At the beginning of this year 2013, I made a statement that this would be a year for elevation for Christians and I hope it was for all of you as it was for me. Let me just list some of the highlights of my year.
A friend found my father, unfortunately it was after he died.
My mother was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) and was fighting cancer.
I lost my job.
A relationship with the woman I love came to an end.
I became homeless.
I know what you're saying 'Um David, this doesn't sound like an elevation'. I would say you are wrong but more on this later.
In order to stand up you on your feet you need to be brought down to your knees and I was brought down to my knees; yes it was/is painful but necessary. There was some good this year too and I will get into that later. Right now I want to go into some of the personal parts of my life that I mentioned above. First it needs to be understood that this friend who found my father is the woman I love. She has been such a major part of my life especially with my walk with Jesus, more on this in a moment though.
If you have read my bio you know I didn't have a father growing up. I only have a few memories of him. I never knew how important a father is in a child's life, something you think I would have known from not having one. But not having a father doesn't give you an example of what a father should be. I remember telling my daughters mother that I didn't want to be like my dad. The only problem was I didn't know what he was like and the only example I had from him was leaving and that is what I wound up doing to my daughter.
About mid 2011 I started a search for my father which wound up dieing out in my heart. IO don't really know why it just did. During the search though I was able to find his sister and talk to her. I found out things about my mother and father that I didn't know about and it was scary. It was scary to know how my mother and father were together and the stuff that went on that I was to young to remember or I just didn't know about. I often wondered if my father have stayed would I be the same person growing up that I turned out to be then (in my teens and 20's) because it is apparent that I did turn out somewhat like my father in my early years. Nevertheless a father is needed in a child's life and I never had that, not one that loved me anyways.
My friend, who found out about my father, inspired me to write a letter to my father after she shared a letter with to her father for his birthday. The letter she wrote was so emotional that I had tears. I wondered what it was like to have grown up with a man like that in your life and wish I would have had someone like that in mine. I wrote the letter before I found out he was dead and and I let everything out. I guess you just never know the pain your in until you forgive and really say what you want to say, what is really in your heart, and that is what I did. Between that letter and the post 'A Father Lost, A Father Found – Part 1' I have made peace with my father, so many tears flowed with those two writings that I could no longer hold feelings of hurt, anger and pain. I have come to forgive him because I know it wasn't him, it was generational sin and I can't hold that against anyone. I see it for what it is and I am doing what I can to break this cycle.
This forgiveness I gave my father is part of my elevation. Even though I never got the chance to meet him I forgave him for running out on me and my mother. I forgave him for not being there. I forgave him for not looking for me. I forgave him for not wanting me as a son. I can't say what was actually going though his mind this is just how it felt to me. I was only able to do this because God started leading me through this in the beginning of 2012.
My friend asked me to check my journal writing on the day that my dad died. The first sentence of that writing was 'David your walls are down' (my journal writings are my talks with God). I honestly believe there was a reason why God didn't want me to find my dad while he was still alive and I will rest in that belief hence what God had told me that day in my journal writings.
God did grace me though, with an opportunity to experience what it would be like to be a real father to a special boy. I will treasure that experience and I will never be the same because of it. I got to know what it was like to love like a father should love and to know what is was like to be loved like a father. An opportunity that I missed with my daughter at that age when she was right there and something I took from her. By God's grace though the relationship with my daughter is being restored.
Lost My Job
Should you get a word from God and that word come to pass you need not to worry about what will happen afterwards. This is what happened to may, late 2012 I got a word from God that I would not be at my job all year. So when I lost my job I was not worried about it. I was surprised by how many other people were worried even after I told them God already said I wouldn't be keeping that job. It is amazing how God will work in our lives if we just believe and have faith. God already had things in motion for me before I lost my Job and after.
Now I have been at this company long enough to be eligible for unemployment benefits however this company always fights these benefits and I have seen them fight these benefits on a few x-employees. So when I called to apply for the benefits I though it was going to be a downhill battle as the woman on the other end was not happy with my answers and accused me of yelling at her. I don't think I was but then again a lot of people mistake my loud voice for yelling. Anyways she was going to call the company then let me know if I would qualify or not after she spoke to them.
God to the rescue. I never got another call from the unemployment benefits services. I just received in the mail the paperwork on how to start my claims online and I would get my checks. I was so amazed and I give all the glory to God. Here is a company that takes their former employees to hearings for the unemployment benefits to fight them and I didn't even receive a second phone call. Praise be to God.
So I figured this would be a good time to strike out on my own and it looked good for a minute. I was able to pick up a client quickly enough but over the time I was unemployed the few clients I did pick up wasn't enough. God always took care of me though I never doubted that He would. I was able to pay my bills and God even showed me how to handle money better. He even allowed me enough extra money to get a needed car repair, tires, and needed oil change.
My mother was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) and this scared me. Just last year little Jaybird died of this same thing and it is dangerous for young children and older people.
I remember speaking to my mother two days before she went into the hospital. I was telling her how I don't remember ever being hugged or told I love you as a kid. She apologized for that, two days later she was in the hospital and I went to see her. When I got there she was so happy to see me, she is very proud of me in a way but me and my mother have always been the closest out of all the kids. She had told me that when we got off he phone she started to thing about what I said and that she couldn't remember a time when she was hugged or told that she was loved either. She didn't even realize that she was doing that to us kids. Again generational sin at work.
I got the chance to pray for her and when I was done there were tears in her eyes which brought tears to mine. We talked for a while and throughout the few hours I was there a few family members showed up including my daughter. Such a blessing to see her what made it even more of a blessing was that I got to lead a prayer for my mother with my daughter there. A very special moment for me that I will never forget.
So my mom with through the chemo-therapy and afterwards had one complication after another. The complications enhanced because of my mom's poor health and diabetes. After the chemo-therapy, my mom had a stomach infection and needed dialysis. It was bad enough that the family and the doctor(s) had decided that should something happen to my mom that there would be a Do Not Resuscitate on her because there was only a 3% chance of survival and she would be clinically brain dead, if she didn't fall into a comma.
Then there was a liver problem along with the kidney problem. It was so hard to look at her with all the tubes and needles in her. Watching the doctors put a port into her neck broke my heart. Seeing the pain and suffering she was going through broke my heart and I honestly didn't think she would make it through this.
If it wasn't for God hearing our prayers and being as merciful as He is, my mom would have surely died. In short the cancer is in full remission, my mom should be in rehab at a therapy center because she still can't walk on her own but she checked herself out and is now living with her sister.
This story itself would be way to much to write so I am going to leave it here.
Right now I am listening to Kari Jobe – The More I Seek, You and more or less this is the way I feel. Sorry I know not a very good explanation of things. Let me start by saying this. I love this woman so this relationship ending killed me, killed me more than anything else, besides death itself obviously. If you have ever been so in love that you don't want to live or carry on without this person then you probably understand what I am saying.
We say the we will obey God and listen to what He tells us yet there are certain things we will not do when he tells us to do them. I look back at my journal writings and I can see where God has been telling me since February stop putting this woman first, to put Him first and let Him do everything. Yet I did not listen. I thought I wasn't putting her first but in hindsight I see that I was. I was looking for something in her to fill a part of me that I have been missing, to make me whole. Yet God was saying don't turn to her for that turn to me for that, let me make you whole.
I do believe God separated us, he has been telling me since the beginning of the year that He wants time with me alone and I wouldn't give it to Him I wish I would have. Eventually God got me alone, and it was a painful way to do it. I was living with the woman I love and she no longer wanted to be with me or me to be there so I had to leave. She asked a friend for a favor, he was against this initially but did it for her. Long story short here I did something with good intentions but went about it totally the wrong way and that left me homeless.
Never-the-less the ending of this relationship hurt me so bad in so many ways. I was lost, I was confused. I didn't have my friend anymore. So many times I wanted to call to say hi or let her know something that just happened and I couldn't. I had no one but myself and God. How painfully lonely it was not that God wasn't there but the friend that you could just reach out to wasn't there anymore. I couldn't understand it and it hurt even more to try to.
I will have more on this in a moment but the circumstances I was in and the actions I took, a decision without thought, lead me to my homelessness.
A position I never thought I would be in. Growing up in a city of 200,000 you see homeless people quite a bit and hanging around in Chicago you see homeless people a lot. I always though how could someone let themselves get to the point of being homeless. I had no pity on them I thought of them as weak individuals who had no ambition, desire or drive. Yes I know, it is a terrible way to look at people and as I am on this journey with Jesus I don't look at them that way anymore. Now that I became homeless myself I have even looked at them with a newer set of eyes to see what Jesus sees, how wrong I was in my younger years about homeless people and I will never look or treat a homeless person the same way.
They say if you want to know who your friends are let tragedy fall on you. It is sad that this is how we find out who our friends are. But it also may be a blessing because you know who will be there for you in your darkest hour (darkest hour up to this point).
In My Isolation Came Elevation
How hard it was for me to be homeless, jobless and the pain still fresh from the ended relationship. My world came crashing down in such a whirlwind that I couldn't understand why and it would be months before I could understand why God let this fall on me. How I had to bare through the months of the tears, and the pain, and the wondering of why? How? Does anyone even care?
I had wrote a story once about taking the broken pottery to the potter because he is the only one who could fix it. This was a parable on taking your brokenness to God so He can fix it because He is the only one that knows you and can fix you. This is what God was doing with me fixing my brokenness. (Elevation)
So now I am where God has wanted me to be all along alone with Him, so He could really work on me. I had to suffer through the pain, so I could have the heart change that I have had. I remember one Wednesday night service as I was standing on the table running the camera the pastor making the alter call. As the people where coming up for the alter call God kept showing me their pain, their suffering and their loneliness. I cried for them, I prayed for them, I ask God to heal them as he has been healing me. God was showing me about the world around me, that there is more out there than just the little world I focused on and He wanted me to be part of that world. To do His will in that world. (Elevation)
He had brought a man into the church one time and he was talking to me and asking me if they could have a funeral service at the church for his wife that they just cremated this morning. I told him I would have to get the Pastor on the phone and you would have to talk to him. As he talked to the Pastor I could see his pain, not only see it but I felt it. I was so overwhelmed that I cried with this man until he walked out the door. As I was sitting I was thinking why didn't I give him my contact info in case he needed anything. As I was walking in the church I noticed that his van was still outside so I went and gave him my contact info. When I came back in I was again overwhelm by his pain that I cried even more and I prayed for him. (Elevation)
I have had the chance to minister to a friend a while back, what a blessing that was. Being able to share the faith you have to someone and how they receive it. To see them just holding on to every word as you just keep turning everything back to God and what He has done for you. As much as I was a blessing to this friend this friend was also a blessing to me. As she explained to me the way she saw me, I would have never guess that was the way anyone looked at me and I know the changes have been made that God has been working on. (Elevation)
Just recently I had a chance to help a homeless couple by putting gas in their car. As I was getting in my car God was telling me get out of the car and talk to them, what could I do you have to listen to God. So I got out of the car and went over to talk to them. As I listened to them I understood what they were going through and I felt bad that I had no place they could go to get out of the up and coming storm. God said get them a hotel room, so I gave them the money for the hotel room for the night so they could be out of the storm. The feeling you get when you help someone out, in what they thought was a big way, yet I felt it was the least I could do as I was just listening to what God told me to do. Then God said pray for them so I asked them if I could pray for them and they said yes. We all bowed our heads and I prayed. After words I thank God for giving me the strength and boldness to pray out in public like that, which I haven't done before and honestly was quite scared to do. (Elevation)
Through all of this God has also blessed me as I had always had a place to rest my head. I have not gone without a meal, unless by choice. I have been able to pay my bills and God even taught me a little on money management. He also made sure that some things I had in place would not be taken away. He has given me more responsibility in the church and come to know what His church really is. (Elevation)
All the bad stuff had to befall me, if it hadn't I would have never been ready to do what God wanted me to do. I would not have had the compassion or the heart that was needed to do these things. I would also not have been where I needed to be to do these things if I was in the relationship.
Don't get me wrong I am still unhappy that we are not together and my heart still hurts especially around the holidays. But I see now that if we were still together there is no way I would have been able to do any of this and I know it was necessary, maybe she did too and was strong enough to take the step to do it. God is truly amazing though as I have struggled not to reach out to this woman, I prayed and asked God to give me some kind of sign that she forgives me and that she wonders about me. I prayed for this on a Tuesday and Wednesday night. It was on that Saturday that I helped the homeless couple. That following Monday God blessed me as she text me and said she forgave me and that she has been wondering how I was doing but held back questioning it.
Even though God has brought me through the pain and has blessed me by answering my prayer, there are times I still get emotional. A memory will be jogged by something and I will miss her. I miss looking at her beautiful angelic face first thing in the morning before she woke up. I miss her smile and her laugh. I miss the times we spent alone in the dark or by the fireplace and we just talked. I miss the girls humor and laughter. I miss the love of the little boy. I miss our time together. But the thing I miss the most is our friendship. God has been so faithful though that I do not doubt what he has shown me or said to me and I rest in that.
Sometimes you just have to be broken apart so you can be made whole again. God is doing just that making me whole. I look back at my life and wonder how I even survived with everything I have been through but it was God the whole time looking out for me. When God gets you He is not going to let you go for anything, even the things you want.
On the upside of this year my relationship with my daughter has taken a turn for the better another thing that prophesied over me about. God just sticks to His word. My friend found three brothers that I didn't know I have. I have had a chance to talk to them even though communication hasn't been constant but I did get to talk to one of the brothers on Christmas. My mom has survived unmeasurable odds against her in relation to the cancer and the treatment thereof. My brother has been promoted at His job and God has given me a job, one I feel he will have me prosper in until he is ready for me to move into what he wants me doing.
As for the upcoming year, well all I know for sure is this. On December 5th God told me very clearly it is time for me to clean up and I know what that means. So I see more blessings as He helps me through this cleanup and I will remain true to God listening and obeying. Studying His word and keeping my faith. I will keep working on turning my heart more into the heart of Jesus and being prepared for what God puts into my path.