I didn't learn the first time after challenging God, so I did it again.
I grew up in a "broken household," although I didn't know it at the time as I had nothing to compare it to. The only time I remember my parents getting along was when they went on a date when I was still too young to comprehend much beyond the fact that they were dressed up to go out and my sister and I were being left with a babysitter.
The remaining memories of my parents during my childhood consisted of them yelling at each other at the top of their lungs, the slamming of doors, my mom crying for some unknown reason, and then me crying in suit for no reason. We became a family that never hugged, never kissed, never showed emotion. We didn't talk about things. Everything was swept under a mysterious rug and ignored for decades. I coped by finding my joy in my independence and in video games.
One rainy night when I was a young teenager, my mom had come storming into my room yelling about something. I no longer remember the content, but I remember being furious at her for not understanding where I was coming from and not caring to try to understand. We had been going through a very difficult time where I was trying to branch out socially on AOL and AIM, and it felt like my mom was being way too restrictive with my time and what I was allowed to do. Inevitably, we fought countless times over that stuff, and the more we fought, the less she listened, and the less I cared.
Being driven to a point where I hated being around my mom, I couldn't stand the sight of her looming over me screaming while I curled up under my blanket. The anger fumed inside of me because I couldn't talk back or else things would get even further out of hand, and I was scared about what she or I would be capable of. She eventually stomped out and slammed the door, but not before driving me to the point where I was so angry that I had tears streaming down my face. I want to lash out and scream back so badly. In that moment, I wouldn't have cared if she died. It sounds terrible, but I also imagined unrealistic situations that would've given me an excuse to kill her so that I wouldn't have to deal with this anymore.
In a fit of rage, I turned to God. In my mind, I screamed, "Why GOD? WHY is this happening?!" And then...
I blamed Him.
"I HATE you! I F**KING HATE YOU!!! I hate you for ALL OF THIS!!! F**K YOU, God. F**K. YOU." I hated God with every fiber of my being. The rain had been pouring outside, but in this instant, as the last of that thought came into my mind, lightning filled the blinds of my window and thunder shook my room like I had never seen. The anger instantly disappeared and fear took over and paralyzed me. (Imagine nose-diving in an airplane where both the engines had blown out. That's the level of fear that choked me in that moment.) I don't know how long the room shook, but it seemed to go on and on and on like a rolling earthquake was trying to break down the walls around me.
I knew... God was answering me, very loud and clear, and He was PISSED at my disrespect. I immediately apologized for my attitude and promised NEVER to do it again. As quickly as my punishment had come when my mind uttered the words above, it ended as soon as I had finished my apology. The room settled down, the blinds stopped shaking, and the rain melted into a light pour outside my window.
I took a moment to soak it all in, not completely sure what had just happened. I had just had a ridiculous experience with God, right? I drifted off to sleep, calmer than I had been in a long time.
And I never dared to challenge God again.
Unfortunately for me, that wasn't enough to get me to fully commit to God. I let that experience slowly sink to the back of my mind. I had even forgotten about it for a time.
God was shaping me for something decades down the road, although there was no way I could know at the time. It wasn't for another 15 years or so before my relationship with my mom began to really improve. It took me that long to understand that she didn't necessarily have the tools to learn how to communicate with me effectively. I did suffer socially and in relationships for a very long time because of that, but I forgive her.
I've spent the last 8 years trying to rebuild the areas that had been lacking in my life with self-help books and lectures, etc. What I didn't know was that all of that could be supplanted by teachings from the Bible, but I'll go over that in more detail in the Fifth Pillar.