by Karen Sinclair
Hi, I’m Karen Sinclair. If you’ve ever wondered whether God hears your prayers or like me 8 years ago, if God really exists, then I hope my testimony will help you to believe that God is real and He does hear our prayers.
I grew up attending a Christian Church with my family. The older I got the more I began to doubt that God was real. I did think God hadn’t answered my prayers as a child. I wondered a lot, how does anyone really know God exists. I never thought to ask anyone because I figured they would just say “you have to have faith.” I didn’t have faith; I wanted proof.
I have three boys now. When my first son was a baby, I began noticing that I had a problem with anger. For about 7 years I felt like a volcano ready to explode and all my energy was spent trying to keep the lid on. I had no idea why I was always angry and wasn't able to control it. I yelled at my kids, and I felt like the worst mother in the world. I was terrified that I was going to crush my children’s spirits. I could see the effect my yelling was having on my children. I had two boys at this time. My kids yelled at me and at each other.
I also had road rage when I drove and yelled at every driver in my way. My son, who was about 3 at the time, began yelling from the back seat, “Get off the road.” I knew I needed to do something and soon before my son ended up just like me. I wanted so much to change. I tried, but I couldn’t change. I had no hope and was depressed. I studied other people and saw their joy and laughter, and I wondered why I felt dead inside. Nothing seemed to give me joy. People laughed out loud, but I never did. Nothing seemed funny to me. I would do nice things for other people, but I didn’t feel compassion for others.
In November 2003, I saw an ad in the newspaper for an anger resolution seminar. I asked my husband if he thought I should attend, if I had an anger problem? I could see from the look on his face, that he was afraid to answer my question. He did agree to watch the boys so I could go. I was desperate to change, so I decided to attend the seminar. I had no idea when I signed up for the seminar that it had anything to do with God (or I probably wouldn’t have gone). I thought I would learn to count to ten and control my anger. When I think back to that decision, it had to be God drawing me to him. I rarely read the newspaper, and when I did, I usually just glanced at the headings and checked to see what jobs were being advertised. It’s amazing that I even saw the advertisement.
When I arrived at the seminar, I was startled to find that I knew a couple of the people there. I wondered why they would be there, as I thought the seminar would only be for horrible, angry people like me. I hoped they wouldn’t notice me and I sunk down in my chair. The seminar was a Friday evening and full day on Saturday. As supper was included on Saturday, I had no choice but to talk to the people I knew. Ashamed, I admitted to a lady I barely knew that I had a problem with anger. Although I didn’t attend church, I brought my two boys to Sunday School each week and I knew her from there. While we were talking, I burst into tears and told her what I was struggling with. She prayed for me and we finished watching the seminar together. I couldn’t stop crying and could barely focus on the rest of the seminar. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and go home.
The seminar talked a lot about forgiveness, but it also talked about crying out to God, and He would take away my anger. I guess at some point during the seminar I began to have faith, and I couldn't wait to get home and try crying out to God. I never made it home; on the ride home in my car, I was crying very hard and I cried out to God. I think I asked him to take away my pain. I don’t think I mentioned anything about anger. Instantly I felt the tears drying up on my face. I felt strange and peaceful and I wondered what was happening to me. I tried to continue to cry but couldn't. I thought, "Is God really taking away my anger?" I went into the house and didn’t say anything to anyone. Later, when I was trying to put my boys to bed, they were running around the house and jumping on my bed. Normally I would be yelling at them by now, but I didn’t feel any anger.
After the boys went to bed, I sat down to watch television with my husband. He saw watching some show where people were being killed, but I just sat there with the biggest smile on my face and such a feeling of peace that I had never felt before. I still couldn’t believe what had happened to me. I went to bed without saying a word to my husband.
The next morning the boys joined us in bed and were horsing around. My son hit his head on mine. Every time this had happened in the past, I would become instantly furious and yell, regardless of whether I was actually hurt or not. I waited for the burst of anger, but it didn’t come. I then got up to start cleaning the kitchen. When I opened the dishwasher, I saw that the dishes were thrown in every direction and were covered with food. I would normally be very upset that the dishes weren’t done the way I like them to be done. This time I didn’t seem to mind.
I knew then that God had given me a miracle, and I told my husband what God had done for me. For so many years I wondered if God really exists. I needed Him to, but I had so many doubts. I needed proof, and I finally got it. I have no doubts today that God exists. I used to not be able to make it through an hour without feeling angry. I have not had a moment of road rage since that day. For one month, I didn't feel anger about anything. It was a strange feeling. I would tense up when I expected something to make me angry, and then the anger wouldn't come. It felt like God was holding it back. I remember getting a glimpse of the old anger, like God opened the door for a second for me to see and then shut it quickly before it got out.
I notice that sometimes when I am watching TV, I will laugh out loud. What a great feeling it is to laugh. People always used to tell me to smile. On the inside I thought I was smiling, but when I looked in a mirror, I had a permanent frown. I thought that's just the way my face is. Now I look in the mirror and I don't even recognize me. There's a smile on my face and life in my eyes that was never there before. On that day God gave me a new heart. One that feels compassion and love for other people that I didn’t feel before. It’s been a journey ever since that day, but I will never forget that moment when I encountered God for the first time and my life was forever changed.
God is real and he hears your prayers. God bless you!
© 2012 all rights remain with the author, Giving Thanks Daily