From the beginning of time to the end of the time, the Creator of the Universe moves. He was when there was nothing, and He will be when there is nothing. The Alpha and the Omega. A God of Love. A God of Grace. A God who loves creation and everyone and everything in it. All things a reflection of His infinite and incomprehensible Glory. Each living thing representing a piece of Him.
I was asked some challenging questions the other night...about God. About creation. There being an ultimate purpose to life. How I know that there is. And it got me thinking...how do I know? How can I verbally express something that I not only feel, but have always felt? That feeling of knowing even in moments when I felt most alone, that I really wasn't alone. That even if I was all by myself with an aching heart, that there was something and someone so much greater than me always present. Always close. Always listening.
Sadly though, I didn't always trust that "voice" when I heard it. That peace that not only would things be okay, but that I was okay and served a God who was working things out and had a plan for my life. It was how He picked me up when I was down that I felt that redemption and grace over my life. As time went on, He continued to give me more and more reasons to trust Him.
I made the decision at 18, in the summer of 2008, that I wanted to get re-baptized as an adult through my church at the time, Kensington. It was a beautiful evening of brightly painted skies at Stony Creek Park. I had found a deeper faith, and I was ready to take that plunge to continue serving a life of faithfulness to our Lord.
And less than a month later, at the start of my freshman year of college, I dove head first into the beginning of the darkest season of my life. I had known many heartbreaks from my earliest memories, growing up with divorced parents and a dad who needed help. But the thing that tore me apart the most (at that point in my life) was the divorce between my mom and stepdad that began when I was 18.
I had a happy childhood with my mom and Todd (my stepdad). We took family vacations every year. I had a brother and a sister. A dad who worked full time, who came home to delicious home cooked meals every evening prepared by mom. We always hung out as a family after dinner. We played games. We watched movies. Every Friday or Saturday we did our chores. Life with my mom and stepdad was normal. And growing up, it had become my saving grace, unbeknownst to me.
And then after 14 years of marriage, they decided it was time to part ways.
My brain could not mentally process or accept this. My stable family and safe place was no longer stable and safe? What?
Growing up going back and forth between my mom's and dad's homes was my normal. It was all I had ever known. I accepted that my parents weren't and would never be together. As I got older, new challenges arose with my dad, and I began to find more and more peace in the stability that living with my mom and Todd had brought. Even though my biological parents were divorced, I imagined myself years down the road, bringing my kids over to my mom and Todd's house. I wanted my future children to be able to experience a taste of the happy parts of my childhood. I was looking forward to normal things, like family holidays together. I had even imagined what it would be like to combine family functions and have my dad Kevin and his family take part in things with my mom and Todd.
But then to lose another family unit was more than my 18/19 year old brain could comprehend.
I grieved a lot. I grieved not only the loss of the marriage between my mom and Todd, but the loss of my childhood family that I loved so much, and the loss of dreams and what I had hoped would come down the road. I just couldn't accept it. My life took a downward spiral as I struggled to cope with the loss.
To gain some control in my life, I began to work out excessively and cut my calorie intake to less than 1,000 calories/day. I couldn't control the loss of my childhood family, but I could control how I took (or didn't take) care of my body. I lost 20 pounds in just a few months. Which was a lot for me, especially considering my normal weight was around 115-120 lbs. It got to the point where the only clothes that fit me were dresses.
Also during this time, I experienced extreme anxiety and found myself struggling to fall asleep almost every night. My thoughts would race and race all night. Most nights I would end up crying myself to sleep. I was absolutely devastated and heartbroken. I felt so alone.
I knew that God was there. But I was angry. I was so confused. How would this happen?? How could this happen? I felt the spark going out inside me.
I began taking pills every night to help me fall asleep. I basically took whatever I could find and in varying quantities. Benadryl. Motrin. Migraine medication. Anxiety medication. I even began misusing Vicodin when I had been given a prescription when I had my wisdom teeth extracted. I just wanted something to take the pain away.
I basically turned to everything but God during this time. God obviously had no control over my life. But I did. Or so I thought.
I guess His timing was interesting, because although I was at the absolute lowest point in my life to date, I was also getting ready to make a trip overseas to Israel. The Holy Land. The trip that changed my life and brought me out of the sea I was drowning in.
(To he continued...)