It feels strange to write again, however my thoughts need to be expressed. Sometimes I bottle up my thoughts and feelings to the point that it hurts me to continue on. It’s odd, as I have always been a talking a social. Growing into my adult self I found that the more I said the more shame or embarrassment I felt. I feel like I am wasting others time by talking. I’m sure that is the reason why I am privy to writing. I say what I want and no one has to read it. I can speak even if no one wants to listen.
That might be a long intro into what feels like an entirely different topic. The reason I bring it up, though, is that if you find yourself reading this, you can understand at least why I am writing it. It’s not that what I have to say is particularly important to anyone but myself. It’s that my words are some that may have been held in shame or embarrassment. I freely write these words to share my own personal experiences and pain. I share for myself but I do hope others may stumble upon these writings and learn. I pray they will learn from my experience.
With that, I want to begin my story my freshman year in college. I was young and full of hope for the future. As time went on I lost that hope. I’m fact, I lost all hope. I became withdrawn, frantic, obsessive, crazed, and I hated myself. This is how my journey started. I have shared that story on my blog before but this time I need to share something a little different.
During this time I thought I believed in God. I’m not sure if I actually believed or if I was putting on an act. This whole part of my life felt like I was putting on a show. The sicker I became the less I publicly professed my christian Faith. I hung on to it for a long time and tried to believe until something broke me.
I’m both ashamed and not ashamed to talk about this part of my journey. You see I became actively involved with a family of believers that encouraged me more than I could have ever imagined. Now I don’t think it’s fair of me to judge so I’ll say this as kindly as a can. I really believe this group of people had good intentions, unfortunately they did not understand mental illness. I try not to blame them as it’s a hard topic to understand unless you have experienced it firsthand. And though this is another topic entirely, it’s one reason we should be advocating for mental health first aid and training in our churches. Again, this wasn’t the case for me and I was asked to leave the group that became my family.
This event crushed my spirit, and absolutely demolished any shred of faith I had left. I was left feeling empty and broken. I was angry. I couldn’t sit in church without crying because I could no longer believe a loving God existed. I eventually stopped trying and claimed agnosticism. I didn’t know what I believed.
I went down a horrible dark road and after I never fully recovered. Even after getting married I still struggled with anger, questions, and doubts. I wanted to believe and I did research. I read books and studied the Bible. It never felt real to me. There was a disconnect and no matter how much I tried I couldn’t do it.
It’s interesting to think about your life as a story. I know everyone has one. It never turns out the way you expect. In February of this year, we found out my dad had Cancer. I knew he was going to die. Every hopeful thing we tried was cut short. I knew with every step he had very little time. I was lost and alone and without knowing where to turn I cried out to the God I used to know. I cried to the God I once believed in. I wailed and screamed. I talked and listened. He answered me with a stillness. I had never felt more at peace in my life.
I talked to him for probably an hour about everything on my mind and he answered by putting words in my head. I finally asked God if my dad was going to die. I felt a overwhelming “yes” wash over me. It was followed by images of heaven and my dad biking through the perfect mountains and fishing in perfect waters. I felt peace.
Not but two weeks later I learn he had passed. I hurt so much missing him. I would not be able to continue without that peace.
He prayed for me every single day. He loved me unconditionally. He listened to my doubts and anger. He forgave my mistakes and made me feel less alone. He gave everything to be a great dad. I believe he was praying for me the night I prayed about him.
My dad is gone and nothing can make up for the hurt or the sense of loss I feel. I grieve daily. I believe I will see him again someday. I’m a reborn Christian and despite the hurt, I’m thankful I was given this chance to embrace faith in Christ again and my identity in him.