I know it’s been a while since you heard from me. You probably know the exact date but I can’t remember. I just know it’s been at least 17 years. Wow. 17 years. That’s someone’s lifetime. It’s hard to fathom I’ve been doing my own thing for so long. Honestly, it hasn’t gone that well.
I know we only recently started talking again and well, once I realized you had been with me all along it was quite humbling. I remember crying out to you (as a last resort) 3 months ago asking you to take me away from my life. Lets be honest. I was considering taking my own life. I was considering homelessness. I was considering changing my identity and driving out West never to be seen or heard from again. I was in complete despair. Why? Because it’s been really hard losing so many things in the past three years. I still cry over the loss of my step-father and now I cry for the loss of my biological one. I cry over not being able to find a job and not knowing where the money to make a car payment will come from. I cry over feeling like I haven’t accomplished anything I set out to accomplish. I cry over feeling like a failure. I cry over lost and broken friendships and relationships with family and friends. I cry over the loss of feeling like I belong.
Most of the friends I have now know nothing about my roots in faith and Christianity. Once I left the church I ran so far away from You and anything related to religion that I’ve made quite a name for myself as a “Spiritualist”. My favorite thing to say was “The Universe provides”. I remember when I was in college at Florida Southern we were all required to take a course in Religion. I decided to take New Testament and I did pretty well in it. I was so angry at “Christians” that I used my last elective course (you know how much I love art) to take a course in the Old Testament…just so I’d be able to argue with someone about the Bible if the conversation ever came up. One of my favorite things to ask Christians was “Do you celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread”? They would never know what I was talking about so I’d just roll my eyes and mumble something about what they pick and choose from the Bible and how it’s all BS anyway.
I remember thinking how clever I was being on the “other” side of religion. I knew so many intelligent people with degrees in higher education that believed the same way I did. I felt validated. I was looking for and finding faith, albeit shaky, in people. In stuff. In theories and in books. I isolated myself from You and surrounded myself with non-believers.
I tried to find You in many different places since my 20’s. I looked in other churches. I looked for you in other religions. I looked for you in the trees. The ocean. In other people. And even though I did sometimes sense your presence in all of those things…they were never enough and never have been enough. I still felt empty and broken. I took an inventory of my friends and guess what? They all felt the same. I’m not guessing they felt the same, they all told me. Plus, lets be honest, their misery (and mine) was obvious. I remember being in my Master’s program and having lunch with a fellow student. While we were eating he said to me (sarcastically) “So, are you just going to carry your cross around for everyone to see?”
I feel like an addict that “hit rock bottom”. I had to be devastated and desperate to be able to surrender control. I know some people will think I “drank the kool-aid” and that’s okay because I know that, through my pain and loss, I have been able to experience both sides of the story. I’ve known what it’s like to serve You and I’ve known what it’s like to serve myself. I may even loose some friends. But I’m leaving that up to You.
I won’t explain the entire story just yet, but eventually I will create a timeline about what it’s been like to find my way back to You. It’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in a very long time and when I think about it all I can’t help but smile. I am eternally humbled and grateful for meeting KishKush in April, 2013. Thank you for putting her in my path. Thank you for her story and ministry and belief in You that encouraged me and would end up placing me in a path of your people. Because of her the old question that never seems to be answered about “why God lets horrible things happen” is answered. She’d never want to hear it, but if any human being had anything to do with my still being alive, it’s her.
I know You have a plan for me that includes great things. I am starting to learn what it’s like to believe again. I’m remembering all the things I had forgotten about church and fellowship and what it’s like to have friends who are believers. It’s so beautiful. More beautiful than anything I could’ve come up with about the Universe (which You created). More beautiful than anything I’ve ever experienced, except when I experience your Divine Fingerprints here on Earth.