The Making of a Model, the now completed manuscript on which I have been working for the past two years, is on hold. My editor has suggested that before I tell others how to become living models of the Master, I need to chronicle my own journey of faith. And, I will admit, it is quite some story.
I accept her judgment, but with serious misgivings. I have a story to tell but it is difficult to imagine anyone is interested in my struggles – except that my story is your story. The memoir I am about to launch, The Making of a Model: On Failure, Recovery, and a Chance to Live Again is not just about me. It is your story as well.
Divorce in 1984 devastated my future. It would have helped my perspective if I could have blamed the wife for the break. But I was responsible, and I could not sugar-coat the events that left me destroyed and without hope. There was no third party, no hint of abuse, and no involvement with drugs or alcohol. The marriage simply died, and for the next twenty years, I would search for a means to restructure my life.
At the twelve-year mark of my life as a single has-been, I had an epiphany, a divine encounter with God. Half-way across the state of Texas, my sleeper became a sanctuary. With my life in shambles, defrocked by my Church, my future destroyed, I cried out to God for help.
With the cruise control set at 65 mph, I was headed east, half-way across the state of Texas. Hardly able to see the road for the tears streaming down my face, I suddenly shouted, “GOD! WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?” And although I am not given to mystic experiences, a thought passed through my mind that had all the earmarks of a divine encounter. “All I want from you is the gift of a holy life.” And then… silence.
There have been opportunities to abandon the journey or to digress, but since that day I have been in a rebuilding mode. Sometimes under great stress, I have stayed the course. There were times when it seemed God had gone AWOL. But He was always there, hovering in the background, carefully monitoring my progress.
I will tell my story, warts and all. I am evidence of a fundamental truth, first penned by King David of Israel. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” No matter how dark the day, God is always accessible to an open heart.
And that is what The Making of a Model: On Failure, Recovery and a Chance to Live Again is all about. The journey has been tough; I have not always weathered the storms well. But God has been good to me, and from the smoldering ruin of my life, I have recycled and found the strength to live again. It is an honor to represent, as best I can, the Perfect Model, the One Who has given me a new lease on life!