Dawn Doyle’s Story

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I Was Lost

 

Running along a beach in the Arabian Gulf, feeling lost and alone, I picked up speed, as if pursued by a devil. Running, running, as fast as I could, sweat poured down my face, my feet sinking into the soft sand. I couldn’t run fast enough. Faster, faster, faster…

It must have been 48 degrees Celsius. Feeling faint, feeling sorry for myself, feeling depressed…I just couldn’t shake off these horrible feelings, no matter how fast I ran.

What was I doing? Where was I going? My mind raced as I ran. No matter how fast I ran, no matter how I went over and over the recent events in my life, I could find no reprieve.

I was at the end of myself.

On the outside, my life looked amazing. I had a great teaching job in an all-girls school in Kuwait, in the Middle East, with wonderful high school students eager to learn. One of my grade twelve girls had organized a weekend retreat at her family’s chalet on the Arabian Gulf. A wealthy family, their chauffeur had driven twelve of us in their van out to the chalet, with enough food to feed an army.

Leaving the girls watching a movie, I donned my running gear and headed out for a jog along the beach. Yes, I was ok on the outside: healthy, fit, good income…but I was a mess on the inside. All my adult life I had been searching for the perfect man, the perfect man for me. I had married at 17, had three beautiful children; but that relationship ended in divorce as we each grew in different directions, having married too young. On through my 30’s and 40’s I had dated different men, always searching for that perfect man.

At the age of 50 I decided to travel and teach. And here, in Kuwait, in the Middle East, I thought I had finally met the man of my life. I had fallen in love with a Chief Warrant Officer in the United States Marine Corp. Here’s the perfect man for me, I thought: responsible, a divorcee with grown children, a world traveller, dedicated to his country. But after a year of hiding his true self from me, I discovered he was a very sick person, addicted to…well…to many things: alcohol (recovered), gambling, coffee, smoking, pornography.

And yet ---and yet --- he told me he believed in Christ, that he was a Christian! As a child I had been baptized and confirmed a Protestant. I knew about God, I knew about Jesus, but I was not a Christian…and besides, who wanted to be a Christian like this officer, living the toxic life of an addict? I wanted none of it.

And that was my dilemma. That was my conflict. He kept wanting me to believe in Jesus; he kept insisting I become a Christian. He kept talking about how God wanted me to believe. His belief was like another obsession for him. The last thing I wanted to do was to become like him. His insistence was driving me crazy. His beliefs and lifestyle just did not fit; he said one thing and did another. He talked of Jesus being the Truth, the Light and the Way…yet here he was, after work, day after day on the computer, delving into things that made me feel sick.

I had to get away; I had to distance myself from this madness, this insanity. And so I accepted the invitation to go out to the Arabian Gulf with my students.

The day was March 29 2002… a day that was to change my life forever.

As I picked up speed along the beach, feeling totally lost and hopeless, running faster with each negative thought that flew through my mind, I suddenly yelled out to God: “Why? Why do you want me to believe in Jesus?”

Running into the water, and falling to the sand on my knees, I cried out again, “Why God? Why do you want me to believe?” And suddenly, and clearly, He answered me.

 

”BECAUSE HE IS MY SON.”

 

Those words, that moment, changed my life.

Here, in a Muslim country, in the Arabian Gulf, I became a follower of Christ.

For years I had been seeking the perfect man in my life; the perfect man for me. And here He was, right in front of me. Jesus Christ. The perfect Man. The Son of God. A man who represents all that is good and decent and right.

It was for me an awakening, a rebirth of my spirit, a restoring of my soul, an act of faith, and I cried tears of joy and splashed salt water on my face and felt cleansed.

And you know, when I walked back to shore, I felt different. I felt beautiful, light yet filled with the Holy Spirit…not ugly and ashamed and tormented.

 

I no longer felt lost. I was found. Found by the Son of God. I no longer was blind, but I could see, truly see that He loved me, that He wanted me to follow Him, that He wanted me to believe in Him, to have not only a life in eternity, but a new life in Him. Born again, I accepted His invitation, an invitation full of the most amazing love and grace.

I would love to say my life with the officer worked out; that my newfound beliefs encouraged him to truly live the life Christ wants us to live, free of the chains of addiction. But that did not happen. We sought counselling, and in the end, when asked to choose a wife or his addictions, he chose the latter. But I do feel thankful that indirectly he led me on a journey to Christ in the Arabian Gulf.

 

I was lost…but now I’m found…

God truly works in mysterious ways.

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

Lean not on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him

And He will make your path smooth.”  Proverbs 3: 5-6

 

Dawn Elizabeth Doyle

February 2019