I remember the first time I sat down with William over coffee (of course) and he shared his journey with me. Throughout William’s childhood he had experienced such rough, adverse and destructive collisions with hurtful people, that he, with a raw honesty, shared the details of those things. I hurt for him greatly, but was given the amazing privilege of hearing the new life and hope God is shaping now within Him. The day he walked into the grotto, as you will read, he told me was life changing. He said he looked at a statue of Mary holding baby Jesus. With all the pain he held inside William saw the vulnerability of God who chose to come into the world as a baby to tell people their lives matter and it hit him right there and then. Continue to read his story as he tells it and what the sight of Jesus did in and through him….
Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.”
It was during my junior year of high school when I felt Jesus collide with my life.
I stood facing what seemed like a hopeless life, filled with nothing but doubt, misery, and pain. I was constantly picked on and bullied at school, my friends had all but deserted me, I didn’t exist at home, and my relationship with God was nonexistent. For the first time in my life, I felt completely abandoned and utterly alone.
It didn’t take long for me to start believing the thoughts that would creep into my head. It was as if someone was constantly whispering them
into my mind, filling me with hopelessness.
“What’s the point, you know you’ll never the good enough…”
“Who could ever love such a disappointment?”
“Do everyone a favor and just die. It’s the only way to escape
the pain of being such a failure.”
I had failed at being a friend, a son, a brother, a Christian, a person… I had failed at everything. By ending my own life, I could escape this
unbearable and lonely life. I could, for once, do something right.
I had arrived at my church in the late afternoon; the place that had one day been my sanctuary would soon be my grave. As I sat in the small
grotto behind the church, my head swam with the faces and memories of those I had loved and lost, my parents, my sister, my friends… Tears spilled onto my face as I slipped a knife out of my pocket and laid the cool blade upon my wrist. As I closed my eyes, I said my final prayer.
“I’m so sorry God for being so weak. I tried to be somebody worth loving, but I just ended up being a disappointment and a failure. I’m
sorry I broke my promise to You, but I just can’t take this anymore. Goodbye.”
Then, He collided with me.
He crashed into me so hard that I fell onto the cold, hard ground and before I knew what was happening, the walls that I had built so carefully around my heart began to quickly crumble away. All of the pain and anger I had bottled up burst, and I began to cry harder than I had ever done
before. For the first time, I truly felt all of the emotions I had locked away, all of the anger, the guilt, the pain, everything.
I had turned away from God; ashamed with myself for never being able to be the person I had promised time after time to be. I left Him, before
He could leave me, just like everyone else in my life had. But as I lay there, I also finally felt the presence of God re-enter my life. His love cradled me
and comforted me; giving me something that I hadn’t felt in a long time, hope. Hope that I wouldn’t have to face the unknown alone.
As I stood facing my life so full of doubt, misery, and pain, I was reminded of a Bible verse that I now carry with me, as a daily reminder, which has filled me with the determination to keep moving forward: Romans 8:38-39“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I have never forgotten what Jesus taught me the day He collided with my life; that I will never truly be alone and that nothing can ever separate myself from His love.