My name is Stephen and I grew up in Arkansas. I grew up with my mom, step dad, and two younger sisters. We grew up well below the poverty line and I knew that the only way for me to escape poverty was to leave home. Being I was a slacker in high school, the only way I saw out was to join the military. I joined the Navy and went to boot camp right out of high school. Little did I know, being in the military requires you to not be a slacker, selfish, or conceited. Unfortunately, I was all of those things.
Needless to say, my time in the military was not very fruitful. I did things on purpose to get in trouble. I broke nearly every rule that I could get away with and some that I knew that I wouldn't. I skipped out on watches, broke restriction, made wine on board the ship, went UA because my in charge said that if I didn't like it to pack up my stuff and leave, I even moved my sleeping area to the officer’s quarters on the ship. I didn't have too many cares in the world.
While I was in the military, I met my wife in a Yahoo chat room. She came to meet me in Virginia and I proposed to her on the first day. Stupid her, she said yes. In October of 2022 we will have been married for 19 years. We have two daughters, an 18 year old with special needs and a 13 year old with a special type of attitude. One month after being married my wife became pregnant with our first daughter and things drastically changed for me. All of a sudden I couldn't be all about me, I had to be about the people that depended on me to be their provider. All of a sudden I wasn't able to focus on my wants and needs because I was too concerned with the wants and needs of my wife and daughter.
As a Christian, I was born again and baptized at the age of 20. I grew up associated with a Baptist Church, but never felt a connection to God. While I was taking my unauthorized absence home from the Navy, my mom asked me to go to a new non-denominational church with her that had just started holding services in their new building. I started attending their services weekly and continued attending after my mom stopped. One service in particular, the preacher was delivering his sermon and all of a sudden I felt the presence of God overtake me. Everything else in the room became noise and then at all drowned out. I felt as though my skin was on fire and being quenched in water at the same time. I could hear God saying come to me but not in an audible way. It was the most amazing experience I've ever felt and I knew in that moment that God was real.
I then decided a couple of weeks later to be baptized and two weeks later knew I had to return to the military to finish my service. I voluntarily returned and was arrested for missing a ships movement. I spent about a month in jail and when my ship returned I boarded in handcuffs. I then got back in with the wrong crowd that I was with before I went home and started doing the same things that I did before I was saved. Shortly afterward, we were deployed to Iraq for operation Iraqi freedom. While underway I had wanton disregard for the rules and regulations that were required of me. Needless to say, I was not a good Christian.
I finally broke enough rules after getting back from Iraq that the Jag officer actually offered me the ability to take a discharge instead of a court martial. I looked at her in the face and said, “Where do I sign?” I don't regret my time in the military, but I know now that it was not what I needed at that point in my life. I wasn't mature or respectful enough to continue down that path. What I needed, was something that was going to ground me and getting married and having a kid did just that.
After getting away from the military, things came into focus. Responsibilities were a real thing. All of a sudden, the decisions I made affected other people in the world in a real measurable way. I broke my alcohol and drug addictions and for the first time in my life, thought like a man. This drew me back to God.
It didn't stop me from having a sense of humor, being swayed by culture, or being empathetic to those that I disagree with. If anything, it made me more receptive to those things. I like to poke fun in a mostly respectful way and I enjoy debating people when we disagree. I like hearing other perspectives so I can widen my knowledge of how people think, and then compare it to God's truth to determine if it holds water.
On a more contemporary note, I've recently joined the #SLGB community (trans isn’t a sexuality therefore it doesn’t belong and queer/questioning is just dumb) as a super-straight man. I've been receiving a lot of hate and a lot of praise over coming out of the closet on this. It's not a fetish to only be attracted to cis-gendered women. We are real, don't deny us our humanity. Clearly this paragraph was all in fun, but it's exactly the type of arguments I like to make to prove the hypocrisy of some of the woke culture.
Other than that, I like to spend time with my family, go to church, attend men's Bible studies, and play Pokémon Go every once in a while. If you have any other questions, or just want me to elaborate on something that I said in here, leave me a comment. I'm an open book.