I had lost it all. My messy little kingdom of self was crumbling and there was nothing I could do. How could this happen? Why was this happening to me? Over two decades of complacency, selfishness, and mistreatment had come to a head. My desperation was palpable, my sadness overwhelming.
Months of saying what I thought people wanted to hear had left me empty. I had quit drinking so why was everything so much worse than I thought it should be? I was exhausted. Where was this “higher power” I kept hearing about in AA meetings? Why wasn’t it working?
I met a man who had a calmness about him that I had tried to attain through every means I could think of. He told me I could get better. I didn’t believe him, but I so desperately wanted to. I worked with him on the 12 steps of AA and things were good, until they weren’t. I was sober, but I just couldn’t let go of what I thought I needed.
After several frustrating months I met another great man. We had dinner together and he told me Jesus loved me. I choked back tears and unbelief. I wanted it to be true, but how could it? I was a despicable person, nothing like the man sitting across from me. He told me of Jesus’s death and resurrection, and what it meant for a guy like me. Something inside me knew this is what I had been seeking my whole life. This is what was intended to fill the emptiness I felt for as long as I could remember. When we parted ways that evening, he gave me a Bible and said he loved me. I did not understand.
I started attending the church where he Pastors, and I was immediately surrounded by something new. People were asking me how I was doing, and they waited to hear my answer. This was not obligatory small talk, it was genuine. The church needed help in an area that I had a bit of knowledge about, and despite some of my more stubborn character defects, I had fun. It felt strange to do something and not expect anything in return. What I did get in return cannot be expressed in words. It is a gift that I will carry in my heart for the rest of my life.
As time went on, I was finding myself more interested in the message than the neat stuff I got to play with. I wanted more of Him. I wanted to do more. I wanted to use what I had been through to do good. I was seeing old relationships miraculously being rebuilt, much deeper than I had ever imagined they could be. I was letting go of guilt and shame I had carried my whole life. I felt like I had a purpose. I found myself believing Jesus loved me. I was letting go of what I thought I needed and finding rest in His love.
I was baptized in that church. Through His transforming grace and mercy, I have been taught what love really means. I have been given a new life of purpose. I have been led to a place where I feel safe, welcome, and I don’t have to be anything but myself. The Lord has opened my eyes and my heart. Thank you, Jesus, that I have hope and can say with confidence, praise God, I had lost it all!