God First………..everything else after.

by JJ

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My wife and I grew up in Catholic households.  My wife and her family are more strict about their faith.  Me and some of my family members, not quite as much.  However, regardless of the particulars, the one certainty is that we always do our absolute best to keep God number one in our lives no matter what is happening.  

Let’s face facts for a minute.  We all have things going on in our lives.  Some of us have to worry about losing a job because of the current market conditions.  Some of us are dealing with lost loved ones due to cancer while others are trying to fight and beat cancer.  Some people are living, day by day, in a toxic and abusive relationship with a spouse or significant other and there seems to be no way out.  There are so many things going on with so many people, the list would go one for days.

My wife and I had so many things going on individually and as a couple that we could literally write a book.  My wife was adopted as a baby and dealt with many challenges that came along with the territory.  When she was in her low twenties, she had two large blood clots in her right lung to which she had been told that it’s simply amazing and a miracle that she even lived after that.  From emotional, mental and physical challenges, she still remains living a happy life putting God first.  Maybe putting God first is the reason why she made it past certain challenges in life.

My parents split up and divorced when I was younger.  Now that I am older, I feel that it was for the better.  They both remarried and ended up with spouses that are perfect for them and are now in a happier life.  At least for one of them.  My mom’s husband ended up committing suicide by hanging himself.  It was one of the most devastating moments in our lives.  He was such a wonderful man to my mom.  He treated her so well as if nothing else mattered in the world.  He was truly an amazing man to everyone.  I was working for my step-dad at the time and we worked from home.  I had just left my career of five years to work for his company as a client services manager.  So I moved back home with them and my wife and I made plans at that time for her to move down from Michigan to Florida so we can start our lives together.  At the time we were not married.

July 12, 2013 was a day I’ll never forget.  My step-dad was taking the money he was making from his already established and successful company and funding another company he was trying to start up with a partner in Chicago.  He put so much money, time, resources, energy, and everything else he had into both businesses.  He kept getting hit with curve balls every which direction and he just felt like he couldn’t get ahead.  Instead of paying for his mortgage, boat payments, association dues, the current month’s electric bill and other miscellaneous things that needed to be taken care of, he placed all of his cookies in one basket with a weak bottom which fell out from underneath him.   The late morning of July 12th he had hung himself.  He wrote a note explaining that he just couldn’t do it anymore and how sorry he was to have done such a terrible thing.  I honestly think that he did not have God in first place in his life.  I think he tried so hard to make other things come first, including my mom, his own sons and me plus his businesses that God wasn’t allowing him to prosper.  I truly feel that if he’d just take some time to pray a little bit, talk with God like He was your best friend, I bet dollars to doughnuts that things would have turned out a little different for him.

As for me, I ended up finding him that morning.  We had to be on a conference call to which I discovered him in his room.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at the time.  My body and mind just became paralyzed.  I had no idea what to do.  Not only did I lose a family member, I lost an employer, a career, a mentor and a piece of myself that day.  I wasn’t the same for a while.  My wife had moved to Florida two weeks after all this took place.  We didn’t let the current events hinder the original plan.  We kept moving forward and would try to make it work.  My wife and I had the worst year you could ever imagine after that happened.  I wasn’t myself for the longest time.  I was angry, upset, confused, numb and basically all the above.  She was dealing with the same loss as I was.  We all were.  We almost split up a few times because of it affected all of us in different ways.

As time progressed, I started reading the bible more.  I started to write in my gratitude journal more often and basically just wrote to God saying thank you for all the many blessings in my life.  I decided to start praying before meals with my mom and my wife.  We were still living in the same house he died in for almost a year after his death.  It was hard being in that house sometimes.  However, I started to make God number one.  I started putting God in first place and let me tell you something.  Amazing things started to happen to me and us as a whole.  We ended moving out of that house.  My wife and I were able to afford to be out on our own with two good jobs.  My mom was able to find a new home and started a higher paying job.  So many things started happening slowly but surely.

By making God first in our lives was and will always be the most important thing we will always do.  The more we make God a priority in our lives and put Him first, the more of his blessings we will start to experience.  Without God, you have nothing else.  Unfortunately, I lost one of my good friends because we disagreed on beliefs on the existence of God.  I’m not saying he is a bad person because he would give the shirt off his back for you.  He, sadly to say, feels that God is a made up fairy tale to make people feel good when bad things happen in life.

Regardless of your religion, if you put God first in your life, I truly feel that you will be blessed in so many areas in life, it will overtake you in the best way possible.  Remember, keep God in first place.