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By Daniel Hanson –  Cpl USMC (Ret)
Founder QRF XXII Inc.
ISAIAH 61:3. Mighty oaks of righteousness.
Last month, I spent a week of fellowship, good food, some fishing, and a little adventure at Mighty Oaks Warrior Program In Cumberland Ohio at Straker Lake, in the wilds. I was unsure what it was about, knew it was a faith based program for active duty, veterans, and first responders. I did not know I was about to be punched square in my chest. On night 1. I went to my rack that evening with so many questions about myself, my life, my manhood, but one thing was clear, I was not a man of faith. I was not honoring God.

I was carrying a very full rucksack and bound by chains, that I chose, and could make the choice to unpack the ruck. And get free from the bondage.

I liked to think I was a man. Felt like I stepped into manhood when I became a Marine. And in recent years, provided, got a house, got vehicles, pay the bills, “lead” my family. I am a type A personality, I see that allot in our community. I’m man, i do all these things, demand respect, puff my prideful chest out, don’t show emotions or weakness. Don’t ask for help or support, because that is for sissies right? No empathy, after what I’ve been through, everyone else should just be able to handle what they go through. Pride, ego, selfishness, anger, rage, SIN. It all boils down to SIN. I was enslaved by the enemy, satan, to believe all this, and I made that choice, because to me that was the just way to feel, as well as the easier way to do things. Well that’s when I was punched in the chest, and the wind was knocked out of me. I was told, through scripture, by good men who were where I was once, that that was not a man, not at all. And I was not honoring God. And a weird thing happened, where I would typically get defensive, find excuses, get all puffed up and prideful, I couldn’t. I was looking at a man who had been through things like me, served like me, lived like me, and called himself out for not being a man. I had nothing. It was time to look in the mirror. I was left with the idea of, how could I fight for everything I have fought for, and yet I’m not willing to fight for my family. How could they know? They were talking to me, I was singled out lol. In recent weeks I have toyed with divorce. Walking out. Because I felt I was doing great, I’m sober, I’m doing good things, and there was still unrest in my house. So I wanted to just start over. Not look in the mirror. This week. I looked into the mirror. At first I was disgusted with what I saw. Today, I feel like I have a whole new battle plan to change mine and my families future. And my manual is The Bible, Gods word to us.
Here it is, in Ephesians 5: 22-33. Always seems to be a stumbling point for couples but us preached on so much to couples. Starts off by saying wives submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. In today’s culture that’s considered outrageous and sexist etc. And to most wives, it seems degrading I’m sure. But it’s just not being understood. As soon it says husbands, love your wives, as Jesus loves the church. As a man, I look at these and think, yeah, I like the idea of submission of my wife, and I live her like that, Jesus gave his life for the church, on the cross, I would die for my wife, I got this. Wow, it is so much more. I would take a bullet for my wife, but at the same time I cant give her a back scratch, when I now she loves it. I don’t listen to her empathetically, I consider her confiding in me whining. When told I respond in anger. In any disagreement I need to be right, even if it means making my wife feel like nothing. I show no affection, or emotion except anger. Does that sound like loving her the way Jesus loves the church?? Not one bit. So how can I expect her to submit to me like she does to God, if I have not come even close to honoring God by loving her the way He has commanded me to do? It’s just not going to happen that way.
In short, looking in the mirror hurt. But great news, Jesus is so good, and He has paid for my sins. And has left me with the answers to what I need to do. I’m going to fight for my family, and my faith. I’m going to be intentional, to remove lust from my life, to be patient with Emily, and the kids. To be slow to anger. I’m going to listen with Jesus’s ears, and hear their hearts, and respond in a fair way, a loving way. I want to be empathetic, and sympathetic when I need to be. I want my emotions to be shown, not just mask it with anger. I want to love my wife in a way that honors God. Same with my kids. I want to be the example in my house. I want that example to be the legacy I leave for my family. Breaking chains, breaking cycles. I will fight for these things harder than anything I have fought for in the past. Its do much more important. It’s not going to be easy, but that’s why God puts good men in our path, so I can lock arms with them, and they can help hold me up in tough times, hold me accountable, and I can do the same. We are meant for relationships with other men, a brotherhood. I’m looking forward to getting into this fight, with Jesus behind us, we cannot lose.

So to the men I know, what is the legacy you want to leave? When times get hard, will you run? Or will you fight for your family?

I challenge you to fight, that charge is from God, not me, be the men God calls us to be. Even if it means taking the hard road. Thank you Mighty Oaks. For showing me the way and allowing Jesus to use y’all as instruments to challenge me. Also for the 9 extra pounds I came home with.