I was a Tough Cookie
My Dad was probably a typical World War II veteran; he didn’t talk much about the war, his feelings or about love. I knew he loved me by his personal actions in life, not by his words or physical affection. But, I still knew he cared deeply about me and loved me in the best way he could.
I was two years old when I first met my Dad coming home after the war. My Mom was pregnant when my Dad left for England, so the Dad I knew was a “photograph” on the piano. Later my Mom told me when he walked in the front door, I ran to the photograph on the piano when she asked where Dad was.
My Dad and I weren’t necessarily close. I don’t know if this was because we couldn’t bond when I was young and/or we didn’t connect closer because of his experiences in the war.
Our family went to Church but I wouldn’t say we were especially, a religious family. I don’t think my Dad had a personal relationship with Jesus. Whereas my Dad didn’t teach me about Faith, he “did teach me” about hard work, honesty and integrity.
The value of hard work, honesty and integrity is a powerful legacy and it helped me through many challenges, trials and troubles in my life’s journey. I wish he had not died so young. Had he lived longer, I believe his intelligence, counsel and guidance would have saved me from running into many brick walls and avoiding much pain and misery.
My Dad’s name was Charles Marsh Bull. Since I was a “Jr.,” people called him “Charles” and called me “Marsh”. My Dad died just before my 34th birthday at 58 years old. I had to find my way in life without his counsel and support. I may have found my way, but it was not pretty and rather unpleasant.
My Dad did the best he could. Looking back, I wish he had led me in having more Faith in Jesus. With faith, I would have known eventually there will be light, no matter the “darkness of what you are going through”. Not knowing this, I experienced periods of loss hope, discouragement and depression. I endured lost marriages, job changes, physical issues and a feeling of never having peace in my life. The majority of the problems were caused by my own actions or lack of action.
I was working for IBM in Chicago going through another divorce and a new job working more than 12 hours a day. My lack of hope and sense of desperation caused me to reach out for help. My cry of hope was simply, “Help”. Immediately, I felt a “warm blanket of Love” cover my entire body, and I was instantly transformed by God’s Love for me.
I was a tough cookie, or thought I was, believing I could handle anything that came my way. By then, I had survived almost 20 years without my Father on earth and more than 30 years without my Father in Heaven. I didn’t understand God had been watching me the entire time and had never given up on me. He had been waiting patiently and answered my simple Prayer instantly.
My personal transformation happened 21 years ago last September. I was so powerfully converted into God’s Kingdom; I still get tears remembering that moment. I marvel that God cared about me even when I didn’t care myself. He loved me when I didn’t love myself. He knows the number of hairs on my head and He is awesome, revered and holy. He is my Savior. My life changed forever when He heard and answered my prayer of Help.
I was transformed through God’s Love and my acceptance of Jesus as my Savior. I was a changed man working to become a Godly Man. I continued to work in the corporate world but dreamed of someday mentoring other men through a men’s, “internet ministry”. For more than 10 years, I wrote about my personal life’s journey, developed Small Group Discussion Topics, created Men’s Bible Study Guides and founded a Men’s Group Foundation non-profit.
In January 2012, the web site for guys, www.mensgroup.org was launched. I am humbled by what God has achieved through this ministry and I have learned to trust Him fully. Currently more than 7,000 people visit our web site monthly and download an average of 500 free Bible Study Guides.
Writing this article, I realized my earthly Father “did guide me” through his actions and personal character. Thank you, Dad. I am blessed my Heavenly Father waited for me, loved me, transformed me and saved me. Thank you, Jesus.
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