There was a time when I was a miserable, depressed person.
I wandered aimlessly through life, wondering what the point was. I remember thinking all the time, “Is this all there is?” I searched for happiness in all the wrong places….materialism, food, destructive relationships. I even started reading all about the occult, because wicca, astrology and crystals promised me control over my life. I could get whatever I wanted for myself! Yet somehow, getting what I wanted never made me happy.
After I had my first child I was mired in depression, exhausted, confused and isolated. In an effort to cheer me up, a Christian friend invited me over to her house. While I was there, I saw a student Bible, laying open next to her chair. My first thought was, “I can’t believe she reads the bible for enjoyment!” I had tried to read a KJV Bible before, but I found the language too difficult to understand, and I quickly gave up. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a student Bible.
I now understand that the Holy Spirit was at work in my heart, because I went home that afternoon and ordered a Life Application Study Bible from Amazon. I chose the New Living Translation, because it was supposed to be the easiest translation for Bible beginners to understand. I began at the beginning, with Genesis, and read all of the study notes as I went. I soon began to understand who Jesus was, what He did for me, and what that meant for my life. I was raised in the Catholic church, and I knew about Jesus, but I never really knew Him. I never understood that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for little old me, with all my sins and mistakes and imperfections. What a revelation that was! What I really needed, more than money, or stuff, or quick fixes to all my problems, was a relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
When I came to this realization, I got down on my hands and knees next to my bed, and I prayed, for the first time in a very long time. I told Jesus that I’d had enough. I was turning my life over to Him, because clearly I couldn’t handle it myself. I opened my soul to the Holy Spirit, and gave up control of everything to Jesus. Did everything change and become perfect overnight? Certainly not. But I felt, for the first time in my entire life, at peace. I realized that I was so important to God, that he gave his Son for me. I had never felt important before.
I continued to read the Bible, and I bought a Bible for my husband also. 2 years later, he gave his life to Jesus. Over the last 5 years, we’ve made major changes in our life so that we can live in a way that is pleasing to God. When we first started dating, my husband owned his own business, as well as 4 rental houses and 3 apartment buildings. He had storage garages filled to bursting with stuff…cars, collectibles, a motorcycle, a boat, a snowmobile. He was $500,000 in debt, and completely miserable. After our oldest daughter was born, we realized that storing, cleaning, insuring, managing, and working to pay for all that stuff was robbing us of time we could be spending together. So we started paring down.
We sat down and made a plan. Our goal was to have a comfortable home on a small piece of land, in a good school district for our children, with absolutely zero debt of any kind. At this time eBay was still in its infancy, but I’d heard about it so I decided to teach myself how to use it. We started selling just the small stuff and worked our way up to the real estate. All the money we earned went to pay off debt. It took a long time and a lot of hard work, but it was definitely worth it. In November, 2004, we purchased our acreage, which we believe to be God’s perfect provision for us. On July 4th, 2007, we realized our goal of 100% debt freedom. It was truly Independence Day for us!
We now devote all of our time to God and our family. We have found peace and contentment in our simple life and our faith. We are no longer running to achieve success as society defines it. We are free.
You can be free too. Jesus – the truth – is the place to start, and there’s no time like the present, I always say.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6[print-me/]