Why the Lugli Family Story Needs to be Told
"How many success stories have you heard lately?" Unfortunately, there are not many, or at least we don't hear about them. Usually they are stories of heartbreak, divorce, and death through drug abuse or eating disorders. We all have dreams that have not come true, and that have been scattered into many pieces. Where are the illustrations for our young people to follow?
People need to know that a family can go through all of those situations and more, and still come out at the end. Hearing the tools that were used, and seeing our faith in action, this story will give encouragement that "Nothing is Impossible."
My husband, Rusty, was raised in the Christian Science religion. Rusty's father was a workaholic. He gave his son the ambition to be a hard worker and to strive to succeed in anything he chose to accomplish. Rusty also learned in his young years to do whatever it took. Along with success though comes sacrifice. Long hours away from the family and distractions from the opposite sex, set him on the fast track. Sometimes that lifestyle leads to a large ego and, the "I can do anything" attitude. The need for a personal relationship with God was the farthest thing from my husband's mind. There came a time for Rusty, after living a married single life for twenty-five years, where he found the courage to ask for a divorce.
"Our kids are grown!" He thought, "Sue will be financially secure! She'll have her faith to carry her through!" Being the captain of his own ship this "I-Focused" man struggled to justify this long-desired action. However, Rusty's choices isolated him. Uncommitted love turns shallow. Lost years with children leave no memories. There is no foundation on which to build old age.
Sometimes, I myself wonder how I was able to cope during this long voyage. I CHOSE to turn years of childhood rejection and marital isolation into discovering the person God appointed me to be. Through Bible study, prayer and obedience, I chose God to be the husband I was losing. My Heavenly mate promised, "I will never leave you or forsake you."
Todd, our son, was shocked when Rusty accepted his invitation to go to Australia. Before, he had always been too busy. Todd had been fighting a drug addiction for many years and now was the time to try to build a father/son friendship. Rusty had come to realize that he was always in control of his successful business but never of his family. I was going on with my life, and our daughter, Nikki, did not want anything to do with her father. Questions started to flood Rusty's mind as he traveled to Australia. When would there ever be enough money, and why was he not happy in his life? His family was a mess at times, and he did not take the time to notice.
During the climb up Ayers Rock with Todd, Rusty had realized how desperate his own life had become. Todd was in need of a fix and Rusty himself had thought of ending his own life. This self-centered 50-year-old man had to go to Australia, to finally understand that God is the only one in control. He could not change his situation but God could. He cried out for God's help. God took him into his arms. Rusty accepted His Heavenly Father that day on the top of Ayers Rock. His life was changed.
He was now determined with God's help to try to rebuild his family and marriage. There had been many years of damage done and much mistrust. By the power of God this new man successfully put the same energy and determination that he had for business into making his marriage work. Rusty and I renewed our wedding vows and began again with Christ being the center of our marriage. Rusty was totally transformed inside, and his children and I rejoiced. Life was as we had dreamed for only two years and five months.
Then, Rusty, Nikki, and I were in a motor home accident. It was only by the grace of God that we all lived. A couple of years earlier, Rusty had been transformed on the inside, and now he was horridly transformed on the outside. Without the first change he would have never been able to make it through the second. Left with a facial disfigurement and some amputations, he had to learn to live a new life. His head had been fractured in fifteen places. No one knew if he would regain his degree of intelligence. Through years of therapy, prayer and determination, he is able to think as he did before and return to his successful business. He had a 90% recovery and he has never been as close to his family as he is now. We all had experienced a miracle!
My long, horrid, painful recovery, presented agonizing opportunities. I had to choose "BITTER" or "BETTER." God had been the leader of my life. He has been my counselor, comforter, parents, husband and guide for over 56 years. I learned early on with the death of my family to trust and obey my Heavenly Father. Little did I know at the time that He would literally carry me through some devastating winds of turbulence. My abandonment issues were many and insecurity followed. My mother died when I was eight years old, my father was mentally ill, and my sister committed suicide. I was challenged by my hyperactive son. I had experienced many storms of rejection through the unfaithfulness of my workaholic husband.
After the horrible tragedy of a near fatal accident with my family, during the most challenging time of my life, I learned that each "BETTER" choice is one step closer to God's plan. I am now able to share my experiences with others on the journey, and to give thanks to the Lord who has carried me through.