This site has multiple ends.
In addition, brendonward.org serves as a life-culture-platform
Furthermore, brendonward.org is also host to my blog through which I seek to develop my writing by responding to dailyprompts and tools and tips from bloggingfundamentals. Additionally, the blog is home to anything that doesn’t fall within the categories of poetry, testimony, sermons
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (2 Peter 1:2)
I didn’t grow up in what would be considered a Christian home. Rather, I grew up in a family, members of whom had serious mental health issues.
I wasn’t immune to that, and in fact, I struggled with my own issues.
The of absence words to or from God was also characteristic of my home growing up.
There are many things that I could say about growing up, and how difficult that was for me – but suffice to say I entered adulthood not really knowing how to be authentically human.
An Existential Crisis
As a teenager, I attempted suicide and had a habit of abusing substances. I struggle to recall an adolescence of love, or hope, or faith, or peace. I was very angry and most of the time, I didn’t know why.
Feeling like that was too hard. I wanted a way out of the suffering.
My life was not entirely isolated from the gospel – I had been to church at various times over the years. There had never been a moment or a conversion experience.
Is it wise to make deals with the God you’re not sure exists? What about if in previous years you identified yourself as an atheist?
A boy without hope.
Makes a deal with a possibility.
“Salvation or suicide?” – that was the question. I asked it of a God I wasn’t sure even existed. “If you’re real…”
Well, I’m still alive.
This put me in a difficult position.
Was God really real? If the answer was yes, what did that mean for me? Where would I go to start exploring the answers to those questions?
Getting hold of a bible was pretty much the first thing I knew I needed to do. I don’t remember where I started.
Then there was prayer. I wasn’t the best conversationalist so I wasn’t sure what prayer was about or how to get started? Was saying hello appropriate?
It’s hard to say whether my existential crisis constituted conversion. I feel more like that crisis opened the door and turned on the travelator.
Forgiveness, Hope, Joy
I gradually learned that in God there was forgiveness of sin, abundance of hope, and fullness of joy.
I learned the centrality of Jesus Christ in all of that – that it was His life, death, and resurrection that this thing depended on.
It hasn’t been easy, nor does it seem as if it’s gotten easier or is getting easier.
When you struggle with depression, don’t really have a sense of vocation, or the support of a robust family environment – hope can often be found wanting. Maybe hope kept my head above water in those early days as I explored the love of God expressed in the Bible, captured in the death of Jesus on behalf of my hopeless attempt to do life on my own, in my terms, for my credit.
As the intervening years have rolled by, they have been characterized by growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Consequently, I have had many moments where this grace has been demonstrated, and so I want to share those moments, even as they happen over a decade after my initial experience of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
So that’s what this site is about. It’s about the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)