Bad things happen to good people…right? Sometimes, very bad things happen to good people! In my situation, by the time I was six, both of my grandfathers died, my grandmother died, my father was killed in one car accident (more about this in my book), my mother was unable to keep us so she gave us (brother and sisters) to her sister, my aunt, who died two years later (we never saw our mother again). This is the sanitized version of the story, the details I’m saving for the book! 🙂 In spite of these things happening before I was six, and a plethora of bad things happening after, I have never thought of myself as a victim. Why? I believe one of the primary reasons is that I have sensed the presence of God at a very early age.
When I was about six, my aunt dropped us off at a church close to our home. I was escorted into this class with kids about my own age. It was the first time I ever remember being in a church. First, I felt love. The Sunday School teacher was so nice! It had been awhile since I felt loved. Then she introduced me to the kids. Next, they sang this song, “We’re glad you are here” to the tune of Happy Birthday. I sensed the presence of God, and it has never left. Shortly after this, my aunt died. We were then picked up by a family who were faithful churchgoers. For the next 12 years, there were many challenges, however, we always went to church! Most of the challenges had to do with the lack of training available for my new parents. They had no idea what they were getting into! They treated us as if we were blank slates, which was probably what they thought was best, and what most people at the time were doing with foster/adopt children. Now, there are home studies, parent training, complex trauma awareness, counselors, case managers, videos, internet, etc.
One of the benefits of being raised in the church was that my sister and I were introduced to Harding University. This was where I received my undergraduate education. Harding is a conservative Christian University in the “foothills of the Ozarks,” – Searcy, Arkansas. The greatest gift Harding gave me was peace! Everyone treated me with kindness. The presence of God was there! Although, I had occasional bouts of depression and feelings of loneliness, I always knew God was there! I was blessed with some amazing friendships. It was also indirectly through Harding , a few years later, I met Phyllis (also saving this story for the book!).
I’ve had many ups and downs in my life (saving for the book), primarily because of the challenges I faced growing which many would be attributed to complex trauma (saving this for the book.) However, I have always sensed the presence of God and that he has a plan for my life. This brings me back to my original point. I have never thought of myself as a victim because I have always believed God has a plan for my life. What good would it have done to think “poor miserable me, I’m an orphan boy, no one loves me, why me?” If this had happened, I would not have a beautiful wife (inside and out), three amazing children and their spouses, and three of the most special grandkids in the world! You can understand why my favorite verse in the Bible is:
Praise to the God of All Comfort
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)