I have had many tough times in my life. There have been times of financial drought. Some of the worst of times were those when I was raising my daughters by myself. Rent remained unpaid, we had no oil for heat and it was right around the holidays. I remember those days like they were yesterday. It is like a recorded tape in each cell in my body. Those memories glued a feeling in me that I was not going back there. Interestingly enough one of my kids several years ago actually told me that they were fun times. TO them, yes, it was. When there was no electric, we made a game out of it. I never let them see me sweat. Inside I was a scared little girl, determined to figure it all out but those around me never knew.
Hungry times lead to desperate measures. I did things back then that I am not proud of. Every one of those things I did and told myself I was doing them to protect my family all came back to eventually haunt me. One leading to a visit from a Constable regarding a bad check I wrote. Ironically, I have never admitted that to anyone. SO you may be wondering, why on earth am I letting that cat out of the bag now? Let me explain.
I was or so thought I was a self-reliant person, who was strong and could over-come anything. I lived my life fighting my way through. I had help from my parents here and there but for the most part, I was stubborn and rarely asked for help. I had accepted JESUS in my life many, many years before. Yet, I still was extremely determined to show myself and the world that I could do it all on my own. In the back of my mind, I would chant: I don’t need no man, I don’t need anyone – I got this!
I did not get this. I made mistake after mistake. I dug myself deeper and deeper; all the while smiling and scheming my way through each situation. I actually lived in such a state of anxiety that hyper became my normal. I tried still to be sure that my kids knew nothing of this struggle. They still had gifts on Christmas (thank GOD for a helpful Church), food in their bellies and a roof over their heads.
My oldest daughter was going to school in the same pair of sneakers. It was winter and I could not afford snow boots. Her teacher graciously bought her boots. On the outside I pretended graciousness but inside I was screaming: “who does she think she is? Does she think she is better than me?” I felt that I was looked at as a bad mom.
I always struggled with that feeling deep inside that I was not a good enough mom, good enough daughter, good enough friend, etc…. Pretty soon I decided that I would be perfect, or at least appear to be perfect, when truly inside I was scared and angry. To be perfect I was at the world’s mercy.
Yet, as prideful and angry as I was, JESUS held onto me. HE always came through. I just did not realize it at the time. I accepted JESUS as a young teenager, lost and living on my own. Then I went out in the world and lived. I did not begin a relationship with JESUS until much later.
To shorten a long story… I started to relate to JESUS when things got bad. I rested in GOD and prayed that HE would get me through. There were some rough waters. I would take my eyes off of JESUS and then my world would come undone, and then I screamed out for HIS help.
Skip forward, present time. I now can say I have a close relationship with GOD. As a matter of fact, HE is a constant presence in my life. I do understand however, that it was those angry and stubborn times that brought me here. Does life still present me challenges? Without a doubt!!!
Psalm 36:5-6 (Msg) God’s love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.
Well GOD never let me go. No matter what I was going through, when I was pushing him away, making bad decisions – running from HIS grace – “HIS largeness never let me get lost”.
Whatever you may be going through. It is never too late to ask HIM in and start relating to JESUS. HE loves you and cries when we cry, suffers when we suffer and rejoices when we rejoice. You may feel at the end; you may feel empty – you may hurt or be angry. You may feel that there is no one else who cares or understands… you are wrong!
I am Deni, short for Denise. I grew up in a Jewish home, in a Jewish neighborhood and a Jewish family. In 3rd grade we moved. We moved to a mostly non-Jewish area.... that is where JESUS found me. I say found me because I yet had not acknowledged it, but would find out later.......by grace, HE HELD ME ALL ALONG, just a lil Jewish girl from Philly.