My Life In Christ
by Bobby Bruno
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This post is not about me. This post is about Jesus and what He has done and is currently doing in my life. It is my hope to show you how Jesus can take your life and make it into the kind of life you have always been yearning to live. Some of the things I talk about in this current post and in others in the future may be hard to hear, hard to believe, and hard to stomach. But these things will have to be talked about, especially when we get to talk about why things in this world are the way they are and why God isn't stopping any of it in the way we think He should.
I realize that family and friends may be reading this blog and may hear things about myself that they have never heard before or have known in little detail. But that will not stop me from saying what needs to be said. I will say what need to say and leave it up to God to decide how to use my words and how to affect people with them. Since I have given my life to Jesus I have become what is called a transparent person. Ask anyone who has heard about my history and they will tell you that I am brutally honest when it comes to talking about my past. There are some things that I will talk about that even my children have never heard. I pray that this post will help them understand the father they, honestly, never really knew since the man I am now is in so many ways a completely and far better man that I was in the past. With that said, let me tell you who I was.
I was born on July 31, 1958. As I grew older, I thought that the life I was living was normal. I thought that my temper, working as much as I could to be away from home, my spending habits, constant arguing with my ex-wife, and many other habits were what it meant to be a man. In 1997, I attempted suicide twice, but something always seemed to stop me. In November of that year I began having breakdowns and crying spells that I did not understand. "What is wrong with me," I kept asking myself. Then, in January of 1998, I started having flashbacks and dreams that scared me and I became very depressed over all of it. I remembered a couple of dreams that I knew I had been having for most of my life. Dreams of a monster at my bedroom window saying, "I'm coming to get you"; and the dream on running naked through my neighborhood being chased by something scary.
My sister, Judy, saw what was happening to me and gave me a couple of books on sexual child abuse. When I read those books, I was reading my life story. I was devastated. One day, after I had an argument with my then wife on the phone about who knows what, I drove home angry. Up ahead I saw a wide tree on a small hill and drove my car straight for it. But, suddenly, something turned the wheel and put the car back on the road. I swear I missed that tree by only a paint's-width of the car. I simply went home and resumed my life. And then something happened that changed my life -- not right away -- but changed it nonetheless.
On April 19th 1998, I had another breakdown, which scared my then-wife to the point where she got mad at me for acting the way I was. During her "concern", I ran upstairs to the bedroom and lay on the bed crying as I had never cried before. I didn't know what was happening to me. I didn't know how to stop it. All I knew was that I couldn't take it anymore. As I lay there, my ex-wife came into the room, stood on the bed straddling me, and jumped up and down all the while asking me what was wrong with me, why was I acting this way. I was lying on the bed facing the window. As she continued jumping, I focused on the window and kept telling myself that I couldn't take it anymore. The window was closed and had paned glass in it. As I stared at the window, I felt that, even if I didn't make it out the window, then maybe I could impale my self on the glass and die that way. I didn't care -- anything was better than this. As my ex-wife tired out, she collapsed on top of me and cried, emotionally spent.
And then the miracle happened. And it is something that I will never forget for the rest of my life; and it is what I first tell people when they want to know how Jesus has changed my life. As I lay there contemplating leaving this world, I decided that jumping was the only course of action I had left. I was done with life. I wanted out -- now. So, I gently pushed my ex-wife off of me and began to stand up to kill myself. Just as I was about to make that last muscle push that would sail me out of the closed window, something invisible, or someone, gently grabbed me by the back of my neck, stood me up the rest of the way, gently turned me towards the phone, and said, "Your time is not through here yet. I need you here. Go call your sister." And then I was released with a gentle push towards the phone. I knew as I reached for the phone that the voice meant my sister, Judy. That night she took me to one of the many psych. hospital visits that I would make over the next eight years.
For the next few months I was questioned by family members about the abuse I had told them I rediscovered. Like most young children when they tell an adult that they were bring "touched" or abused, I was not believed. I realized later on that some of the questions were phrased in an accusational way, as if I had abused their children. I have never abused any child in or out of my care!!!! That August, after a summer of questions whose answers were still not believed, I came home from work one day exhausted both mentally and physically. I couldn't take the accusations and mocking anymore. So, I went upstairs to take a nap. My ex-wife came up a couple of hours later to wake me for dinner. When she couldn't wake me, she went back downstairs. She came back about a half an hour later and tried again. When she still couldn't wake me, she began to panic. I could hear her clearly both times but I couldn't seem to wake up. As much as I tried I couldn't open my eyes. My children heard her yelling to wake me and came into the room to find out what was wrong. When she told the kids that she couldn't wake me --these next memories still break my heart today -- my two kids went to their bedrooms and brought back something to sound in my ears. My daughter brought a whistle, and my son brought a Liberty Bell he had just gotten on a recent school trip. As hard as they could, they blew and rang. Believe me, I heard it very strongly. All this time I was screaming, "I want to open my eyes! Why can't I open my eyes!" My daughter call my sister, Susan, to come over to help. Believe it or not, my sister Judy, who lived 15 minutes away got there in five minutes; Susan lived only two. My sister tried to find the pulse in my neck but felt down too low, and said she couldn't find one.
This next part of the history is a part I will never, ever forget. It is deeply ingrained in my sole for all time. And it is something that I pray I will never have to hear ever again, and that I will, prayerfully, never put anyone I love through ever again.
When my sister told my ex-wife and my children that she thought I was dead, all I could hear were the tears and despair that they were feeling. It was breaking my heart in a way that I cannot explain. All I know is that I was still there, alive, but why couldn't I open my eyes? I had to stop their belief. I was not dead! Whenever I think of that time, it brings tears to my eyes; and it still breaks my heart to remember the sound of my children believing I was gone.
The paramedics came, tapped on my sternum, hard, five times, and brought me out of the fugue state that I was in. Unfortunately, my family's belief that I was gone eventually came true. In the emergency room, with members from both families standing around me, I declared that I wasn't coming home. I needed to get away and find out who I was, because I didn't know, and I needed to know for my life's sake. I had to leave to save my life. So, I left it all behind to save myself. Unfortunately, it was believed that I left home because I was having an affair. I will state here for all time and for all the world to hear (Jesus already knows the truth) that I was not then nor ever had an affair on my first wife. Never! And anyone who believes that I was is hearing lies from Satan himself. I have forgiven those who have approached me with that belief and who have tarnished my name in believing so. As I said, Jesus knows my life and my heart, and I will stand before Him with a clean conscience and a clean heart in that matter. Enough said.
That December 1998, I went to a Parents Without Partners meeting to find something to do other than play video games and sit at home marking time. Went to a Christmas dance and had a little fun. In February 1999, PWP had a beginner's class (3 classes over 3 weeks). I wasn't there to meet anyone, it was just something else to do. Little did I know that Jesus was about to strike again! The day after the last class, I got a phone call from one of the women I met there named Rita. Rita told me that she never calls guys she didn't know, but something had prompted her to call and ask me out to lunch the next day. At lunch, (March 7th) we talked about our lives. I was a cheap date and only ordered fries and a coke. And then Rita said the Name Jesus. From that moment on --about an hour and a half -- the Spirit of God took over the conversation so much that Rita and I will tell you that we have no idea what was said for that entire time. On my way to the restaurant I had listened to Amy Grant's "All I Ever Have To Be" twice (Let me backtrack: In 1992 I had bladder cancer. I was not a Christian then but went out and bought all the Amy Grant tapes I could find only because she had appeared on a Peter Cetera solo album. That song struck a chord with me, and every time I played it I played it twice. It speaks about the fact that all we ever have to be is what God has made us to be.) Was it coincidence that it was the last thing I had heard before getting out of my car?
As I drove home after saying goodbye, I listened to the song at least nine times. When I got home, I sat on my love seat for about two hours thinking about my life and the direction it was headed in, which was nowhere fast. On March 7th 1999, at 6:58 P.M., while Amy's song was playing over and over in my head, I began to sing it out loud. Within seconds, I hit the floor crying uncontrollably, and told Jesus to come into my life and to help me live it the way He wanted me to live it. I told Him that I was just a baby. Because the abuse had never let me grow up, I felt like a baby, and that He would have to tell me how to be an adult and a man. (Would you give a baby a mortgage, a job, children, a wife, etc...???) I had no idea how to do it. As I lay there giving my life over to Jesus, a wonderful, warm feeling started at the soles of my feet and slowly filled my body to the tip of my head. It was then that I knew that I had been forgiven and that the Holy Spirit had taken up residence in my heart, soul, and body.
I got up off the floor a new creature, but not yet a man. Jesus and I are still working on that.
I didn't write all of this so that you would look at Bobby and say, "Wow! What a struggle his life has been." I wrote this so that you can see where Jesus is in your life right now. He is there, right now, waiting for you to say the words. If your life is not where you want it to be; if your life has no peace; if your life is confusing and falling apart, then you need Jesus. If it had not been for Jesus pursuing me my whole life before I even knew He was there, I would be dead -- completely and finally dead. He and I want you to live, because life is worth living. But only if Jesus is in control of it. The Bible says that you have a choice -- death or life. The choice is up to you. I prefer that you choose Life.
Thanks for listening.
Remember, if you have any questions about my life or Jesus' work in it, I want you to ask. As I said, I am a transparent person. There is nothing I won't talk about. There is nothing to sensitive or too negative for me to talk about. As they say, "Been there, done that!" Wait until I start talking about childhood sexual abuse and you will see just how transparent I can be. It is possibly the hardest topic for people to talk about and one of the most devastating things that could ever happen to a person, let alone a child.
See you next time.
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