Disbelief & Finding My Way Home: Part 1

THE WHOLE STORY

I would like to fully explain why I converted from atheism to Christianity. I have shared bits and pieces of my conversion story in previous articles, but I want to tie it all together in this two-part series. By writing this, I hope to clarify how powerfully God moved in my life. 

THE BETRAYAL OF TRUST THROUGH TRAUMA

As an eleven-year-old, I’d grown very fond of the security of familiarity, placing all my trust in my family. Creating the memories and traditions that make being part of a family so special was what built the feeling of safety in life. In one example, my sisters and I would wait at the top of our stairwell on Christmas morning until our dad turned on the foyer Christmas tree lights down below; an indicator that it was time to come down and discover what Santa had left for us. I would be the first to race down the stairs in excitement that awaited all of us. My parents would leave the lights dimmed in the living room, which would make the revealing of Santa’s mystery gifts feel more magical. 

In another example, my family was active. After dinner, we would go outside and play ball as the sun went down. We did this frequently, which helped feed my sense of closeness with my dad and siblings.

When my parents divorced, the cheerful, optimistic, positive part of me became quieted, reserved, and reticent. I lost my sense of safety in the world, my trust for relationships, and my feelings of balance in life.

My dad would urge me to keep going to church, since we were raised Catholic—but I refused to attend over the course of two church invitations. The notion of God had become detestable. How could a God allow this suffering to take place? I became sure there was no God because, I assumed if there wasa living God, He was only good, and I was obstinate in believing a good God would never allow anyone such agony. 

SUICIDE AND PURPOSELESSNESS

When my questions about life following the divorce became too much to handle in my heart, I felt myself imploding. This new reality where my mom slept in another house was too much to take in. My experience was utterly nightmarish, emotionally. The structure of life had changed, drastically, and life had become more about survival than development. Nothing I had believed about life seemed to hold together anymore. I couldn’t find myself able to accept the circumstances of my new life, and I couldn’t wrest the old reality back from its grave. This ultimatum birthed the deepest, darkest feeling I had ever conjured: I wanted to kill myself.

For 11 years, suicide was simply not a word I would ever consider, let alone a thought I would visit. But suddenly, out of absolute nothingness, death became a possibility;adesire. I learned how heavy and sinister wanting death felt like from the inside; like being trapped inside a cage without a lock or key, light, or hope.

MENTAL BREAKDOWN

I was in my teens, lying on the floor of my room with the door closed, crying uncontrollably. Nothing was the same anymore.

I took myself to my bathtub. After the water passed over my head, I started seeing stars and could hear my heartbeat. Alone, my family clueless to my intentions, I was merely moments away from breathing my last, when I came out of the water. I breathed, looked at the walls of the tub, and just wondered — “Why?…” All I knew was I was afraid of feeling pain in my lungs, and, I didn’t know what to expect when I died; I was intimidated by the possibility that I would be unpleasantly surprised. 

PARALYZED RELATIONSHIPS

My relationship to my mom was strained after the divorce. After she moved into another house, I had to begin a new routine of packing bags for sleepovers. Mom had a different presence after the divorce, because of that, I did not want to see her often. Consequently, I felt guilty for this. When mom sensed my lack of desire to spend more time with her, she was hurt. Unfortunately, her aggressive expression of hurt made me withdraw even further, and I quickly learned that our new relationship dynamic was painfully different from the way it was growing up. 

Throughout all of my adolescence, I didn’t talk to my dad very much. My relationships with both my parents were evidently paralyzed. The horrors of the divorce made everything that once appeared to be so beautiful into something faded and unrecognizable. 

KORN’S IMPACT ON MY LIFE

When I was 16, I found my first Korn album, “The Untouchables.” Upon playing the first song, “Here To Stay,” I was hooked. Never again would I find a band as interesting and addictive as Korn; their lyrical expression of rage, pain, and depression were spot on with that of my experiences. I learned that I not only related to Korn, but that they spoke into my existence in such a way that nothing else seemed to come close to. Korn became my musical “Gospel,” in that I would listen to them for hours on end, embracing their anger, resistance, and ability to fight pain with rage and hate as a tool of my own. I came to believe anger and hatred were ways to find strength in the darkness of my despair. Korn was like a strong dose of morphine plunging into the depths of my most crippling thoughts and feelings.

A LUSTFUL LAST RESORT

As a result of the loneliness, combined with feeling as though there was nothing to live for, I found myself craving compassion and closure. Without realizing that’s what I was seeking, my search for compassion and closure ended up driving me to idolize romantic relationships. But, since my intention was to gain closure from emotional pain, and not actually to get involved in an authentic relationship, the source of my search was shoddy and lustful. Putting God on the back burner and placing girls in the forefront of my mind forced me to depend on my relationship to lust, and my identity became lost in the pursuit of others’ acceptance — at a time when not even I was in a position to accept myself.

FINAL ULTIMATUM

After so many years of contemplating life and its brokenness, and with the help of a conversation with my sister, I decided to pursue film studies in Florida. By moving to Florida, I intended to leave all my memories behind in their place of origin, expecting that my departure would numb the pain. It took several years of being away before I learned that the kind of pain I experienced isn’t curable by geography, but by the spirit. My spirit had been impacted by my anger and bitterness, and without a safe sense of self.

In Part 2, I will explain how my journey was met with faith, and how my relationship with Jesus impacts my life now. I’m excited for you to understand in your own way just how goodGod really is

CONNECT WITH ME

If you resonated with this article and would like to read more, please follow this blog, and please share this with anyone. You may also find me my Facebook page at Lance Price Blog, Twitter at LancePriceBlog, Instagram at lancepriceblog, Pinterest at LancePriceBlog, or on Tumblr at lancepriceblog. Feel free to leave any thoughts or feelings regarding this article in the comments below, or write me privately using my Contactpage. May God bless you, readers!

27 thoughts on “Disbelief & Finding My Way Home: Part 1

  1. I am so sorry for the suffering that you went through as a kid. Mine, Lance, was not that my parents divorced, but that my father died of Pancreatic cancer when I was one month shy of 13. Everything changed from that moment. I found that I was looking for something to fill his hole that was in my heart and nothing did until I found Jesus at age 45. I went through a terrible first marriage which ended in divorce. We had no children which I have always been grateful for and I see through your story just why. God had a plan for me but I wandered the country from job to job and relationships that did not work. Until I met Jesus and my second husband of 24 years now. I am so thankful.
    Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your words! I appreciate your sharing a piece of your testimony with me as well. I truly believe God works in ways we may not be able to see at first, but eventually, as our eyes are opened (spiritually), we see where God’s hand is moving and where His love for us has been all along. He’s never so far away, we just haven’t always had the ability to see Him as He moves.
      I’m so glad you met Jesus when you did, and that your faith has helped you to see your life with a fresh perspective as well. God is so good! Thank you for reading and commenting! God bless you 🙂

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    2. I’m also incredibly sorry to hear about your father and his passing. I can imagine how hard that must have been for you, especially at almost 13. I’m so grateful to know that you were able to discover Jesus even despite that pain, even if it wasn’t right away. My prayer for your is that your life would continue on the path it is now as a believer, that you would be able to see God’s blessings in your life, and to continue to remember that none of this is permanent because He has made all things new. I hope you have a beautiful day!

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  2. One of the statements that you made was very insightful to me…”Korn was like a strong dose of morphine; they would speak into my darkest place and tell me my feelings were valid.” From my often misguided fundamentalist background, it was very important to have all the right answers to all of the right questions. It was all about the mind because “feelings need to follow faith.” But what you’ve pointed out is that there has to be a feelings component too, particularly for some people (like teenagers in your case).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think my metaphor could have been improved in this scenario, and because of that, I really appreciate your comment! I think it may have run better if I had said something like, “Korn was like a strong dose of morphine; their lyrical response to pain would calm my angry thoughts and ease my suffering with empathy.”
      What I’d also like say in response to your comment is that I appreciate your humility. I agree with you that, in your awareness, it isn’t as important to have all the right answers to all the right questions; in fact, I don’t believe we get the right answers to our questions but a small portion of the time. I notice that when reading scripture, unbelievers perceive ambiguity, which to them is evidence that the scriptures may be contradictory. But when believers study scripture scrupulously, we perceive multiple layers of significant meaning. This one difference (a LARGE difference, mind you) leads us to the dilemma of “right or wrong answers.”
      I believe that, emotionally-speaking, we need to feel validated by Christ, and that it’s not only about having the most accurate responses to our questions, but about having answers given to us by the most loving, personal, emotional God; that our validation would seem less methodical, formulaic, or structural, and more personal and intimate. In this way, we would perceive His concern, compassion, and His love—and in turn, His answer would carry a new meaning, a heavier significance, and a stronger pull towards faith. Why turn down the legitimate answers of a loving God who we can perceive wants us to feel passionate alive? That said, I believe feelings do matter, spiritually, and it sounds like you understand that, too. 🙂

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      1. The emotional component really does seem to be important, especially in the teenage years. For me, when I was 16, I was preoccupied with books from the library about witchcraft and the occult. They gave me a sense of power and control, or at least promised those things. That’s what made me feel better, sort of the way Korn and similar music helped you. And let’s be honest, teenagers are full of feelings and emotions, so if we as adults don’t consider those things, we are not going to minister to them as effectively as we should! Anyway, looking forward to more of your faith story!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s such a good point! I completely agree with that. Since each individual’s spiritual upbringings are different in various ways, it’s incredibly important to keep in mind the way we are ministering to others needs to fall in line with the way they are already connecting with the world; namely emotions, but even rationality and morality. Thank you for sharing what you experienced in your teens and the effect it had on you. It sounds like we had differences experiences which led us to the same result, and that only goes to show the power of faith in Christ, as well as the way Jesus answers our needs in a way nothing else ever could. Again, thank you for commenting and sharing a part of yourself here! God bless!

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  3. Lance –
    Thank you for sharing your story, the good, the bad, and the not so great… It is those parts that we want to always keep hidden, that we don’t want to talk about, or think others will not relate to or understand, that are often the most important parts of our stories. They are the parts that speak to God working for good what the enemy intended for harm. I am so sorry about your parents divorce, but I am so sadden by the young early teen man crying out to belong, to be noticed and wanting someone to love him and hold him, as he lay on the floor being overtaken by thoughts of death. The words you wrote were so profoundly powerful and even the way you described how listen to the music was the morphine you needed. Thank you for sharing honestly and openly about your story – It will make a difference and touch people in a powerful way. you are right God is still good even though you endured pain… that in and of itself is a powerful statement that many need to hear! Blessings to you

    Thank you for linking up with #TuneInThursday today! I am so blessed to have you linking up your posts as part of the community.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debbie, your words are extremely appreciated, more than you know. It’s incredible, sharing my testimony with people who understand the depths in which human darkness can run. I appreciate your ability to relate and to step into my shoes through my story. I hope and pray that my witnessing to people through my past experiences, that they will have a sense of hope that their pain isn’t the end… I truly believe it’s barely the beginning, and that should be a sign of hope. I am looking forward to publishing Part 2 in the morning, and finishing my testimony by shining the light of how God has worked since the journey of Part 1 ended.
      I look forward to linking up with you again! I am blessed to have found someone else who is passionate about our relationship to the Lord, continuing to grow in intimacy with Him who loves us and desires us above all else. God bless you, and thank you again for reading and commenting! I deeply appreciate your thoughtfulness!

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  4. Lance, thank you for sharing your story. I truly believe God uses the honest sharing of our lives to impact the lives of others for His glory! God bless you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable to bless others.

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    1. Deb, I really appreciate your comment. Thank you for reading! I hope and pray that my testimony can be a means of gathering hope in Jesus, given how unlimited His power is, as is the number of people His love reaches. I consider it a privilege to be vulnerable enough to help others see the way Jesus moves. Thank you again for reading this!

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  5. Lance,
    Thank you for your raw authenticity here. Your story had me at “hello”! (:-)) I believe it is one that needs to be told over and over again to many. And guess what! I’ve only read part 1! I can’t wait to jump over to part 2 and see where this goes!

    Thank you so much for sharing your hope with us at #MomentsofHope. It is so good to “meet” you and I look forward to reading much more!

    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lori,
      Thank you for reading this, and I truly appreciated reading your comments. I can’t tell you how humbling your words are. I’m also so grateful you find the hope in these words to be something worth repeating. Even more so, I’m excited for you to read Part 2, where God shines brightly :).
      It is a blessing to “meet” you as well, Lori! I’m looking forward to seeing how God works more and more of His love and power through your blog, as I can tell your stories will touch many, many people. May God bless you, your family, and your writing!

      So glad to have met you here, Lori!
      Lance

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  6. Wow. The family delima and packing a bag to go back and forth really reasonated with me. I wish I could be as open and vulnerable as you have shared here. Did not know you were an atheist. I’ve read several of your blogs and they are very teachy – not preachy. I appreciate that. That draws me in even more. I look forward to reading all of your posts as well as future ones. I’ll be honest – I have not read part 2 of this yet – partly due to fear. If that makes any sense at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. T, thank you for your comment, I really appreciate your words. I’m glad you were able to resonate with some of my words here, and I’m also glad that you don’t perceive my words as preachy. I always pray before publishing these articles that God would speak through me in some way to help others and to witness His love/Truth in some way. I do not ever mean to sound preachy. For that matter, I am humbled that you feel called to read more of my articles, and I hope you will read as many as you feel led to read. I believe your desire to read more is God calling you into a part of yourself that perhaps you haven’t yet spent time investigating—maybe my writing can help you. I hope and pray that is the case. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, I’m glad to help. 🙂
      May I ask you why you feel fear about reading Part 2? That’s actually the more uplifting part of the two ;).

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      1. I’m sure it’s uplifting. However, I’m scared that what I may read. My family is all over. Yes, I went through the same stages when your parents divorced. With mine – my parents never divorced and I was to young to even know anything was different in my family until one day in high school that made me become a hermit. Naturally, I’m a very shy person. Words spoken that day in high school has stayed with me throughout my life. I’m fortunate in a lot of ways but I do feel trapped, as if in a cage. I read your post about being nice. I’ve always been a very nice person and it comes naturally for me. That’s not the fake part. The fake part is me having to pretend in other ways. I’ve opened up a bit – like a test. Sadly, it didn’t go very well. I’m not even making sense now. Why am I scared to read something uplifting? I have no clue. It causes anxiety suppose – which I do suffer from – for a very long time.

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      2. I may not be following, so let me clarify–are you saying you weren’t aware that your parents had divorced until one day in high school? Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’m sorry you feel trapped, and I hope you are able to pinpoint where that started from. With regards to my post about being nice, I hope that didn’t miss the mark. The article was meant to say how niceness isn’t a mark of Christianity. Surely there are people who are genuinely nice, but that doesn’t make them a Christian. That was the point of that article, and to express how joy is the mark of a Christian instead (joy, and hope).
        I’m also sorry that the idea of hearing uplifting news gives you anxiety. Is there anything I could try to answer for you, T? Anything you’d like to have someone attempt to uncover? I’m happy to help if I can.

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