Dear 13-Year-Old Self,
I am 36 years old.
I am married.
I have children.
I am happy.
All of these things are possible because I have a relationship with God the Father. I have been redeemed, forgiven and have come to rely on my heavenly Father’s love and guidance.
I am telling you this to give you hope. You are on the eve of one of the worst days of your life, and decisions and choices you are about to make are going to take you down a dark, and lonely path. With the benefit of age, experience, and Godly wisdom a lot of hardship can be avoided.
Tomorrow at about 3am your Dad is going to die. It won’t be a surprise to you. You have been watching him die for two years and the last weeks have been particularly awful. You’re going to be sad that he is gone but relieved that it is finally over. That last part is going to make you feel awful.
You will see that Mom is a sad and your brothers are a mess. As you struggle to sort through your grief you will choose to simply not talk to anyone about it. You will believe talking about it is like going through it again and you don’t want that.
In the coming days and weeks you will start to wonder to yourself: Why did Dad have to die? Why did it have to be so painful?
You’re going to blame God for this. This is where things start to go wrong for you.
In your anger and sorrow you will discover what depression is. You will feel lonely and sad beyond anything you can imagine. As you get older and realize the things that happened to you when you were younger were wrong, you will feel ashamed and the depression will become worse.
On your worst days you won’t want to be here anymore. You will use drugs, alcohol and anything else you can to get past these feelings. None of it will work and when you realize that, a hopeless feeling will come over you.
Before Dad got sick you were asking him about God. He had started to read the bible to you and was spending a lot of time on passages about “the Father”. You believed he was reading these specific parts to you because he was your Dad and he wanted you to know what that meant.
Dad knew he was sick before you did. He knew he would be gone soon and wanted you to know who God the Father was. I think he knew this was going to be hard for us. I also think he wanted to use what little time he had left to try and put good foundations for the future in place for us.
Don’t try and go through this alone. God the Father is waiting for you. He wants good things for you and will help you through these hard times. Even when we refuse to ask for help or speak against God he will not leave us. Good people who care about you and want the best for you will be strategically dropped into your life to help keep you on track. These people will be easy to recognize. They will be the ones that love you enough to tell you about God and try to help you set boundaries. They are there to help. Your first instincts will be to not trust them and keep them on the outside.
My advice to you is simple. Grieve; it is all right to be sad. When you start to ask why all of this had to happen, you will remember the verses about God the Father. They are on your heart for a reason; Dad’s last gift to you was introducing to you the Father that will never leave you.
You going to be all right,
Editor's Note: Matt wrote this as he was preparing to be interviewed by P. Del on Sunday, June 21, 2015. To hear P. Del's full interview with Matt, please click here.