I received my cross from Elizabeth at the Blessed Trinity Catholic High School craft show in Roswell, Georgia on Saturday, November 14th; I was helping my daughter promote her new book, Santa Believes, and her web sitewww.santabelievesbook.com. As I often take the time to do, I was meandering through the exhibition hall seeking the Spirit’s guidance and direction as to whom I was to share my ministry. I stopped at the Answered Prayers booth where I asked about the crosses and the Answered Prayers Project’s ministry.
As I talked with Elizabeth and listened to her story, I also shared a period in my early life when I felt: the pain of loneliness, deep depression, guilt and sorrow from an accident I caused, undesirable because of a perceived physical ugliness, feelings of inferiority, and unloved by anyone. At the age of seven I had cause the loss of my younger brother’s right eye. I was never punished and the accident was never discussed. It was as though it had never happened. My guilt was so burdensome that I chose to punish myself by withdrawing from life and mentally punishing myself.
In the years between seven and twelve I slipped in and out of periods of depression, loneliness and thoughts of ending my life. I was helped along by incidences such as these: being beat up by an older kid while my mother stood with the crowd and watched—I probably started the fight; called fat@#* by my seventh grade teacher and earned low grades for the first time; made to feel ugly by my female classmates and asked by a young girl in front of everyone not to participate in a game of “spin the bottle” at a neighbor’s birthday party because I was too ugly (her words); I could list more but I’ll stop before I get carried away by “discouraging” thoughts. By the way, I have never held resentment, ill will or had an unforgiving attitude toward anyone. I always felt deserving of whatever words were said to me or to others about me. Also, I have never been involved with alcohol or drugs.
At the age of twelve I could no longer bear the pain, and I tried to commit suicide. One evening after my mother and brother had gone to bed, I locked myself in the kitchen / family room of our small home; I then turned on the gas stove and reclined in my father’s chair and waited for the peace that I longed for. As I lay there and began to feel the sleepiness coming over me I was suddenly awaken by a voice in my mind that said, “Billy, get up!” It was so real and so commanding that I immediately rose from the recliner and turned off the gas. I put everything back in its place and went to bed. I had heard the voice before—once was a command I immediately obeyed that saved my life and once was a command that I ignored that cost my brother’s eye sight in his right eye.
When my father came home from work, he worked the evening shift at a local plant, he immediately ran throughout the house and basement looking for a gas leak. He found none and soon went to bed. The next day nothing was mentioned about the gas smell and life went on. My parents were moral people, but not church going people. They never beat my brother or me, harassed, ridiculed, condemned, denied materialistic needs or punished me in any way; however, they were never there for guidance or encouragement; I was one of those “free range” kids who went and did as I pleased. We were a home of “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t discuss.” This was probably typical of the late 1940’s and 1950’s when I was in my school years, but I only rationalized this thought within a wall that I have built around myself to contain my loneliness and hurts.
Peace came over me that night and I resumed my life and no longer felt suicidal although my emotional state—feelings of inferiority—was not totally healed. I ponder at times if my “thorn in the flesh,” so to speak, is there to remind me of the Grace of God’s love: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” 2nd Corinthians 12:7. I never fully became outgoing or engaged in social life until later in life. I entered the Army at the age of seventeen right out of high school. I had no plan and no vision of what I would do in life.
At the age of nineteen God set me on a new course in life. At a moment in time when I was crying out for help (I was sitting on my Army bunk bed reading my Bible with tears in my eyes asking God to relieve my loneliness and hurts), the Spirit of God was there. It was then that I realized I was already in His arms as He opened my eyes to His loving kindness.
God was always, is today and will be tomorrow sheltering me from the worries of life. It has taken several “wilderness journeys” to prepare me for the goodness that was set before me, and the mission He had prepared for me in these latter days. I am now in my seventy-third year, and I am blessed to be able to serve Jesus by telling how I became an overcomer from darkness. In my small and insignificant (one of my “pondering thorns” is trying to take control) I am trying to help encourage those who have lost their way in life or perhaps never found their way. I do so with my ministry called, The Indwelling Global Internet Ministry, (www.theindwelling.org).
I live to tell my story to small groups or individuals who are seeking peace—“the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, that will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 3:7, paraphrased by author. I encourage all to give themselves to Jesus Christ and make Him their Lord and Savior. You can reach me through my internet site, above. Thank you for your prayerful support, and may God bless your life as He has blessed mine.