A stained glass window appears to be made up of broken or shattered pieces of glass bonded together to form an image. The glass is actually precisely selected by the artist for its color and texture. The glass is cut, ground, shaped and gracefully fused together to form the artist’s creation, which true beauty is illuminated when shined on by the sun.
I see my story as one of God’s stained glass windows. A stained glass window appears to be made up of broken or shattered pieces of glass bonded together to form an image. The glass is actually precisely selected by the artist for its color and texture. The glass is cut, ground, shaped and gracefully fused together to form the artist’s creation, which true beauty is illuminated when shined on by the sun.
I was brought up in a Christian home in Dayton Ohio. My dad worked and provided for the family. My mom was always there and took care of the home. I can only think of one instance in my entire life that I have seen my mom and dad openly argue with each other. I had loving parents and I remember a feeling of peace and security in the household as a child.
When I was in the fourth grade, the family moved from Dayton to Xenia. At the start of my 5th-grade year at the local Christian school, my teacher asked the class to come to her privately by the end of the week and share with her their testimony if they had one. I was terrified. I didn’t have a testimony and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I knew my parents were Christians and being brought up in a Christian home I thought getting saved seemed like the right thing to do. I went home and talked to my dad about the situation. I really don’t remember what he said or what I said. I do remember that he prayed with me. I made some kind of a statement of faith and was baptized shortly thereafter. I’m afraid that’s all that it was, though. It was just a statement of faith.
In junior high school, I was having a hard time fitting in. I remember making a conscious decision to ditch my Christian image to try and make friends. It worked. I made friends. I found a new identity. I also lost interest in learning or succeeding in school. It was the start of years of substance abuse. I lost interest in playing sports. I began lying compulsively to my parents to cover up for the sins I was committing. The lifestyle continued throughout high school. My rebellion grew and my capacities to sin seem to grow with it.
I started working at the age fourteen at the local car wash. It seemed great because it provided money, friends, and a place away from the house where I could party. I met my first wife while working there. We started hanging out a lot and got married just after we both turned nineteen. The first few years of marriage were hard. I had no respect for my wife. I enjoyed hanging out with my buddies’ way too much. I was a heavy drinker and partied a lot.
In my early twenties, I landed a good factory job that forced me to change my lifestyle. I still drank a lot but didn’t hang out half as much. As I was getting a little older, my lifestyle and the consequences of living that kind of a lifestyle was catching up with me. I was sad, lonely, and in need of help. To top it all off, my dad had a heart attack. The week he was in the hospital I spent a lot of time thinking about death, dying, and eternity. That Friday evening I had a friend at the house with my wife and we spent the evening playing a board game. As I went upstairs to go to bed, emotionally I had hit rock bottom. I got on my knees at the edge of my bed and I called out to Jesus. I prayed. I asked for forgiveness. I brought up the Gospel I was taught in my youth. I asked Him to take my life and make it new. I believe He heard me. I believe I was truly saved at that moment.
My new life in Christ had begun. God had graciously placed love and peace in my heart and a passion for His Word. My lifestyle dramatically changed for the good.
I was bored with my factory job and looking for adventure. In that search for adventure, my wife and I decided to move to the great state of Maine. Maine was an outdoor adventure enthusiast’s paradise. The state is covered with forest with the ocean at the coast. I found an awesome church to plug into. A missionary to Africa came to the church and spoke about the work God was doing there and how he was being used. The talk sparked a desire in me and in how I could be used by the Lord. I went back to school and got my associates degree in Computer Systems Technology with the hope of being used by God in some capacity in that field or in just supporting the work that God is doing worldwide. God has blessed me with the opportunity to take a mission trip, do jail ministry, and serve others with my skills in the IT field.
I am unable to go into a lot of details about how my marriage broke apart without speaking for my ex-wife. So, I will just say that I had failed in a multitude of ways through our fifteen years of marriage. I did not want the divorce, believe that divorce is wrong, and have experienced extreme sorrow because of the divorce. I married again for a little over a year. And again, without going into a lot of detail, I will say I failed in a multitude of ways in the marriage.
I moved back home to Ohio after the second divorce. I knew I had a loving family in Ohio and I needed that support after the divorce. After being home a short period of time, I met my wife Kersti. She had three children when we got married; Ronnie, Megan, and Hannah. Megan and Hannah are such a blessing and are presently still in the household with us. I believe Kersti is a Godsend. She is now pregnant with my first child. The thought of being a father at this age is beyond words for me. I praise God for this opportunity!
In conclusion, when thinking of my past or journey as a single moment in time, it can appear as just a broken piece of glass that I wish could be discarded. But, I believe God has used every step on my journey to create another glorious image that points to Him. My heavenly Father is the Master Artist. His beauty is displayed throughout all creation and in the lives of His children. What an awesome privilege it is to be a child of God by His Grace!
Author and Photographer: Jon Cyrus