I grew up in a divorced family and essentially had two sets of parents from a very young age and shuttled back and forth between Rockville and DC with a room at each house. I’m fortunate to have grown up with good parents in a loving environment with my sister and stepsisters. Neither of my sets of my parents were very spiritual, so it was not a big part of my life growing up. Going back and forth between homes every week made it difficult to go to church regularly.

However, I was baptized and confirmed at a church in Rockville when I was 11. I believed in Christian principles, but it was head knowledge and not very deep or in practice until my adult life.

For several years I went to church with my wife early in our marriage and when we first had our kids. My wife, Karin, was a practicing Christian and wanted to have more faith in our lives, so I owe the beginning of my journey to her.

I really started my spiritual journey 11-12 years ago when we were introduced to Grace by our friends Rich and Debbie McGuire. Some other good friends, Mike and Michelle Hewitt, were also part of Grace, which helped in our transition as well. I can honestly say that Grace is the first church I have ever liked going to and felt like I was at home in.

Around the time I was introduced to Grace, I had my first cervical spinal fusion surgery. I had complications after my surgery a couple of days after I got home, and my wife Karin brought me to the hospital when my legs were hurting, I had an incredible pain in my side, and I was coughing up blood. I had blood clots that started in my legs and broke off and went into both of my lungs (pulmonary embolism). She rushed me to the hospital, and I was in intensive care for nearly a week, and I don’t remember about five days of my life because I was in and out of consciousness and heavily medicated. I was told by both doctors and nurses that over 80 percent of people who have what I had die and how extraordinarily fortunate I was to have lived. I owe Karin my life because the doctor’s told her that if she had not brought me to the hospital that afternoon, I would have passed in the night if I had gone to sleep at home.

In the hospital, I realized then that God had spared me and there was a reason I was allowed to live instead of pass from Pulmonary Embolism. I realized that I was not in control and thought hard to make sense of the reason behind my survival. I fully believe that I was kept alive because my wife was not meant to be a widow in her 30’s and my two kids were not supposed to grow up without me. My wife’s parents both passed when she was young, and she was raised by her Aunt and Uncle, and I think God was looking out for our family to not have her suffer another major loss on top of having lost her parents. I believe that the divine intervention that spared my life became personal and spurred the need for a relationship with God through Jesus.

God’s wake-up call delivered me, and I’ve been seeking clarity ever since. In my journey, particularly through Starting Point, the relationship to God through Jesus became clear. This health scare sparked my spiritual journey, and it has been a process over the past 11 years to get to this point.

The primary people in my life who have helped me are my wife Karin, Rich McGuire, and Mike Hewitt.

We were friends with Rich and Debbie McGuire before we came to know Grace. My friendship with Rich has evolved, as we have completed various programs at Grace, and he has been my spiritual mentor patiently waiting for me to get to a point where I was ready to take the next step in faith and sharing more of his faith as I was ready to hear it.

My spiritual journey has included several semesters of Men’s Fraternity led by Dave Krueger, Starting Point, Foundations, and Men of Grace. Dave Krueger taught a tremendous perspective of being a man of faith that I had never thought of previously, and I believe I have been a better husband and father as a result of participating.

I have many others to thank including leaders of programs I have done at Grace and small group team members. Also, I’d like to thank Mark Norman and Mitchel Lee who have given thought-provoking and inspirational lessons that have progressed my journey.

Being a Christ follower has given me more joy and inner peace and it has helped me deal with life’s challenges differently than I might have without any faith. I have been living in daily, chronic pain for 11+ years with my neck and back issues, had a car accident after the first surgery, and needed to have a second spinal fusion surgery, etc. Having faith has helped me deal with it all with a smile on my face. I also believe that my actions and choices of how I handle challenges may be able to help others deal with their own struggles.

By following Christ, I’ve chosen to make time for a spiritual side in my life that I hadn’t placed the same priority on years ago. I am participating in discussions, reading the Word, listening to podcasts, and praying daily. I would have bet against that 15-20 years ago!

I am appreciative of what I have now to a different degree as a result of my faith.

I am paying closer attention to signs and where the Holy Spirit may be directing me and my choices.

I am continuing to work on turning things over to God. There is a faith in my heart and I’m ready to publicly declare that I’m part of God’s family as a result of my faith in Christ.

— Rob Bruce, Baptized March 2018
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