I was brought up on a farm out in Canterbury. I loved the farm, and it was bred into me. There is a passion that's just in your blood. I lived it, I walked it, I dreamed it, and I always wanted to take over the family farm. From when I was a little boy, dad always said to me, "Because you're the oldest son then you're going to take over the farm." I educated myself, went through school and did all the agricultural stuff that I needed to do and wanted to do.
Then my father sold the farm. I was kind of lost. I floundered around for a long time trying to work out what to do and where to go. My brother was going overseas and he came to me one day and said, "Steve, you need to find the Lord." He said a few things to me and we did some stuff, prayed some stuff.
From that day on the Lord came and found me and drew me to Him, and I felt that I had to go to church. The first day I walked into that church, I just bawled my eyes out and I couldn't stop it. I'm not an emotional guy and I hate being emotional. Every time I went to church, tears just flooded out of my eyes, especially hearing about Jesus, when he talks about His love for you and that He's picked you and He's chosen you. He comes and finds you and He found me.
My wife, she said to me one day that she didn't like the idea of me going to church, and she said, "You've got to choose me or the church." I thought, "You can't ask me that question." There's only one choice that I had to make. So this turmoil was really hard inside of me but I knew what the right answer was. I didn't want to say the answer, but I had to because she gave me the ultimatum so I said, "Look, it's Jesus, I have to put Jesus first in my life. That's one of His commandments."
From that day, it was like that wrecked or destroyed or pulled apart my marriage. Whatever happened, the marriage broke and there was nothing I could do to hold it together. I'd been with this lady for twelve years and I had three boys, two to her. Absolutely wonderful, wonderful children. I was gutted, it just wrecks you from the inside out. I lost weight and had thoughts of suicide. Until you've walked through something like that you can't explain it to anybody.
That part of my life was two, three years that were just a nightmare for me. You think that it's going to get better the next day, but it didn't. I just seemed to find that I was in a really deep pit for a long period of time, that's how much I loved this lady. I didn't know what life was going to be like after this. How I was going to get out of it, where I was going to go and what I was going to do.
I had to move back in with my parents. When you're a 30 year old man that has to move back with your parents, it's not a very easy thing to do. We had a nice country road down the back of the farm. It was probably three kilometres down and three kilometres back, so I'd walk for 3km pretty much arguing with God. I'd talk to Him about what's going on, where we're at, and how I felt.
I argued away with Him and I battled away with Him and I fought. This was a daily thing I did and it was like I'd get so far down the road and He'd come and meet me. Then all the way back, I would listen to Him and praise Him and I'd give Him thanks because He turned up and His presence was there. Jesus found me and He showed himself to me and He cleaned out this part of my heart so that I can't deny who He is.
I find in my life when you're in the deepest, hardest parts He's the closest to you. God doesn't leave you in this pit. He needs you to grieve, He needs you to grow in that time, and He needs you to put yourself back together. I found that when you're with somebody, the two of you grow together as one. It's quite a bizarre thing because you do become a couple, you become one, and you compromise a lot together and you become somebody else other than who you were.
I had to redefine myself. That took a long time to find myself and build my confidence back up. It's not an easy walk, being a Christian. It's not an easy life, but there are massive rewards in it. When He's for you, who can be against you? I'm now married again to an absolutely wonderful woman. When the two of you are on the same page and the two of you love the Lord in the same way, you both grow together so much better. When I was married to my first wife, I loved her with every single thing I had and if I had my own way, I would have still been with her.
God's been very, very gracious with what He's given me back. He means everything to me. I'd be completely lost without Him. I wouldn't want to be without Jesus, not ever.