Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Humble, (Not So) Little Addendum

I wanted to add something to this post. Well, maybe not so much add, as rephrase.

A friend commented that they lost their faith when they were told God never gives us more than we can handle. I don't know if that was from me or not. They also added there was no way God thinks they are that strong. Well, that made me stop and think.

And, while I do believe that God doesn't give us more than we can handle, I think there needs to be an addendum to that. Which would be... with His help. Let me recount how I came to Jesus by way of better explaining what I mean.

When I moved to Indiana, I was desperate for a major change in my life. I got no joy from work, my marriage had many issues, and for various other reasons, I was just completely down my life. Growing debt, ho-hum work, family problems... there was a time when I felt happier whenever I was away from the apartment. I was practically a different person.

Things needed to change... badly. A job opened up in Indiana within my company and without much thought behind it, I applied. It was the day of my phone interview that proved to be one of the most tumultuous and worst days of my life. To keep a long story as short as possible, my marriage could have well died that day.

Obviously, I ended up getting the job in Indy. Two months had passed between the phone interview and my first day on the job - March 15, 2004. The wife and I started working on our marriage and family life. Things were looking up. I moved to Indy first to get settled in and my family joined me in late June. So, I was living alone for a few months.. living lonely. A phone call with family is much different than a hug.

It was a lonely couple of months for me. New town, alone, not knowing anyone. The plan was for me to dive immediately into theatre into order to meet people and I got cast in a local production of Fiddler on the Roof. It was here I met one of the most genuine persons on this planet, Amy.

We were talking backstage one night and I told her how I felt just lost. By this time, my family had already joined me, but I was deep enough in that their presence didn't cure me of my ails. I still felt my marriage was rocky and didn't really have a plan to fix it. I think I was perhaps indifferent to it for a while. I just knew I was in a lot of pain and wanted that to end. I needed things to change and I didn't know how nor if I was strong enough to make the necessary changes.

After talking to Amy, she gave me a little pamphlet of the Gospel of John. Given my turned-off-by-Catholicism-and-Christianity attitude of the time, I was surprised at how relieved this gesture made me feel. I certainly had turned away from Christ for my adult life up to that point. Ignored him and the church since I was forced into the sacrament of Confirmation. Even looked down on and thought Christians were pretty much fools. Yet, I was amazed at how completely touched I was to receive Bible scripture. Weird, huh?

What's weirder is how I devoured the words and meaning. John's words really moved me and compelled me. I felt for the first time that I was hearing God speak directly to me. I underlined passages and reflected heavily on their meaning. I'm not sure if my words can accurately describe how moved I was.

Not long after, I did something I hadn't done in, well, God knows how long. I prayed. I talked with God for a really long time and told Him about my loneliness and how I needed a change. I told Him that I had reached a point where I didn't know what to do and I didn't have the strength to change on my own. I told Him if He would help me, then I would devout my life to Him.

And, in THAT INSTANT, THAT VERY INSTANT, I could feel the warmth of someone holding me, hugging me. I have no doubt today that was Jesus Christ telling me everything would be OK. My tears of loneliness warmed to tears of joy. That's when I first truly felt the Holy Spirit's flame inside my heart.

Now, I'd like to tell you that life's been peachy keen ever since. Of course, it has not been all the time. If you've been following my journey, I think you'll can tell how far I've come. If this is your first time here, take some time and go through the past two years worth of archives. You'll see the wonderful journey I have been on. It has its ups and downs, but the downs don't hurt nearly as much anymore. And, that's because I know God is working for me. He is my strength and my courage when I have none. Psalms 18 says this all to perfectly (Or try The Message Paraphrase).

For a lot of people, it takes reaching rock bottom before they'll turn to God for help. I don't know if I was completely at the bottom, but I was definitely the lowest I had ever been when I heard Christ's call. If you feel like maybe you can't do it on your own, try this - just ask God to help and see what happens. He will answer you.

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