Moving Toward a New Beginning

07/14/2017 .
Jenna Austin  .  Volunteer Storyteller

Ben knew there would be problems, he saw them coming. But there wasn’t anything he could do to stop it. He tried to warn his wife; he wanted to protect their marriage. Before his marriage troubles, Ben had the picture perfect life — a successful job in the medical field, three beautiful children, and a church in the Bay area. But as Ben’s marriage began to fall apart, his life came crashing to a halt.

“We tried to go through reconciliation period,” Ben said. “We went to counseling and thought things were going to work out, but then everything fell apart again.”

Ben felt confused. He had always been goal driven, carefully planning out his life. Now everything felt cloudy and uncertain. He felt lost, even though he had planned and carefully mapped out his life. Ben knew it was time to make a change and get his family into a healthier environment.

“I didn’t want to blame God, even in the midst of my divorce. I tried to stay positive but it was difficult. Even though I gained custody of my kids, life was very challenging. I didn’t have a lot of support living in the Bay Area so I moved closer to family. I was trying to manage all the stress and I had my kids to care for.”

Ben's father had a business opportunity in Southern California. He planned his move, trying to trust that God had better things ahead. After the move, Ben found Saddleback church. A friend he had met through his kid’s school invited him along one weekend. The way Pastor Rick taught the Bible gave him tremendous encouragement in that difficult period of his life. Pastor Rick’s message on worldview deeply impacted Ben’s outlook. “I had played by the rules. I thought I was doing everything right, but the outcome wasn’t at all what I expected. I had to learn the hard way that I couldn’t control the choices of other people, I couldn’t control the outcomes.”

That message gave him courage to see beyond his broken marriage and custody battle and be grateful for the good things God had placed in his life. All of his experiences with the custody battle and trusting a church family had given him the resolve to keep moving forward. He thanks God every day and expects God to carry him through, even when life isn’t easy.

“I had a road map where I plotted the points of my life. I had landmarks I thought I would be driving by, but after the divorce nothing on my map looked familiar. At Saddleback, I learned to discover the meaning to my surroundings and allow God to give me a healthy perspective.”

"It was refreshing to attend a church where grace, love, and growth were a foundation,” Ben said. “God brings people into our life in certain circumstances to help us grow up and that was why I was at Saddleback. I did my best with everything in my hand, but I had to let go of control, I had to let go of the outcome and reorient my life. I could have easily spun out of control emotionally but shifting my perspective gave me the grace to do my best and trust God more.”

When Ben was attending court and going through the custody hearings with his ex-wife, he tried to see the purpose in it and tried to be there for his kids. "It is about the meaning you give things and seeing the end purpose,” Ben said. “There is only loss and disappointment if you apply the wrong meaning to a circumstance.” Ben was determined to not allow the custody issues to destroy him.

“I got through the uncertainty in my life by letting God do the work he needed to do,” Ben said. “Saddleback church was instrumental in giving me a perspective that helped me overcome the fear of my circumstances and future. Pastor Rick turns the words of the Bible into practical advice for how to live. I received the tools I needed to do what the Bible says to do. My move to Orange County was a rebirth — an opportunity to give my kids a life with God and truth to build their lives on.”

"Life is about perspective,” Ben said. “God gives us everything we need, even in the midst of challenging circumstances. It’s not about having a perfect life, God gives opportunities to stay humble and through that we can help others. I realized I had to get out of the business of trying to manage and direct everything. When I thought I was in control but life didn’t go the way I planned, I got stressed and felt the strain of unmatched expectations. Now I choose to shift my worldview and see that God is going to help me no matter what.”

Learn more about divorce care at Saddleback church HERE.