This is still especially hard for me to talk about. Thinking about it still chokes tears out of me and feels like I am rubbing salt into an open, festering wound. But this is the story of how I plunged so deep I thought I would never see the light of day again to finding God and the never ceasing stream of blessings He has given me, and continues to so graciously give.
I was in my second semester of college. Things were looking great; better than great, actually. My mom and I had just been over to help put my twin cousins’ play set together. Then came March 31, 2005, and what would become an extremely difficult 8 year journey. I got the call no one wants to get, especially an only child who is close to their mother. A nice man from a local car dealership, who had witnessed the wreck, called to let me know that my mother had been in a head-on collision. She was nearly killed in that collision. I don’t even remember what the guy said after that. I just remember breaking down. Feeling like I was completely alone.
My world crumbled in that instant. Everything that I had planned was completely and unequivocally tossed out the window. I went into denial for a year that I was having a problem. I eventually went to see a therapist, who diagnosed me with an adjustment disorder and depression. In the ensuing months, I sunk lower than I have ever been. I broke. I won’t sugarcoat things – I was completely, utterly, unmistakably, undeniably broken. You see, I was always a happy-go-lucky child. I didn’t know what to do. I was 18; turned 19 two days after that fateful call. The next 7 years turned into one hell of a ride; a ride that I wish had never happened but I can’t find myself regretting. That ride helped me to find God and has shaped me into the person I am today. Yes, I made more mistakes than I ever thought were possible. But the lessons I learned are the only remnants of those years that I continue to hold onto.
To cope, I turned to online games, shady individuals who I thought I could trust and people who said all the right things to get me to let my guard down. I turned away from those I needed the most – my family. (A little backstory here: I was not raised going to church or reading the Bible. We were always a spiritual family, but I never believed in God. It was a “higher power.”) I tried so hard to find acceptance and love in all the wrong places. I even left home at one point with a promise of something better. What I got was debt and a huge sense of guilt. My once close relationship with my mom was all but destroyed. She had trouble trusting anything I said, and I did nothing to help this. I wanted nothing to do with helping myself. It was far too painful to try to fix what was wrong than it was to sit in this hell I had created.
Fast-forward through the next few years of self-loathing, self-hate, self-doubt and self-sabotage. I found myself scrolling through the endless book options on my Kindle. I passed this book entitled “Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Operator Adam Brown.” Initially, I passed up this book, and this was really stupid on my part,because it looked like it would be a tear jerker. Something that I cannot explain drew me back to this book. Long story short, I bought the book. August 15, 2012 is the day that my life started to transform. This book, Fearless, showed me that if Adam Brown could make it through the challenges he faced, then so could I. I bought a Bible on the Kindle that same day. I started reading on a haphazard basis. My praying was no better than my reading. I plugged away at it for a little while, but I fell off on reading and praying. Then came the day in mid-January 2013 that my life really changed. I woke up with this absolutely amazing sense that everything I had been obsessing over and worrying about was gone. It was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I started praying and reading even more, nearly every day. Am I the best prayer? No, but I must admit that my prayers have come quite a long way since starting.
I thank the Lord every day for this second chance he has so graciously given me. He has allowed me to fix my relationship with my mother and work on mending my relationship with my dad. This second chance means more to me than any physical possession I could ever own. I forgave myself, even when I didn’t think I could. God forgave me, even when I doubted and refuted Him for so many years.
There are times where I find myself questioning God’s plan for me, but I always find myself reading in my Bible or praying when this happens. God has a plan, even if it doesn’t seem like it. There is a reason He has you where you are. He wants you to reach for Him and allow yourself to be guided by Him through this journey He has so carefully planned.
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