Hopelessly drunk and driving! An accident waiting to happen and a life that became a constant train wreck.
These dramatic statements sum up so many years of my life as I struggled with the alcoholic violence of my father and the insane manipulation of my tormented mother. They taught me a lifestyle that became a pattern I followed with dedication and vigour. And for over fifty years, I didn't even realize that I had the power to change it.
As I think back on some of the more dramatic moments, I am now able to stand in awe of the Protective Hand that hovered over my life.
There was the time I woke up, slumped in the driver's seat of my mini and covered with my own vomit. Drinking all night in a country night club, I had left and run my car into a ditch only two hundred yards from its entrance gate. Talk about needing a slap -- I could have killed someone that night. But instead of slapping me, God's hand protected me.
Then there was the time I did nearly kill someone. Again as drunk as a skunk, I'd been drinking with a mate at the beach. We'd run out of booze and my drinking partner was fast asleep in the back seat. I decided that I was going to the bottle shop to get more booze.
Drive straight? I woke up in hospital to find that I had crossed over all lanes and run head first into a parked car... where a couple were kissing and cuddling. Praise God that I was the only one hurt. The Protective Hand was again at work.
And these are not the only two occurrences where, as I look back, the palm of my hand slaps my forehead with a declaration of stupidity.
The truth is that the number of facepalms that have been in my life could well have invented the word. Waking up in jail, hospital or in my own vomit was a regular occurrence. My life was being poured out as a drink offering to the wrong god. And it remained that way until I realized that the Protective Hand was actually not only protecting me, but also reaching out for me.
Through a series of supernatural communications, the hand that once slapped my forehead now came up in involuntary awe to cover my mouth in amazement. And the realization that there was a God, who was reaching out for an intimate relationship with me, left me staggering in shock.
I had dreams that confronted the lifestyle I was following. I heard messages and read things that penetrated my concrete heart. And God showed me how my life could have been with different choices; and how much worse it could have been if He had not protected me from more serious consequences.
I had to confront my need for forgiveness from so many people that I had left behind in the carnage of my life. Emotional road smashes and train wrecks littered the journey from childhood to adolescence and on into an immature, self absorbed adulthood. When this was revealed to me, by the Hand that once protected me, I wept in repentance for days. Until that same Hand once again came into play.
God now reached down with a Loving Hand and showed me His forgiveness. He encouraged me to accept that what was behind was simply that -- behind, past and gone. And then He taught me the most wonderful lesson of all -- how to forgive others -- especially my mum and dad.
My hands can still slap my forehead in frustration as I learn to change my ways. They can still cover my mouth in awe when my new Dad heals yet another embarrassing moment from my past. But most of the time they simply go right past my face and fly up in praise and worship of an awesome God who changed it all.
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