There are more than six billion people living on this planet, and most of them have their own opinions about G‑d.They also have a story behind their opinion…

My story begins with holding an American dollar bill for the very first time. As I looked at this little piece of green paper, my eyes fell on four words in small print: In G‑d We Trust. For a new immigrant from Communist Russia, those four words were immediately attacked by the intellectual mind—G‑d? Hah! Nonsense. Superstition. Religious propaganda!

My eyes fell on four words: In G‑d We Trust Up until that point, I had lived my life without any concept of G‑d, naively believing that I was the one in control. This kind of "life-style" worked for awhile, but then the ground started shaking, knocking me off the control seat. First, my four-year old daughter was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disease; then there was the sudden death of my best friend in a car crash. Without any religious foundation, I had nothing to hold onto, no place to scoop up my strength. Without faith, I was falling down into the deep dark tunnel of despair.

"What is the point of it all?" I questioned. Babies get sick, and people whom we love so much leave us. What happened to that wonderful life I knew as a child where everything was flowering and blossoming in the sunlight? It was gone, without any warning or explanation, leaving me trapped in an endless darkness, all alone, without any hope of finding the light again, ever. But I never suspected that the most brilliant light was patiently waiting for me at another end of this dark tunnel. This light revealed itself on one of the saddest days of my life— my grandma's funeral.

My beloved grandma, my loving babushka, seemed like the one who believed in something— some power greater than us; she even prayed. So when our Jewish neighbor gave us the phone number of the rabbi from the local Chabad house to conduct her funeral service, it felt right.

Grief-stricken, I am sitting at my grandma's gravesite, listening to this young and genuinely nice rabbi talking about how my grandma is still with us; how much she loves us and is watching over us from Heaven. He explains that her soul is eternal and now it has returned home, to its Creator, G‑d. I just stare at him, thinking: OK, I am a mess but he is the one who really needs help! What does he mean she's in "Heaven" watching over us and that she still loves us? Soul, Heaven, G‑d – what does he mean by that??

But then something strange happens. The rabbi starts rocking his body back and forth and singing in a language I don't understand: Hebrew. His voice reaches through the barriers of my mind and into the chambers of my soul, gently knocking at its doors. Magnificent sounds of Hebrew prayers wake my sleeping soul up, and its brilliant light pours heavenly balm onto my grief-bleeding wound. Suddenly, for a split second I feel calm and at peace, as if my grandma is reaching out to me and giving me the most precious gift— opening the door between dimensions, and letting G‑d in. And now, sitting at a funeral and staring at the steel-cold eyes of death, I feel G‑d's magnificent light shining upon me.

I find myself constantly battling between light and dark My awakened soul is starving for knowledge. It wants to re-educate my mind, to erase the old "program" of my atheistic upbringing and reveal the truth of my G‑dly nature. On my bookshelf, packed with mystery and fiction books, new kinds of books appear—spiritual and religious books. In my car, instead of window-shaking rock CDs, a rabbi's soft voice explains how to bring joy to body and soul. My husband's and my 'date nights' used to be movie- nights out but are now the Chabad-Kabbalah nights out. Like a sponge, my mind absorbs the truth of Judaism's teachings and in time, both my mind and my heart fill with G‑dly light.

But it turns out that the path of G‑dly living is hard work. I find myself constantly battling between light and dark, G‑d and ego. No wonder in Judaism the ego is called an animal soul. It truly is. Like a wild beast, it roars angry, fearful thoughts into my mind, and bites me ruthlessly with doubt. Every time I judge another, lose my temper or stay up all night worrying, I let the beast win. At times it even feels as if I am helpless against its deadly grasp, but deep inside I know that this is the reason I was born— to conquer the dark beast inside me, and let the light of G‑d triumph. But when I lose my hope, I find great relief in the Rebbe's words. They are my allies in this constant battle between light and dark, G‑dly soul and animal soul, heaven and earth. "You are the master over the animal within, not its slave. Just because it burns inside like a furnace doesn't mean you must obey."

That means, to tame the beast I need to pray for strength to try again, just one more time — one more positive thought, one more act of kindness, one more choice to have faith, one more commandment fulfilled. Every time I choose goodness, kindness, faith and love, I am choosing G‑d; and each small victory weakens the beast's grasp on me.