Recently, in trying to hear the Lord speak to my heart, I came across the written testimony of Jimmy Ide who recently passed away in Iraq and who’s life was received back unto the Lord just a few short weeks ago. In truth, his death has had a grave impact on many hearts and has made it difficult to understand how a loving, gracious, and merciful God might permit such unplanned departures in the lives of his children when their work on earth has ended. Here’s what he had to say about his God walk which all feels very real and transparent to me. I thought it might be worthy of your time. Please continue to pray for Jimmy’s family and all who miss him so dearly – Gina.
Current mood: rejuvenated
(Written on MySpace Blog August 13, 2007)
As a child, I considered myself a pretty good kid. I had my problems just like all the other kids but no one has a perfect child. I grew up in a military family. My dad retired from the air force and he was very strict, definitely a man of tough love. My mom brought us up in a Lutheran church but even before that, I can remember an old Baptist van driving through the neighborhood every Saturday morning to give out candy to all the kids, asking if we would be going to church in the morning. If we said yes, sure enough, they would pick us up Sunday morning just in time to make it to Sunday school. That was my first taste of God and Church. We moved away from southern Georgia in the flood of 92 because my dad was finally retired and we went to Missouri. I began high school at that time. I’d say I stopped going to church around 13 years old. I guess I just didn’t enjoy my moms’ church any more. It just wasn’t for me and she stopped making my brother and I go.At the end of my junior year, I was late for my curfew one night and my dad told me that I had to stay somewhere else. What got me was that he didn’t say “call me when you get where you’re going and let me know where you are.” He didn’t care where I was, he just didn’t appreciate being disturbed past my curfew time. I suppose it was one of those “tough love” lessons. I just slept on the porch. In the morning, on my dads’ way out the door, he told me to go get ready for school and that was the end of that. About a week later, my friends that were graduating from high school were having a graduation party and I happened to talk my dad into extending my curfew an extra hour. I had an old 81′ Honda Hawk motor cycle at the time, and I had an electrical problem with it. My main fuse would sometimes blow out. Well, on my way home from the party, my fuse goes out and I didn’t have any more, so I had to start walking. A friend driving by noticed me, and gave me a ride to the gas station to get another fuse, but it was closed and by then, I was already late for curfew. I asked my friend if I could spend the night because my parents didn’t care where I was, as long as I didn’t bother them past my curfew. I guess this is how I rationalized it. So I spent the night at his house and didn’t even bother calling my parents because I didn’t want to disturb them and upset them. Now, my brother and I shared a Gym class, and when he saw me the next day, he said that our dad wanted all my things out of the house before he got home from work, or he was throwing it all away. Fortunately, a friend of mine helped me get all my things after school and that was the last time I would see my parents for a very long time. I didn’t talk to my parents again until I left for basic training. I moved in with a friend of mine, his father and sister and spent my senior year with them. I began to blame God for my life falling apart, for giving me such “hard” parents. I began to tell others I was an atheist and I thought that it was cool to be one. I began to do drugs and drink with my friends. Since my parents wouldn’t ever let me get an earring, I ended up with 11 piercings when it was all said and done. I fell into this hippie mindset, wishing I lived in the sixties I guess. I even had a friend give me a tattoo of a big peace sign on my back. I had lots of friends and plenty of girlfriends…No parents to tell me what to do. I thought I was on top of the world. During Christmas of my senior year, I was home alone and watching touched by an angel. Something happened to me and I fell down on my knees crying and asking God to forgive me for rejecting him. Nothing else became of that moment with the Lord, but I guess He was showing me where I stood and I couldn’t deny him any longer. I began to pray before I ate and sometimes before bed, but that was about all that changed. After graduating high school, I joined the military. A couple years into it, I started to slide back into my hippie mindset and began to read a lot of books on different religions and philosophy’s. I became a vegetarian, feeling it was wrong to eat another living creature. I read books on morals, ethics, Buddhism, Taoism, native American traditions, dream interpretation, astrology, and the list goes on and on. My work performance began to slide and I questioned myself. Was I in the right job? I was bordering the line of conscientious objection. Then 9-11 happened. Patriotism hit me hard, and it was all over. I put all my thoughts on religion aside and focused on my nations needs. I deployed to help transport some terrorists from Afghanistan to Camp X-Ray, Cuba and latter in March 2003, deployed to Iraq. Now, I was a guy who thought I was going to heaven because I confessed that Jesus died for my sins and yet, today, looking back, don’t think I believed it in my heart. I didn’t know much else about why he had to die for me; all I knew was that I had to have faith to get to heaven. I was what we would call, a dead Christian, if I were a Christian. I didn’t know what the Bible said about anything, except the basic children bible stories. If I knew better, I wouldn’t have been reading about all the other religions and crazy practices I was reading about once upon a time. On November 25, 2003 while on a mission to escort an Iraqi Currency Exchange [ICE] convoy into Samarra, my soldiers and I were engaged by a rocket propelled grenade from the rear. The RPG narrowly missed my head and hit a nearby building and in the process severely limited visibility and our ability to return fire. By the time the smoke and dust cleared, no enemy personnel were anywhere to be seen. The security mission was successfully completed and there were no casualties thank God. That night I began to think about my life and how I was going to heaven and was so close to getting there. I began to think about my daughter who was born a month after getting to Iraq, which I had never seen before and I began to think about my wife, wondering what she would do without me. I promised the Lord, that if I made it out of Iraq alive, I would start going to church. I began to read a Bible a little bit and my roommate Sgt. Stowe, began to play the devils advocate. I would get so upset because I didn’t know how to defend my faith. I didn’t know anything about the Bible and it was then that I decided someday I would learn how to defend myself, from those out there that didn’t believe. On 30 November 2003, I was notified my squad had another ICE mission and I rolled out at 1245 hrs with my 9 Soldier squad. On the way into the city, another supporting element hit an improvised explosive device, and the planned route was blocked with traffic. Soon after the road was cleared and movement continued into the city, we moved into the city. My squad pulled up to the bank we were assigned to secure, and suddenly the squad was attacked by small arms fire, escalating into a 45 minute firefight. The automatic fire from suspected insurgents kicked off the fight, and shortly after came the mortars and RPGs. A substantial size enemy element, estimated to be about 100 personnel, began attacking the security element and attempted to flank my squad. The attack consisted of indirect fire from 60mm mortars, RPG’s, and AK-47’s, all occurring simultaneously. I directed one of my teams to immediately open fire and neutralized at least four enemy terrorists. Observing several insurgents firing from the 12 o’clock position and attempting to push forward, I immediately returned fire with my M4 while directing my driver to lay down lethal suppressive fire with her M249, resulting in three more enemy terrorists killed. Shortly after this, RPG fire began getting closer, but my squad maintained its position, dismounted, near the bank and continued to fire at the attacking enemy. During the volley of RPG fire, in-direct fire from mortars was encountered. A mortar then hit next to Sgt Stowe, my room-mate, and he was critically wounded. Upon notification that one of my Soldiers was wounded, I immediately contacted my higher element and requested an emergency evacuation. I also requested the outer cordon tank positions to close in on the squad’s location to ensure the safe exit of the ICE personnel. While remaining under heavy enemy fire, my squad prepared to leave the area and loaded up Sgt Stowe to be evacuated. The plan was to quickly transport Sgt Stowe to an ODA safe house. During the ensuing movement my squad remained in contact with small enemy pockets trying to engage the convoy. I continued to direct the squads’ firepower and vehicles, breaking contact with the enemy and reaching a safe entry into the ODA compound. Upon arrival, I immediately consolidated and reorganized my squad and prepared to evacuate Sgt Stowe to a landing zone for Meddavac. During the firefight, my squad reported to have eliminated 23 terrorists. Sgt Stowe was quickly evacuated from the kill zone and survived the severe facial wounds he received. During the firefight, I was certainly protected and I feel the Lords hand was upon me. Not only was he protecting me that day but even today as I go to sleep and think about that day- I have no terrible flashbacks or nightmares unlike many of my soldiers who need clinical help.When I came back from Iraq, I kept my word and went to a Lutheran church, since it was all I knew. I showed up on time and took my seat. Shortly after, the usher, and older gentleman, in his 60s I suppose, asked me if I was back from Iraq. I told him I was and the next thing that came out of his mouth was certainly the last thing I would have expected. He told me that “we should just make it into a parking lot and blow them all up.” Needless to say, I didn’t go back to that church again. A week later, I was talking to an old friend I deployed to Hungary with and he invited me to a great nondenominational church- what I now call a word church. I call it a word church because if you are a sponge and can soak up the word of God, they will certainly teach it to you. They teach almost too much to apply to your life. I grew leaps and bounds in my faith and on the fast track too. I became a born again Christian at that church. My second time their, I gave my life to Christ. I raised my hand during the alter call and went to the front to yield my life to Jesus. I can now say I am positive I will be with the Lord for eternity. I have a feeling in my heart that I never felt before. I tried to find answers in everything but the Bible and searched everywhere else but at church for the answers. God was patient however and waited for the right time to pull me into the body of Christ. I was always so spiritual, so thirsty for God, but had no clue where to find him. When I began to grow in the Lord, my wife began to go the other way. She ran from everything I tried to teach her. She wanted nothing to do with church. I would chase her around the house with the Bible literally “Bible thumping.” I also began to drink a lot of alcohol because it put me in a good mood and I would get along with my wife better. I was so close to becoming an alcoholic. It was the only time I had peace in my house. She just didn’t understand what I wanted her to understand. One day, I read in the bible that God didn’t like a drunkard. He touched my heart and I put down the booze. My wife went to church with me a couple times but hated how they preached so much on tithing so, I went to church for about a year by myself. She couldn’t however, deny the relationship I had with God or the reality that he was a part of me, because of all the blessings he poured out in my life. I remember a time when we decided we wanted another car because the one we had wasn’t cutting it. We also wanted to get another couch and a new kitchen table. However, we had no money to pay for any of it. We lived check to check. I began to pray for these things. Three months later, I get a call from a Friend about to go back to Iraq and he asks me if I wanted to buy his 2002 Dodge Neon for 1800.00 dollars. I told him that it was a great deal but I didn’t have the money. He asked me to pay him 150.00 a month for 12 months and he threw in his brand new kitchen table with chairs, a matching couch and chair, coffee table and end tables. All because his wife didn’t like the colors and they were going to get new furniture when he got back from Iraq. Only the Lord can provide the desires of your heart when you don’t even have the means of getting it. This is just one blessing he poured out in my life that is undeniably the Lords work. And yet, my wife continued to run. If only I would have stopped chasing her and let the Lord. One of the hardest things I ever had to do was get out of his way. At work, a brother in the Lord would always invite me to his church. He told me it was called, Calvary Fellowship. Around the same time, the Lord began to speak to my heart. He told me that he was going to place me where it pleased him and so, I came to check out this church. I really enjoyed it. It was down to earth and the Bible teachings were right on track with the word of God. It was also enough to apply to your life and not too much that you can’t handle it all. They also didn’t teach a lot on tithing so I thought my wife would enjoy it. I hated leaving my other church. I played the saxophone in the band and I had so many friends there. I had to go though, because the Lord was leading me in another direction. My wife and I were already unevenly yoked and the family was still falling apart. If it wasn’t for my faith in the Lord I would have already left my wife. It was almost unbearable. We just couldn’t get along. When we would argue she would yell “why don’t you just go pray or something” or “did you pray today”, “the devils using you”. Something had to change.My wife likes Calvary and though she still doesn’t go very often, she and I are getting along better. At Calvary, I learned to focus on Jesus and not on the problem and things have been getting so much better at home. All things work to the good of those who love the Lord. At Calvary, I get to really serve. I’m a Sunday school teacher for children ages 6+ and sometimes help out with the multi media. I love serving the Lord and his people, and pray that the Lord will someday allow me to do it full time. I definitely want to get into the ministry. I try to look day to day to the Lord and he orders my footsteps. He will open the doors to serve him. I know that he will supply all I need, in whichever way he sees fit. For now, he uses me to minister to those at work and those in the “marketplace”. I get to pray for some on the spot, and sometimes I get to bring prayers into my prayer closet. Sometimes I pray for healing, and sometimes I just give a word of encouragement. Sometimes I get to teach someone about what Gods word says, and sometimes I get to defend my faith. Everyday is a good day with the Lord and I try to let the light of Jesus reflect off of me. I just don’t know how I ever survived without a relationship with my creator. Now, my parents and brother are walking closely with the Lord and it is so exciting to see God work wonders in all that I have been through. Growing up, my dad wouldn’t step foot in a church and now, he is on a church committee. All of us are very close and we love each other very much. My testimony is a mighty tool in the hands of God. I have had to endure abandonment, addiction, marital strife, war, death, financial difficulties, jail….the list goes on. I wouldn’t change anything that I had to go through, because it makes me who I am today. Now, it is my desire…it is my return… to be used by God. He is a Lamp unto My Feet!