I grew up in a small town, in a very competitive neighborhood dominated by boys. We never lacked in inventing new games or finding some way to entertain ourselves. I was not the most popular boy on the block. I was overweight, wore glasses, and not very athletic. One neighborhood friend told me years later that I was the neighborhood guinea pig. One time I can remember them holding me down and pouring a whole salt shaker of salt in my mouth. I was always teased about my weight and called four eyes regularly. I was the kid who is often portrayed on TV or movies as the one always being picked last when everyone lines up to choose sides for a game. Believe it or not this was not the worst of it. When I was in 3rd grade I witnessed the death of my grandfather in the kitchen of his and my grandmother’s home. This was a tremendous shock to me that would shape the next 30 years of my life and not for the reasons you are probably expecting. As funny as it may sound I never knew about death, no one had ever explained it to me. As far as I knew we lived forever. Now to see someone die in front of me and not only that, but to never see them again totally rocked my not so secure world I lived in. Childhood is supposed to be filled with many happy memories and there are very few I can recall. I repeated the 3rd grade. I can remember missing many days of school afraid to face people and reality. Having to meet new friends who were now younger than you and having to face the ones that left you to advance to the 4th grade. The thought of death was consistently on my mind thinking that I could die at any moment. This went on from 3rd grade to high school. I can remember junior high as being the worst of it all. We began to learn about diseases in Biology. I was learning about the plagues in Europe and epidemics that encompassed the world over the centuries. I was surrounded by death. We would read about the signs and symptoms of various diseases and not long after that I began experiencing the same thing.
I entered into a black and white world. Death consumed me. Sometimes there would be something to distract me from this train of thought, but eventually I was back to the same old thing. Many times I troubled my mother enough that she would take me to the family doctor to prove there was nothing wrong with me. There were times of relief when the doc told me there was nothing wrong, just to find something else to worry about. I was constantly looking for something wrong, when I had a pain, (imaginary), I would poke and prod until I had real physical pain. The cycle went on. Finally the doctor had enough. He hospitalized me to prove to me that I was healthy by having a complete examination of my body done. While I was in the hospital, one night a new fear overtook me. I thought I had cancer and I immediately found his home phone number in the phonebook and called him that night. He had had enough. The next day he arranged for me to pay a visit to the 4th floor of the hospital. This floor was the Psychiatric Ward. This was a scare tactic to try and scare me out of my fears. I remember him saying that this is where I would end up if I didn’t straighten up. He said, “You are too young to be worrying about things like this”. It seemed to work though the fear never really left me. I began to pacify it with high school, sports, partying, and interest in girls.
At this time I grew out of my baby fat, four eye persona. People began to look at me differently and I developed an interesting character of one who stood out. I loved to party and I liked to make people laugh. I also wanted people to respect me, so I developed a character of toughness, a don’t mess with me attitude. I had good friends and I also had enemies. I was trying to make up for the years of rejection. All this didn’t just make my problems go away, they only buried them. God was watching over me the whole time. I had been in several accidents, one in my pick-up hitting a telephone pole and two others, a friend rolled his car and a group of us rear ended a car at 105 mph while racing. No one was ever seriously injured.
After high school things began to get worse rather than better. One failed marriage and one broken relationship before the age of 30 devastated me. I was very immature when I got married at the age of 23. My thought life took on a whole new dimension I had a fear of the end of the world and a real fear of going to hell. It began a trek for perfection. I was consumed with trying to be perfect so that if and when that day came, (the end of the world); I would end up in heaven. After all I had done so many things wrong in my life that surely God could not accept me for who I was. In my own imperfections I found myself looking at others and their imperfections, not knowing it, but trying to elevate myself above them gave me a sense of security. This ended my first marriage. Pleading for forgiveness and desiring to seek help was not enough, the damage had already been done. I returned to the single life and partying, not that I had ever really ever left the partying portion and once again burying my problems instead of resolving them.
At this point in my life, my “thought life” took on a whole new dynamic. I could not distinguish between what was a simple thought process and what was reality. The fears I faced where now my new reality. I entered into a new relationship at almost 30 years of age. The problems began manifesting themselves again. What most people would consider passive thoughts, (never dwelling on anything for any length of time), became hard for me to just let go. After all, what if there was some truth to it. After 1 1/2 years in that relationship it fell apart. In that relationship, my girlfriend took me to a new church, one like I had never been in before. We read from of the Bible, everyone carried one. I felt good that I was doing something right, but the relationship was over, what was I to do now. It was during this time that I began to seek help. For 2 1/2 years I saw two different counselors. This left me with owing money and being no better off. My life was over. I have tried everything. I was desperate.
Something led me back to that church. No longer in the relationship I didn’t know if I would be welcome there or not. (You see this was a small town church, at its peak there was 30 to 40 people attending) This was the answer that I had been looking for, for over 30 years. I received Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior that night. This didn’t end my problems, but it gave me the tools to set me free from fear. You can start on that road today.
There is no greater power available to us than the Word of God, (The Bible). I have been involved in ministry since 1992. I have seen the hand of God move in my life and deliver me from fear and torment. God is no respecter of persons. What He will do for me He will do for anyone. God Bless You.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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