Taking Off the Mask - Joe Boone
My name is Joe Boone and this is my story:
"I’ve spent most of my life in the church. I was baptized as an infant and went through all the requirements of my Catholic upbringing. I always believed in God and had many times when I felt a strong bond with the Lord. I prayed and asked for forgiveness of my sins but didn’t know what that really meant. I fell away from the church during college; I felt I didn’t need it because I thought I had all the answers.
My pride made me believe I had all the answers, but there was always a suffocating emptiness inside me. Anxiety, depression, pride, selfishness, lust, and feelings of hopelessness controlled me. My job and success at work became my priority. I failed in my role as a husband and it cost me my marriage.
Loneliness consumed me. My whole life I felt like I had worn a mask to hide my real feelings and suffering. I lived two lives; one totally committed to the times when I had my son and the other living in complete emptiness and sadness. By this time I had joined a church and started thinking I had found some answers. I would leave church after an inspirational message and feel so good about myself, but within days I would be wondering how I would make it through the day or week.
About a year ago, everything in life was crashing down on me. Relationship failures, my career focus being so unfulfilling, and stress and depression taking more and more of my day. I felt completely hopeless. Where were the answers I thought I had and the strength I would fake?
I don’t know what happened within me, but I picked up the Bible to read it for the first time. Even though I knew many of the stories and had heard much of it, it had never resonated. Now, I wasn’t just reading, but it was speaking directly to me. I couldn’t put it down. All of these beautiful examples and lessons had been near all along. My heart and mind began to change. I began looking for a new church and found Henderson Hills and it felt like home. I couldn’t pull myself away from the Word. Everything else in life besides my son and his mother became unimportant. I couldn’t get enough.
As I was learning the Word of God, I found myself overcome with guilt and sadness for the mistakes I had caused and endured by not knowing the Word. Slowly and steadily, I realized that only through Christ could I have forgiveness.
As a sinner, I ask for all your prayers as I enter the water to publicly profess that I have died with Christ and have been raised up as a new child of God filled with the Holy Spirit. I commit to my new church family that I leave my old self behind and submit my life to Christ.