12:17 PM

>It's amazing how far I have come.

Six months ago I was bottom of the barrel - buried deep in a depression that weighed me down so much that it was hard for me to get out of bed in the morning. 

Now I wake up each day thanking God for another new chance at learning, growing, and appreciating the beauty in all of His creation. I spend as much time as possible praying to Him - almost every thought that goes through my head gets directed towards Him, and I thank Him for everything I possibly can. And when the time comes that I start to stumble, I pray to Him even more for guidance, and that guidance comes. Always. I just have make sure that I listen. 

My fears are gone. All of them. Even the ones that were deeply indoctrinated in me as a child by the religion/cult I was raised in that I could not simply reason away. I'm not even afraid of death. I know that God is on my side. Period. 

That's not to say I don't doubt myself sometimes... it's hard not to when one has been raised in a legalistic culture where faith and redemption are determined by works. But when I pray to God about my fears/doubts, I always get the same answer. "Follow your heart. Don't be afraid. I am here with you." My heart is with Him and as long as that is so... there really is nothing to worry about or be afraid of. Even if I fail to listen to His voice and fall again, He will be there to pick me back up. I realize now that my worries and doubts in the past led me away from hearing His voice but even then He was still with me... my heart still belonged to Him... so those worries and doubts were unfounded. 

There was a question in my workbook for Worldviews that asked the question of when I realized God as a Father. My answer was that it happened when I was about four or five years old. That realization explains so much as to why despite ferocious indoctrination by my religion I was never fully entrapped by their line of thought and left at the age of 15 when most who are "born in" don't leave until their 30's. Inside I knew that my Father was not with them, even though I feared that they were right. My mom told me the other day that she admired my bravery, that I always fought for what I believed was right. I replied that I didn't really think it was bravery so much as just getting fed up. But I've realized since then she's right - where many have given up I have never stopped, no matter how deep in the darkness I have been. I have always searched for the Way and held on tight when ever I saw a glimmer of Light no matter what the circumstances. Even when I believed I had given up all hope... I was still searching, and God brought that hope to me.

And now I have been bathed by so much Light that I know there is no way (if I can help it) I'm going to go back to the darkness that I came from. It feels too good to be standing where I am today for me to ever possibly want to return to the misery that was. 

Thank you, dear Lord, for showing me the Way. I will eternally be grateful to you.

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