Note: Today’s blog post is written by a young lady who attends The Branch Church but can often be seen between services. I encourage you to pay attention to the advice of this young lady whose life demonstrates that God ALWAYS loves us.
A SECOND CHANCE
Ashley Noel Slape
Mark 11:24 – Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.
TIME TO PRAY
How often do you pray? For me the answer to that question is easy. My mom has had me going to church since I was born. So, as early as I could start praying, I was. I was going with her until she got too sick. After that point, I had a teacher I loved who encouraged me to go to vacation Bible school at which I had a lot of fun, but it left me with questions.
My dad didn’t go to church. I would have these questions, but he didn’t know how to help me. I will say he gave me free will to believe in whatever my heart desired. I had this friend whose mom would invite me over and we would talk about the Bible. For the first time I was getting some answers. I even went to church with them. My mom and my friend’s mom used to go to church together. My mom would sing at that church with my friend’s dad.
When I was almost 12, my dad passed away. This was one of the first traumas I would continue to endure in my life. Less than a year later, my mom passed away as well. I didn’t understand why God would take away my parents. Even after all that, I still believed.
I ended up living with my cousins who are Christians. I started to go to a private Chcristian school. I learned a lot, made wonderful friends, went to church, youth group, and went home and prayed. My whole life revolved around God and being Christian. I didn’t feel I was a good fit for my cousin’s family, so I went to live with a foster family for a school year.
The new foster family would go to church on Saturday. It would be the longest service I ever went to. I joined the church choir just to make that time not feel as dragged out as it was. This would be the last year I would believe in God. Now at this point, I will write about the things I would have to go through.
THE HONEYMOON PHASE
I left that foster home and lived with what would become my adoptive family. They were not religious in the slightest. Something I learned about living with people I didn’t know is that the first few months to a year is a “honeymoon” phase. After that wears off, this is when problems start to show. I could write about all the bad things that family would do to me, but I will make that long story short.
I lived with my adoptive family from age 13 to 17. My mental health was visibly declining. I was able to get help and went into a psychiatric hospital. This is where I was diagnosed as having mental disorders (which I already knew I had). They started me on medication to help.
The first week I was at the hospital, I met a girl, Katrina, who I would fall in love with. The problem with that was she was an addict. We worked on being able to live together, and soon we would have that. I was living in a large group home for youth my age and graduated high school around this time. This girl I would end up calling my girlfriend and soon after my fiance. We finally went to live together. We were always attached to each other but, of course, the honeymoon phase would end; things got real. We both were declining but continued to love one another unconditionally.
After all we would do, she would relapse worse than the time before. I was there while she overdosed. She died and they got her heart to work again at the hospital. She declined that whole week, but I never left her side. This was a very memorable / traumatic week for me. Everything in her body was failing, and she was on life support. Her parents made the hard choice to take her off life support.
I was able to grieve with Katrina’s mom, Nancy. Nancy is a really great person who is a mother-figure for me. She loves and supports me unconditionally. At the end of the same year that Katrina passed away, my adoptive dad also passed away. This would cause a lot of problems for me.
After two years living in a town, I became homeless. I had to give up my cats, ended up in a bad relationship, and lived with friends here and there until I got to a point where I was left with nowhere to go. Even my brothers couldn’t take me in. I reached out to my aunt, and she and my uncle took me in. Soon after moving in with them, I received my diagnosis that I am positive with Huntington’s Disease that my mom had. (Now that we have my life story, everything else will make sense).
You probably are asking yourself, “How does this relate to prayer?” I always prayed, especially when things were bad. The thing about prayer is God is always listening. He was there even when I wasn’t believing in Him. He always believed in me. If it’s His Will, He will do it and answer our prayers. If He doesn’t answer our prayers, there are bigger reasons why He didn’t.
I recently got saved. Being saved doesn’t mean life will be perfect. You will still go through trials and tribulations. It does mean I choose salvation. I choose to accept God as my savior. I will dedicate my life to getting to know my God. We are all vessels for God. We will also have gifts; things we are good at. We need to use the gifts God gave us.
My journey has been hard, but I believe there is a bigger reason as to why I went through all that. God doesn’t give you things He knows you can’t handle. I truly believe God gave me a second chance. What does this all mean for the person reading this? God is always with you. The second thing is to pray. He listens to our prayers. The third thing is to build a relationship with God. We may not always have the answers, but God does. He loves us unconditionally despite everything.
God has a plan.