The decision to move from New Mexico to California created an environment that would cause a lot of pain and suffering but my parents needed to move so that my dad could begin his new job as a public school teacher.
They settled their small family in Redwood City where a suitable duplex would house them and their 3 very small children. The number of kids grew to 6 as the years went on.
I do not believe that my dad thought he would be isolating his family with this move, but that is essentially what happened.
My mom was from Mexico and her family couldn’t easily see us.
My dad’s family had a compound in Albuquerque where almost all of his family lived.
They rarely left it so nearly all of our communication with them would be through phone calls.
They rarely visited and we never traveled out of state.
So, we were disconnected and without the type of help that would have prevented the subsequent abuse that occurred.
My mom was a heavy drinker and she physically assaulted us usually when my dad would go to work. He would come home only to leave again for hours. By the time he returned she had finished brutalizing us and put us to bed.
On the weekends, he would be gone all day and this infuriated her, making her especially abusive. As we got older, we all manifested some very concerning behavior.
My older brother turned into an abuser as well and eventually molested me. None of us ever told anyone what was happening because she had made us so afraid.
One of the few social connections we did have was in the Catholic church we were members of. Being a faithful Catholic required that we (the kids) attend weekly Mass and in order to ensure that we were thoroughly indoctrinated, we were enrolled in the church’s private parochial school.
(This is kind of ironic since my dad taught in public school.)
All of this only created deep hopelessness in me because if God existed, why did the church fail to intervene even though they were aware of what the situation was?
They knew even if we never said a word.
Fast forward the story to my early twenties and I have zero faith in God or Jesus.
In my worst moments, I never really prayed or believed. I was the least likely person to respond to an invitation to church.
Yet, I did. Why?
It could have been the innate fear of God that still resided in me. I used to say I was a Catholic atheist. I didn’t believe in God but I was still afraid of Him.
But is that really why?
I believe that the reason I am a Christian today is not so much that I have hope in God as much as He has hope in me.
“The Lord looks down from Heaven on the sons of men to see if there are
any who understand, any who seek God.” Psalm 14:1
This very important truth needs to be emphasized.
He saw me and He had hope that if He reached out for me, I would respond.
I looked up and He took it from there.
Think about this concept.
We, a notoriously undependable, vacillating, untrustworthy people have a Creator that has bet his Love on us; a risky venture.
His return has been minimal at best and yet He continues to believe in us. As a believer, we have surrendered to Him- mostly. I say that because our human side will inevitably interfere with faith in impossible moments. But what we struggle to do; put our faith wholly in God, He does unwaveringly, hoping in us. How do I know?
“Anyone among the living has hope. Even a live dog is better off than a dead lion.” Ecclesiastes 9:4
As long as we are alive, we have hope. His Hope!!! We might be at the bottom
but He is the One who continues to believe.
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”
As long as you and I have a pulse, He remains faithful and He waits for humanity to realize this.
“...who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
1 Timothy 2:4
So, today, even if you toggle between hope and doubt, God does not. He waits
and never abandons hope. His Love does not allow him to and His Patience is proof.
“...but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9