Continued from Testimony: My Ministry.
In 2012, I reached a low point. My weight was piling on quickly and soon I was well above 400 pounds again. My friend Mike shared his concerns that I was dealing with depression. I sought professional help. Part of my depression stemmed from loneliness. I started to break out of the shell I had created. I started to date again after a brief hiatus.
At first I tried online dating. It was very uncomfortable.
Then I just took a look around me. I started to reach out. There was a meek lady who I met only once at a church I was invited to visit, friend of the pastor. She friended me on Facebook and then we did not talk for a year.
There was another woman who pursued me on social media. It made me nervous but I was trying to open up to new things so I reciprocated and had lunch with her, along with all of her coworkers.
It was clear, early on, the latter was not really a match for me.
So, I reached out to the one whom I had not talked to in a year. We met for coffee.
Now, I am good at public speaking. I can perform on stage. But in social circles, I’m very shy. I prefer others to carry the conversation. Sometimes people think me a hypocrite because I have a public persona and a more subdued private life. I remind them I actually am an actor.
But this young lady was quite meek. And I was the one carrying the conversation.
Coffee turned into dinner.
Later that night, she sent me a text message. She wanted to make sure I understood she was pregnant. I did not know.
It took me some time to wrap my head around that.
It took a lot of prayer.
I stopped dating for a couple weeks.
My biggest fear was opening myself up to the pain of having a child and losing that child. My oldest daughter has a place in my heart no one will replace. But we were estranged early on in her life due to the work of a vicious legal battle.
I could not go through that again.
Then I started to hear a clear voice, not an audible voice, but a clear one. Do not fear. God has a purpose in this. Trust in Him.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
I finally got the courage to text her again.
The texting turned into theater.
And theater turned into, well, a really bad cold.
I had just finished December auditions for local theater and got a part in a musical, singing songs from Wham and Michael Jackson. Then I lost my voice and got really sick during the holidays. I was off work almost two weeks. The heavier I am the less resilient my body is to fight even bad colds.
The only visitors I had were a Sunday school teacher from the First Christian Church, and this meek, kind woman with a generous plate of Christmas cookies.
In February that next year, I proposed and she accepted. She did not push this on me at all. I was the one with a clear vision. She had a willing heart.
In March, we married.
In April, we had a baby girl.
In June we bought a house.
Three years later, she moved out.
I will not go into details. I have nothing but love and respect for the mother of my daughter. She is an incredible mother. She is an overcomer. I know I made many mistakes.
And now I live alone, but with frequent visits from my daughter.
I was not prepared for what followed. My ex-wife pursued me to see our daughter as often as possible. She pursues me still to visit more frequently than the visitation schedule allows. She encourages my relationship with my daughter. She helps me out every visit by answering texts and passing along advice.
This may sound strange to say, but we communicate about parenting our daughter while living separately better than most couples do while living together. And I give her all the credit.
To make my daughter’s life even more sweet, she has an aunt and uncle who take amazing care of her. My daughter was never in daycare because her uncle has been her caregiver. When her mother works weekends, her aunt has her on the weekends I don’t.
My daughter has an amazing coparenting team. And I’m proud to be a part of it.
But after a year of living alone, and two more holiday seasons, I returned to a depressed state. I gained more weight than I ever had before. I peaked at 484.4 pounds. I was sick all the time. I was able to see my daughter less and less.
Which brings me back full circle to the first post in this blog.