All of my life, I have carried rhetorical questions around on my shoulders like a yoke:
Why did my parents resent that I was not a boy and repeatedly set me up for shame and rejection when I was young?
Why was I born with bipolar disorder?
Why did my husband not love me?
Why have I not been able to support myself with my God-given talents?
Why was I not appreciated by my co-workers and managers during my 22-year career and forced to retire in disgrace?
I now know why.
Had I not been raised with neglect and abuse, I would not have needed the kind of spiritual healing that has turned me into a ward of Jesus.
Had I not suffered with mental illness, I would not have the patience and understanding I now have for others who suffer in such a way.
Had I not been left to raise two babies on my own, I would not be as strong as I am now or as compassionate toward other single mothers. Had I remained married, I would probably not have sought reconciliation with God. Had I built the dream we shared, I would be selling a business now, not living alone, writing, praying, blessing, and consoling others.
Had I been successful selling my photography, paintings, and writing, I would not be selling my home now, moving to a 60-year-old house trailer, and seeing life on ground level with other people who struggle day in and day out, figuring out ways to buy gas and feed the animals.
Had I been supported and encouraged by others in my career, I probably would be retired in a year and a half from a high level government position, not poor and not focused on doing ‘God work.’
I know what it is like to be abused and neglected…and to abuse and neglect. I know what it is like to look back on my life with guilt and horror. I know what it is like to be lost, confused, and full of anger, doubt, and resentment. I know what it is like to fail. I know what it is like to look to God and imagine Him turning His back…looking remarkably like someone else I knew when I was a child. I know what it is like to want to die by my own hand.
I know what it is like…to live this life before the afterlife.
And that is why.