GUEST POST: Dear God, I Just Want To Be Happy.

GUEST POST Written By: Dana Radke

I grew up in a Catholic (“relaxed” Catholic as I call it) home. We went to catholic school and went to church on important days and when we HAD to. My Mom is Catholic and my Dad, well I never really knew where he stood with faith. He came to church with us to support us but that was it. Growing up Catholic doesn’t mean things are peachy and perfect. No way!

I grew up with alcoholism, mental illness, and physical abuse in my home. Home was not a safe place for me. When I went to school, I was the recipient of physical and mental bullying so school wasn’t a safe place either.

As a child I remember writing my last will and testament leaving my favourite toys to my younger sister. I never thought I would live to be a teenager or to get married or to have children of my own.

The only safe place for me was in the backyard in my secret spot or in the bathroom where I could lock myself in. In these spots I often contemplated suicide but thankfully I was too frightened to actually harm myself. I remember when the alcoholism was bad, I would run to one of my secret spots and, of all things, I would pray.

But I didn’t know God or if He was even listening so it always sounded like a letter. I thought that maybe if He had time, He might read it.

“Dear God, it’s me Dana. I just want to be happy.”

When the physical abuse was bad, again I would run to my secret spot…

“Dear God, it’s me Dana. I just want to be happy”

When I was having a bad day at school and the bullying got hard for me to take…

“Dear God it’s me, Dana. I just want to be happy. “

It’s all I wanted. Nothing more, nothing less – just to know what it was like to be happy.  I even found myself praying for the bullies at school when I had a moment to myself..

“Dear God, it’s me Dana. Please forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing!”

Fast forward. I get through elementary school and high school. I have new friends and got away from the bullies. No more bullying. Things at home get worse before getting better but I now have friends to turn to and counsellors and teachers at school to help. With the help of these friends and teachers (unbeknownst to them what my life at home was like) I was able to get through high school and college and land an amazing job as a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse.

I met and married my husband and moved to Hamilton where I searched for God and found Him. Since then I have experienced more than the happiness that I prayed for; I know joy!

God truly does answer our prayers and give us more than we could ask for. For when I asked for happiness he gave me more: joy. He gave me Him! He protected me, heard me and even helped me to forgive in the moment.

Oh, and he gave me a husband that is a stand-up comedian that makes me laugh every single day. “How’s that for happiness?” is what I imagine God saying to me now.

Those lies that the enemy sowed into my head have been smashed; I lived past my teenage years, I lived to get married and I will have children!

God listens even when we don’t know Him or realize how big He is. He hears even the small whispers of a child to “just be happy”. He takes care and protects us through the difficult times and we become stronger for it.

He hears you, no matter where you are. Your prayers may not be answered right away, but when they are it will be abundantly more than you asked because that’s how much He loves you.

How do I know God is real? How do I know that He loves me? Because He answered that prayer that no one else knew about. It was our secret and He did more than answer it!

“Dear God, it’s me Dana.  Thank you!”

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20 NLT

Dana Radke

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