Friday, February 4, 2011

A Light in the Darkness: A Personal Story

In my last post,, I shared about 'doors of happiness' and how often these doors will close, but there will always be another one that opens afterward. Following is a story from my own life:

When I was about 3 or 4 years old, my mom remarried to my stepfather, John. At first John was real nice to us. Of course, being so young, my memories of that time are limited, but I do remember going to the fair with John even before he married my mom. I remember that as a fun day. John was great!

But it was only a year or two after the marriage that I remember the feeling of fun beginning to fade and be replaced by fear. I do still have some memories of fun from my time with my stepfather; learning to play rummy, watching price is right, and even jokes and occasional laughing. But mostly I remember being afraid of him. At first he kept a wooden paddle on top of the cabinet for every time that we did something wrong, later it was a rubber mallet. Most of my memories with him consist of us being grounded, with padlocks on the doors, so we couldn't get out when he was away. Sometimes we were only fed a raw potato a day as food, then if we were lucky we would get a bowl of bean soup.

Obviously this was a time in which many doors of happiness were closed. At a time in which other kids were outside playing, having fun, care free, I was locked in my room with my brothers. At one point John caught my brothers sneaking out, so as a response he put black tarp over the windows and around the door to make sure it would be obvious if we left. He then took all lights out of the room. I remember sitting in the room, not able to see the hand in front of my face, not knowing whether it was night or day, and it was in this time that I experienced the other door beginning to open.

The thing that I remember most about that time is that, my brothers were quiet, I began to talk to God. I remember God being with me at that moment. Many people look at stories like mine and ask, "Why does God allow people like John to do these kind of things?" I could write you many things about what I think the answer is to that question, but I won't. What I will tell you is this; I know that God was with me through it all! And God Himself was the door that opened in response to the other doors closing. He was light in the midst of the greatest darkness I have experienced. It was through this time that I was able to recognize the importance of my relationship with God, and it was through that relationship that I learned to not be bitter at John. I was able to move on to the successes that I find in my life today.

John passed away when I was 9 and a year and a half later the worst day of my life came, when my brother and I found our mom had passed away in her sleep. But the relationship with God that was established in that dark room at such a young age continued to lead me to open doors, no matter how many had closed along the way.


  1. Thanks for your openness in sharing, Matthew, in your willingness to let us share in your life!
    Once again I am reminded of God's goodness and the truth that the relationship with Him is the greatest thing that has ever and will ever happen to me."Oh, the wonder...!" And it reminds me of one of my favorite sermons and some parts of it that I've written down here: "How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord! ... Because the glory of God is the nature of God: That God is good. He is good. He is unfailingly good. And he never changes, he'll always be good. Yesterday he was good, today he's good and tomorrow he will be good. And it is your destiny to have the goodness of God pass before you. He'll never change. You always know where you are with Him. You cannot find security in what God is doing. There is only security in Who God Is. This great God that we serve will throw us into situations beyond us, with no other thought than that His great heart will sustain us. And the answer of God to everything, every excuse you want to make why you cannot do something, the answer is always the same. When you look into His face and you see the twinkle in His eye and the grin on His face and he looks at you and he says, 'Nevertheless, I will be with you!' That's all, that's his only answer to human weakness. 'It's okay. I'll be there!' He is the great God who sends us out as lambs among wolves. Why? Because the lion is padding by our side!"
    Sorry, that turned out to be a bit long, but it touched my heart again as I listened to it to write it out. Thanks, Matthew, and may God continue to lead you into His goodness!!

  2. I remember hearing parts of this story from Terence. I've never heard it from your perspective though. Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing. I know that can be tough at times, yet it allows for other people to see what God has brought you through and what He has done in you. :) And He has certainly done a great work in your life.

    Love you cousin!

  3. Thank you both for your encouragement! Thanks for the sermon Chris. It's not too long :). And Becca, it is also amazing to see what God is doing in your life! You are an amazing artist and I am thrilled to hear that you have a dream of using it for the ministry! Love you too.