I Am One of the Children-The faithfulness and providence of God
My original plan for this blog was to present my life story in chronological order to explain my traumas. However, I sense a need to interject the story of God's faithfulness to me, even throughout my trauma response and the accompanying behavior that followed.
I've found that our human lives from the very beginning until the very end is planned and the plan is executed by God Himself. That is to say, I believe very strongly in the doctrine of providence. Simply put, providence means God the Creator is in complete sovereign control of every event that occurs in the universe, from the greatest event to the smallest. What this means for me personally is that God has a unique plan for my life, and all the events that take place or have ever taken place in my life are under His control.
Providence is a somewhat intense theological idea, as many questions arise regarding evil and the free will of humankind. I don't intend to explore those issues here, except to say I believe God is in control (not the cause of--an important distinction) even of the evil that has come into my life. And He promises in Romans 8:28 that He works ALL things for good to those who believe in Him. This certainly does NOT mean all things are good. But that He works even that which is evil for my good.
As described in other blog articles, He's allowed much tragedy into my life. Many psychological traumas and evil individuals who did me much harm. But looking over the whole of my life, as I am now 53 years old, I have seen this truth of God's constant and faithful love to me. How He somehow mysteriously is able to work events and circumstances to my ultimate benefit. The story of Joseph in the Bible, found in the Book of Genesis, is a clear illustration of this mysterious and amazing truth.
With that introduction, I'll begin the story of how God has shown His faithfulness and generosity to me even in the midst of great evil.
As described in blog articles "Trauma #1-Dad" and "Trauma #2-The Dentist," I suffered multiple childhood traumas, consisting of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse from my father, and childhood sexual abuse from a pedophile.
After these traumas, my life settled down somewhat in that my mother had divorced my abusive father and I had escaped from the pedophile. At this point, I was now 14 years old, a very troubled adolescent being raised by a single mother. I began to use substances to cope with the traumas and the effects they had on me. I used marijuana, alcohol, and mushrooms.
My mom, now remarried, recognized I had a substance abuse problem. Like she always did, my mom took action to try to save me. She enrolled me in a fairly new adolescent substance abuse rehabilitation program, called "Daybreak of Spokane" . This organization is still today serving and helping adolescents who suffer from substance abuse issues.
I was angry and unwilling to attend Daybreak, but mom didn't give me a choice. So I left my high school as a freshman, and started my first stint in rehab.
Daybreak was founded by 8 Christian believers who had received a call to "help the children" (SEE ABOUT US-HISTORY). While attending Daybreak, I was assigned to a counselor with a Ph.D in counseling/psychology. Jim C. was a good Christian man, and he took his job seriously. In our sessions, we began to deal with my traumatic past. He spoke to me of the love of Jesus Christ, and invited me to attend his church, a non-denominational Christian church in Spokane. The church was unaffiliated with Daybreak.
At first I resisted. Having been raised a catholic by my mom, I was unsure about a non-Catholic church. Unfortunately also, the pedophile who molested me as a 9 year old was also a "devoted" Catholic, and had used the church and the teachings of Christ to groom me. Not interested.
But the counselor persisted, and I eventually chose to attend the youth group of his church. There I met a young married couple who led the youth group. I remember so clearly the very first meeting I attended. Doug M., the youth minister, was different from any clergy I'd ever encountered. He played guitar and led the youth group in worship choruses. I sat in the back, sullen and as unimpressed as a troubled adolescent could be. "This is dumb," I thought to myself. "What a waste of time."
But then, Doug started talking about the need to be "born again." He said Jesus Christ is alive and that He loved us all. Then he said something that pierced my soul. "Jesus doesn't even care if you're on drugs right now," Doug said. "He still loves you, and if you'll but believe in Him, Jesus will save you and help you."
I felt as if I were in a movie, in a scene and the camera had just zoomed into a closeup of my face. I knew right then--the jig was up. The Lord Jesus Christ had invaded my life. Nothing would ever be the same again.
I flourished at the church. Clean and sober. The founding pastor, Jimmy K, was a pretty well known evangelist who had been the leader of Christian music crusades in California, and involved in the newly burgeoning popular Christian music business scene. He'd moved to Spokane and started the church. That was 37 years ago.
I absolutely dug both Jimmy and Doug. The two ministers took me "under their wing." For me, the best thing about Jimmy was his humor. The guy was like a stand up comic sometimes in his preaching. He exuded a love I could really see. It was the love of Jesus Christ. I was smitten. Not with Jimmy or Doug, although I admired them. I was smitten with the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. I saw Him in the two men. And I saw Him in my rehab counselor, Jim C.
Even though I'd been so betrayed by men in the past, I believe God put these three men in my life to begin a very long continuing journey to healing.
I met my brown eyed girl at my high school, and we married at the church. Doug M. performed the ceremony. A month later, I left for U.S. Army basic training. This began a whole new phase of my life. You can read about my experiences in the military here, here, here, here, and the subsequent ravages to my soul and mind here, and here.
All these experiences, the suffering and the hardship, have shaped who I am today.
Here is where the amazing providence of God has brought me. At 53, I recently joined a new church. An older man in the church, Bill Yakely, asked the church for prayer one day, saying he had to make a presentation to the board of an organization he helped found many years ago. Incredibly, the organization was Daybreak of Spokane, the very adolescent rehab center I'd attended as a child. Bill was instrumental in founding Daybreak.
He told me the story of the spiritual call he'd received. He recounted how he, as a younger man, was on a tractor one day, and distinctly heard God's Spirit say to him, "Help the children." He had no idea what it meant, so Bill told his minister about it and learned some other folks had also expressed interest. That's how Daybreak of Spokane was founded. A very humble man heard the call of God and obeyed.
I told Bill my story. "I am one of the children," I told him. "You obeyed God's voice to help the children. I am one of those children God saved and my life was forever changed." Bill and I continue to rejoice together in God's faithfulness.
Many lessons here. How one man's sensitivity to God's Spirit and obedience can be used by God in such a powerful way to change lives. I am only one of "the children." Bill did his part. Jim C., Doug M. and Jimmy K. did their part. Also, the ripple effect of those simple acts. God used me to tell my brown eyed girl about Jesus. He then used her to tell her parents, who were alcoholics. They too became lifelong Christian believers.
God the Creator is the source of all good things. His mighty power is able to sustain His believers throughout the most horrendous circumstances, and He can and does use the sufferings of our lives to accomplish His purposes.
I'm so thankful to be one of the children. One of God's children. I give Him thanks and glory and praise for these wonderful events and His constant lovingkindness and faithfulness. And I give him thanks for the faithfulness of His people.
And yes, I do give Him thanks even for the evil and suffering He's allowed in my life, knowing He takes all these things and mysteriously works them for ultimate good.