I’ve been thinking about the gift of belief that I wrote about in part four. I’ve wanted to say, in as few words as possible, how it all came to be. But it’s a lifelong and never ending story.
Basically, for me… belief was one of my biggest struggles.
I’ve always said that I searched for and found God, but today the thought that came to me was that those words aren’t 100% accurate. I mean they are, but they aren’t. In reality, He was right there—all the time—but my mind was completely closed. I had locked it shut, and thrown out the key… for decades.
So, my original attempts at seeking God are perhaps better described as: Prying my head open. Which is really odd, because when it came to people-pleasing (or following the crowd) my mind was WIDE open. Kind of like that joke you see…
Don’t be too open-minded or your brains will fall out.
Which brings me back to my story….
The Chaos Continues
In my years working in the real estate office, nine of those were spent sober. It was in those nine years that I was able to focus on my kids—and buy our first home at the age of forty. My habit of over-spending almost ruined that. I refinanced numerous times and used the money to buy toys for myself and the kids. Cars, dirt bikes, trucks, golf clubs… and so on.
Thankfully, my overspending sprees took place when the market was skyrocketing. By the time I could no longer afford the payments and had to sell, the value was HIGH and I walked away with a profit (which I threw away in six short months).
Somewhere in the midst of all of that… I drank again. Relapse one. I met the man that I spent eleven years of my life with… gave away, sold, or left behind almost everything I owned… and followed him to Phoenix.
Me, my truck, and whatever would fit in the back, headed out on my very FIRST solo road trip. My oldest was still in the Army, and the younger two stayed behind, taking over the lease of the house that we’d moved to after selling our place.
Looking back, I now recognize some of the ways that God kept trying to get my attention, but there’s one that really shifted my thinking at the time. Not to believe in Him (I wasn’t ready), but to open my mind and help me see that there was something seriously WRONG. With ME.
The relationship that I was in was VERY chaotic, mainly due to our drinking. I had found the gumption to quit again, but life was really weird. It seemed like a bad dream. I think I was feeling the aftereffects of the marriage (perhaps a mild dose of P.T.S.D), and the new tumultuous relationship was rekindling feelings of uneasiness.
Anyway, I was in the middle of a panic attack one day, and I HAD to get out. With no clue where I was going, and Phoenix being fairly new to me, I just drove. Hands sweating, heart racing, vision slightly blurred and my mind in a fog (but sober), I put my foot on the gas, and held on tight to the wheel.
That’s when I made the turn. The turn that put me smack dab in front of the sign. The sign that I KNEW in my heart was for me. With just two little words…
There, right in front of me, was the sign that summed up what my entire life had been thus far. One big dead end.
Heading Towards a Breakthrough
I managed to make a U-turn and there—before my eyes—stood a church. Of course, with my fully closed mind I never saw God in the picture. BUT… I did see HELP.
I parked, went inside, and asked if I could talk to someone. I wasn’t dressed well, and I’m sure my make-up was smeared down my face from crying. One of the women asked me if I needed some money. I had money! At least I got a chuckle out of it, and I was grateful that lack of money was NOT the reason that I was there.
The woman that sat down with me was a therapist. I proceeded to tell her some of my story; about the ex-husband, and things that he had said and done… and then about my current partner, and things that he had said and done… and then about some of the other THEY’S that were guilty of creating all of that chaos and craziness in my life. My words were all questions: WHY, WHY, WHY? Why do they do these things? She listened intently, conversed with me for a while, and then she asked me HER question:
What do YOU want?
Her question startled me! It’s like she woke me up from a coma or something, and for the first time that I could ever remember… my mind was BLANK.
I had absolutely NO answer to that question. Nothing. Nil. Nada.
Read: Part Six
If you’ve made it this far down, thanks for reading. It’s only the beginning, but I’m fond of the memory because it was the moment that sparked my thought shift—however slight it was—and brought me to the realization that my problems were internal.
—It was time for CHANGE!