Friday, August 21, 2009

The Secret to my happiness

When I was young, one of my mother’s favorite things to do was to lock herself in her bedroom and threaten to kill herself. She did this when she was depressed and wanted to “get back” at my father for one thing or another. She suffered from depression a lot. I can still hear her saying “I have a gun and I am going to shoot myself.” (My father kept a loaded handgun in his bedroom because he was a special policeman and we knew it) She would continue despite our crying and pleading until one of us called my father at work and got him to come home. A fight always followed.

Many times I found myself praying to God to take me away from that place and relieve my pain but He never did. So eventually I gave up on praying and I gave up on God. I reasoned; why pray if He never answers and if He doesn’t answer my prayers then He must not exist. I have always had an analytical mind so that made since.

When I was 18, I joined the Navy to “See the world” but I really just wanted to get away. So I left home in search of Happiness. I knew that there must be happy people out there somewhere in this big old world. I was determined to find them and I did. Over the next 30+ years I met some really happy people but I found a lot of unhappy people as well.

Some of those people on both sides had good reasons to be happy or unhappy. On the happy side were people who won the lottery, just got married, had great jobs, or simply had inner peace. On the unhappy side were people who’s misfortune had brought them down and for some reason they remained at that level. Many of these people had catastrophic events happen in their lives and they never recovered from them.

No my childhood wasn’t all bad but some of the events that happened were catastrophic especially for a small child. I could have remained in my dark corner like so many children do but I chose to climb out and rejoin the living. And over the years I realized that God was with me, he kept me safe and made me what I am today. Things could have been so much worse and I could have ended up a depressed or drug dependent like two of my siblings did.

So today when I walk around with a smile on my face, it’s because I know that even though my life isn’t always perfect, things could always be worse. I am happy because I want to be even though I could probably find reasons not to be. And I even though I am not perfect, God still loves me and always has. And that’s enough to keep a smile on my face. Now you know the rest of the story.

Have a Blessed day,


Terri Tiffany said...

I thank you for sharing this. I always want to know more about my friends and why they are the way they are. It explains more about you, like why you worried about your writing etc.
I'm sorry your mom was that way, depression is an illness and hard to overcome without help. But your attitude is what makes the difference! Praise God that you found your way back!

momstheword said...

That would be very terrifying to small children, and I imagine your mom was miserable too. I don't think they knew as much about depression when we were little. I don't remember ever hearing much about it anyway.

It seems like no matter what difficulty we are in, there is always someone who is in a worse situation than we are.

That's where our choice comes in. We can choose to believe His words to be true, and claim His promises and take our thoughts captive for Christ (II Cor. 10:15) and base our happiness on that.

Of course, depression and stuff very often needs a medication to help because that is a physical condition that often needs a physical treatment.

My family doesn't blog or twitter either. Whenever our children got old enough to have a facebook, my hubby told them that they had to have a couple of grownups (like the youth pastor, a family friend, and hubby himself) as their "friend." So that's why hubby got a facebook, and I got one after him.

I only use twitter for my blog and I often will do two or three tweets in one day and then I'll go days without tweeting at all, lol!

My ADHD Me said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. There was such an inner peace that it actually made me feel good.

As you and I have said on quite a few occasions, I am quite sure our mothers MUST have been from the same gene pool. (maybe they were each one of Sybil's alter personalities). I will say that your prayers were nicer than mine. After all the failed prayers of "Please make her better", my prayers changed to, "God, she is miserable. She makes everyone else miserable, she can be dangerous, perhaps...perhaps, since she says she wants to die so often, that maybe..." well, you know.

I especially felt this way after I moved out (at 17 years old, for probably the same type of reasons that you did) and my little sister, ET would call me scared and afraid and I would go and pick her up. I actually told my mother once, when I was about 18 years old, to go ahead and kill yourself. Just let me know ahead of time so I could get ET out of the house. I told her I would come back afterwards and take care of calling 911 etc. I will say that she never did tell me she was going to kill herself after that. (She still told everyone else though). Out of 4 kids, I was the first to walk away.

SO, I am glad you have happiness. I am very capable of it myself, just sometimes I forget.

Have a great day!

skoots1mom said...

you indeed had to grow up too soon...depression still isn't understood to its full degree;however, i am thankful so many strides have been made to better understand and deal with it.
God continued to woo you back to himself...and I'm thankful you have that relationship, knowing He will never leave or forsake you!
You are a SPECIAL are the only you God ever and will ever're written on his palms :)

2Thinks said...

I'm thanking God today that you met him and now are anchored to the Rock where joy is deep and holds even when the happy feeling wains. Praise God for this testimony, Greg- thanks for sharing it.

In the book I am reading right now, Look Me in the Eye, the kid grows up in the very home you describe- mother suffers from depression, threatens suicide- dad has troubles. It is an autobiography about a boy who has aspergers, a mild form of autism. He grows up to be a successful businessman, but I don't know that he meets Jesus along the way- haven't read to the end, yet. But I know that is the only ending that really matters- that really makes a lasting difference in a life.

Thanks for the comments today. I actually just drove to Target and was thinking that writing for the Examiner must keep people pretty busy. I've been wanting to apply to write for the Examiner- just not sure what to examine.

B His Girl said...

Wow, it sounds like there was a lot of stress in your house growing up. I'm glad you surfaced with a greater view. I think God is letting you 'see the world' through His eyes. B

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Wow, Greg. It's an absolute miracle that you did turn out the way you did. Looks like God answered your prayers after all, huh? :-)

Scarlet said...

What a tough read, a very sad story about your past, but thank you for sharing it. I was angry at God for a while there as well, but I realized he has a reason for everything and his timing is not our timing. Your experiences shaped you into who you are today, and with God's help and strengthening power, you've overcome your past (and your doubts) and become a man of God.

That's an awesome testimony and this was a fantastic post!

sara said...

interesting that you would post this son's best friend's family is, well let's just say dysfunctional. He endures a lot of emotional abuse and comes to our house for retreat. I love this boy like he was one of my own and it hurts to watch him have to deal with the things he does and not be able to do anything about it. However, I can pray for him and keep my doors always open and hope that Christ will protect him like He did in your life!

Thanks for sharing.

Kelly Combs said...

Greg - this was an amazing store and I'm so glad you shared it. I too believe that we have to choose to be happy, and that the joy of the Lord is our strength. That MAKES the difference.

You know what else? You asked God to take you away and to relieve you pain. Based on this post, I'd say you are away from that place, and your pain is relieved. So your prayers have been answered. Just not in the timeframe you wanted.

I wish God would have removed you & me & all the hurting children from these types of homes. We don't know why he allows it, but he does. We just have to keep believing. I am. I know you are too.

Patrice said...

You are an amazing person it shows. Depression is tough, no doubt about it, but growing up having to witness a parent going through it had to be the toughest of all! Thanks for sharing, and thank you for your great and happy outlook on life!!

Heart2Heart said...


I would agree with you whole heartily that the reason so many people fall away from God is during those times when they honestly believed God didn't care about them, come when He was called, or even to protect the innocent lives from the harm people do to them.

The amazing gift that has come from all of this is you can look back and see just where God was in all of it. You have been given wisdom and insight and thus happiness followed suit.

I am so thankful I came across your blog. You share your personal stories so transparently and thus all of us can learn just a little bit more about what makes you, YOU!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Carmen said...

Thanks for sharing this, Greg. It's hard to understand why things happen the way they do. Especially when children are involved. People think that life should be easy, but it never is, and you're right, it's what you make of it. I didn't have a great childhood at times either, but it could have been so much worse. I'm glad you've taken the road you have. Not only does it make life worth living, it's also blessed so many of us that get to hear about all your adventures. Thanks for sharing!

Darla said...

thanks for sharing this story. it's amazing the kinds of things that people overcome in life, and it's really good to see that you have been one of those overcomers.

Gotta Have Faith said...

Wow alot of comments today! Cool!

I am right there with you Greg, we as society view our lives on things that have scarred us and left us wanting more. Instead of living life realizing that only God is in control. We nee to live through our good experiences and learn to just hit the delete button on the bad. I thkn men are more proned to think this way. My wife and I still have arduments and even fights from time to time. But, you have to look at the positive thing in life.

We live in a free country, without any governmetal rules over what we can and cannot do. Owning a home, drawing a salary and even driving a car means that we are the 5% of the worlds richest people. Others do not have anything, so this is why we have to be thankful for what we have.

Great Post today!


Edie said...

It sounds to me like God used your circumstances of being around someone who was always depressed, to cause you to choose to be happy.

My belief in God began from logic too but opposite from yours. I didn't know if He existed so I asked Him. I figured if He did exist then He was certainly capable of telling me, and He did.

Hey I plan on getting that little package out tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled. Sorry for the delay, I was raising funds for that little red car. LOL.

ChrisJ said...

That's a great post, Greg. Depression is a very difficult illness to deal with. Thankfully there are now some really effective ways to deal with it today. I know, I've been there. I also know the Lord has His hand on our lives, (those who want Him to), and His answers don't always come when we think they should. But in His good time...

The Dental Maven said...

Life is all about making choices.

Anonymous said...

God uses the hard times to bring us closer to Him. My mother has been the biggest growing pain for me. I turned away from God, too; and now that I'm back, I have a closer relationship with Him. I have a lot to smile about, and when things go sour...I KNOW He is guiding me through the pain to the rainbow at the end. Life is full of ups and downs, and we have free will to blossom or to rot. And you have blossomed beutifully!!! I'm so glad you're in my life :)

Texas Playwright Chick said...

Wow...just wow! You are right, no matter how bad things seem, they CAN always be worse. Thanks so much for sharing such a private memory from your childhood.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Oh, Greg, what a story. I'm sorry you went through that as a child. It is beyond me how a mother could do that to kids. anyway, the point is in the rest of your post, and I'm so glad you didn't reject God when he spoke to you later in life. You did not harden your heart, and I am glad.

Boy, I've missed reading here.

Peggy said...


It must have been very difficult n you and your siblings, watching your mother be so out of control.
My son suffers from anxiety and depression. There were many many days of trying to find him help. Many many days and nights of watching him struggle. Today he is doing well and on medication that actually works for him.
I'm so happy that you can smile now and have found peace.

Debbie said...

Wow Greg. That is a very honest and stirring post. Good for you for coming out of that with such a positive and healthy attitude.

Deb said...

Growing up in an abusive home and suffering many different kinds of abuse, I, too, prayed and asked God to rescue me from that place. He never did. I never turned my back on God, I just figured if He didn't have time for me, I didn't have time for Him. Today, I realize that He did watch over and protect me, brought me to a place that I could forgive my abusers and allow Him to deal with them. Now I am able to mentor those who are suffering through the same things I did and show them that yes, God is there and He is protecting and loving them.
Awesome post Greg!!

Anonymous said...