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Faith is something that did not come easily for me. Although I was born Catholic (full name at birth was Mary Catherine B***Italian name), I was not raised in a church. Not even close. I mean, my Dad was Catholic but he didn’t practice and died early. My mother believed in God on some days, and others not so much. I honestly have no idea how my stepfather felt about religion, except that he hated when they knocked on the door or handed out flyers.
When I was in my 20’s I would waft back and forth in my belief, like so many do. Sometimes, I seemed to struggle so much, that I would joke that God hated me. Only I actually believed it. I was miserable. And then it got worse.
About 18 years ago, in 2001, I was at my absolute rock bottom, where I felt that my only option left was suicide. This would have my third attempt.
I was driving from New Jersey to North Carolina on one of monthly trips to see my boys. It was around 2am, and the roads were pretty deserted for a 4 lane interstate. I was close to end of the trip, so I was in the country and it was very, very dark with no big city lights to light up the sky. I had every little detail planned, knew exactly how it would play out. I even already had the life insurance in place (I cancelled it soon after to avoid temptation) for the boys to be well taken care of.
I was determined to have a fun weekend with the boys first, no matter how miserable I was personally. I wanted it to be something really special that they would always remember fondly. Then, on the drive home, I was simply going to simply drive off one of the many bridges I would cross if I took the scenic coastal route back to New Jersey. It would be so easy. Not painless, but no less than I felt I deserved at the time.
As I made up my mind that this would be the trip I was going to do it, a huge black billboard came into view. Right there, in big white letters, were the 8 words that changed my life forever:
It was the timing of it all you see. I had just made up my mind not two seconds before and then, smack! that billboard. He was saying that He was here for me and that He loved me (and that I had darn well better not do it!). In all of my hundreds of trips back and forth, I had never noticed that billboard before, and I never saw it after.
It wasn’t the first, or last time that similar strange things have happened, but I guess I just didn’t listen before. Maybe I didn’t want to. Maybe I wasn’t ready yet.
That day I found Him. I spent the rest of the drive in silent contemplation. During that time, God gave me the solution to my struggles. I needed to seek outside help for my physical and emotional trauma and the issues that stem from it.
When I returned to New Jersey, uninjured and after a great weekend with the boys, I went to counselor who set me up with a psychiatrist. That was the beginning of my healing.
It has been quite a journey, this Faith of mine. In the beginning, it would wax a little at times, but I would remind myself of those words on that billboard. It has grown strong as an oak tree now, rooted itself in the core of my being. I was Saved in 2009, and Baptized last year. I am not one to take this lightly, I wanted my faith solid first.
Although I have a great deal of Faith, I do not belong to a specific church, nor do I consider myself a ‘True Christian’ – I can’t be that all forgiving, all loving person, not yet. When I can attain that level of inner Faith and Peace, then I will be a ‘True Christian” and shout it out to the World. Our local church refused my membership when my husband and I were living together just before we got married, but accepted the membership of an entire family of local thugs that spend more time in jail than out. I like my Bible Studies.
Until then I will try to get a little closer every day, building my Faith stronger, and trying to do good in this crazy world He has given us.
Have a Fabulous Day!
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