It only took 35 years and 7 months for me to get that unbelievable feeling of peace but I have it and am now one of them.
I first shared my struggles of Faith with you back in 2008. I had an overwhelming response of support & encouragement, enough to make anyone feel unconditionally loved, even without knowing half of the people that replied and offered prayer. The closes thing I had to God that I can ever remember while growing up, is listening to the Statler Brothers with my Grandma. Man, she loved them so much. I can still hear her singing their songs, raising her eyebrows & grinning big in a flirty manner with a simple
vision dream of getting a smooch from Harold Reid, and occasionally staring at a photo she had of all of them. I don’t know what my Grandmother believed in or what her Faith was. Maybe it was just that, the Gospel voices of these men and her own ‘searching for more’ that we both shared. I do know now that it was moments like those that kept me searching for more.
I had my share of unpleasant moments as a youth but of all the things that stand out, I vividly remember my Mom not coming out of her room after a few minutes (what seemed like hours) of having fists in her face. I was around 9 maybe, I’m not sure, but I do remember questioning God. I wondered how in the world He could let something like that happen. And while I never understood it and continuously questioned God, I can now say that it’s these words that help me to understand a little bit more:
The Holy Spirit leads, guides and prompts us …but He leaves the choices up to us.
Each of us have choices. God wants and encourages us to do the right thing, but ultimately, we make the choices. That man chose to be abusive. Eventually, my very brave Mom, chose to leave. And whether she realizes it or not, she had Faith that there was something better out there for her, even though she couldn’t see it. After all, that’s what Faith is; believing in something that you can’t see. It’s funny what your mind will block out for years, but then allow you to remember once you’ve let go of all the trash. I can now remember saying these little mini prayers during that same time period. They were simply really; ‘Please help my Mom’. While I may not have known it then, I know now that God was right there with my Mom as she shoveled her way out of that situation. There are always choices. One may look just as bleak as the other but one is a better choice. I’m thankful she made the right choice. As I look back, I see that this was another milestone in my journey to ‘find faith‘.
Life went on for many years and then I met a gal, Johnna. We were great friends. She was always much more sensible than myself. She could always see the other perspective better than I could. She was closer to God than I ever was. And when she started strengthening that relationship with God more and more, I became bitter….well, perhaps the word should be jealous. I knew I wanted that feeling she had but I was still young, still hurting from the past, and unable to throw away my trash at that point. It was Johnna that first mentioned the Walk to me. It was 2004 I think. I remember thinking, “oh.my.gosh. weird”. It was unfamiliar to me and frankly, it was uncomfortable for me. I didn’t understand it and didn’t want to. It was March of 2005 when God thought it was time to take my mother-in-law away from us. I remember calling Johnna crying, not saying much, but her immediately praying for the situation. It’s a moment I’ll never forget because I was still very much an unbeliever but said “yes, please pray”. That was Faith. Yes I had hoped God would decide that Anna needed to be here with us instead of with Him but the Faith I had at that moment was just that ‘somebody’ would help get us through it all. Sadly, me and Johnna are no longer friends. I once blamed her for giving up on me but I understand now that it was a choice she had to make because I was so negative and unhealthy spiritually at that time. She did as much as she could for me but she just couldn’t allow herself to be brought down by me in that way. And it’s true, as much as we try and want to help others, we can only do so much. Sometimes, we just have to let go and give it to God. I know that now.
My quest for Faith came to a halt when my mil passed away. I was angry. I couldn’t understand why He would take her so suddenly. I was so mad that I rarely discussed Faith for a few years. 2011, a couple of months before my Walk (after I had been attending Church for a few months), I remembered something that my sister-in-law said. “I don’t understand why either. Maybe God needed her with Him to help us see things we needed to see that she couldn’t share with us here. Maybe He needed her there as our Guardian Angel to protect us in a way that she couldn’t do here.”. And it was this statement that started to bring me some peace. Maybe that’s why all the grandkids have been safe and healthy; they had angels like her and my grandmother watching over them, all of us. I’d like to think that both Anna and my Grandmother were here that scary day we couldn’t find Truett. That day he could have easily fell into the huge water tank but maybe they held his hand and guided him back to the house. Maybe they are both there with all the little ones that have been lost in this family, the ones that we didn’t even get to meet, but are babysitting until we do get that chance. That’s my Faith now.
The Walk allowed me to rid my mind, heart, and soul of all that trash. It brought me peace. God allowed me to put it in His hands so that I could be free of it. As my mind documents all these moments in my past, I can now see that He purposely surrounded me with loving, patient believers. He knew I’d find my way sooner or later. And while He played a huge role in my Faith today, I also know that I made the choice to ‘Find Faith‘ and Him.
And that’s how I got here.