Participants: Wayne Blakely (Host), Lance Williams, Mike Carducci
Series Code: PC
Program Code: PC000042
00:01 The following program discusses sensitive issues.
00:03 Parents are cautioned that some material
00:05 may be too candid for younger children.
00:39 Hello, I'm Wayne Blakely with Coming Out Ministries.
00:43 Today, your host here on Pure Choices.
00:46 Today, Michael Carducci joins me,
00:50 my ministry colleague.
00:51 You'd think I could say that right.
00:53 And a very special guest, Lance Williams.
00:56 That's right. Amen.
00:57 I want to thank you guys for being here today.
01:00 And what we're going to talk about today
01:02 is about being raised with a single parent.
01:06 Did you know that there are more single mothers
01:09 raising families now than there are dual parent families?
01:13 And that statistic actually is unable to be reversed.
01:19 Mike and Lance, you both grew up
01:20 with single parents in your younger years.
01:25 And, Mike, I'm wondering
01:27 if you might be able to give us some history about this.
01:31 Actually, my mother and dad were married for 12 years.
01:35 But my dad was in the Navy for 10 years.
01:37 And so when I was born, my dad was a Navy musician.
01:41 And he would be gone sometimes three to six months at a time.
01:45 So, you know, we never knew when dad was going to be home.
01:48 For the most part, you know, it was a single parent family.
01:50 My mom was there, I was raised, you know,
01:53 with three other sisters.
01:54 So I was second of four.
01:56 And I remember that whenever dad was home, you know,
01:59 he was explosive, he was a hot-headed Italian.
02:02 And it almost seemed, you know,
02:04 kind of his right to just blow up at things.
02:07 And one minute he'd be fine and actually having fun
02:10 and throwing us up in the air.
02:12 And then all of a sudden, one little thing would happen
02:14 and just totally, you know, turn over the applecart,
02:17 and he'd be upset and angry.
02:19 You know, somebody would get spanked
02:21 and it was just this chaotic life,
02:23 you know, when dad was home.
02:25 So what I started to realize is that I always felt
02:28 much more at peace when dad wasn't home.
02:32 And I remember my mom would say, you know,
02:34 "Now you're the man of the house, you know,
02:35 your dad's gone on a cruise or whatever."
02:38 And I think it at such an early age,
02:39 I really took that seriously because I had rejected my dad
02:43 as my gender role model.
02:45 And so I believe that I was the one in charge
02:49 whenever my dad was gone,
02:50 not that that's hard to understand.
02:52 But what happened for me is by his being absent so long,
02:56 I viewed that as an abandonment.
02:59 And, you know, at a time
03:00 when I needed my dad to understand
03:02 what masculinity looked like, it wasn't there.
03:05 But then when he was home,
03:06 his example of masculinity to me
03:08 was frightening and terrifying.
03:11 It was labile, I couldn't trust it,
03:13 I couldn't get a handle on it.
03:15 And so I believe it an age before I was conscious,
03:18 I rejected it totally.
03:19 And I turned back to my mother's femininity.
03:22 It was stable, I could understand it,
03:25 I could predict it, and it was safe.
03:27 So, you know,
03:29 having no other role models in the home.
03:31 When my parents did finally divorce,
03:33 you know, I remember, oh, my dad took us to the lake.
03:37 And I remember
03:39 my three sisters were in the backseat,
03:40 I was in the front seat with my dad.
03:42 And he made this announcement
03:44 that my parents were getting a divorce.
03:46 And I remember my first response at 10 years old
03:49 thinking good, you're out of here.
03:51 You know which confirms to me
03:52 that I had rejected him long before.
03:54 Where as my sisters in the backseat were crying,
03:57 and heartbroken, and feeling terribly upset.
04:00 And I'm thinking to myself
04:02 why are they so affected by that,
04:03 you know, he's finally out of here.
04:06 Wow, this really shows how we can certainly
04:09 be a victim of our circumstances.
04:11 Lance, what was it like for you?
04:13 Well, you know, my mom
04:16 and my dad were both alcoholics.
04:18 My father was at first, my mom wasn't initially,
04:21 but somehow she got caught up into that.
04:24 And I'll never forget one day, they both came home,
04:28 they both were drunk.
04:30 And next thing I knew,
04:32 we heard a crash in the living room
04:34 and my mother had set on a television set
04:36 and it just crashed on the floor.
04:39 Next thing I know, my father was just yelling and screaming.
04:42 And then he grabbed his suitcases and stuff
04:47 and he put them in the trunk.
04:49 And I just remember it right in my mind,
04:52 my brothers and myself were just watching him
04:54 go into his car and just leaving.
04:56 And it was interesting 'cause my brothers,
04:58 they were just crying.
04:59 And I was just standing there just looking.
05:01 I didn't show any emotion, I was just watching
05:03 what was going on.
05:04 Did you think that that his leaving
05:06 had something to do with you or did you fully think
05:09 that had everything to do with your mother?
05:13 I think it has to do it with my mother.
05:16 So you made the adjustment pretty much okay
05:19 when he made his departure.
05:21 I was happy that he left actually.
05:25 Do you think that there are any prenatal influences
05:30 with regards to how you came about in your childhood
05:35 and began to develop some of the same sex attraction
05:39 that began to exacerbate itself in your life?
05:42 Well, yeah.
05:44 I mean, I know for me, I had mentioned in my testimony
05:47 that my mom was depressed and hungry.
05:51 And for some reason I took on those characteristics
05:55 after I came out of her womb.
05:57 And I had that sensitivity, that's one of the factors
06:00 I think it leads to same sex attraction.
06:04 Was there anything, Mike, in your prenatal history
06:07 that you know about?
06:08 You know, I think, my mom definitely knew that my dad
06:12 was having multiple affairs while he would be away,
06:15 you know, at sea because
06:16 again being a musician he had access to the public.
06:19 He had, you know, a lot of accolades
06:21 and people coming up to him that,
06:23 you know, were responding to his music.
06:25 And so my mom would find, you know,
06:27 phone numbers and things like that.
06:30 So I believe that, you know, we know through
06:32 Ministry of Healing, it talks about, you know,
06:34 the care of the baby before it's born that
06:36 what the mother goes through,
06:38 it is also transferred to the baby as well.
06:40 And so I believe that there was that influence.
06:43 I wouldn't have acknowledged it before but it just seems
06:45 to make more sense that, you know,
06:47 this cycle was already beginning before I was born.
06:53 What do you think the significance of a dad
06:56 is in child development,
06:59 either one of you want to respond to that?
07:01 Well, I know that my father...
07:03 There's something he specifically said that
07:05 that really struck me, I remember to this day.
07:09 He said he does not want us to play with him.
07:12 He wouldn't wrestle us, he wouldn't play ball with us.
07:15 So I think a lack of a parent causes a lack of stability,
07:21 confusion, and a lack of courage to step out
07:25 and do things.
07:28 Why do you think he put you off like that?
07:29 Did you get any kind of confirmation
07:31 as to why that was?
07:32 I did remember that I was told that my father,
07:36 his father died in his arms when he was about 15 or 16
07:38 and he went on his own.
07:40 He was on his own since he was 15 or 16.
07:42 So now I can understand
07:44 why he wasn't emotional or there for us.
07:47 You know, over and over through the programming
07:50 that we have been doing here on Pure Choices, you know,
07:53 I'm just reminded of what we've experienced,
07:58 makes me want to go back and look at
08:01 what our parents experienced in their childhood.
08:04 And a lot of times we have no access to that.
08:06 But the more I hear from each of you,
08:10 it really shows the dysfunction, you know,
08:12 has come down through the line of heredity.
08:16 Mike, I know you probably have some things.
08:18 I have heard you talk about before
08:20 with respect to the experience of rejection from your dad.
08:25 Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
08:27 You know, as Lance was talking about his dad
08:29 making these statements,
08:32 I'm reminded that in the Bible it says that,
08:34 "Our words have the power of life and death."
08:37 And, you know, my dad called us stupid, moron, idiot,
08:42 and, you know, these were common words
08:43 that we would hear, you know, every single day of our lives.
08:46 You know, my damage, you know, came through
08:48 same sex attraction
08:50 and isolating behavior as well as Lance's.
08:53 But I have three sisters that were also damaged by that,
08:56 you know, in maybe some of the choices of the men
08:58 that they picked in their lives or whatever.
09:00 If it's true that our words
09:03 have the power of life and death,
09:04 those words have a profound meaning on us
09:06 as kids thinking we're not valuable,
09:09 we're not smart.
09:10 It wasn't until after I left home
09:12 and actually interacted with other people
09:14 that I started to realize that, oh, I can communicate,
09:17 maybe I'm not as dumb as I thought.
09:19 And even though the tapes are still there
09:22 and they're very difficult to get rid of
09:23 even at 52 years of age, you know,
09:25 I am able to sort some of that out consciously and say no,
09:30 I don't have to listen to that anymore, that's a lie.
09:33 But isn't it interesting that something that happened,
09:35 you know, in vitro or even at a very young age
09:38 that stays with you.
09:39 You know, I'd like to draw a conclusion here.
09:44 It's so interesting, you're listening to people
09:47 and the abandonment
09:48 and the dysfunction of childhood.
09:51 And we think of a particularly a single parent
09:54 in this case, your father's.
09:56 So if you're told as you're growing up
10:00 or you come in contact with Christianity.
10:03 And you're told about your Father God, you know,
10:07 what do you think about your Father God when you're thinking
10:10 about your father who was the only person
10:14 that you can relate to about this figure?
10:17 Does that do something to you, was there something
10:19 that was hard for you to connect
10:21 as to who is my Father God?
10:27 All right. Yeah, let me shoot forehead.
10:29 That's a loaded question, Wayne.
10:31 For me, I was living with my mom
10:35 until I was about 14 years old.
10:38 My father had actually,
10:40 had an affair with a backslidden Christian
10:43 that worked in our restaurant.
10:45 You know, it totally destroyed, you know, our family.
10:47 But what happened is
10:49 my mother at the divorce told my dad that...
10:52 My dad said, "I got everything."
10:53 And my mom said, "No, you didn't get my kids."
10:55 And then at that point,
10:57 my sisters and I became pawns in this game.
11:00 And my dad was dead set
11:02 on getting each one of us to live with him.
11:05 And he had actually become a Christian.
11:07 So I don't know how all of this blurred together.
11:09 But now as he's like the elder of his church,
11:12 you know, one by one he is manipulating us
11:15 to come and live with him.
11:16 And at that time, I didn't want to live with my mom anymore
11:19 than I wanted to live with my dad.
11:20 But, you know, I kind of thought, well,
11:22 maybe I could go away to private school
11:23 and I wouldn't have to live with either one of them.
11:25 But when I went there
11:27 what was amazing is, you know,
11:28 my dad's character was still the same.
11:31 We were afraid of him.
11:32 You know, you never knew when he was going to blow off
11:33 at the handle.
11:35 There was never any consistency.
11:36 If you did what he said to do today,
11:38 tomorrow the rules would totally change.
11:40 So there was never any stability.
11:42 And that is how I viewed God.
11:44 I saw Him as punitive, I saw Him as arbitrary,
11:47 I saw Him as just looking, you know, to be critical of me.
11:50 And to, you know, flick me in the head
11:52 if I did anything wrong.
11:53 So I feared God, I got that, you know.
11:57 I knew that if I didn't do right that I'd be punished.
11:59 And so, from the very onset of my understanding
12:02 of who God was,
12:04 I thought it was all based on performance.
12:06 I thought it was all based on behaviors,
12:08 not understanding that there was any love involved.
12:11 It's so bizarre but I know that my dad loved me.
12:14 But I also can look back and see, you know,
12:16 his brokenness definitely contributed to that
12:18 like what Lance said.
12:20 But what was really sad is that when I began a relationship
12:23 with Jesus Christ and got baptized at 15,
12:26 I didn't have a clue about His goodness,
12:28 or His tenderness, or compassion.
12:30 I heard those things, but I certainly didn't know
12:33 how to assimilate that into the relationship.
12:39 It's a very lonely place to be under those circumstances.
12:43 So as you begin to recognize
12:45 what was happening with the disassociation
12:48 with your father's and the association
12:51 with some same sex attraction coming about.
12:55 Did either one of you tell your mother
12:57 that you thought you were gay,
12:59 or that you might have same sex attraction?
13:01 Well, I waited until my father was dead.
13:05 Really? Wow.
13:06 Yeah, I waited until he died. Wow.
13:08 And why did you wait? Because...
13:10 And in fact, he asked me at one point
13:12 if I was gay and I told him no.
13:15 Of course I lied because I was already
13:18 experienced rejection from him in the first place.
13:19 And I knew he...
13:21 Right, you didn't want to go any further.
13:22 Right, but he didn't believe me.
13:23 He didn't believe when I told him that.
13:25 So I lived under this cloud of knowing that he knew.
13:28 And he would give little hints
13:30 especially after I became a Christian, you know,
13:31 he would read stuff in the paper
13:34 about gays and stuff like that.
13:36 He'll say, you know,
13:37 "Gays are gonna go to hell, aren't they?"
13:39 You know, he would say that to me.
13:41 You know, and I'll say yes, you know, just, I just...
13:43 And he didn't...
13:44 He made some derogatory remark
13:47 earlier in your life, is that right?
13:48 Yeah, correct. What was that, Lance?
13:49 About that my mom, you know, got the daughter he already,
13:53 that he always wanted, you know, so...
13:55 That's really off-putting, isn't it?
13:56 And hurtful. Wow!
14:01 Mike, did you tell your mom that you were gay?
14:04 Yeah, but I had to be drunk. And I remember...
14:07 Courage. Liquid courage.
14:09 Yeah, yeah. Liquid courage.
14:10 I had just been dumped by a boyfriend,
14:13 the first love that I had experienced
14:15 in the gay life.
14:16 And I was incredibly, I don't know despondent,
14:22 I was very upset and in my drunkenness
14:24 the only person I thought to call
14:26 that would really be there for me
14:28 was my mom.
14:29 And we didn't have a very great relationship
14:32 but for some reason, you know,
14:33 it had to be 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning,
14:36 I called her and I didn't have the guts to say who it was
14:40 or what the sex of this person was.
14:42 You know, so I was, you know,
14:45 I was just saying this person and they broke up with me,
14:48 I'm really hurting and, you know,
14:49 what was incredible is my mom really rose to the occasion.
14:52 She didn't expose it either, and she went with it,
14:55 and she comforted me,
14:57 and she gave me a lot of support
14:59 that I needed at the time.
15:00 And towards the end of the conversation,
15:02 she said, "Well, what's this person's name?"
15:04 And so, you know, when it came out, you know,
15:06 there was a guy's name or whatever, no judgment,
15:09 just love.
15:10 And that kind of opened the door but again,
15:12 we weren't used to being very direct
15:14 in our relationship,
15:16 you know, with my mom.
15:17 But definitely, I felt support there when I told her.
15:23 You know, I'm wondering if in your adolescence
15:27 and as you grew up, you felt sort of...
15:30 Mike, I think you felt the absence of your father
15:32 even when he was present at times and, Lance,
15:35 said you didn't have his presence there.
15:38 What's that like?
15:40 Do you have a kind of an empty hopefulness
15:44 that you're wishing that you had a father?
15:47 Did you connect at some point in Christianity
15:50 and realize or think that God was giving you
15:54 the presence of a father
15:55 that you never had, was that there?
15:59 Let me tell you that, you know, you're hitting buttons, Wayne,
16:02 with what you're saying.
16:03 I always wanted a twin brother.
16:05 I'm so envious that you had a twin brother
16:08 and it breaks my heart
16:09 that you were so separated from your twin brother.
16:12 I didn't want my dad.
16:14 I didn't want a dad
16:15 because the only example that I had of,
16:18 it was so uncomfortable, the negative,
16:20 it's like, well, just do away with that.
16:22 But I was desperate for a brother
16:24 and, you know what, maybe that was something
16:26 that the Holy Spirit gave me
16:27 because Jesus wants to be our brother, right?
16:30 And so at the early stage, I would fantasize that
16:33 I had a twin brother somewhere, you know, I even, you know,
16:36 speculate that maybe I was a twin at some time,
16:38 I don't know.
16:40 But I would, you know, have this pretend friend
16:42 that I could relate to.
16:44 I only had sisters, so I knew that there was
16:45 a vast difference in my gender.
16:47 But I thought if there was someone
16:49 that I had that I could really tell who I was,
16:52 that I could be honest, and open, and authentic with.
16:55 And so, I had this fantasy if you would,
16:58 friend for many years.
17:01 You know, I was fortunate that
17:02 I grew up with a father figure there.
17:05 But I felt the absence
17:07 because of the dysfunction in my life,
17:09 the same sex attraction.
17:11 I didn't think I was connecting from a masculine point of view.
17:15 And recently, Mike, I had the privilege
17:17 of introducing you to my parents.
17:20 Powerful. It was awesome.
17:23 You made an observation that I'd like you to share.
17:26 So here we were having lunch with your mom and dad.
17:28 And they're incredible.
17:31 They look very naive,
17:33 they look like down-home Kansas City
17:36 people in their 80s.
17:37 And, you know, here we had lunch
17:39 and we started talking about the nuances of our ministry.
17:42 And they weren't batting an eye, you know,
17:43 we are eating our Chinese food and they're just going on.
17:46 But when we got up to leave,
17:48 their eyes were filled with tears
17:50 over the power of God to restore their son to them.
17:53 They prayed for you over 40 years, right?
17:56 And so, when he went to give his dad a hug, you know,
17:59 Wayne's about six foot and now his dad is frail,
18:02 and he's small, and, you know,
18:04 his hair is very thinning on top or whatever.
18:06 But his dad grabbed him around the waist
18:09 and threw his head into his chest,
18:12 and he hung on.
18:13 And so, Wayne was tearful, his dad was tearful, whatever.
18:16 And after the hug, you know, Wayne was letting go.
18:18 But your dad was hanging on.
18:21 And that impacted me in such a profound way,
18:24 I couldn't relate to it.
18:26 All I was doing was looking at you thinking,
18:28 I wish I could have had that.
18:34 I have been so privileged
18:37 because I didn't have that relationship,
18:40 that closeness with my dad
18:42 or with my parents until God redeemed me.
18:46 And every day now, I thank God for them.
18:49 And I call them and I let them know
18:51 how much I love them and every time I see them,
18:54 there's this love connection
18:55 that I never knew could possibly exist.
18:58 And I know that God not only preserved me
19:00 for such a time as this,
19:02 but He's preserved them in their years,
19:05 now my dad turns 90 this month.
19:09 And I love them both just like crazy.
19:13 Let's talk a little bit about this reconciliation
19:17 that has now taken place.
19:19 A reconciliation, was the reconciliation
19:22 ever before your father died, Mike?
19:27 I became a Christian 12 years ago.
19:29 And my dad was already back into the church.
19:33 He'd been married four times in his life.
19:36 And his wife was many years younger than me
19:38 and had a son.
19:39 So I actually had a stepbrother that was like 13 when I was 47.
19:44 And so, I remember that every time
19:47 I would go to Pennsylvania to see my dad
19:49 or even my mom in Ohio
19:51 that the Holy Spirit would say, you know, go see your dad.
19:53 And I was always resistant, every time that,
19:56 that the Lord would put us together,
19:58 it was always awful, always.
20:01 Like he would stir this thing up,
20:03 it was a very competitive relationship at best.
20:05 Even after my father passed away,
20:08 I was talking to my mom
20:09 about how I felt very competitive with him.
20:11 And she thought for a minute and she said,
20:13 "You know, I remember you were about two years old
20:15 and I remember looking at your father and saying,
20:18 'Why are you competing with a two year old?'"
20:20 And that was confirmation to me that I wanted a dad,
20:23 I needed a dad.
20:24 But the competition just kept him from me.
20:28 I didn't want to compete with him.
20:29 I wanted to love him.
20:31 I wanted him to love me
20:32 and I think every child has that.
20:34 So every time I will go see my dad,
20:35 something awful always.
20:37 And that was a driving force,
20:39 it destroyed my masculinity,
20:41 it destroyed any foundation of anything
20:44 that I had with him.
20:45 All it did was affirmed that I was worthless,
20:47 that I wasn't a man,
20:49 and it drove me straight to a dirty bookstore.
20:50 And I would buy, you know, a couple magazines,
20:53 and do this evil thing, and just throw the books away.
20:57 And it was like, I couldn't help,
20:59 it was like this driving force for me.
21:02 And so the very last time that I ever saw my dad,
21:04 I was going to up north again.
21:06 And the Holy Spirit said, "Go see your dad."
21:08 I'm like, oh, no.
21:10 And the Holy Spirit pled with me,
21:11 it said, "No, Mike,
21:12 I really want you to see your dad."
21:14 And I thought, okay, maybe like the other times
21:16 that the Holy Spirit know something I don't,
21:18 maybe finally we're going to reconcile.
21:20 We're both in the church.
21:21 I was an elder in my church.
21:22 He was a head elder in his church.
21:24 I went to his church, he did the sermon,
21:26 he taught the Sabbath School lesson,
21:28 and they had a potluck meal.
21:30 So I'm sitting next to my nephew
21:32 and my stepbrother.
21:33 And we're doing the tickle game after we ate dinner.
21:35 The room is full of all my dad's church members
21:38 and we're tickling.
21:39 And so my dad walks behind me
21:41 and he's trying to help them out.
21:43 But, you know, I'm in my 40s, I'm not that ticklish anymore.
21:46 So he reaches down to try to tickle me.
21:47 It didn't work and I thought great dad's playing, right?
21:49 So I turn around,
21:50 he's standing behind me and I grabbed his knee,
21:52 and he jerked his knee back, and just like the ex-cop,
21:56 you know, the ex-Navy, you know, person or whatever...
21:59 Again, the whole competitive relationship,
22:03 he came down with his fists so hard on my head.
22:06 And I'm just sitting in the chair,
22:08 and it was so out of character, and out of line,
22:10 and inappropriate in.
22:11 And the crushing blow didn't hurt near as much
22:14 as the embarrassment, the humiliation.
22:17 And I sat there, and I got up,
22:19 I walked out to my car and I said,
22:21 "Are You happy, God?
22:23 I did just what You said, I came, are You happy?
22:25 Now, I've got this to work through again."
22:27 And it took a few months.
22:29 And after a couple of months,
22:31 I was able to forgive my dad again,
22:32 recognizing that he's broken.
22:34 God took me through all the steps.
22:35 And when my sister Laura came to me
22:38 that Sabbath afternoon and told me
22:39 that my dad had died,
22:42 I was holding on to her and she was somewhat tearful.
22:45 And I was looking at this beautiful blue sky
22:47 and I remember the Holy Spirit conforming to me saying
22:50 "See, Mike, that's why I had you see
22:52 your dad all those times."
22:54 He hoped for reconciliation to the Holy Spirit.
22:56 But even though I didn't get that confirmation,
22:59 God was letting me know
23:00 that I did what He was asking me to do.
23:02 I had no more history or feelings of regret
23:07 or remorse about what I didn't do
23:09 because I obeyed my Heavenly Father.
23:11 Incredibly, three months before I had gone to see my dad
23:15 for the first time walking as a Christian for seven years.
23:18 I read the verse again in John
23:20 that says Jesus was telling the disciples,
23:22 "If you've seen Me, you've seen the Father."
23:25 And, you know, for seven years it took walking
23:27 with Jesus Christ day by day,
23:29 learning to trust a man, my brother,
23:31 the brother I always wanted.
23:33 And as I started walking legitimately
23:35 with Jesus Christ,
23:36 He brought around this healing for me.
23:37 I realized that I could trust Him.
23:40 And as I built that relationship,
23:41 finally after seven years,
23:43 my Heavenly Father said to Jesus,
23:46 "Now you can introduce me to my son."
23:48 And it was so profound when I realized
23:50 that the goodness that my Savior was,
23:52 the tenderness and compassion that He had
23:54 was the same tenderness
23:56 and compassion that my Heavenly Father had.
23:58 And so God introduced Himself to me before my dad died,
24:03 so that I would be confirmed that I am not an orphan.
24:06 Wow. What an awesome revelation.
24:09 That's incredible. God is incredible.
24:11 Lance, what's your relationship like with your father today?
24:15 Well, my father died when he was 55 years old.
24:18 I know that.
24:19 And so, I never was able to reconcile with him.
24:20 And I remember when he died
24:22 and there was no emotion for me.
24:24 But what happened was I remember
24:25 being by myself maybe years
24:28 after that and just thinking about him,
24:29 and I just cried out his name, and just started really crying.
24:33 You know, Lance,
24:34 what I'm really alluding to here
24:36 when I asked you about your father?
24:38 What's that? About your Heavenly Father.
24:41 Can you tell me about your relationship
24:43 with your father today?
24:45 I can really say that,
24:46 you know, there's a verse about it that says,
24:48 "When my mother and father forsake me,
24:49 the Lord will take me up."
24:50 And He has truly been not only my father
24:52 but my mother as well,
24:53 because remember my mother work 16 hours a day.
24:56 So she wasn't there to take care of us as well.
24:59 So I didn't get love from either one.
25:02 So you've been walking with God for some time now.
25:05 Oh, yes.
25:07 It took a long time for me to really trust Him
25:09 because I saw Him as I saw my father
25:11 and my mother, abandonment, not trusting.
25:15 When I do something wrong, I felt that he would just,
25:17 was distant from me.
25:19 But I'm realizing that's not true at all,
25:21 He loves me even more.
25:23 So your intimacy is growing, isn't it?
25:24 Oh, yes.
25:26 And show me what does that look like?
25:29 Oh, man.
25:30 I mean I can just read stuff from the Bible
25:32 like there's a verse in Psalm 107: 20,
25:35 it says, "He sent His Word and healed them."
25:38 And I just love that, His Word just,
25:40 it just causes something in me to just want to weep
25:42 because it's just so beautiful.
25:44 And I see that's speaking to me, you know.
25:46 So... Yes.
25:48 You know, in the Book of Joel
25:49 that says that God promises to restore what the locust ate.
25:53 And I really think of your situation, Lance,
25:55 I don't know how it would have come out of your situation
25:57 but God truly does start to heal
26:00 the wounds and to restore everything
26:02 that's been taken away from us.
26:04 You know, there's reconciliation,
26:07 and there's healing,
26:09 and I think that there's so much
26:10 to be said about the brokenness
26:13 that we arrived with.
26:16 You know, we all come out of situations in life.
26:20 There are so many viewers here
26:22 that I know that are watching and thinking about,
26:24 you know, "I didn't have a relationship with my father,
26:27 I didn't have a father."
26:29 And so how does that translate
26:31 when you're trying to get to know somebody you
26:33 can't even see.
26:34 But God will reveal Himself if we'll go to the Word of God,
26:40 if we'll just begin to find out more about Him
26:44 by reading His Word and pray
26:46 and ask for Him to make His presence known.
26:48 And He also reveals Himself through other people.
26:52 You know, in the book, Steps to Christ, it says,
26:53 "Through the deepest, tenderest earthly ties
26:55 that human hearts can know God seeks
26:56 to reveal Himself."
26:57 That's right. Amen.
26:59 Wow, what a powerful testimony both of you have given today.
27:03 And I've really appreciated looking at this,
27:08 not having a father but knowing that we do have a father.
27:12 And if as a viewer you have been sitting here
27:15 and thinking about,
27:17 "Wow, I've been missing that male figure,
27:18 that father figure."
27:20 I invite you to engage with the church community.
27:22 Try the Seventh-day Adventist Church Community.
27:26 And I think you'll find that not only will you
27:28 find your Heavenly Father there,
27:30 but you're able to find
27:31 the reflection of God's true love
27:34 through those who are attending these church congregations.
27:38 Thank you for joining us today on Pure Choices.
27:41 And we've been so privileged
27:43 to share our testimony here today.
27:45 And I invite you to continue to make pure choices.
27:50 Thanks for joining us. God bless you.