My name is Josh R. I am 18 yrs old and I grew up in Tempe, Arizona in what you could call a less than normally functioning family. My mother and father divorced when I was the ripe old age of two. I lived with my mother, sister, and grandfather.

My mother was a party animal, and though I didn't find out until years later, smoked marijuana like it was going out of style. My sister and I had a horrible relationship, not just sibling rivalry, but extreme anger and bitterness towards each other. My grandfather was the only father figure I knew and he was a controlling abusive and bitter man.

I was a good child, I got good grades, knew right and wrong, and thought I loved God. I went to church each Sunday (Southern Baptist). Luckily, I was ministered to almost everyday by my aunt who was a born again Christian, and sometimes more of a mother than my own. She is the one that planted the seed that would change my life.

By the time I started high school I thought things were going well, I had met the girl of my dreams and was going to her Roman Catholic Church . Things were good but I was without God. He would soon shake me from my false sense of security. By the end of my sophomore year my world was on the brink of collapse.

My mom and grandfather had the biggest fight I had ever seen and next thing I knew we were homeless until family friends took us in. This however, was just the beginning. I had to work full time and attend school. I had to give up being a teenager and had to be an adult at sixteen. I never saw the girl I loved, never saw my friends, just school and work. From six in the morning until eight at night.

One night I lay in bed in a room that wasn't even my own and broke down. I couldn't do it anymore, it was just too much for a kid to handle. I burst into huge heaving sobs, I was alone, fighting a battle I had no idea how to fight. But just then I felt the Lord tugging on my heart, and he simply said " Trust me." And I did, I accepted Christ and put my trust in him and my life started to come together. He got us our own apartment and strengthened me.

I had always heard the phrase "God works in mysterious ways," but now I understood it. Everything I went through, the pain and heartache was His way of drawing me to Him. And I don't resent Him for it, I love Him for it.  Because His power was made perfect in my weakness.

By now I was starting my new walk, and had long since realized the lies of the Catholic Church and had the dubious task of pulling my girlfriend of two years out of there. I not only had to face the teachings burned into her brain, but had to face her "Super-Catholic" family as well. For months I tried and tried but to no avail, until I realized that I had forgotten who my partner was. It was the Lord! I once again put it in His hands and He ministered to her heart and she left the Catholic Church.

By now I had the joy of the Lord in my heart. Then one day I felt the Lord speaking to me again. He told me to marry that girl. So on November 19, 2000 I proposed and she accepted. I felt that this was the woman the Lord had picked out for me.  She was my rock and love during my hard times. I was so happy! 

Now it may sound like a happy ending but its not over yet. God still wanted to hammer home a point to me. It was April 2001 and I was just a month away from graduating high school. I was driving to school and thinking about the coming of the Lord and BAM!!! I start sobbing and almost lose control of the vehicle. The Lord at that moment convicted my heart. He told me I was His forever!

Well two months later in June 2001, I married that girl, everyone said were too young (18 yrs). But we don't care, because we share a love based on the Lord!

The moral of this story is so profound yet simple. Trust God.

It may not sound like much, but He will work miracles and open doors right before your eyes.

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