As I lay across the chairs in the office, unable to sleep, I found myself sobbing and grieving, as I had done so many times before. I have heard it said by many spiritual leaders with lots of wisdom, that the only way to heal is to go through the pain, no matter how painful it is or how long it might take. Trying to ignore it, go around it, or act like it doesn’t exist won’t change it or allow you to heal from it.
Even if I had learned nothing else about grieving up to that point, I knew it was true. I needed to allow myself to grieve even more. I had to go through the pain to get to the other side. I was well aware that there was no other way of reaching peace again. Even though I knew what I had to do, I also knew it wouldn’t lessen the intense pain I was in, and I was not looking forward to more grieving. Grieving was all too familiar to me. I had been in this same place too many times before.
Through my sobbing and pain, as I listened to the rain pounding intensely on the roof, God spoke to me again, and He spoke loudly and clearly. I realized that my grieving stemmed from subconsciously feeling as though God was not providing for me, more than from anything else.
I got clarity that night when God revealed His truth yet again. The words he spoke to me were these: “I have provided for you, and I always will. I won’t always provide for you in the way you would like me to, but I will always provide for you. Sometimes you will eat steak, and sometimes you will eat potatoes. There will be times when you will not live in the fanciest of places or have a lot of material riches. I will provide, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in rather big ways, but I will always provide for you.”
I had such a spiritual awaking that night. Knowing that I sometimes like drama, God even provided the massive downpour over my head. The miracle was, that through my sobbing and my pain, and not knowing what the next day would bring, I was given such an overwhelming sense of peace and calmness inside that I couldn’t explain.
I was flooded with emotions that embodied me in a supernatural way. Deep in my soul, I knew I was going to be okay and that I would never again fear God not being there for me and providing. He had always been there—maybe not in the fashion I would have liked, and not always in the time frame I felt it should be either. But He had always provided. Even though I had nothing on the outside, on the inside, I had nothing but peace and calm, even knowing that in the next couple of days I would be homeless, jobless, without a car, and penniless.
Returning the car was extremely painful, but I had to deal with it head on. I did not have his money the day it was due. The gentleman who had taken a risk renting the car to me, was quite upset, and he let me have it. He said, “I trusted you. I put faith in you, and you let me down.” I could hear the disappointment in his voice, but I had no recourse. He was right. I tried to express how sorry I was and stressed that I hadn’t intentionally tried to harm him in any way. It hadn’t been my intention to get behind on the payments. The circumstances were the way they were, and I couldn’t do anything to rectify the situation.
I don’t think anything I said made him feel any better, but I felt a need to let him know that I had the best of intentions, even if it seemed as though I was trying to take advantage of him. I needed to share my thoughts regardless of how he would respond, even though it was not an easy thing for me to face. The truth was, I was not able to pay him for a service he had provided me. I was not feeling my best when I left, even though I felt as if I handled the situation fairly well. My boss had driven there with me, so he took me back to the office.
God restored my inner strength and confidence, and a sense of peace that night in the reception area of my office. I had felt that sense of peace many times before, but nothing like that night. The feelings were deep within my mind, heart, soul, and gut. They embodied me from the tips of my toes to the hairs on my head. The feeling was so intense and strong, that even after the difficult and devastating situation of having to return the rental car, I felt peace. It was a hard thing to do and I was feeling a bit down, but it had nowhere near the impact it would have had even a few days earlier. I would have been utterly devastated.
I humbled myself in an AA meeting right before returning the car, sharing that I was looking for a temporary place to stay. A woman named Myra fairly new in sobriety, came up to me and offered me a place to stay for a while. She was raising two adopted young children on her own and recently moved to the area to be closer to her sister.
I had no idea what was coming in my life next, so I was moving forward on nothing except total faith. I don’t even remember how I got to Myra’s home. I do remember though how strongly God was working in my life at the time. I clearly had a significant spiritual awakening that night in my office, which took my faith and trust in God to a new and higher level. I was just leaning on Him and taking one step at a time wherever He led me.
I started helping Myra with the kids so she could go to meetings and get out alone occasionally. In turn, she let me use her car to drive to a nearby health club to teach an aerobics class, work a few hours a week, and so I could also attend meetings.
Knowing little about Myra before moving in, I was cautiously observing the dynamics of our relationship, setting boundaries so neither of us would feel taken advantage of.
I did notice that Myra was undoubtably a little needy and scattered, which wasn’t a concern. Being aware of her behavior, our situation was manageable. We were doing a fairly reasonable job balancing how much we were helping each other. Not only that, she was staying sober, a common bond we shared.
I settled into my own private space in her unfinished basement with a pullout sofa bed. One night as I was sorting through some papers, a folded letter popped out of a note pad. When I looked at it, I realized that it was a letter I had written to God. I had been journaling on and off over the last few years, so I was curious to read it. I had written it a while ago.
After reading just a few words, shivers started running down my spine, and I got goose bumps all over. It read: “Dear God, It is so awesome how I have seen you work in my life and how much you have changed me through my experiences, my time in AA, and spending time in solitude with you. I have been learning to trust You, and have trusted You for quite a while now, but I feel as though I only trust you about ninety percent of the time. There had been times when I was fearful, not completely trusting in You to provide and take care for me. I want to trust You one-hundred percent of the time in every circumstance. Please take away that last little bit of fear so I can trust You completely in all circumstances.
I’m wondering if some of you just got chills all over like I did that night. I had forgotten all about that letter I had written until I ran across it. I found it while lying on a sofa bed, in an unfinished basement right after I had lost everything. I was at the mercy of a woman whom I had just met and graciously offered me a place to stay.
The whole chain of events was a little spooky. The timing was uncanny. I was overcome with emotion and started sobbing yet again. Pain or grief did not cause my sobbing this time. It was from being completely embodied with an overwhelming presence of God, gratitude, and a total awareness of His love for me and how deep that love was. He loved me so much, that He took away that last little bit of fear I had prayed for Him to take away. He had done so through my circumstances and because I asked Him to.
I wanted freedom and victory over that last ten percent I was still having a hard time trusting Him with. I couldn’t help wondering if God tried answering my prayer while I was experiencing all those losses and obstacles where I moved to help out Hugh. I left there with a car of belongings and nothing else after downgrading my lifestyle, moving three and going through three jobs in a year and a half’s time.
My tears fell uncontrollably yet again, and whatever residual pain that might have remained due to all the recent negative events in my life was now gone. God refilled my heart with overwhelming love, and His presence in my life was stronger than ever. It was even more powerful and deeper than what I experienced in my office that night during a horrific storm. I could feel God holding me in His arms, protecting me and telling me how much He loved me. It was amazing.
God blessed me with similar experiences before, some of which I have shared with you. But that was one of the most powerful ones. I’ll never forget it. It is so dear to me and so close to my heart – an experience that no one could ever take away from me.
Few people will ever get the opportunity to feel what it is like to trust completely under any and all circumstances. That experience brought about an unbelievable power, strength, and confidence that cannot be shaken under any circumstances. I now believed more than ever that everything that happened had all been part of God’s plan. I was also convinced that good things were about to come.
I am so grateful that I had been given that gift. God wants that gift for all of us, but very few are ever tested to great extremes that allow us to fully experience what it feels like to be in total trust one-hundred percent of the time. That night, I also learned and came to accept, that stuff will come and go in life, and that’s okay. But my relationship with God and the inner feeling of being complete in Him, is something no one can take away from me.
The knowledge that I know in every fiber of my being, that I can trust God completely, no matter what is going on in my life or around me cannot be taken away either. I would have willingly traded all worldly possessions for what I was given that night. Nothing, not anything, can shake my faith today, have me doubt God’s love for me, or cause me to doubt His total provisions for my needs.