I have occasionally referred to my “year of hell” in previous blogs. That was a twelve month period of my life—beginning in February 2001—within which I moved out of my parents’ house and into a situation that tested my wits and my faith before I stayed with a close friend that nearly assaulted me, ending that bond forever. It was so filled with drama and marked an important chapter in my maturity that the only reaction to this terrible time in my life was to label it as a “year of hell” and move on.
(Note: Confession time. I stole the idea of calling it “The Year of Hell” from an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. *whew* Glad to get that off my chest!)
As life continues and I walk down the path before me, new hurdles spring up at my feet. Some of them are relational, others are financial. I’ve run across small pebbles and large boulders, but nothing compared to the “year of hell” until this last February, when I damn near fell off the edge of a proverbial cliff. (Note: I have decided to refer to this as “The Month of Sorrows” from this point forward. Catchy, huh? Hooray for labeling time periods of life with little ribbons and bows!)
Yes, I was in the perfect storm of life. Homelessness had overcome me as work dried up and bills began to mount. My car was nearly repossessed, my belongings in storage nearly sold off, and I didn’t even have five dollars to buy myself food. On top of that, some people I worked with knew of my destitution and held back some of the money they owed me. They were supposed to be Christians, but their abusive behavior brought me to the brink of breaking as all hope of getting beyond that moment evaporated and I began to question whether I could really trust God.
In the midst of the waves and wind, God kept sending new people into my life. These were individuals that he was using to encourage me just enough so that I wouldn’t fall beyond the point of no return. People like Amy and her song Lifeline, or Duane and the EPK video that he shot and edited to help promote my career. It were those little things, along with the countless other true friends that were praying for me and encouraging me along the way, that pulled my head out of the water and reminded me to breathe and kick my legs. And when the rain finally stopped, I was still swimming strong.
Looking back, I don’t know how I got through February, even with the help that God sent my way. Never before had I been homeless, hopeless and helpless. This was the first time that I tasted such a bitter defeat and sank to the bottom of the ocean before resurfacing.
And yet, here I stand. My confidence restored, my creativity resparked, and my hope renewed. I look back and see how God carried me through and I ask him to never take me there again. I questioned my trust, but I never gave up asking God for help. And I truly believe that he came through and delivered the right people at the right times. I might be wrong, but that might be true faith: when you kneel before the Father and admit to him your doubts, but lay everything before him anyway.
And this has become a defining moment in my life. A time where everything was shed away so my character can be shown and my weaknesses removed. I didn’t come through shining perfection. I’ll be the first to admit that I responded to some events very emotionally. But thankfully, life isn’t about perfection, now is it?
I seem to have forgotten to mention a couple of people in my note. While I’m busy giving myself fifty lashes with a wet noodle, head over to my new post, The Great Omission.
Blogged from my iPhone 3G.