Tuesday, June 11, 2019

You Just Can't Disprove God

Have you ever gone through something so terrible, that along the way, you kind of lost your faith--or perhaps you thought that God was punishing you for something? Many of us get thoughts like, "Why would God let this happen to me?" Even questioning the loss of a loved one, loss of a child, the loss of a parent or some type of other traumatic event that took place can really test your faith. But that's life. We lose people. All sorts of things happen to the human body: we live, we sometimes get sick, we die---these are just the biological, scientific facts of life. We're not made to be immortal. We don't live perfect lives, even though you may think other people do. They don't.

Imagine a perfect life. No stress, no worries, the perfect house, the perfect family, no sicknesses, no deaths of loved ones or pets. No conflicts, fighting, loss of employment or divorce. Imagine there's no such thing as being less fortunate, or even being hit with poverty. Nothing hurt, physically or emotionally. We all slept eight hours every single night, waking up with energy and enthusiasm. Imagine having absolutely zero challenges in your life. Picture yourself being free from anxiety and depression, or whatever your doctor has diagnosed you with regarding your mental health. There are no phobias or fear of conquering something amazing!

Feels nice, right?

But let me ask you this: how would anyone be an example or an inspiration to others if they didn't go through hard times? How would we adapt to a world if it became imperfect? We wouldn't be prepared for it--to help ourselves, as well as to help other people.

Here's my take on the world. You can disagree if you'd like--but I firmly believe this to be actually factual to some degree.

If you've never experienced hard times financially, like being less fortunate or even having gone through poverty at one time or another, you could never be 100% grateful for what you have right now. In fact, some people have such a love for money, that they're never satisfied with what they have. They need more and more and more to maintain their level of happiness. And that kind of happiness is a temporary fulfillment---the novelty soon wears off, until the other new purchases or wave of wealth arrives.

On the flip side, if you have experienced financial difficulty, or have gone through poverty in some way or another, you're likely to be pleased with the little things in life and be grateful for the big things that arrived. Your happiness does not rely on how much you make or what kind of car you drive---it thrives on how peaceful you are, time with your family, time with friends, time doing the things you love that doesn't cost a thing. Your gratitude is sky high. You'll begin to notice, those who do have money who don't know what it's like to be less than fortunate complain more than the average person. Nothing goes right in their life, nothing makes them happy anymore, and of course, it's everyone else's fault.

If you've never experienced great physical pain in your life, you won't fully appreciate your mobility and health most likely. Having gone through horrible back pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia flare ups and dysmenorrhea--which led to my hysterectomy, you won't appreciate just walking outside without pain, or realizing that you're able to climb stairs without crashing onto the bed in agony. You won't appreciate that you didn't need to take a zillion ibuprofens and percocets that leave you 'backed up' for weeks.

My point is, there has to be a balance in our lives that give us that ebb and flow, in order to use our experience to be of help to other people.

In eastern cultures, they believe in Yin Yang.

When people see things as beautiful, ugliness is created.
When people see things as good, evil is created.
Being and non-being produce each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low oppose each other.
Fore and aft follow each other. --Tao Ti Ching

In the Bible, it's clear that we definitely need balance.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. ---Ecclesiastes 3

Take for instance, my personal story. Ten years ago, my parents begged us to move into their large home so we could take care of my father who was dying from cancer. This was a huge traumatic event for me and my family. After Dad passed away, we were worried about the painful grief my mother was about to experience. But soon after his death, my mom came down with 'the big C.' I cried, prayed, begged and even broke down where I could no longer function at times. But I did my best to care for Mom the best I knew how. There were quite a few family conflicts of who did what and who wasn't doing enough---many families go through that, but we made it through that rough patch. The worst fear of my life was coming true when she was told she only had a few months to live. I didn't want to believe it. In fact, she kept that a secret from me for a long time, until I saw her one day lifeless. She was on morphine, Fentanyl and Percocet. I thought I had lost her, but didn't. However it made me realize the extent of her pain. The day I said goodbye to my mother was the day that crushed my spirit. It felt like my soul was ripped right out of my body.

I broke down.
I shut down.
I. just. stopped. living.

I didn't want to see anyone or do anything. Even though I worked from home, it wasn't much work. I couldn't even think, no less do my job right. I was in complete isolation for a couple of years. I pushed away a lot of people, regretfully. I couldn't handle entertaining, as I always loved to do. I was now in a large house all alone, up on a mountain a mile high without a soul in sight, until my partner came home late at night from work. So I started praying and spending most of my time with God. I prayed without ceasing. At times, the silence was deafening. A friend suggested to turn on worship music in each room, this way it could change the atmosphere. And it did. I began to do more things as I clung to God with everything I had. He started giving me this sort of peace that He explains in the Bible. It's the peace that transcends all understanding. I understood what it's like to be completely alone, isolated and depressed. Countless tears could've flooded the valley below us. Physically, I had put on a lot of weight and my hair was literally falling out from stress. I went to see my doctor and although it'll grow back, she put me on an exercise regimen to maintain a healthier weight. She said with exercise and the balance of a good diet, my stress levels will go down and the hair will grow back in within three months. Stress can really do a number on you. At night, I used to suffer with seizures due to stress. I never slept. I'd go five days without sleep before I finally crashed. I began to develop tachycardia, where my heart rate would sky rocket up to 150 bpm. It was all stress, confirmed by my cardiologist.

But my point is, I now help other people dealing with caregiving for their elderly parents, and I'm also apart of a mental health support group, sharing my story and helping others grasp some sort of peace in this world. I was trying my best to be a blessing to other people. I relied on God to guide me through it all.

As I was in my childhood home wondering about when the house would foreclose, I started to see people taking photos of the home right outside of my property. I saw real estate agents put signs outside of our yard. I started looking at apartments in the area, to which were all too expensive for us. I prayed and prayed, that whatever happens to me, even if I become homeless, that God would remove every spirit of fear and give me His mighty inner strength to handle anything in life. The key was, I completely trusted Him.

Then my prayers were answered.

Somehow, my partner and I shuffled enough money to actually buy something in the south somewhere. I didn't even know I had a 401K that has been accumulating for the past 20 years! The taxes here in New York were way too high. Everything is extraordinarily pricey here. One morning, I got a call from my sister who's a realtor. She found something within our price range---something Mom always wanted me to buy--a townhouse! No lawns to maintain--no snow to plow! It was a beautiful 3 story townhouse, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 2 car garage in New York! How can that be? The owners were selling their beautiful home and had to leave ASAP. The price was $40,000 under the average asking price of a neighboring townhome in that neighborhood. I started getting leery---"What's wrong with it?" Absolutely nothing. We put a bid in....and they accepted our offer right away. We're close to everything: grocery stores, pharmacies, malls, restaurants and the main route to trek off to the city if we want to. What I love about it is that we have friends who already live there and it's in a park-like setting which is beautiful. I can safely walk my dog around the park without having to look over my shoulder in case coyotes or bears are around, as I did with my childhood home.

Now, instead of fearing being homeless or in a tiny studio apartment to be near my family, God provided much more than I even asked for. But it didn't stop there. We still had to pay lawyer fees for Mom's estate and the house---to which wasn't cheap at all. So as I was shuffling a bunch of stuff around in my purse, looking for my phone charger, I grabbed onto something that felt like paper. I took it out and it was a $50 bill. Then I looked inside, and there were more $50 dollar bills, and more, and then even more! Turned out that somehow, $750 was sitting at the bottom of my purse. I asked every single person who I came in contact with. Nobody claimed it. I didn't rob a bank, I didn't take money out of an ATM or even hold cash for that matter. Where did this money come from? I believe God throws us miracles once in a while, whether through a generous person, or through no real understanding of our own.

He gives beauty for ashes, "...to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."--Isaiah 61

It also states: "Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs."

Through prayer and by trusting God, I now sleep at night. If I'm awake at night, it's because I choose to be awake. I've been drinking less and in moderation. I gave it up for seven months for reasons of gaining self-control. Now, I have a couple of glasses of wine here and there---and it's all good. My level of peace has increased so much since I gave my life to Christ completely---by spending more and more time with Him, even if it means praying to Him in my mind when I can't get a moment to myself.

Trials and tribulations are good for us.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us to learn and endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” ~Romans 5:35

My level of faith has increased so much, that it is now a matter of 'I know that I know that I know' He is real---or more so, listening and being there in the midst of our lives. I've always believed, but wondered if He was around me, listening to me, or maybe just "busy." No, he was right here in my heart as I asked Him to be.

My life is still far from perfect, but I can definitely say that my level of happiness has increased so much due to God's blessings. Moving out of my childhood home has given me mixed emotions too. It's almost like my parents dying all over again. This is the house they started our family in. Every section of this house, every brick, every stone, every single room has a special memory. I pray that whoever does buy this home is blessed with love, health and laughter. I just have to let go and trust God right now.
I also learned, that when God blesses you in life, there's always something you have to let go of. There's always something you have to leave behind. And remember, whatever we have here on earth is only temporary fulfillments, until we are back home--our real home--with God.

If you're an unbeliever reading this right now, I dare you to start praying for God to work in your life. Ask Him to live in your heart, and remember, His timing is always perfect. It took ten years of agonizing traumatic events to finally 'be right here.'  I'm happy to know that there is no way anyone could possibly disprove God for me.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

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