Below is a letter I received from a High School classmate almost 30 years after we graduated. The letter is true. The letter is sincere and heartfelt. The letter is difficult to read and it is encouraging. Letters like this is why I write. I truly have to give all of the acknowledgment and praise to God. Friend, and you know who you are, thank you for sharing. I'm a better person for knowing you. Shawn
Sometimes it is very difficult to see the incredible beauty while enduring crippling pain.
Who would know my first thoughts of attending church would originate from a 5 year old little boy; “Mommy, why don’t we go to church”?
With a few conversations with him on this matter I set out to find a “church". I myself knew nothing of church, religion, God, Christianity and WOW all the choices---- Lutheran, Catholic, Pentecostal, Methodist, Denominational, Non Denominational . I wanted to go to “Church”. Why so many choices ? What if I make the wrong choice ? So this started my search…
I eventually moved to Groveport, Oh, worked at a market, and met many awesome people along the way. One day I was invited to church….. Madison Christian! Years went by, I attended regularly and grew to love, and find understanding in something I had never known before.
Faith, Prayers, Worship. WOW! I grew to want to know more. I was growing, learning loving GOD!
All the while living and raising kids, working … life was chaotic but I had a faith and God was good. I could conquer anything or so I thought. My children attended church with me. Some days were easy, some weren’t, but that’s life. I had a newly founded love like never before and I was so eager to learn.
I had the music playing, the books, a Bible, the bumper sticker…
I had that feeling of “Protection” an umbrella of God over my family and of everything in this world I could give my children “faith”, Prayer, Hope, a relationship with God! Although it wasn’t easy, I was happy; content. I felt as long as my family was growing toward God what more could a woman ask for?
Then one day my protection did a major flip flop on me.
Now there are many sessions of life, good and bad, that I am leaving out, but that 5 year old little boy at 16 decided to take his life. My world stopped I became numb, people talked … I couldn’t hear. I just wanted to wake up from the misery of a bad dream that was about to define my whole existence.
Well long story short.
That bad dream has since taken 12 years of “me.”
No one saw inside of me because eventually I could fake everything. Smile, Happy, Bubbly, full of life, but inside I was distraught, disappointed; I failed. I failed at religion and raising my children.
Why would God cause me such pain, why was he punishing me? I had so many emotional hang ups to distant me from God. I didn’t want to believe in God! This wonderful comfort that I found I thought I was giving something so special to my family.
Life for me, the plan, the future, it was done.
God, through the years would reach out and say; “ I am here, let me comfort you, let me ease your pain." I refused. I knew too well that comfort also brought a great deal of pain and I didn’t want more pain. I don’t know why things happen, there’s still so many unanswered questions, but I learned during those 12 years without Gods comfort, my doing it alone … Pushing God away. I didn’t want to accept that “My God” would do this to me and if I accept this then I can’t hate.
I will have to let go and I didn’t want to let go. I wanted to hold on. I wanted to hold on to my anger. My anger was my therapy; my strength.
Then one day out of nowhere a person casually asked me; “Why do you fake your happiness ?” “Why are you so angry with God”? My answer: I am not angry at God. I don’t even know if I believe in God.
That person challenged me: the words he said to me, and what I heard, were not the same. But that day my son died, on the way to him I felt Gods presence saying; "It’s okay I am with you!” I remember that moment. God reaching to comfort me, through the years I read it wrong. For me that reaching out to hold me meant another tragedy was about to take place and honestly his comfort scared me. I felt him when my son enlisted in the Marines and went to Afghanistan, and I remember thinking if I accept this I will lose another child.
So I pushed him away again.
So the moment this new person challenged me I heard God again. He screamed so loud at me. He said: Haven’t you punished yourself long enough Why won’t you accept my love? Why don’t you come home? Where you belong. I yelled back, I cried, begged for understanding.
All I know is for 12 years I denied God. I didn’t want to love him. I couldn’t forgive and I couldn’t admit that I felt this way because deep down I knew it was wrong. I just didn’t know how to accept it all. So I denied, I hid behind my walls and kept it for me only.
Sometimes things happen.
Bad things, horrible things. God promises to be there with us along the way. He can’t promise we won’t struggle or lose people along our journey of life. But he does promise to be there for us.
If we choose to allow him.
For whatever reason–--- the day I finally prayed and cried and begged God to forgive me for pushing him away---- It was like a boulder had been lifted from my shoulders. I am not faking my smile anymore.
I went through my sons belongings 12 years later and threw them away. I have allowed God back into my life. I hear him saying; “I am so glad you are here.”
I would rather have one day with God then 12 years without him.
It’s ironic to think that the one reason I found a relationship with God was the same reason I denied it and suffered; putting my healing on halt.
God knew I would need him.
If I wouldn’t have had those years of hope, then the years of denying I wouldn’t have anything to compare it to when I heard God again. I remembered the feeling of his love and I remembered the feelings when I denied him.
So the question now that has been presented to me is: "Do I believe?"
I more than believe. I know! I feel, I see, I hear. I listen! I have allowed myself to heal though Him.
I am ready to live, learn and love again.
He can move mountains. All I can think of for me is the song by MercyMe. This is MY story of when “The Hurt and the Healer" meet.
It is truly awesome when they collide.
February 2, 2013