The founder of Gramazin, an underachiever familiar with heartache, has experienced the transforming love of Jesus Christ. After decades of wilderness, he now dedicates the remainder of his life to Jesus Christ.
You are God and I am not
You are my Creator. I am your creature. You are holy and I am common. You are all-knowing and I am ignorant. You are all-powerful and I am weak. You are all-wise and I am foolish. You are sovereign and I am needy and dependent. You never change. I change with every heartbeat. You are all-loving. I am self-centered.
Throughout my life I have acted like I was my own god. I have lived as though my life was my own and I could do with it as I please. I could decide for myself what was right and wrong. I lived each day doubting your goodness and faithfulness. I accused you of wrong doing. I wanted many things more than I wanted you.
In short, I was a rebel from God and I deserved death.
However, you are the God of mercy, compassion, and grace. You knew before I was born that I would rebel against you. However, you created me anyway! You love me! You provided a solution for the punishment I deserved for the crime against you that I had committed.
Jesus Christ bore the punishment I deserved for my rebellion.
Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God who came down to earth to live the perfect life it was impossible for me to live. He died on the cross because I, Charles Wagner, had rebelled against you and my life, like every person's life, was worth saving. He stepped in front of your wrath that was directed at me and took the blow Himself. Someone without sin had to die for my rebellion and He said "I will!" He did. You raised Him from the dead, pleased with His sacrifice on behalf of the human race you love so much. You have put Him now in authority above all things and given Him the highest place of honor.
I didn't understand this truth for nearly 50 years
I didn't really understand all of this until my 50s. Father, I grew up in a dysfunctional Christian home. I attended Sunday School in the 1960s and 1970s. I was a student at a Christian school and I graduated from a Christian college. I've attended independent, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches throughout my life.
However, I didn't get it. I never understood the depths of your love or the depths of my rebellion. I struggled year after year trying to make something of my life on my own when I was burdened with insecurities, feelings of failure, and "low self-esteem". I was frequently depressed and I was confused. I drifted through my career, continuously underachieving. My first marriage was dysfunctional and not at all a reflection of what you intended.
I was lost!
God led me into a long season in the wilderness
In 2004, you took me into the wilderness so that I might learn who you are, who I am, and what was wrong with my heart. Between 2004 and 2015, I experienced quite a bit of adversity. It began when I was hospitalized one weekend for suicidal ideation. I experienced a painful divorce from my first wife, the loss of a close friend to a cocaine overdose, and a long-term financial crisis. Bankruptcy and foreclosure were a constant threat. I experienced loneliness and a deeply broken heart as I longed for a lasting relationship. On top of it all, I severely injured my back in August 2015 (talk about severe physical pain) and I was unable to walk for several months.
I am very thankful for the changes God orchestrated in me
Thank you! Thank you for the trouble! Thank you for the many tears I shed! Thank you for the many moments I cried out in despair! Thank you for the love you poured out to me through the generosity and kindness of godly men and women! I learned how much you love me! Thank you for teaching me about the rebellion of my heart! Thank you for teaching me spiritual truths! Thank you for transforming my heart and mind, giving me a deepening love for you and for others in emotional and spiritual pain! You gave me perseverance to withstand adversity and the courage to speak boldly of your goodness. I remember the coward I used to be!
It was all part of a master plan leading to Gramazin
However, this was all planned by you all along. Father, I believe you had a purpose for me when I was knitted in my mother's womb. I would become a passionate advocate in your church for the publishing of the very kind of testimonies of hope I wanted so much in my darkest hours. I would become a voice for people who are crying out for true stories of your love but cannot find them. You inspired me with a vision named Gramazin. You gave me talents, skills, and gifts for this task. You prepared me for your purpose as I trudged through seemingly meaningless jobs in the 80s, 90s, and 00s.
2016 was the call out of the wilderness. 2017 is the launch of Gramazin
2016. My life was suddenly transformed. Within the space of what seemed like the blink of an eye, you brought Karen back into my life. She was a dear friend in college I had not communicated with for 31 years. Our bond had survived all these years and it quickly blossomed into full bloom. We were married in August. Thanks to the help of an amazing friend, my home in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA sold. I didn't think the home would ever sell. I moved to Cape Ann, Massachusetts, north of Boston, MA, into a home 600 yards from the Atlantic Ocean. In September you inspired me to write Take Every Thought to Prayer and it was completed by early December. I put the book aside for a few months to build the Gramazin on-line testimony workshop. In April 2017, I took up the cause of finding a publisher. I thank you that within a short time, I had an agreement with Xulon Press to publish two volumes of the book in September 2017.
Now it is time for Gramazin
Father, you have given me a passion and a vision for Gramazin. You have given me skills. You have molded my character. Now, use me to touch lives. May my story encourage those who have lost hope. May the work of my hands honor you and your Son, Jesus Christ. May what I do strengthen the church and build your Kingdom.
Everyone, persevere in the belief that God is good
Father, you do deliver grace and mercy after seasons of hardship! You do answer prayer! In your time! We are to wait upon the Lord! We are to trust in Him! We are to persevere through the pain! You are building our character! Whatever we do, we should NEVER doubt that you are good, no matter what happens! Adversity is a part of life and you use it to refine our character. However, you have plans for good for us and there will be relief. It is coming.