. Wonderful summary. Thank you for sharing.

    • David Mike

      Jane, thank you for your support along the way! I really appreciate it. Glad I got to meet you in person.

  • Wow! What a great closing to this portion of your story. Thank you David for pouring out your heart and in doing so reaching others!

    • David Mike

      It’s been a long journey in all respects. Thank you for the continued encouragement! I appreciate it Troy.

  • Bruce Pagano

    I love this part: “I truly feel that God put her in my life to complete some of the work that he was doing in me” I wish more people would realize that the better purpose of marriage is movement towards God’s redeeming work in us. And, we get to hang out with someone that loves us in the process.

    • David Mike

      Man, you are so right. She is awesome and I know God picked her for me. I would be a disaster without her.

  • Cutting hair can be a significant place for sharing the truth with your clients. People are so vulnerable when someone is messing with their head, and it makes them open to conversational topics that normally don’t happen. (I’m sure you teach that at Capitol). So, I think God has placed you in a great place to share your story. Yeah, you messed up in the military portion of your life, but it gave you a fabulous redemption story, and now you have an awesome new life! (Wish my Dad was around to encourage you – he too was the father of three daughters, of which I am the middle, and of course I was his favorite! 😎 )

    • David Mike

      Jana, thank you so much for all your suppport. I appreciate it. I’m sure you were his favorite, as well as the other two. Lol!

  • Cheryl Barron

    What would you tell that kid on his first day at Levenworth? Sorry we dont get to go fight or hang in there it gets really better? War is a drug-Dan Harris
    I’m ready for peace or politicians going into war.

    • David Mike

      Yes, war is aweful. I never really desired to go to war but I did volunteer to serve. Just didn’t feel good breaking that promise. My brother has deployed three times and was able to really help people.

  • David Trost

    David
    I struggle at times too for the less than Godly life I lead in the past but I believe it’s not the faults of the past that define us rather its the path we have taken after. One of the men who I have the most respect for was once a peadofile, convicted, sentenced and served 10 years in prison. A crime especially Since that time

    • David Mike

      Dave, thank you for taking the time to comment on my story. The world is such a dark and ugly place. I am so thankful that God still shines His light to reveal it and still sees fit to heal us from it. It’s been great getting to know you and your family at church.

  • Cheryl Barron

    You are serving. When my dad was in Vietnam his friend did dad’s honey -dos. He fixed clogged pipes or whatever. You fix people’s hair. You make them feel better. Ever hear of the barber in L.A. who takes a few days to cut &shave the homeless for free. He does it once a month .

    • David Mike

      Thank you, I appreciate it.

  • Steven Tessler

    An amazing story!!

    I know how you feel about your service but as I was listening to a podcast last night. Do not see what happened to you as bad but a blessing.

    It was sad what you went through but look at how many lives you are touching now because of what happened.

    God is using you!!

    • David Mike

      Thanks Steve, I am glad my story inspires others and I hope it continues to do so. I just felt led to discuss my feelings about my past just in case someone out there felt the same way. Being transparent. Thanks for being a great supporter and freind.

  • “My conviction does not have to define me. I have to leave my old identity and accept my new one.” How I love your honesty and willingness to be vulnerable by sharing it. This makes me feel so understood as I am struggling with this in my life, and it is true that, “Knowing that I am forgiven by God’s grace is not enough.” I hope that you write more about how you overcame this through time. Thank you 🙂

    • David Mike

      It is a daily thing for me. It is easy to get sidetracked and also completely derailed at times. We may never get there fully but as long as we turn back to Him, we will be okay. Thank you for your support. I realy appreciate it.

  • guyandrews

    D. you are an excellent writer. Well done, brother. I, too, live with sadness and regrets over my past. Yet, as the days and years go by, Christ shows me that “receiving forgiveness and Sonship” is a process. Of course, we will get discouraged, but it seems to get better as we let Him continue His mysterious pursuit to reveal His Unexplainable love. It is all to this Crazy Chase of Our Father, that I am happy to ‘give Him glory for” Its easy to give Him praise when it is so ridiculously clear that His Grace outworks, outlasts and outloves all of our slips and slides in ourStory. Love you, bro… Psalms 44:3 Guy

    • David Mike

      So true! Thanks for sharing your struggle with me and also for your kind words. I really appreciate you reading my story. Feel free to share it with anyone you know who needs to hear the message of grace and forgiveness.

  • Amanda Kate West

    What did I just read? I can’t even find the time to finish my Dean Koontz book but I had to find out how this story ended. What an awesome redemption story. The mirror can be a difficult thing to live with. So glad there was a happy ending!

    • David Mike

      Thank you so much! This is the rough draft to my book. It released Aug 1.

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