It is hard to believe it has been nearly two years since submitting this devotional. I view the world very differently these days and I am so grateful for all those in my life that have stood by me, loved me and given me opportunities.
As I move forward with my new life, I want to share some guiding principles that are very helpful for me. The first three principles I heard in a message from Andy Stanley, Northpoint Community Church, and they are:(1) ask God to let you see things the way he sees them, (2) comfort others, (3) let suffering complete itself. In addition to these three I also embrace two more principles including, (4) do the next right thing and (5) don’t compare.
One of the many people who stood by me is my current employer. His name is Paul and he stayed in touch with me while I was incarcerated. Prior to my release, Paul offered employment at his company. This was such a blessing as finding employment with a criminal background can be difficult. On my first day at work, Paul shared with me that he had looked at his journal from ten years earlier and saw a note to call Steve Wakefield. Neither Paul nor I could see the significance of our contact at that time, but I am confident that God certainly could.
I am being intentional in finding ways to comfort others. I often send a text to my family and friends to let them know I am praying for them. I find ways to serve others including lawn work and helping at a local homeless shelter. I am also going through a mentor program at my church that is training me to help others one on one.
I am not sure when suffering completes itself, but I see progress in this area. The people I hurt the most are my two children and their mother. I have noticed a softening of our hearts, anger dissipating as well as times of joy. The other week, we all had dinner together and were able to laugh…what a wonderful blessing.
I pray daily for strength and wisdom to do the next right thing. God continues to provide direction for me and lights my path as he promises. I am not quick to make decisions anymore and seek counsel from others in all important decisions. Making decisions this way is far different than several years ago when I seldom sought advice from God or anyone.
Finally, I don’t compare, period. I truly believe being content starts with not comparing my situation to others. When I see a friend that is doing well, I am happy for that friend. When I am serving at the homeless shelter, I try to engage with everyone and show God’s love.
I have days where guilt is overwhelming and I often think on Isaiah 6:7 to remind myself that God does not want me to live with guilt forever.