Many people look at my life and think it’s perfect. And, don’t get me wrong…my husband and I have a wonderful life. God has blessed us abundantly, particularly financially. Bob retired three years ago at the age of 59 after working for the government for 40 years. I retired the end of 2012 at the age of 62. While I thought I might get a part-time job, there hasn’t been a need and I’m really enjoying my time off. We love our time together. While I did have a bout with thyroid cancer two years ago, I am now cancer-free and we are both in pretty good health. And, our biggest blessing of all…we have eight beautiful, wonderful grandchildren…all healthy!!
Bob and I are also living in our dream home, which is more than we ever imagined was possible in our lives. Both of us came from extremely modest beginnings. Bob’s parents grew up in the projects of Detroit. When his grandfather was able to build a home for the family, this was an unbelievable chance to advance. The house was humble and tiny…but it was theirs. In Bob’s family, just graduating from high school was an enormous achievement.
My background wasn’t much different. I grew up a block from the Bradley Street Dump in Sun Valley. It may not have exactly been the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ but it was definitely the poorer side of the tracks. Our house would have been the one that most neighbors hated as my father didn’t believe in doing yard work or fixing up the house. He was too busy with his own personal interests to spend any time on his family’s home. When my mother re-married and we moved into an apartment in Panorama City, it was a move up for us.
Bob and I have come so far from where we started and we are so thankful for the blessings we’ve had in our lives. But, contrary to those who think otherwise, our life isn’t perfect.
Recently, our lives went through a major upheaval. The circumstances and events were destructive and far-reaching…and devastating. I was totally thrown for a loop. I spent many nights unable to sleep, crying silently and praying. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, it tells us to pray unceasingly. I definitely prayed unceasingly as I’ve never prayed before.
In fact, I actually prayed that if God couldn’t bring healing, forgiveness, and restoration, I asked Him to take me home. I just couldn’t imagine living through the pain of it all. Heaven just seemed so desirable to me. And, I wasn’t even the person most impacted by what had happened.
Some people knew what was going on in our lives, but many people didn’t have a clue. Bob and I felt incredibly isolated, particularly from our church family. A few people did reach out to us and we asked that they give us time. But I’m so grateful for them for at least contacting us to let us know they were praying for us. My best girlfriend was definitely there for me. However, many people never contacted us and it was very lonely.
There was one friend who has experienced her own personal trials having been widowed way too young. Yet, in spite of her own troubles, her posts on Facebook are always of a spiritually, uplifting nature. While she and I haven’t spoken directly, her posts were like water to my parched soul.
I’m really embarrassed by my crisis of faith because as time has passed, God has been faithful. My prayers for healing, forgiveness, and restoration are being answered. These things took time. And, it wasn’t my timing. It was all done in God’s timing. And God’s timing is always perfect. Today, I am feeling incredibly hopeful. Things aren’t perfect, but they are getting better every single day.
I’m not sharing all of this to get sympathy or bare my soul, but, as a reminder that we don’t always know what’s going on in people’s lives. People who are going through their own personal torments and demons surround all of us. Yet, we are probably mostly unaware. Sometimes it’s an individual choice to keep problems hidden, but sometimes it’s because we are so caught up in our own lives that we just aren’t paying attention.
Couples that seem like they are rock solid to the outside world may be living separate lives behind closed doors. People we know to be terrific parents may have a child who is bulimic or who is battling addiction. The National Alliance of Mental Illness reports that one in four adults experiences mental illness in a given year. And certainly many people are struggling to pay their bills. I think all of us probably know someone who has lost or is in danger of losing his or her job.
Very few of us have a perfect life…certainly not I. But, I’m glad God had a better plan than ‘calling me home’. Going through this recent experience has reminded me that I shouldn’t judge anyone. Nor should I presume to know or understand what they are going through in their life.