By Jessica B.
My parents divorced when I was four years old and would both remarry and divorce again in later years. Because of the divorces and the abuse that came with those experiences I found myself, at the age of 13, doing things I shouldn’t have been doing and feeling alone and misunderstood. I guess I could say I felt like I was in a dark, cold room that I couldn’t get out of.
I grew up having been taught about God, prayer and forgiveness. At times I felt the hope that those teachings brought. One night, as I sat on my bed thinking about my life, I decided I wanted that hope more abundantly in my life. I wanted to get out of the dark place I was in.
I knew I needed to pray to God.
Unsure if He knew me, loved me, or even cared to hear from me I knelt down by my bed and said a prayer that went something like this, “Dear Heavenly Father, you probably don’t want to hear from me right now and I don’t know if you even love me, but I need your help. I have been doing some really bad things. Will you help me change? Will you forgive me? I will stop doing the bad things I am doing.” I finished the prayer feeling a warmth and a peace I hadn’t felt in a long time. I knew He had heard me and cared about me.
In the days after, God didn’t take my problems away. My parents still fought. Things in my life were crazy and circumstances were the same, but I held on to the fact that God was my loving Heavenly Father and that he would continue to care for and hear me.
I started praying to Him more often and reading at least one verse in the scriptures every day. As I did these things I was able to have the strength to stop doing the bad things I was doing and felt his love and guidance more abundantly.
Through the verses I read and the peace I felt as I prayed, I came to realize that my Heavenly Father was different from my earthly father and could be the father that I needed and wanted in my life. I learned that He, like any good father, is a protector and provider. He is kind, patient and merciful. I came to understand that, in spite of His allowing bad things to happen to me, He loved me. I was able to strengthen my relationship with Him, much as a father and child’s relationship grows when they spend time together and talk with each other.
As I look to God as my Father, He continues to help me overcome the discouragements, doubts, and darkness that still exist in my life. He will protect and provide for me. He loves and listens to me; He constantly encourages and teaches me how to return to Him. I know He is the Father of us all, and longs to hear from each of His children.