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The words you will read have been written over the course of five to seven years. The process has been healing. I wanted to go over my story again and again to come to a resting, peaceful place. I sought to write from a place of healing instead of bitterness and hurt. I did not take out parts because of pain; in fact, I kept them in. Hardship cannot be forgotten or ignored and when processed in community it can be a source of light to others walking through a similar storyline. Maybe one day, we can exchange war stories we have conquered and not wade in a pool of defeat and sorrow. For some people, like myself, it takes half a decade or longer to get out of the pool to start engaging from a healthy mindset.

Firsthand narratives involve more than author themselves. Personal stories are from the author with their perspective of a series of events. With this mind, and to state the obvious, my story includes other people: friends and family, who are both far and near and some whom I have little to no contact with. I do not write to call someone out nor out of a place of frustration. In reality, as I wrestled with my own brokenness, the mentioned persons, whom God has allowed to graciously place in my life, responded the best they could. I place no one at fault and do not want anyone to read it that way. I know I too have been a stumbling block or a point of frustration for others at some point during their own journey. To honor others, I’ve attempted to change names and dates in order to respect the privacy of others.

I never thought of dedicating this book, but it only seems fitting to do. I dedicate this book to my parents, brother, sister and their spouses and children. I have not had the hardest life by a long shot, yet I cannot imagine what it has been like watching me wrestle through this, and at times, so publicly. In retrospect, it has been as painful for you as it has for me. Thank you for your continuous love and support.

To my Jesus. I have prayed “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.” Yet, in my own humanity, I did not understand the cup you have given me nor did I want to drink from it. In fact, I only wanted you to take it away. Somehow, through your love, grace and mercy, I can now finish the prayer you once said before Easter Week, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Keep making me like you.

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