1) Intro & Life Prior to Jan 25, 2009
Each one of us who lives under the sun, moon and stars has a story. The story of our life that is unique, completely different than anybody else's story.
A friend used to tell me there is joy multiplied and burdens lightened as we share our stories with each other. Should you continue reading, you'll hear a portion of my story.
Living the Blessed Life
I'd like to share with you some background. On December 3rd 2008, my family had just welcomed our third child. Another boy, making three boys in five years. What a blessing! My vocation was a "jack of all trades" computer support and web developer at a small cancer center at WSU. It was a job that didn't fit me, and I complained about that from time to time. But in the end, it paid the bills nicely and provided plenty of time to be a "family man". I felt blessed to live in a small town so was able to walk 40 minutes to work and sometimes bike. Between good exercise and increasing self control gained from my faith, I lost a lot of weight (180lbs->140lbs) as a result and felt great about myself.
I was involved in my local church, a small foursquare church that met at the city's old movie theater. I really enjoyed the people, the atmosphere, the teaching and the vision of the church. I was interning as the children’s ministry leader and led a small group. We frequently had weekend men's retreats where we got away from life and drew near to God. Those were good times.
I personally pursued spiritual enrichment. I enjoyed a daily quite time consisting of reading the bible and responding to what I felt applied to my life. I was quite fond of and faithful to read the One Year Bible. This provides a NT,OT,Psalm and Proverb every day. I usually found something that seemed meaningful and applicable.
I regularly walked with a Philippine friend who was a pastor in the Philippines. He was such a great friend and a source of inspiration and instruction. He taught me much about the Christian faith.
I got back in the bicycling world (which was a boyhood passion) by doing a couple Seattle to Portland rides (STP). This is a very popular ride in western Washington that caps the number of riders at 10,000. Loved it. It felt great to be back on the bike again and enjoying relationships with other cyclists as well.
Like I mentioned, December 3rd, we joyfully welcomed our third child into the family. Life was good in so many respects.
2) Anxiety, Fear, Torment and Evil
January 25, 2009 Changed Everything
My life changed forever at the end of January 2009. I received notice that our Cancer Center's funding was being cut and I would no longer have a job. This was a shock, but certainly not unexpected. And I didn't even really like my job anyways. For the first couple of weeks, I was excited for what God might have for me next. But anxiety began and did not let go. Not for a long time. My stomach was in knots and I could not keep any food in my system. I remember my friend and boss took me out for lunch on Feb 14, 2009, my 33rd birthday. I ate some french fries and they didn't last any longer than 30 minutes in my system. Serious and debilitating anxiety had become my constant companion. Things did not get any better. They got shockingly worse.
The anxiety started getting in the way of sleep. That along with a son who started waking up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. Soon I was not sleeping and then began a serious battle of the mind. I couldn't turn off my mind. In the middle of the nights I was trying to pray and read the bible and get comfort/direction and overcome the anxiety that had become crippling. My prayers just turned into extended worry sessions. I found myself not getting a wink of sleep and having to brace myself and face a new day. I absolutely could not turn off my mind. Not being able to shut off the mind started and continued the slide into desperation and then hopelessness. Of note, I was not "hearing voices". This storm in my mind felt like all of my own familiar thoughts.
There was no escaping the torment that came upon me. Straight up fear took over the anxiety. The bible says "Fear hath Torment". I can testify to the truth of that verse. The fear turned my stomach into knots and worse. I hardly ate anything, sometimes just eating a piece or two of bread to go through the day.
Was there any good reason for such a reaction to the loss of my job? It is interesting that, from a reasoned perspective, there was no reason to panic at my loss of the job. From the time of notice given by my employer, they gave me a full seven months to find another job...seven whole months!!! We were out of debt, had very low living expenses, had over three months living expenses in the savings account. And even if I didn't find a job after that seven months, I had an ample unemployment benefit waiting. Despite all this, I "freaked out". Actually, that is an outsider would interpret the situation. I came to understand after several months that I came under serious spiritual attack that I couldn't overcome on my own or even with help of very Godly people around me.
This thought of the spiritual nature of this storm in my mind came to me by the leader of our church prayer ministry, Sue Watson. It was a new idea to me that helped explain what was going on. She saw a picture of me in a sandstorm with sand pelting me. I was trying to protect myself with a black garment that just wasn't providing any protection from storm.
this picture of what was occurring was a turning point. It pointed out the darkness involved and my inability to deal with it. And that I didn't have a chance to fight it, despite my desperate attempts to find help both in God and my Godly friends and mentors. As I now began to believe that God had left the scene, it was at this point I started to lose hope.
During this "mind-storm" I remember trying to get away from people and life. I just wanted to be alone with my troubling thoughts. I would take the van and go park somewhere and think. I just couldn't get away from my thoughts and I remember at times my mind was really tired of thinking, like a muscle that is physically tired. Like I said, I just couldn't get the mind to stop rehashing all that was going on and verses that were condemning. I was trying to solve my problems by thinking about them and just couldn't stop the fast moving train of thinking.
During this tremulous time, my beliefs about myself, who I was and my standing before God, were undergoing a massive change. A flip of switches as I came to perceive these core belief changes. This came largely as verses and stories in the Bible that resonated with me in a very negative light. Through these events, I came to have a fuller understanding of the picture of the bible as a "double-edged sword". It can bring joy and life or condemnation and death. Interesting thought, right?
Months of anxiety, fear, desperation, a tormented mind and hopelessness does something to you. An amazing and very fundamental change was underway in the core of my being...at the level of my beliefs about myself and who I believe myself to be. I no longer viewed myself as a Christian. Quite the contrary, I now understood myself to be one who was damned to Hell with no recourse. A "switch" had been flipped. I no longer had a relationship with God. I had been pushed away and there was no coming back. There were many verses and passages from the Bible that caused problems for me, but the big nail in my spiritual coffin was Hebrews 6, verses 4-6.
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
This passage is so clear that no person that I queried was able to convince me that it didn't apply to me.
There were other verses and portions of the Bible that became individual "nails in the coffin" of any hope of spiritual. They are listed at the end of the story.
Double Mindedness entered the picture early on. I found myself facing situations where I couldn't decide what to do. I remember telling a friend I would come over to his house and then change my mind and even change my mind again. That is just one example. But I increasingly had a difficult time making decisions. Another way this came out that bothered me was I would take food and then eat some and then throw some away. Like at church, take a cookie, eat half and throw the rest away. Of course I also had difficulty with the bigger decisions but managed to get by with much help from Tiffany.
So I was coming to acknowledge, reckon on and see myself as a former Christian. One who had been forcibly removed from the Kingdom and from his Church. This created practical issues beyond myself. If I was single, it would have been simple. Just withdraw from church and go be miserable without people to be accountable to. But I had been very involved with my church for years. However, I no longer felt that I belonged. And nobody was pushing me away. I just truly felt I really didn't belong anymore. And it is no fun to go to a place where you really don't belong. That was such a crazy experience. Other people didn't feel any different about me, but my beliefs had changed so drastically that I was very uncomfortable in the spiritual circles i had been in all my life.
I remember relating to a truth in regards to "missing the mark". Why God was rejecting me. I was living largely for me and God wanted me living for others. My focus was all wrong. I was living to become more spiritual...anyways, this was a significant thought as I was trying to understand why God was pushing me away. Because that became my belief. That God was forcefully pushing me away. Here is a picture that came to reflect my reality. I was desperately clinging to the ledge of life and my relationship with God (who alone could rescue me). And he was there stepping on my fingers that were desperately trying to hang on. This kind of negative (but maybe accurate) images were part of giving up the fight of holding onto my beliefs and instead giving in to a new way of thinking about myself, my destiny and my views on many things.
The reality of this change was clear one night. I would spend many evenings talking with Tiffany about our challenge of finding work and my "emotional" challenges. I distinctly remember one evening feeling especially deceptive towards Tiffany. I would only let bits and pieces out about what was really going on in my mind. I didn't want to worry others around me any more than necessary, especially my wife. She was being a trooper this whole time, but I really didn't want her to know I was now not walking with God and believed I never would again. How hopeless would that be for her? I remember in the darkness of the kitchen that night, relating to Judas Iscariot, as I was being very deceptive in my answering/communication. That was torturous in and of itself!
SUICIDAL??? WHO ME?
Suicide. Who would ever believe I would contemplate this escape. Nice home, beautiful wife, three great boys, a supportive work place and a helpful church. But suicide is a very real part of my story. I believe that loss of all hope left me open to that desperation. I also know that life was VERY painful at that time. That "Fear hath torment" truth from the Bible (1st John 4:18) is very real and drove me to a place I would never have imagined.
I forget how long I entertained suicidal thoughts. It must have been for at least two months...two very long months. But it did come to a head one morning. I had been up all night, pacing about the house. I remember how much dismay I had when the sun started bringing light. That meant there was a day I had to face and make it through. Anyways, this particular morning I had entertained the suicidal thoughts enough to have a very basic plan. A kitchen knife to the heart out to the side of the house. So much pain! Inescapable pain! But Tiffany woke up, came up the stairs and saw the knife in my hands. Scared her pretty good. Went to the emergency room. They said I could go home or to the psychiatric ward 45 minutes away. Apparently first attempts don't typically turn into second attempts too often. Tiffany and I discussed and decided to admit me for 3 days. It was here that I got on a drug that helped me get some sleep and calm down. (serequel). However, just getting some sleep didn't deal with the suicidal thinking.
Ever so slowly the onslaught of thoughts lessened. But I was a mess for quite some time. After the psychiatric ward, the College of Pharmacy welcomed me back and I was placed under the head IT guy. I remember just sitting at the desk all day, just pretending to be looking at the screen. I was given the freedom to job search during work hours. So I was being very well taken care of. However, Focus and concentration were nearly impossible. I was worthless. He gave me simple jobs that didn't matter if they got done or not. He was very gracious and I am eternally in his debt (though he doesn’t know it) "Ryan Maynard". Stand-up guy. Only fault is that he will never let anyone buy him lunch. He has a strict personal policy against that. So, for his birthday we let him buy all of us lunch. But a finer individual is hard to find.
At some point Tiffany and I decided it would be best if we moved back to family that could provide some support and put us near a larger job market. But I remember a motivating force for moving away that I didn't share. That to avoid the shame that would come from my inevitable dereliction and destitution that would come after losing my wife and kids with no job. I was fully convinced this was my future. I also remember wanting to live one more month, one more year to see the end times (there was activity going on in the middle ease and I thought the end was very near).
3) Life of the Damned
Or Post Turmoil
No individual or family could help with the attack of darkness, hopelessness and subsequent darkness. However, having caring and loving friends and family certainly did help in the recovery. Of greatest significance is Tiffany's endurance and faithfulness through the nightmare and then the following difficult recovery. For the most part it had been a very lonely road for the following six years.
My mind took a huge hit throughout the ordeal. It took quite some time to recover a sound mind. Praise God the body and mind can be restored.
Hope is a HUGE factor. You never know this until you lose it...completely. Hope was being restored...at least hope grounded in the things of this world. I had lost all hope of eternal life and believed to my core that this was not changeable. I should say I had lost hope of a good eternal life, very convinced of a tormented life after this one. I believed with all my heart I was condemned to hell and I think this was reality. And I was deeply saddened by this knowledge and choose to stuff this belief.
But hope in this life was slowly coming back. It began with some financial hope. My first hope for income came as a result of my brother's involvement in the septic industry. I thought maybe I could create simple websites for all the septic companies out there.
During this experience I identified as being among the ranks of "the damned". I came to believe the damned are those who not only are heading to Hell, but know they are and can't do a thing to change it. I now believe that to be a possible state of existence. He can withdraw his hand of protection from evil at any time. It is by his grace we are not subject to it any or all of the time. I expect in Hell there will be constant attack of evil with no protection. I now know how serious this condition is...not good at all. It is death while still living and just wishing you could really die and have it all over with but being denied that desire.
For years this state of reality really was difficult. Though not under a constant barrage of negative and condemning thoughts anymore, I had lost what was most important to me. My relationship with God and the hope that comes from that, being replaced with a certain fear of eternal damnation. I also lost my closest friends (though no fault of theirs). Geography had changed and interests had changed. And though I still had my wife with me, we began to drift apart under the stresses of financial uncertainty. Also she was growing a root of bitterness towards me through no fault of her own. She was trying to provide for the family while I didn't make enough to cover all the expenses....among other issues.
Right after our move to the west side of the state, we took advantage of a large blackberry patch. We picked there for weeks and the picking was good. Somehow, that was therapeutic. Picking alone, I would therapudically mourn the loss of my previous life of faith and hope, going though a stage in the acceptance of a new reality. I would let things go over and over in my mind, kind of in disbelief over it all. A lot of sorrow. However, for much of the next three to four years, as the pain subsided, I found that I didn't want to be left alone to my thoughts. I had to always have some stimulation of the mind to keep my mind busy. Always listening to music or self improvement teaching. eventually Music became a big part of filling that void and bringing some life back. It was a lot of garbage fleshly music, but it did bring some life back to my soul.
There was tons of regret. Regret for myself of course. But also a lot of regret for my children. I remember ascending the stairs in our home in Silverdale and having such painful sorrow over my kids not having a dad who could show them the joys and purpose found in living for and following Christ. To have a life of meaning and purpose. To have a relationship with the Living God that would help them navigate the obstacles of this life. Though we brought them religiously to church and various Christian activities like vacation bible schools, I knew that wasn't enough to bring them into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. They needed a dad who was living out the faith, demonstrating a life of walking with God. Without that, I knew they were, more than likely, destined to start life out on the wrong foot. This was a point of great pain that I had to choose not to dwell on.
One feeling I had was that I had no capacity to love. The life had been sucked out of me. It felt terrible to truly not love my kids from my heart. No emotion. No desire to give them a hug goodbye before heading out the door. This was a symptom of the emptiness inside. This condition subsided within the first year but it was quite disconcerting while it was a reality. I didn't know it would ever change.
One surprisingly painful part of this time period was the lie I lived. I let others believe that I was a Christian and doing OK. This was especially uncomfortable with Tiffany. It was a withholding of the truth. I depended on church meetings and relationships not going too deep. Unfortunately and for the most part this wasn't a real problem. At my primary mid-week group I remember one night quite well. It was asked who had read their bible the past week. Nobody except the leader could say they even broke open their bibles! For sure, I had found the right group to hide in. I remember church camps where conversations got dangerously close to a personal relationship with Christ. For the most part I was able to talk the walk, though it was uncomfortable to be living a lie.
Tiffany never knew the extent of what had happened personally or the full spiritual nature of it. Her main indication was that I stopped taking communion out of fear of what is promised to those who take it in an "unworthy manner". I truly felt ostracized from the faith (by God) and therefore it was not for me. This decision to not partake really bothered Tiffany as it was a clear indication of my belief that I was not a
Christian. But she did her best to push that worry aside for other more pressing concerns.
I also found that my situation really frustrated the Christians around me that I opened up to. They wouldn't believe my story, or at least my interpretation of the whole thing. They asserted that I had developed misguided doctrine based on experience and not God's Word. Because I was saying that I was saved and now I am not. It is not like I was showing rebellion that needed serious discipline or was experiencing a "backsliding". This was a big problem for those who sincerely subscribe to the eternal security idea. Or those who believe if you pray the sinners prayer you are good to go. And who would believe that God would ever push someone away from himself or allow evil to overtake one of his children? I would have never believed it myself if someone told me they were hopelessly lost. I would say of course not, Jesus' arms are always open. Doctrine is good, but personal experience is big.
An observation by my pastor of my condition was that of a wound that was healing. And this certainly was a good picture that helped me see that I was undergoing a healing process. His question, and a good one, was "was I healing" or just scabbing over the wound. Could I really be restored? I certainly had been healing of a very deep wound. And the natural healing of my mind took six years. Not spiritual healing, just natural healing. Spiritual healing would happen almost instantly.
4) Dramatic Conversion
March 2015 God Reaches out
What follows came very unexpectedly. In a sentence, God reached out to me and raised me from the dead, infusing life to me. It was as if my spirit was the recipient of a spiritual defibrillation device. Dead one minute, alive the next. Let me attempt to explain.
I had been meeting with my pastor for some time. I enjoyed these meetings. He kept it largely about me, my issues, my dreams. It is fun to talk about yourself, right? He is a good listener and I really respect that. I haven't met too many of those.
Apparently, I resisted and dodged most of his challenges to read this or that. Or this or that portion of the bible. But in early 2015, he challenged me to read the book of John. True to my rebellious nature, I found you-version (electronic bible app) plan to read all of the gospels. So I began reading up to a chapter a day. It wasn't easy to be consistent. One of the things that I experienced was a total lack of hunger and relevancy of the Bible. But that started to change and I did better on this go around.
Around the end of February and the first couple of days of march something strange happened. I teared up for no reason and at random times. Looking back, it seems the Lord was doing some preliminary softening of the heart in preparation for more work.
At the same time, my readings of the Gospels became progressively more interesting to me. I became very intrigued that there was a stated purpose for many of the miracles Jesus performed. Either stated by Jesus or the authors of the gospels. I also was learning from another study that God's purpose in everything is the bring glory to himself. I learned that his overall purpose for me is to glorify him first and foremost AND HE IS DESERVING. Jesus says that "the truth will set you free". I was starting to receive some truth. I was starting to really hunger for and meditate on the words, stories and parables in the Bible, particularly the gospels.
My bi-polar lifestyle created pockets of time in the middle of the night before medications kicked in and brought sleep. With no real trigger that I know of God moved on me one night, in the middle of the night. He used the basic truths he was showing me, but it was much more than new understanding. He moved on in me in a very tangible, truth filled and emotional way. My emotions couldn't seem to handle the acceptance he was extending. I wept. A very deep weeping. Weeping in response to a God who seemed to be reaching out to a very dead man and extending the hand of life. I would say that overall, there was a very strong sense of brokenness before all mighty God. A God who has been distant for so long reaching out to a sinner who deserved nothing except damnation.
I also had a very strong revelation and conviction of the importance of bringing Glory to God. I had such a sense and understanding that the only worthy endeavor is to bring Glory to God. This was the standard to measure EVERYTHING against. Am I glorifying God? Does this Glorify God. I remember committing myself to that end. Whatever it is, I am committed to glorifying him. If it is to live, wonderful. If it is to die, wonderful as well. If it is to do this or that...as long as it glorifies God, I'm good with it.
I was incredulous at this invitation from the Father, seriously incredulous. The question, "what are you doing?". Why are you going against what I understand of your word? If they fall away...impossible to be brought back to repentance..to their loss crucifying son of God all over again. What are you doing? I think I spoke those words in the middle of my weeping, over and over again. God, what are you doing? A Heavenly father reaching out to a long lost son after seven years of separation. Like I had said, it wasn't simple backsliding that got me so far away from God. It wasn't my choice to leave fellowship with God and my fellow believers. I really felt pushed away, or at best abandoned to the destruction from the enemy (Satan and his evil spirits).
So of course, I'm thinking, what are you doing? Why are you touching my heart in such a powerful way. Bringing a brokenness like I've never known, cleansing my heart and my spirit. Restoring a right spirit in me.
Sometimes God uses our children to give us understanding and wisdom. The biggest lesson of my life became the most important one. One evening I was trying to teach my oldest son and his brother how I wanted them to wash my car. However the elder son was intent on doing it his way. He wanted to be involved but didn't want to listen to how I wanted it done. This greatly Interfered w/ my teaching his brother how I wanted it done. I reached my limit of frustration. I desperately wanted to expel him from the scene. I asked him to leave but he didn't want to go, he wanted to stay involved doing it his own way. I couldn't get him to leave, but if it was in my power I would have removed him from the scene with whatever force was necessary in order that I could train his brother in the right way. I had my purposes and my oldest was trying to be involved but because he wouldn't listen he was getting in the way and thwarting my purposes.
This real life picture was God's gracious yet vivid communication as to how he felt about my previous spiritual activity. I was doing my thing/my life/my ministry...all my way. I was trying to grow closer to god, but in reality I was in charge and my spiritual pursuits were largely selfish (those in the know understand following God's rules and patterns bring blessing). Trying to be a part of his church without submitting to his lordship...I now can appreciate how troubling that is to him and his purposes. A child who grows up normally learns obedience to his parents at some point. I never embraced obedience and had frustrated God to the point of being thrust out of his family. This might sound harsh, but let me tell you I know how incredibly frustrating it is to have someone messing with your good plans and not willing to get out of the way. In love for those you are wanting to instruct, you will reluctantly exclude those who do not help the cause and even inhibit the cause. Obedience is Key. Lately I have been learning that obedience is tied very closely to our love for God. We can't say that we love him if we are not walking in daily obedience.
I now know what it is to be spiritually dead and with no hope. Hope only in this life with certainty of torment following. But, as you have read, I now know what it is to be touched and infused with the spirit of God, brought to a new life with a hope beyond the grave
A few things changed immediately and with no effort on my part. I lost all interest in secular music library built up over the last five years. I now was only interested in music that resonated with the new (holy) spirit reigning in me. I now had a total hunger for the words of God. Both the Bible and other Christian books. I truly couldn't get enough, wishing I had many extra hours in the day to devour more pages. I was freed from the power of some besetting sins that had crept up over the seven years.
I was saved from the fear of Hell, forgiven for my sins, entered into a fresh relationship with the living God and given hope for the future. It would seem that I lost only what could be recovered. By God's grace he preserved my wife and kids through the ordeal. Praise God for his kindness, mercy and grace to a lost sinner, deserving only the worst, but getting a second chance and an incredible perspective on life and death in the process!
When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. 1 Corinthians 15:36
12 With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever,
13 for your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.[a]
“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
May my life bring Glory to him all the days of my life.
5) Significant Verses
God's word, the Bible, is a phenomenal library of books. It has the power of life to those who are seeking God and his goodness. However, I didn't know until seven years ago that it also has the power of death to those perishing. In a new testament verse it talks about God's word being a double edged sword. Cutting one way it is a tree of life. Cutting on the other blade it is a force for condemnation and death. I have experienced both. Here is a compilation of passages that have been significant over the past six years of death. There are certainly more but these are the foundational ones on which my new beliefs would be built.
Here is the one that first hit me in a direct negative blow. It is the story of the trimming of the vine. The branches with fruit would be trimmed as to produce more fruit. The branches with no fruit would be cut off and thrown into the eternal fire to burn. This was shared at our weekly bible study and quite randomly. It was shared by Steve Bravard. Interestingly he had a traumatic experience with his boat (a prized old wooden boat) going up in flames. His mind got messed with but he overcame the battle of the thoughts as I was battling thoughts that I wasn't overcoming. That passage was the first bible reference that resonated with me in a bad way.
Talking about troubling verses. The first verse that started messing with my beliefs is "The hopes of the Godly come to pass, also the fears of the wicked". And I was dealing with a ton of fear. This verse hammered me over and over and over again in my mind as I walked in the most fear I had ever experienced in my life. I started to relate to other verses in the bible that described the wicked.
Another key verse that was rocking my world as I was falling away was the one that says..."It is impossible for those who have tasted in the things of god, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the son of God all over again." If you feel like you were saved or "in the faith" and then find yourself very far from God, this is a very disturbing verse. I shared this verse with many people in my clawing for help.
Here is another verse. In the book of Revelation there are words of warning to the Laodicean church. They were lukewarm in their love of God and commitment to his ways. He warned them to change or he would "spew them out of his mouth". I really felt like I was being pushed away from God and this verse really resonated with me.
And another parable. This one is the one of the 10 virgins with oil. The ones who did not bring enough asked of the ones who did to share. The ones who had enough couldn't/didn't share. I felt like I was out of "oil" and was desperately reaching out to all my mentors/friends in the faith and, even with all their wisdom and experience, they could not help with the raging storm I was facing.
Parable of the ten lepers. Only one returned to give thanks to Jesus for healing. I felt that I was part of the 9 others who were healed but did not give thanks in the sense that I didn't publicly share my healing with those around me.
Here is yet another bible picture. I have come to understand that Most people will face a significant sudden loss or misfortune (A defining life event). Jesus refers to this in a parable of two men. One builds his house on the sand. One builds his house on the rock. The storm comes and of course the one built on the sand falls. He says the one who built his house on the rock is one who heard and obeyed the words of God. As my reaction to the job loss spiraled downward, you can probably guess which one I related to. It was even confirmed in a prayer session with us and a couple on the prayer team. I will never forget that that parable came to the mind of the gentleman and he did pray it but kind of held back at the same time. But I heard it loud and clear as a description of what was happening.