The mumblings of a Christian autistic husband, dad, IT guy and amateur radio operator - Will Brokenbourgh / AF7EC
It seems like all through my life I've known God has been near me...by my side...even as a child, even when I was running away from him. What follows is a rather long story about my life. It is my hope that by sharing this, you will see that God isn't just some myth, some mass delusion. No, I've felt his love, been saved from many a scrape and have been blessed beyond belief! :-D
Note: Everything you read here is my view of how things happened in life. Because of my developmental disability, what I perceived and what really happened may differ. I am no liar and I am held to a high standard. If you are/were part of my life and you don't agree with what's written here, leave a comment below.
I suppose I had about the same childhood as most other middle-class kids, except that I presented my parents with extra challenges due to my then-undiagnosed Aspergers. Because our family was part of a religion that discouraged visiting doctors, many of the opportunities a medical professional might have had to see my condition didn't happen. Instead, to the average person, I appeared to be a willful, disrespectful, eccentric and rebellious child, and I was treated accordingly.
As long as I can remember, I've been playing with electronics and gawking at airplanes. My family frequently bought me tape-recorders which I played with for about three days, then took apart to see how they worked. The issue, though, is that I didn't put them back together. :-P Later on, closer to my pre-teen years, I'd sit in our back-yard, a pen and notepad in my hands, and would log almost every airplane that flew over our house on the way to John Wayne airport, to the south of us in Santa Ana, California.
Because our family was part of a religion that was very different than 'mainstream' Christian denominations, I didn't really get a complete understanding of who God was, who Jesus was, and who the Holy Spirit was. Instead, there was rigid Bible study dictated by a periodical that had church members marking scriptures in the Bible with a blue chalk pencil and inserting flexible metal markers. I personally dreaded doing this 'marking my lesson' and because the King James version of the Bible was favored by this church, it was extremely difficult for my mind to really comprehend what was going on. Result? I didn't want anything to do with the Bible, church or religion, and when I was of-age, I tried to get as far away from it as possible.
Outside of home and church, I was the kid almost everyone liked to pick on and harass. I really enjoyed electronics, shortwave radio, CB and Star Trek. Because I didn't really cling to the trends other kids were into, I was constantly mocked, beaten up, taken advantage of and even sexually abused by at least one neighborhood kid. Certainly not fun times.
Teens and Early Adulthood
Tired of being the nerdy dum-dum kid, I tried to dress more like other kids, even going so far as trying to be a punk-rocker in my late teens. One kid pretended to be my friend if I stole records and drank alcohol with him, but he didn't really seem to want a real friendship. Of course, I wasn't even accepted being a punker, thief or drunk, and was again mocked and ridiculed. It wasn't until I made friends with some guys in high school who were in a rockabilly band did I start feeling like I 'belonged' and I was somewhat 'accepted'. When I started hanging out with them, others didn't bother me as much.
Because of my earlier sexual abuse by neighborhood kids, I was fixated on anything related to that. I was a slave to those sensations and continuously wanted more, all at much too young an age. While I was very interested in stereos, electronics and technology, those took a back-seat to wanting my next physical 'fix'. Although I was socially awkward, I managed to have a couple of girlfriends in my late teens, and lost my virginity not long afterward. I'm grieved to this day that I gave something so precious away outside of marriage, and to the wrong person.
After hanging out with my rockabilly friends for a while, I learned enough of guitar, drums and bass to keep my head above water, musically speaking. When the drummer of my friends' group quit, I was asked to take his place. Wow! Me, a 'real' musician? We practiced for a while, and even though my drumming was sufficient, I was never really satisfied with my abilities. Then, the day came when we played a real-life gig, and I was scared out of my mind. It was a little club near the coast in Huntington Beach, California. Here were my friends, greased-back hair and vintage-50's clothing, and here I was, fuzzy headed with a polo shirt and jeans on. What a mismatch! :-P
More gigs came along, more nerves, more being terrified of being in front of a lot of people, but eventually I started getting over it. I started to put grease, then hairspray into my hair to look more like my friends, and people started treating me differently. People would talk to me instead of avoiding me, girls would even talk to me instead of being scared of me!
When I was eighteen years old, my parents decided to move from Orange County, California to Oklahoma. They gave me the choice of going with them, or staying in California, and I decided to stay. After being a guest at my grandparents for a while, I was approached by a couple that I knew from high-school and asked if I wanted to room with them. I jumped at the opportunity because I wanted my 'freedom'. My grandparents were very loving and didn't give me a hard time, but what teen wouldn't want to live in his own apartment and be a grown up? ;-) Unfortunately, this led to me getting drunk with my roommates just about every night after work, and after a while tensions started to rise between the other male roommate and me. Eventually I ended up rooming with one of the band-members and his fiance'.
One night, when I was in my early 20's, I arrived home from work and heard someone whistle at me from across the street. This wasn't the first time, though...they would frequently whistle when they saw me. Most of the time, I'd just dismiss it as someone being silly, as I didn't view myself as the least bit attractive. Something different happened that night, and I screwed up the courage to go talk to whoever it was that was whistling. A younger girl was the source of the whistles, and before I knew it, her, her friend and I were whizzing around in my car, leading to a very physical conclusion to the evening/morning.
Days came and went, and I saw more of the girl across the street, much to the chagrin of her parents and my roommates. My roommates warned "She isn't right for you", "You really need to be careful", "Be sure to take your vitamins", etc. Because I wanted this new-found 'love' to stay interested in me, I made the really stupid mistake of letting her use my ATM card for whatever she wanted. When my next rent check bounced, I was thrown out of my apartment, had my valuables picked through and best stuff taken while the rest was thrown on the front lawn, was kicked out of the band and the girl across the street became my roommate...in my car.
After living in my car for a while, a friend talked his parents into letting my girlfriend and I stay in a spare bedroom. Wow, what a blessing! It was nice to sleep in a bed again, nice to be able to take showers and not use a park bathroom all the time.
After a short while, my girlfriend became pregnant with our first child. We were able to move to an apartment and were quickly married so our soon-to-be born son wouldn't be illegitimate. The apartment didn't last long, and we bounced from my wife's parents house and settled for a while at her grandparent's place.
Around this time, a new 1950's-style band was put together to make a record. One of the members of this new band was from my previous band, and the others were acquaintances from my previous band experience. I was asked if I wanted to play drums, and I agreed. We practiced frequently, started to gig (mostly in the Los Angeles and Hollywood areas) and after many months we recorded the tracks for our album "Fly Right with Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Trio".
The First Two Sweet Blessings
In the midst of the band stuff, work stuff and family stuff, my oldest son was born. Roughly two years after that, my oldest daughter was born. In those days, I simply had no understanding of how to be a dad, let alone a good dad. Because mentally I was still stuck in my teens yet was living in adulthood, I just didn't have a grasp on what an adult does, and how to be successful. Because I despised the thought of being a controlling husband and father, I overcompensated, and went down the road of being submissive to my wife, and tried to be as passive as possible. I didn't take hold of my life, marriage and fatherly duties, but just let everyone else do what they wanted. Maybe it was because I wasn't paying attention to my parents when I was younger, maybe it was because of my autism, but my decision to do nothing would play a unfavorable part in the years to come.
After the release of our album, the band became busier, and were being noticed in Hollywood and even overseas. Playing shows in the Los Angeles and Hollywood areas was no longer meeting the needs of the band, so they decided we needed to start gigging around the country, and perhaps in Europe and the UK. Wrench-in-the-works: I had a wife and children when the others did not, had a full-time job so I could support my family, and just couldn't see throwing everything to the wind to gig with the band...so we mutually agreed to part ways.
My life was now about my marriage, my family, and my work...and I was doing poorly in all of them. Because I was so submissive and passive, I let my wife make nearly all the decisions. Work-wise, I was skating on thin ice. While I was a satisfactory worker, I was bored with my duties and would slack off. Sometimes my wife would ask me to stay home from work because she was lonely, bored or wanted to go somewhere fun, and I would eagerly call in sick. I didn't know how to be a father, so even though I loved them and was grateful for them, in those days I often would find myself annoyed or bothered by my kids. Tension and friction started building up in my marriage because I'd be unhappy with some of my wife's decisions, I was feeling unfulfilled, or sometimes I'd feel so insecure and unsure of myself that I'd object to plans she'd make, thinking maybe she was going to leave me.
Another problem we faced is that we never really lived in one place very long. We would move in with my wife's parents to save money, but soon we would burn her parents out, a feud or fight would ensue and then we'd have to live with her grandparents. We'd bounce back and forth from one family's house to another. Later, we finally moved into our own apartment, which was a much-needed relief for me, but then the unthinkable happened...
April 27, 1994
My wife and I were resting at home after a long day when a frantic knock came at the door. Because we hadn't paid our phone bill, we were essentially cut off from our friends and family, so our only link to the outside world was my wife's friend, who lived a couple of blocks away. Opening the door, my wife saw her friend, hysterical, breaking some news in a panic. I was listening to my scanner with headphones on, so I didn't hear everything that was said, but when I saw my wife's face, I knew something was wrong. I took my headphones off and my wife quickly rushed us out the door. Her younger brother was in the hospital because he had been shot.
An hour later, as my wife and I smoked outside the hospital while waiting to hear about her brother's surgery, a slight mist started to fall from the night sky. For some reason, I knew what was about to happen. A few minutes later, someone came from inside the hospital to let us know that my brother-in-law had passed away from his gunshot wounds. My wife would never be the same...neither would I. When we finally got home that night, for the first time in many years, I prayed. Why? Because I felt God wanted me to share my sadness with him, and to get things out in the 'open' so I could grow closer to him.
My wife's family was destroyed, and our marriage along with it. My brother-in-law was a big strapping guy who was a few weeks away from moving to a better place in Southern California with his fiance' and new baby boy. Because they didn't have a car, my brother-in-law walked to the corner store to buy some milk when two young men going through a gang initiation confronted him, then shot him...in the heart. Even though he was mortally wounded, he ran all the way back to his apartment complex, jumped a fence and was able to see his fiance' and baby one last time before collapsing on the living-room floor.
Once again we moved back to live with my in-laws to help them and support them through the grieving process. I noticed something, though...I began to pray every night, and my wife started drifting away...from me, from our children, and from reality. I searched myself, and asked myself "What if I lost my wife or children suddenly? Shouldn't I start to really show as much love to them as possible...every day?". God was tugging at my heart-strings.
"God, who are you? Are you there?"
God. I knew about him from Sunday school. His name is on some money. I would use his name when I cursed and cussed. People would swear the truth by him, but I really didn't know who God was. Even when I was doing the most horrible, rotten things, I felt God's presence...like a tugging at my heart to get to know him. Because of my abnormal spiritual education from childhood, I had been running as far away from God as possible, thinking he existed only to limit, punish and belittle. In my simple mind, God was a harsh, angry and cruel God. Even still, after my brother-in-law was gunned down, a new truth started to form in me...God is love. Even though I had lost a friend and family member, somehow I knew that God was loving. When bad stuff would happen during the course of each day, I'd say to myself "God is love". Night after night, I would pray. It was the same prayer for a long time...The Lord's Prayer. I didn't have any Christian friends to guide me or mentor me, no one to tell me 'how it's done', I just sought God the only way I knew how. Soon, I found an old paperback NIV Bible and just started reading.
The next few years were filled with exciting revelations and sad realizations. Although she was coping the best way she knew how, my wife was spinning out of control. She started chatting with other men over the internet, started going on trips without me and the kids, and started staying out late...often not coming back until mid-morning. I was so sad. I loved my wife, and wanted her to be happy, but she wasn't happy with me. When I'd wake up and find her still gone, I would write long letters to her, telling her I loved her and that I was sorry for who I was. A time or two she announced that she didn't love me anymore. I eventually found myself sleeping on a mat in the garage, with cockroaches crawling over my face as I slept. Even with all the hardships, I slowly inched closer to God, and my wife slowly slipped farther away...sometimes mocking my attempts at seeking him. I started to spend more time with my kids, started to really hear them, started to tell them how I felt about them. While it probably was too little-too late, at least I felt I was moving in the right direction.
One day, I woke up and checked my email before getting ready to go to work. I received a message from my absent wife, telling me that she was pregnant, and not from me. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. To say I was truly surprised would be a lie. I soon found myself homeless for a while after I growled an unkind thing to her out of sheer anger and distress. She told her parents I did something really bad, thus my being expelled from our home. After all of these years, I again was sleeping in the back of my car, during the heat of summer, near my work. God bless my co-workers...those guys took up a collection to help me out; it was very much appreciated! Unfortunately another co-worker told my bosses that I was sleeping in my car near company property, and they basically ordered me not to! Evidently they had no clue what it was like to have nowhere to live or sleep, yet need to be near work. My car's tires were so worn they were ready to pop, so driving back and forth from some other location was not a good idea if I was to keep my job.
One day, I sat quietly in my car while off-shift when my father-in-law appeared. I readied myself for a stern yelling-at or to get beat up, as I knew my wife was skilled at twisting the truth. He calmly asked me why I was living in my car, and I recounted everything that had happened recently. He gave me a cigarette and had me follow him to the auto store, where he bought all new tires for my car. He then invited me to move back in and stay as long as I needed! Praise God!
It sure was nice to sleep in a bed, have a regular shower and not worry about the sun cooking me while I slept! Sadly, the reality started to sink in about my now-failed marriage as I was served divorce papers. I was so sad and distraught that I just signed everything without even caring or looking at the details. I didn't have the money for a lawyer to keep me from making legal blunders. That would be a bad thing later on.
Folks always warn about getting into a new relationship just to get over a previous one...the notorious 'rebound relationship', but I didn't listen. I started right away, looking for someone else to be my wife, and while there were things I really wanted in a marriage and a woman, I willingly tossed them aside so I wouldn't be lonely. My heart was in agony from my first marriage breaking up, and I couldn't stand to be alone. My need for companionship and physical intimacy overrode the whispers deep within me that said "Take it slow, find the right wife, don't compromise your integrity, find a God-fearing wife". After a short online dating search, courtship, ignoring the quiet whispers and compromising my integrity, I found, and married, my second wife.
My life changed a great deal after marrying my second wife. At first I felt a huge relief, an overwhelming sense of freedom from the sheer nightmare of my immediate past. I joined my second wife's church...a church that seemed to be sold-out and focused intensely on Jesus. Things seemed to be going well until we were evicted from the apartment we rented. Because of my passivity and submission to my first wife, and because I hadn't really paid attention to how to be a good husband and father during my childhood, I did not possess the family leadership skills my second-wife was depending on. She reluctantly took many of the husband and father responsibilities on herself, which planted a root of bitterness.
Yoke of Slavery
At least our church life seemed to be more favorable...at first. Problem was, deep down, laying beneath the zeal, the weekly spiritually-led marriage counseling, the discipleship and fellowship was an unsettling undercurrent of legalism, emphasis on number of guests, 'special' contributions and near-condemnation for dating outside the church. At first, I thought I was part of the real movement of God, and if things had gone differently in the church's management, the church could have been that, but whenever you have people doing anything together their nature will rear its ugly head and friction and power-plays will crop up.
Consider this passage from the Bible:
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." - Galations 5:1
The church I was a part of was trying to follow Jesus in one way, but throwing away other important things, like freedom from man's traditions, freedom from burdensome rules and special (un)spiritual regulations. It was pretty much forbidden to date people that weren't part of our church. If you weren't part of our church, well, you probably were going to hell. When I first joined the church, I was elated at the thought of having a closer relationship with God, and was genuinely baptized in the name of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. As the weeks and months ground on, however, I began to feel like being a part of this church was a limiting, confusing and stressful experience.
More Sweet Blessings
My second wife and I had a daughter together while we lived in California. My second wife also had a child from a previous marriage, so we already had a 'ready made' family.
After living in Inglewood and South Central Los Angeles for a while, my wife and I made the rushed decision to move near Denver, Colorado in hopes of a better future, a less dangerous environment for our children and to be closer to her family. While the Denver area was very beautiful, I slowly started losing hope that my marriage and family would stay intact. My second wife expressed, in front of our children, her wish to be divorced "if it wasn't for the church". She correctly pointed out that I wasn't leading our family, nor was I taking my rightful place as head of the household, marriage and family. After our relocation, we still belonged to the same church, we still had some counseling and discipleship time with others, but the Denver branch of the church was much more relaxed than the Los Angeles region.
As is the case with most things, if you're in bad shape spiritually the rest of your life will soon be in shambles. We lived in a very nice duplex, I had a great job as a maintenance supervisor of a major cabinet-maker, however the desperation and depression, mixed with my still-undiagnosed Aspergers, eventually had me dismissed from my job. As much as I tried to find a new job, nothing opened up. My wife then started pressuring me to find a job, as our second daughter was almost ready to be born, and she would soon leave her work for maternity-leave. I stepped up my search, applying just about everywhere from fast-food to medical-device manufacturers, and while there were one or two interviews, nothing happened. I grew even more desperate, even more depressed, and then the crushing blow...my wife issued an ultimatum that if I didn't find a job by a certain date, I'd be kicked out of our home. The weeks went by, no new interviews, no nothing on the job-front, and the deadline finally hit...I was kicked to the curb...left to sleep in our car in the middle of the winter (19° F nights), with snow everywhere. I came back a day or two later to plead my case, but with the sound of Christmas music filling the house and her family members laughing in the background, she refused me. I was truly out.
The Trail of Tears
Not having anywhere else to live in the area, I was forced to make my way down what I call 'The Trail of Tears'...a sad, long road trip from our home in Colorado to my parents' house in Oregon. I am so grateful that my parents were loving enough to help me during my very grief-filled and lonely time. Unfortunately, I was in a very unstable state of mind, and I inadvertently caused trouble with my Oregon family, too. We eventually got through it, but my unthinking words and actions left scars. In the hopes of my second wife and I reconciling, my Oregon family strongly encouraged me to return to California, where my second wife was again residing. I made the trip to Los Angeles to try and start things fresh with my second wife, but all she offered me was a brief few minutes to hold our second daughter, who was born while I was on 'The Trail of Tears'. Her message was clear...reconciliation probably wasn't going to happen. I thought to myself "Really!? I made the trip from Oregon to Los Angeles just to 'have the door slammed in my face'. A friend who had offered housing in the L.A. area suddenly rescinded his offer, so I was again forced to sleep in my car.
Being only about thirty miles from Los Angeles, my two oldest children invited me to visit them at their grandparents' house, where they were living. After hearing my story, I was invited to live at their house until I got on my feet. Since I was staying there, my first wife visited and asked if I could help with some computer programming for her business. Her second husband had died of cancer and she wanted to keep his business running for the sake of the kids. I agreed to help, as I wanted to be useful and to help support my children. Through the months, I worked hard on the programming project for the family, drove all over the region to service customers and I even had a little time to date a couple of women. Unfortunately, I went from helpful dad to near-indentured-servitude. My first wife became increasingly antagonistic when the project I was working on was taking longer than we anticipated. Her parents, who also had a vested interest in the business, also put the pressure on. Stressed beyond belief, told I would have to find an outside job or be kicked out, depressed and now battling the effects of anti-depressant medicine withdrawal, I felt that I was being pushed back out on the streets again. I became homeless again, finding myself all over the Los Angeles area and even spending time at a Skid Row rescue mission.
The Years After
After a while I was rescued from the streets by a caring and loving young woman who moved me into the L.A. home she shared with her mother. Not long after, this young woman became my fiance', however my integrity and purity went to the wayside, just like before. And just like before, the relationship with my fiance' started to sour through the years. There were many fun and happy times as we raised her young niece together, but something just wasn't right. We never did marry, and when we'd move in that direction, something heavy-duty in life would get in the way. My fiance' and I eventually found ourselves moving to hot, polluted and rowdy Bakersfield, California. The first week we were there, two neighborhood teens died from gunshot wounds during a home-invasion robbery, a few months later the SWAT unit had the apartment complex next to us on lock-down. Death, heat, violence, cultural tensions and money issues surrounded us at every turn. I became more depressed, more detached, and eventually my fiance announced her desire to break up. It was hard to hear, but deep down, I understood. God didn't want us together, especially with it being an unrighteous relationship.
The Powerful Whisper
As was my usual pattern, I started to look for someone to keep me company after being separated from my fiance'. "This time..." I thought "...this time I won't mess up and get physical...not until we're married!". BZZZZZZ! Wrong again! :-( Instead I found someone who was just another physical relationship, another compromise of my integrity, another woman to tear through and eventually dispose of like tissue paper. After that very short relationship, God whispered into my Spirit..."Love me first. Be content with only me." Wow. It wasn't one of those things where the clouds were dark and thunder crashed...it was a very quiet whisper in my Spirit. Not an audible voice, but that deep knowing. God seemed to be saying "You'll never have a satisfying and long-lasting relationship without putting me first, Will". It took a while, but I finally came to grips with what he was saying and wanting, and started taking baby-steps toward my Creator.
Marriage (3 - and prayerfully last :-) )
I still was lonely, but I did start finding more freedom, and positive changes, in understanding God better...trying to follow his Son the best I could. I would still look on the online dating sites, but that voice that would say "Find someone who'll be intimate with you right off the bat!" went mostly ignored. I eventually started chatting online with someone who eventually would become my third (and hopefully final) wife! :-D Our courtship was short, but both of us wanted more than anything to base this relationship on Jesus, and not physical intimacy...and we did it!...with God's help! Sure, there were times where our flesh might have gotten us in trouble, but God gently knocked on heads and said "I don't want this for you" before anything regrettable happened.
Not long after we were married, I was stricken with a very serious illness. It was so bad at one point that I nearly died! Scary stuff! Jesus healed me, and I started to get better after a while. While I was on the mend physically, that serious illness left spiritual and emotional scars, and depression began to set in again. Our marriage nearly ended because of how deep my despair was and how hopeless I had become, but God supernaturally pulled us back together. And soon afterward, he blessed us with a son! :-D
Another wonderful sweet blessing!
Our youngest son was somewhat of a surprise to us, but oh how happy we were when we found out we were pregnant. When my wife was seven months pregnant, she was rear-ended as she was stopped...by a car traveling forty-five miles an hour! The car was totaled, and my wife heavily bruised, but my son survived in the womb. Only God's divine protection could have done that! Finally, the day came and our little guy was born, and I wooped with joy and gave very vocal thanks to God!
What a full house we had, as my wife had two wonderful children from her previous marriage. Life was really socking it to us from every corner, as we lived in a very low-income area and endured frequent disturbances of the peace, marijuana smoke from neighbors filling our house as we slept, choking us and our kids, threats of violence and oppressive and health-draining heat. Lord, we did the best we could!
Praise God that we currently live in a beautiful little home on a small hill next to the woods in Oregon. Yeah, there are still the infrequent loud neighbors, still folks walk by while they smoke, still violence and crime, but not of the magnitude we were exposed to in Bakersfield (and me in South Central and Inglewood).
And what's yet to come...
I cannot see the future, only God can see it fully, and clearly. My hopes are that each day I grow nearer to him, and not farther away. My hopes are that I am able to introduce people to Christ with my life. While I can't see how he'll do it right now, he can make something absolutely magnificent from absolutely nothing!
God's love is apparent in my life
As I look back on my life, I can see where God was whispering to me gently, where he saved my skin several times, where he took away and where he gave. Since I was a child, other careless or intoxicated motorists have hit the car I've been riding or driving in numerous times. I was even knocked unconscious for a while when an MTA bus slammed into the side of the car I was driving, only to walk away with a couple of broken teeth and a slight concussion. I've been in a car driven by my then-wife, spinning out of control on a rain-slicked freeway, and narrowly missed hitting other cars and a truck...being gently pushed around the whole pileup and then her regaining control. I've been followed home from work by angry greasers, nearly having gasoline thrown on my car and set on fire, but escaping without a scratch. I sat slumped in the seat of my car one time when I was homeless, my mouth dry, my belly empty, ready to just let exposure and the sun's heat drag the life from me...but was encouraged by my Creator to not give up. Another time when I was homeless, in my car, I was almost ready to give up, had my Bible in my hand, and suddenly a friend pulled up next to me to offer me a way out! Even though I was addicted to sex, alcohol and cigarettes through different parts of my life, God gave me the strength to overcome my addictions that no self-help book or nicotine patch could ever provide.
From jumping with joy at night outside as a child in the Santa Ana winds, to the dark, empty moments as I was curled up as a ball in the corner of my Colorado bedroom, from pounding on the drums at the Blue Saloon, to watching my babies being born, from near-death to abundant life, from weeping bitterly because I miss my children so much to receiving salvation under the cool Pacific ocean one beautiful night in 1997, God has kept me, healed me, called to me and saved me!
No, God is not a cruel, spiteful God who punishes people for his own delight. He grieves when we grieve, he is joyful when we celebrate. He disciplines in a just and loving way, not in an unjust, unfair way as people do. He doesn't need any of us, but hopes that we recognize that he's real, and that we'll have a relationship with him.
"If God is so loving, why do we go through such hard things in
People also ask "Why does God let bad things happen to good people?" and so on. I have not been present while he discusses his plans in Heaven, but based on what is said in the Bible, it's just the way it is. When I was put out of my home in my second marriage, and had no where else to go, I called my parents, blubbering so badly my parents couldn't understand me at first. If I had not been put out of my home, I never would have called them for help. I believe it's the same with God. To paraphrase the wonderful workplace minister Os Hillman "God is more concerned about our relationship with him than our comfort". Most people don't like pain, but it's the pain that brings us closer to God, if we choose to do so.
So many people who don't follow Jesus cry out to God in their moments of need, suffering or grief. Why do you think that is? It's because each one of us has a hole in our heart that only God can fill. Some people try to fill this hole with alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, shopping, expensive vehicles, being a workaholic, etc., but only our Heavenly Father can actually make us whole...make us complete. I went through many years of my life trying to fill that God-shaped hole with everything but God, and it got me nowhere. It's only when I realized that he wants me to take my whole life and put it all in his hands that I started to see positive changes.
Nope, praying to God for him to bless you with a million dollars or a fancy car probably isn't going to work out. The 'nice things' come as a by-product, a side-effect of having a tight, devoted, intimate relationship with God. Don't get into a relationship with God just for 'nice things', get into a relationship with him because he loves you, because he wants to be your daddy, he wants to bless and protect you, but you first need to make a step toward him...and keep on stepping toward him.
What are you waiting for?
If you're reading this today, and you feel an emptiness in your life, if you feel like you've done it all and tried it all, and nothing seems to make a difference...try believing in God, then study his Word, his Bible, find out who he is, and get into a relationship with him. You don't have to be perfect, you don't have to know the whole Bible, you don't need to put it off until a more convenient time...just come to him now! Ask God to help you throw all of the junky, nasty, interfering things away in your life, and run after him. Pray a prayer like the following, from the heart, to our awesome, loving God, and see what a relationship with him will bring about!
"Heavenly Father, I know that in the past I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I really am truly sorry. I am now ready to turn away from my past sinful life and turn to you. Please forgive me, and please help me from sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart starting this very moment. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen."
After you've prayed that prayer, try attending some churches that are based on the Bible in your area, ask God about which one might be for you, and go check them out! When you find a church that works, stay with it! Make some friends there. Don't be shy about asking for help in following Jesus! If you ask someone in church for help and they give you a funny look or don't know how to help, just keep asking others...starting with the Pastor of the church. Don't let our enemy, the devil, get a toehold on your new-found relationship with God. Read and understand your Bible daily, talk to God in prayer and keep meeting with other followers of Jesus. With God's help and his unlimited power, you can't go wrong! :-D
Thank you so much for reading my story! :-) If you have any questions, just leave a comment and I'd be happy to do what I can to help!
God bless you, and thanks for stopping by! :-D