A Blog Post by Journalism Student Matthew, Grade 9
About six years ago, my dad left my family and created a lot of hardship and trauma for us. I would like to share my spiritual walk, and how this trauma has affected my life.
In May of 2010, we realized that my dad was an addict and had been living a secret life for years without telling us. My mom went into shock and ‘shut down’ for the next year. My older sister was given the burden of raising her siblings. My mom tried desperately to save her marriage and tried to get my dad to go to couples’ therapy, but he refused. Eventually he told her that it was over and that he had found another woman.
I think that if it wasn’t for our church, City Church, my mom wouldn’t have made it through those years of hardship. After thinking about it a lot, I realized that God placed us in California during that time for several reasons. I think he knew that we needed a strong church to support us through the difficulty. I think he knew that being away from our extended family was necessary to prevent more drama.
Over and over, God has tested my faith with trials and hardships, but through all of it, I can trust him more. A year after May of 2010, our beloved dog Beaux died of cancer. A year ago, in 2015, we found out that one of my siblings had been addicted to crystal meth for months.
But through all of this, I’ve learned some really valuable lessons. I know how not to be a father. I know the danger of addiction. And most importantly, I know that with God all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). If it wasn’t for my dad leaving us, we would never have realized what a dysfunctional family we had.
I used to be so angry with God for taking away my father. I felt that I needed a father so badly, and used to wonder why he gave me such an awful one. But then I realized that God is my Father, and he is a perfect Father who will never ever give up on me. And just thinking that alone is enough to make me shake with awe. I feel like my family is settling down and I feel as if I’m finally finding my place in life. But I think I’ll always be prepared for that ‘next catastrophe’. Even with all of that, I would never trade what I’ve been through for the world. Not that I would ever wish it upon someone else, because God uses times in everyone’s lives to help them grow. But without it, my life would be shallow and full of secrets, so I’m thankful for every last experience.
Things are finally looking up for my family. My mom has found a boyfriend, and I can tell that it makes her very happy to have someone to talk to and laugh with. My sibling is sober, has lots of friends, has a job at Starbucks, and is working on ways to help others who are drug and alcohol addicts. And I found my school, CCA! CCA has been such a blessing for me to grow spiritually, learn a lot, and make friends.
I think that, often times, when we are facing hardship and trials, our first thoughts are nowhere near God. You know that feeling of panic as you go into shock, even with the smallest things, like injuring yourself. Your first thoughts are what pain you are in and anger. And I am so guilty of that, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve realized that every time I cry out to God, the more likely I am to remember Him the next time something happens. God doesn’t necessarily meet us in our rigid prayer structures. God doesn’t necessarily meet us just because we go to church. He doesn’t necessarily meet us when everything is going well. God meets us in our brokenness. God meets us when our entire reality blows up in front of our faces and the only thing we have left is Him.