Chapter 5 Time

Being with my father made so much sense to me now. I was talking with my mom just over the weekend and she said something that was so profound to me. She told me that I have always been different. I am not the type of person that fits into a cookie cutter box. She said the word weird in there too. Haha but that is actually a fair statement to have to be honest. I know I am different and occasionally weird. I hear that from some of my closest friends. Some actually come out and say that I am weird and some use the term funny. But the one thing she said that really hit home was that she didn’t have the time to give me to nurture that part of me. Being with my dad I was essentially the only child.

My father had my two brothers from a previous marriage.They were pretty much adults when I came to live my dad. I didn’t see them much, but that was something that was out of our control as far as sibling control goes. I guess the point that I am trying to express is that my father had the time to give me. Although, My step mom was the one I spent most of my time with along with my grandparents. I love my Grandparents. Granny and Granddaddy. They all had time for me, and they did nurture those things about me that are ” weird.”

I don’t know how to be a “normal,” human who does things that are expected of them. I am not that person. I have always known in my heart that I am meant for so much more. I wasn’t given the gifts that I was just to let them fade away into world of “Hopes and Dreams.” I am not afraid to do the things that are outside the box. So many of us don’t reach what we are really meant to do. Most people do what the world expects them to do. I do what I am instructed to do by my creator. In an other words I listen to my heart. Or as my mom said over the weekend that I go the beat of my own drum and I take that as a compliment. So many times my mom has said how she wished she would have done what she  dreamed of. During the course of this last year alone, I have had so many questions about life, and what my real purpose is. I am one of the lucky ones that knows what I am meant to do. I just have to do the work to accomplish that. I am blessed to have the opportunity to make that happen. I have thought many times over if things hadn’t turned out the way they had, would I still have this same revelation. Probably but I wouldn’t execute it because I was defining my life based on what the world wants me to do. You know the routine.

  • Get up and look presentable for the world
  • Make the coffee
  • Go to work and make a small difference in the world
  • Secretly hate the job you have
  • Remind yourself to be grateful you have a job
  • Pay bills
  • Secretly die inside wishing you had done something different in your life

Yes, that was a low of lowest of lows of what some people deal with everything. I can hear the same things said when I bring something like that up, because people tell me all the time that not everyone has the luxury of writing a book like I do. Or whatever else they have said. Or the other half who tell me how blessed I am and how it inspires them to do something they have always dreamed of doing. Well Let me tell you something.I used to be that person who struggled with paying my bills on time, working dead-end jobs, or working really good jobs and something happens, being a single mom for a little while. I know the struggle but my dreams haven’t changed and it’s because with my father I was given the attention I needed to hold on to what I have wanted to do all my life. That is to write. That doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle to accomplish those same things as the next person. I don’t judge people because its not my job to do that, and furthermore I don’t know what they are going through. They may have some things that they are going through just like me. You just don’t know what people are going through is all I am saying.

While with my father, he and my step mom bought me my first journal. I have written in a journal but it was a notebook and I would end up using it for something else. So before we went on vacation in Jamaica, I was given that journal. That was the start of the actual life story being put into paper. I was encouraged to write about everything and anything, and what a better way than in Jamaica. I still have that journal, and all the memories of going to Jamaica. Y’all let me tell you if you haven’t gone there GOOOO!!

I had so much fun there. I was afraid of the ocean. I am way too small of a human and that is poop ton of water. NO thank you! I still don’t like the big bodies of water. My dad did take me swimming in the ocean. I didn’t get far in the water because I was too scared. I am okay with that. I respect the ocean. Haha. I enjoyed writing about the canoe ride my step mom and went on. It was so beautiful but I was humbled that day. We had made a pit stop along the river. There was a swing on a tree there. So I sat on the swing just so I could admire the clarity of the water that was beneath my feet. That was until I was so far in my own mind about all the stories I had going in my mind about the water. It was so beautiful as it covered my entire body I felt one with the water in that moment. I felt the sand between my toes and how warm the water was. I came up for air and got out of the water. I had fallen in and now soaking wet.

I had bad luck with water where ever there was water. Side story here. Almost all ( minus one) the field trips I had in Texas that involved I fell in somehow. I was accident prone when it came to water. We were on a field trip to the space/science museum in I think Ft. Worth and there was this huge landscape of water but you could walk on the sidewalk thingy’s ( I don’t know what they are called) and I was proud of myself that I hadn’t fallen in. My step mom was there on that trip, she even warned me not to run like the other kids because I would fall in. I didn’t listen. This game of tag was awesome!! But I fell in!! I was covered in this weird green and white sludge stuff from all the plants that were growing there. Oh and WET!! I was used to the embarrassment of being wet during the rest of the past field trips, but not this one. Mystic mom asked the staff there if they had something I could wear instead. Guess what they did. A beat up old NASA jumpsuit. I had to undress there and put that on without shoes. I was grateful that she did that, but now I had a new thing for everyone to talk about. The electric light show was next on the itinerary. I was paranoid the whole time that I was going to get shocked because I was wet. Insert your favorite eye rolling emoji here because what did I know. That is why we were there right?! To learn these things from the professionals! Ok back to our regular scheduled program.

My step mom made the same face when I came out of the water! Haha oops. We boarded the sugar cane stalk made raft and continued forward, and out of no where on both sides of the river, children and women came running to the raft to sell their self made things to make some money. I didn’t understand. I asked my step mom why they were dressed in basically rags and shirts with holes. She told me that they were very poor and they are trying to make some money. While this was all happening the raft operator was yelling at these kids to get away, and pushing them.

I was given a Jamaican 100 bill. I gave it to a little girl who had wanted to sell a raft made of sticks.She gave me flower she just picked from the side of river as a thank you. Who knows if it actually helped but I was given the chance to think if I wanted to give it up or not. I chose to give it to them. It was so heartbreaking to me. Homeless here in the US is bad but it looks totally different there in another country. Homeless and less fortunate all have one thing in common. They need help. I want to be that help for that family.

I was told later on that in Jamaica that you are either rich or poor. There is no in-between for them. And so many of their people are poor end, but they are a happy humble people. They touched my heart more than they will ever know. I was going to save that 100 bill as a keepsake. Even though at the time it was worth four dollars in the US. To me I did the right thing. I have always gave when I could even when I couldn’t.

It is for those moments I am grateful that I was given the chance to give. I am often criticized for being a bleeding heart but that is who I am. That is something that won’t change about me. #notsorry My father and step mother I think were proud of me. I am not sure but I am proud of myself. I hadn’t seen anything like ever since that time.

So time, because that is what I am talking about here. The time that my father and step mom gave to me was not ever wasted. I learned a lot of things about who I was in those moments, and because of the time given I was able to really grow. Time is still an issue for me. I see time in a whole new way these days. Well maybe not new but in a fresh way that I try not to waste it. Time is the only asset we really have on this planet. Why waste it on things that are out of our control, or on things that don’t make our souls happy, or on things that we have no business being in? That is how I see time. I see it as I have one go at this thing, I was blessed with new ways to see this blessing and doing the things that mean something to me and serve others. Life is to have a deeper purpose than your every day-to-day task lists. Leave room to live! Leave room to experience things. I can’t wait for those things to come my way. I love that I know in my heart that they will happen for me because of my hope, faith and love of my dreams. I am practicing everyday to experience small pieces of my dreams come to life.

My writings to you are a gift. Not only for you but me too. It really all started with that one journal. The first of so many. I give it all to God. He made this season in my life at that point a place for me to grow. That is why everything happened the way it did. I am so happy to hear that mom over this last weekend said what she did. I feel like that was the first time that she really acknowledged in a positive way who I am. I feel that part of her is really happy that I am who I am and she’s unashamed of me, more over that she is no longer feeling shame for not being able to provide that to me as a child. Which is huge to me, because that is the last thing I want my mom to feel. Her seasons with me weren’t easy life lessons, and my father had seasons of teaching me in new ways to grow. Both were equally important.

At the end of my time in Texas my father showed me part of his shame that he carried. He and my step mom were getting a divorce. He blamed me for it, and that I would be moving back with my mom. Before I moved back with mom he showed me an ugly side of him that I haven’t ever seen. He threw their divorce/ custody court papers in my face. Like I knew what all that lingo meant?! I sat there crying as he slaughter my moms very existence and how I am just like her. I just ruin things. I think I may have been triggered or something because I just couldn’t hear anymore awful things about my mom. I just yelled that I wanted to kill myself. I felt that I was the biggest mistake to my parents. It was because of me they hate each other, and why their lives are so hard.

So my dad went into his room and came back with a small revolver in tow. He handed to me and said then do it. Just pull the trigger Kristal. I looked at the gun and then him. So many new questions are going through my head. I don’t know who to believe anymore. I don’t know who to trust. One thing is clear my dad was crazy thinking this was a good idea to hand me a gun. I don’t even know how to use it much less kill myself with it. I thought he was crazy at this moment. I went to my room and died a little inside and probably had a panic attack.

He later apologized for his actions and believe it or not that was not traumatizing for me as much as you think it would. What was traumatizing was the crappy things said about my mom. I knew at that moment that they both had put me in the middle of their crap. I vowed from that moment forward I would never put my kids through such a thing when I had kids. Secondly, I would be moving back to New Mexico with my mom. She is now married to a great man at this point in her life. Maybe things would be different now. I would be starting middle school after that summer. We said our goodbyes and I was sad and happy. I knew that might be the last time I would see my step mom. She means so much to me. I unconditionally loved that woman and I would see my dad soon.

I was back on the road to New Mexico with my sister and my mom. A new chapter begins.

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Broadening Horizons. 

Today’s post is a little different. It’s something that is on my heart right now. I feel inspired and must share. 
A year and some change ago I attempted suicide. Yes let that sink in a little bit. It happened. I finally hit that low. And I will say this. When that sharp object was slicing through my skin I was so calm and everything around me was quiet. Peaceful. 
So many people are curious as to why someone would want to commit suicide. Which is usually followed by harsh statements on how selfish it is and how much pain we would put our family through. I can only speak for myself but when I heard those things it was only solidifying why I was attempting suicide to begin with. 
Suicide ideation is such a crappy term. I learned about this term as a few others to add into my mental illness resume. I say that very facetiously. I was given a diagnosis shortly after I was put in a very nice treatment center. 
I was angry at first that I was put there. I agreed to go after I was already forced. Ha-ha. My condition got so bad that I couldn’t even talk on the phone or go outside. I couldn’t talk to people. All those things and so much caused me so much stress an anxiety that it would send me into a fit almost with just the thought. 
So what got me to that point you ask?
Well it was a few big things that happened in succession in a course of a year. All starting with the end of a job title and being promoted into another job title. To being away for three weeks away from my family for training. Then to been so busy at work that I am not home. Then my grandfather passed away. That was the beginning of the end for me. 
So many things that felt so unbelievable was happening all at once. I didn’t realize that I was experiencing PTSD. That every single thing that happened to me and my family that year was all recall of things I had suppressed. I thought I had a better handle on my life than that. I mean you all will know more of these things that triggered me soon enough. 
After I have attempted suicide I felt like a newborn and not knowing a F-being thing!! I didn’t know who I was anymore. Who am I? Every day since then is a new day and new way to see the world. To not deal of things of the past but to keep moving forward. 
But the question remains the same or the attitude that comes why I attempted suicide. How could I possibly do that to my family and my children. Well the answer is simple. For me anyway. It was because I believed so strongly that I was the problem and the cause of problems. In my mind if I am the problem I will get rid of the problem. 
Although I am super grateful that my family supporting me and still do from that moment but I still had to take the steps myself to get better. 
I had to make a real committed choice to get better and believe in myself in my journey that I can do this. After a fews days into treatment I had hope. That was until I got my real diagnosis then I was pissed off but it’s only taken a year to say that and accept it. Ha-ha I agreed with most of the diagnoses but not the big one. I won’t reveal that now but it’s still too fresh for me. 
But for now every day I make a choice to get out of bed, to eat, to developed my skills, to learn who I am, to take care of others, to get guidance, to ask for help, to make new friends without fear of rejection or abandonment, to approach life with new eyes, to pray and give my worries to God if I have worries. All those things are choices. Every day is a new fight for my life. This is not always an easy road of recovery but I am recovering. I have good days and bad moments of parts of the day. 
I am learning that I literally have the whole world to explore. I have life!!! Life to broaden my world. I have been given this life to live it as full and complete as possible. I have been given tools to use to do exactly that. 
Some things that try to hinder this process is other people. Other people who may not know me and people that do know me will discourage what I want to do. It sounds too unsafe and not traditional way of life. I am a writer. You know how long it has taken me to say that?!!! But when I would try it on other people would tell me discouraging things. ” That’s not going to pay the bills!” Well you know what neither is me being jobless because I don’t fit in. It’s not what I am meant to do. 
I may be really awesome at my job but that is not what I am supposed to do with my life. God has shown me a piece of my future. It just made my mustard seed of faith grow larger and even more since that moment. I trust that God knows exactly what I am to do with my life. It’s my job just to obey and do. Life makes sense to me now. 
God has told me to write. Just write Kristal. Every time I have talked to God about my worry of making money to live he reminds me to trust in him, that he will provide just write Kristal. Or if I ask him if I am good enough. The love that washes over me tells me that I am and just write. 

I haven’t been so secure in a choice that involved my career but this makes sense to me. It fits who I am. I don’t quite know who Kristal is yet all the way but I can tell you that my past doesn’t define who I am. My past is what I have gone through. And it’s my testimony that will help someone else. It’s my testimony that I didn’t get this far on my own. I was given a new beginning by allowing my old me to die that day that I attempted suicide. That person does that day and Kristal is emerging from that moment. Everyday I have learned so much about myself. 

I had so many people come into my life to help me get to God. I will explain that also on another day. But today I am just In Awe that I have a life to experience and experiences awaiting for me to arrive! And also that I have to guard my heart, discern, and do all things for the glory of God. 

I am sure that this sort of topic makes some people uncomfortable. But maybe just be open minded and see that He changed me and saved me. And look right now I have been adding to my growing bucket list. My world is expanding. Growth is great!! 

 

Chapter 3 Wait… I have a Dad too?

So by the time that I was five years old. I have experienced so much already. There was a moment in my moms daily life with that she decided that it was time that my dad start being in my life too. My mom had this moment of recognition when my sister left for her dads again. She said that I was standing there at the door as usual and I guess I told that I must have a dad that loves me.

This actually broke my mom’s heart. She recalls the moments as tears are filling her eyes. She did a very selfless act and tracked my father down.  She had to go through many of people that have hurt my mom because of my dad. As she tells me more about the story I see a woman who has been deeply hurt and has kept those things to herself. She tells me that even though she would have rather raise me alone than to share me with my father.

I didn’t know the full extent of why she felt this way about my dad. I was young my mind isn’t going to understand adult issues. I know more now and it is so much more than what I expected. I will say this though. You have to love someone so much to hate them as much as my parents hated each other.

So back to the selfless act that my mother did. She tracked my father down and arranged a visit. I would soon be on a plane flying to the big D! Dallas. What a wondrous place.

You know for a young child who just discovered that she actually had a father I was more in awe that I had a step mother. Man was I lucky girl that summer. So many new things happened to me that I may have been on an overload of information.

I mean I flew in a plane for the first time. My mom bought me gum for the flight, she packed me things to do, and made sure that I had my name badge draped over my neck. Thinking about it from as a mom now, I will be honest, me sending my young child on a plane alone would be F-ing scary. That is putting a lot of trust into many people to take care of your child. Blind trust= faith on a whole other level! I earned my wings. You know the plastic wings that they hand to all children who fly. I always sat in first class. I remember just enjoying peanuts looking at all the clouds. I actually thought that the clouds would actually feel like pillows and hold me up. I later shared this thought with my sister and she ruined that for me . Haha, she told me that I was stupid for believing such fairy tales. That if I were to ever touch or sit in a cloud that I would fall to my certain death.  ( you see what I mean by not having a tribe to keep me accountable) Even though she was right, I still wouldn’t back down from what I thought.

Flying then was a true fun experience. All kinds of people, all around all the time. Coming and going. I now am one of those many people who are going to and fro. I was lucky that this was happening. Although, I didn’t know it at the time. I was just excited that I had a dad waiting for me on the other side.

I came out of the terminal with the tall lady holding my hand and she securely handed me over to my father. He held me tightly, I savored this moment. I was being held. Just think about that…. being held. Can you feel the security and the affection that person holds for you. You are wrapped in their arms and the whole world is quiet for those moments. Think about how many times a day we don’t hold each other. Well for me as a child I craved those things. I craved being held and cuddled with. To be kissed. I didn’t have that with my mom. That was something that she wasn’t raised with. I often think how many times in her life she just needed to be held and shown that she was loved with a simple gesture. That thought alone brings tears to my eyes.

He let go of me and pulled his wife close to him and I met my step mother. We clicked immediately. She presented me with a gift. A wind up ceramic clown. I still have that clown. It is very special to me. It went pretty much everywhere I went that summer. I got to spend a lot of time with them both, and so many others from that side of family. That summer I spent a lot of time in the pools, eating the most delicious ham sandwiches, riding in a Model T Ford truck, playing with my cousin Amanda in the Ft. Worth heat, having carmel popcorn with my Granddad and learning how to sew with my Granny, and lastly crying all the way to Wichita Falls to visit Granny Burt.

So many hugs and so much affection. So many gifts. I belonged with these people. You know things made sense to me. The way they spoke me, or corrected me, I felt secure. My dad was a funny guy. He played with me. He showered me with simple things like just holding me until I fell asleep. My step mom painted my toes, she made jokes about how men were pigs and ladies are ladies. The voice she said it in made me laugh every time. We would take showers together and we were two hams, singing as loud as we could. She showed me how to take care of myself by loving myself. I would switch back and forth between everyone for all this love, but I was never far my dad. I would soon have to return back to my mom.  I wish I could stay here with them.

Little did I know all the complications that were going to come from these moments with my dad. Not only for myself but for my mom too. When I came home I was full of life and couldn’t shut up about all the things that I did that summer. Things were so different between the two houses. HUGE!!! Even though my mom was supportive of my experiences, she would be waiting for the other shoe to fall with my dad. I am sure that it was a constant worry for my mom now that I spent time with him

I would eventually talk about my dad all the time. I didn’t know that I was causing my mom stress and anxiety. Maybe jealousy and feeling like I was an ungrateful child. Then visitations seem to be a regular thing now and my mom was getting a little more frustrated with the topic of my dad. I started really acting out. But not only just because my dad was in the picture but I started trying to figure out why my parents acted the way they did with me and how it was confusing to me. Who was I? Who were they? Who were they to me?

I started asking questions. It was like the pandoras box of things that I was to young to really understand what their points of view were. I did gather one thing, they hated each other.

My mom decided to transfer all of us kids to a different school district. A much nicer school system I might add. I for the most part fit in with those children. They were a lot like me as far as witty, smart and just well rounded of awesome. I am biased though, I really liked all the kids there and the teachers.

My previous school wasn’t so nice. Kids there had a different set of codes to live by. It was survive or die. Roughing it out kinda of thing. School of eat or be eaten. haha Even the teachers were so unhappy there it felt like. They didn’t as attentive to students. For instance I was telling my second grade teacher about my mom and nothing happened. I am not saying that I wanted my mom to get into trouble, but we were learning about ” good touch bad touch, and ‘if anyone is hurting you at home, we are here to help’ or ‘ Stop child abuse.”  with a toll free number to call. So really I was just taking my education that was just taught to me in class to reach out to someone. But at this new school I wasn’t going to say anything. I just might make some friends. Which I did, it helped that I had a cousin who was going to the same school.

What made me kind of uncomfortable was that I was not as smart as these other kids. I struggled, and this was too much for my mom. That is what my perception is anyway. I learned how to spell Knock after my first time encountering vocab night with my mom. Haha Oh my gosh the stories about vocab nights. My mom was something else when it came to education. She made it very intimidating to ask for help. Anyway I am getting off track a little bit.

So I had this math teacher. Ms. Davis. Man she was a great teacher. Intimating at times only because I didn’t understand the operations that she was teaching. She observed a lot. That also made me weary. She asked me to stay behind in class. I was actually scared. All my class mates left to go to lunch and I was stuck here with her. I wonder what she is wanting from me.  So many thoughts were running through my mind. This whole situation is making nervous.

She asks me to sit down, and she asked me if something was wrong. Well that is a loaded question. I didn’t know what to say. Then she asked me why I was behind in math and turning in my homework. These were hard questions for me. I was a little defensive. I didn’t want to say that night before my mom got mad at me because she didn’t understand why they were teaching pre-algerba to a third grader. Needless to say I hadn’t turned in my homework because I don’t get and can’t ask for help at home. Then she hit me the what she really wanted to know.She asked me if I was being abused at home, and not to be afraid of saying anything. That I was safe.

Well this is a moment of discernment for me. Do I trust that this teacher is really going to help me or is she going to be like the last teacher who caused more of an issue for me? Those questions were tossed in my head for too long, because the subsequent statements of encouragement helped me in my choice. I decided to talk about it. After telling her my life story with my mom, she comforted my the best way she could. She empathized with me the best she could. She gave me affirmations that it was a good thing for me to have told her. She also told me that she had a feeling that something was happening at home.

Later on that day, I was talking to two other people in the office about what I told my teacher, and I just told them everything that happened. That mom was so pissed at me because I didn’t make it back to her boyfriends house when she asked me to, so she left me there and went home. Which was in the next town over. About 30 minutes away. You would think that I would be used to her leaving me but it was something that never felt good. When she drove all the way back to get me and she was furious with me. She made a lot of blind threats with the exception of being grounded. She took away dinner from me as well. I know now that she was pissed but then I just thought that she meant what she said. I mean its not like my mom and I had a solid foundation of trust. So in that office I was singing like a canary. I just thought WOW someone is actually listening to me. I didn’t know it was CPS!!! oopsie my bad.

I went to the library to wait for someone to pick my up, and when I saw my mom. She was mad and I didn’t know what about. That is when I found out that those people I talked to called my mom and told her that she was being investigated for child abuse. This was F-ing confusing to me. Who do I trust??? Who am I? I mean think about it…. I get in worse trouble when I am being honest, but nothing happens when I lie? Who, what, where how am I do be??? Who Am I Really?? For crying out loud there is no winning. I am just not worth this trouble, because that seems to be all that I am at this point in my life. I am confused as to what is right and wrong.

I was honest with CPS about everything I said to them. I am a great story teller, so maybe I made the impression that I wasn’t suppose to? I don’t know, I just know that my mom blames me if she loses her job for my “false” story to these people. I mean I told them EVERYTHING!! Then she lays it on me…. KRISTAL YOU ARE MOVING WITH YOUR FATHER. I CANT HANDLE YOU ANYMORE. I AM AFRAID I MIGHT JUST KILL YOU.

Cool. That was probably the best news I have heard! I didn’t get to say bye to anyone. She literally put on a plane the next day. haha Things changed for us both. I feel that she made a great choice.

I know I talk more about my mom from my early years. She was the one that was there. She was the one taking care of me. I feel that sometimes kids take things out on the parent that is actually there everyday. They take them for granted. That is my opinion. I am not saying that the things I am talking about define my mom. My mom is my mom. She gave me life. Very cliche I know but its the truth. Now that I know my dad, I feel that the grass is greener on the other side. That just shows that I didn’t know what was really there for me on that other side. Almost everyone has had those moments of thinking of the grass is greener, but that is because of something they are lacking, or things that were presented to be better with that person or people. Whatever it is. In my case it was my parents.

I mean I have only known my dad for a small amount of time. The time that I had with them was brief. That is not how life was going to be all the time. I didn’t know that. Before I left my mom, brother and sister my mom told me that I have put my dad on a pedestal and I would learn who he really was. Of course she was angry, hurt, feeling betrayed, sad, rage, disappointment and relief. This was new start for the two of us. This was another selfless act that my mom did and something she needed to do for her own sanity. I know I didn’t help her condition. I feel that my mom like so many others back then didn’t talk about depression, postpartum depression, or any mental illness. I mean a lot of people did NOT talk about that sort of thing. Unfortunately, that still is the case.

My mom was raising three kids on her own, with little to no help from our fathers. She was our soul provider. She took the brunt of everything that happened. The sad part is that  we didn’t know what was going on with mom. My mom was carrying the weight of her world and I was just focused on mine. I feel that she was suffering from all these things and said nothing. Just held it all inside. Then lashed out. She didn’t have an outlet maybe? I am not sure if there were real help or tools to help with such things.

I know for me what helped me through all of this up to this point was God. My dad had given me a bible. My Grandparents from both sides and my dad taught me things about God. He seemed totally trust worthy. I talked to him all the time when I younger. I would tell him how I felt like a curse. How I just wanted my mom to be happy. I wanted to see my dad. How I wanted to be loved and cherished. I wanted to be worthy of love. I would talk to him like he was my friend. He guided me. I would open my bible with no real understanding of His Word, but man I was hungry to know Him and I didn’t even know it. I really saw God as my friend.