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INTRODUCTION to The Grace Plan

Greatness comes through us. On our own, we are not interesting. We are like antennas that are useless without receiving the signal. The signal is God’s voice, which we hear through inspiration. Bringing that inspiration into the world is the Creative Act. Its effect on others is an unspoken reminder of God’s love and grace. It’s what makes us healers and gives us purpose; it’s our ministry. In order to hear the signal, we must remove what’s in the way of the signal. Unfortunately, this is something we initially avoid as it is extremely painful.

I was baptized as a child. I went to youth groups in my teen years and was in and out of church settings with varying degrees of commitment throughout my twenties, but I always believed in God. I always believed there was something bigger than myself; a source of limitless possibility that knew me personally from which I was created. My church experiences taught me morality but failed to show me how to actually use my faith to get through the trenches of daily life. I behaved according to a moral code while remaining anxious. It wasn’t until I went to small groups and found mentors that I learned how to let go, what to let go of, and how to use my faith as a real solution to life.

I grew up in a broken home without a father. He was a womanizer and lived in another state over a thousand miles away. His phone calls and seasonal visits were unremarkable. My mother had a nervous breakdown, became physically ill, and checked out. She became unavailable for any form of parenting. She became reclusive and bitter. When she wasn’t shut down, she was hostile towards me and vocalized that she no longer wanted to be my mother starting around age 12. It was at that time that I started to live outside of my home for extended periods of time. I would go back home and leave again depending on the volatile emotional state of my mother. Although she threw things at me, it was the yelling that was more upsetting. I walked on eggshells. In fifth grade, I lived with my teacher in his unfinished basement in a tent with my brother. My teacher knew we needed help and took us in despite not having the room. Winter was freezing as the basement barn doors that opened to the outside did not close all the way, letting in the below zero temperatures. Hiding in the tent in the cold and dark was a nightly ritual. If loneliness is a demonic force, it took a special interest in me and visited me frequently. There were at least two places, possibly three, that I remember living parentless with my brother. We were not close. The emotional brokenness of our home life drove a wedge between us. Everyone handles pain differently. My brother coped by divorcing himself emotionally. After elementary school, our journeys were separate and we lost communication.

A handful of families took me in throughout middle school and high school. Instability was the only constant. Time back with my mom was in cycles that ended with neglect and abuse until one day I could no longer tolerate the drama cycle. I decided to pursue my father as a parent. I left my close friends and drove to Los Angeles to live with him only to find that he was also unavailable and disinterested in parenting. That was my junior year in high school. Christmas and New Years was spent by myself, unwanted, and alone in an unfriendly part of the city. High school offered nothing for me. It was boring and my advanced placement classes did not transfer. I learned about dual credit for college courses that counted for high school. My college life started at Los Angeles Harbor College during that junior year of high school. At the beginning of my senior year of high school, I lived on my own and decided to drop out of high school to pursue college full time. Despite the lack of family support, I was driven and had a positive attitude towards life. My high school friends were genuine and my girlfriends were loving. My spiritual wounds were not obvious; they were buried in some unknown part of my consciousness waiting to surface like a monster in the darkness.

Some childhoods are better and some are worse. Being in practice for decades has shown me true horrors that children endure. My childhood was not easy but it did not slow me down or diminish my confidence. I was caring, thoughtful, and highly motivated to be the best I could be. I started weight training at 14 and became passionate about the body, human physiology, and healing through nutrition. Before I was an adult I knew I wanted to be a doctor of natural medicine. What I do now has been part of an unwavering vision given to me, as if by divine appointment. However, being a capable young man was only useful to me. God had plans for me, as he does for each one of us, but I was never going to be the healer God intended me to be without first going on a journey, a painful one. I wish we grew spiritually from pats on the back, lots of gifts, and happy feelings sprinkled throughout time. But, as it turns out, we grow from spiritual butt-kickings. How we find God as the solution, and what happens next, makes us interesting.

Psychology has influenced our culture to believe that our childhood forms us entirely and from it, we draw our sense of well being. In this paradigm, a lack of well being has a linear cause and effect with a villain that wronged us as the source of all our problems. This may or may not be true, or partially true, but regardless, it’s not entirely useful. The never-ending search for early life hurt feelings to explain current dysfunction is self absorbing and speculative at best. There is no way of knowing causation based on history and all we’re left with is a theoretical framing based on a blame game. Furthermore, this perspective puts our identity forever into the hands of the abusers.

Nonetheless, situations do happen that go hand in hand with our state of suffering. I hope to detangle the cause and effect connection in the following chapters. For now, it’s important to begin to view the situations that upset us as chapters in a lesson plan with God. Instead of blame, there is the possibility of meaning. The situation, no matter how awful, was meant to happen for a greater personal purpose to be revealed. This mindset shifts us from victimization to a spiritual journey requiring our participation.

The journey through hardship and pain to a point of personal brokenness allows for a paradigm shift. For many of us, it is not until we are bankrupt emotionally that we hear the call of God’s voice as a solution. The Grace Plan offers concepts that take us from victimization to meaning using specific prayer strategies with the intention of connecting each individual closer to God. The intention is to show the meaning behind the pain of life allowing our troubles to become our strengths. The Grace Plan illustrates principles that allow us to use our faith in God as a working solution to the problems of life.

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