I had a difficult childhood. This of course is a relative term used to describe something that was “difficult” to me. I realize now that even as difficult as my childhood seemed to me at the time, it was a cake walk in comparison to the lives that most children on this planet have to live. Most of them will have no opportunity to ever have a nice comfortable room and a soft chair to sit in, like I enjoy now. They will never be able to sit down with someone who cares enough to listen, or have a podium as massive as the internet in which they tell their story (though Google is doing a good job of trying to solve this problem). Many of them will die before they get the chance to become an adult. Now this is either the “blind indifference” of the universe in which we find ourselves, or something more. I would beg you to consider, even for a moment the “something more”. Peel back the layers of your life and consider the something more… It is with this humble understanding and basis that I will tell my story. It is this understanding that brings me to a place where I desire more than anything in this world that I can tell a story of Hope that will never quit. A reason to live and suffer with joy that does not cease and an understanding that though invisible, God IS REAL. This is the essence of faith in God. I would love to share my story of faith; I would love to take you on a journey on my path from complete skepticism and The God who breaks down those barriers and saves. Walk with me.
My sister and I suffered physical and emotional violence from an abusive step-father at a very young age. A phrase I heard all too often was the command to “kneel on rice”. This was basically a form of torture. I would be told to empty out a bag of uncooked white rice, and I would pour out the contents of that bag onto a hard floor. I would then be forced to kneel down with my bare knees onto that rice for hours at a time. I truly believe that I still have knee problems to this day because of this. This is just one example of the physical torment that my sister and I would be forced to endure, it goes on. My wonderful and loving mother, who is the single most caring individual that I have ever met, suffered from an emotional handicap that brought her too much pain to bear. Because of this pain she turned to many things that would numb her to the world. I will go no further, but as you can imagine it is hard for young children to understand. I love my mother, she is wonderful. All is completely and utterly forgiven, Praise God. My sister basically raised me until she had had enough. She moved out because she couldn’t handle being a mother and raising a child that wasn’t hers, nor the emotional punishment that she endured. I was not her responsibility, yet she took care of me nonetheless, so much love and pain all rolled up into a single young person. At that age I was too young to realize what the “reality” of the situation was. Poverty, abuse, loneliness, chaos, all of these things had become completely and utterly “normal” to me. I simply adapted.
This wonderful sister that God gave to me, this young woman who shielded me from the brunt of the chaos eventually had enough. After my sister left it didn’t take me long to realize that my mother wasn’t capable of taking care of herself, much less me. I was not an easy child. The physical and emotional pain that I had endured left me with the inability to be a “normal” person, I was weird (I still am weird). With that, we did what many families do when they are living in poverty and chaos. We constantly moved from apartment to apartment, from duplex to duplex; we were always looking for that place that would change our circumstances and make life better. It never happened. As you can imagine, constantly changing zip codes meant that I was constantly changing schools. I have a deep understanding now as an adult, after many hours of reflection and looking back at my childhood. I understand now just as I did then how cruel children can be. Only now I know that they didn’t know any better and they didn’t understand how deeply they were hurting me. To them, I was just the new kid and I needed to earn my way into the cool crowd which meant endless hours of torment and ridicule, sometimes physical, most of the time public and emotional. There was so much pain under the surface that they were unaware of and every time I would be ridiculed they would drive the dagger of pain and despair deeper into my soul. I hated life. This was when I truly started to “see” the darkness that surrounded me. Until then it had been veiled behind my imagination and video games. Reality was breaking through the bliss that was ignorance and for the first time I felt the weight of it.
Though I couldn’t see it then through the lense of personal brokenness, I was walking a path that would eventually lead me to beauty. I was being led through the darkness by a hand that knew me. A hand that orchestrates all things and calls creatures from darkness to glorious light. In those moments I felt sad, alone and confused… Though unlike king David I couldn’t see the beauty on the other side of lament, I coudn’t taste and see His invisible hand at work.
When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
people have hidden a snare for me.
Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.