I was not raised in a church-going home. I think my parents believed in God, but He was not a regular part of their lives or ours. As far as I can remember, I don’t recall feeling a need for God at a young age. My basic needs were met even though our home life was far from perfect.
Life changed dramatically for me though when I was 13. It was the summer before entering the 8th grade that my dad took his own life. To say our world turned upside down is an understatement. My older brother was 15 and my younger brother was 5 at the time. My mom was overcome with grief and really was unable to function as a mom for the remainder of our childhood. My brothers and I were left to take care of ourselves in many ways. My mom did the best she knew how at the time, but she did not seek or receive help. It was too much for her.
It was at this time in my life that I began seeking hope. Several friends invited me to church, and it was there that I experienced Hope. I didn’t really understand it, but I knew I wanted a part of it. At the age of 16, I made the decision to become a Christian and be baptized. I began to see that although my life had been crumbling around me, I had hope and strength in Christ.
I made a vow that I would attend church and seek Him in the midst of all of our uncertainty. And I did…. somewhat. I also searched for answers and hope in some of the wrong places. I made mistakes and some terrible choices but God never left me. I learned that He never forsakes His children even when we fail Him; and fail Him I did. Each and every time, He was there to pick me up, dust me off and give me fresh hope and fresh grace.
As I spent more time in my relationship with God, hope wasn’t the only thing to grow; my trust and love for Him also grew. I began to understand He truly is rich in mercy and full of grace. My sins had been forgiven, and “as far as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12)
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) He truly is a good, good Father as the Chris Tomlin song goes, “I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide. But I know we’re all searching for answers only You provide. Cause You know just what we need before we say a word. You’re a Good, Good Father. It’s who You are. And I’m loved by You.”