“May I never forget on my best day, that I still need God as desperately as I did on my worst day.” – Unknown
Now, on the polls on twitter, this topic never won. But this topic is so heavy on my heart that I feel like I am being called to write this. I don’t know how to start this. This will be difficult to write on and hard to form into words but this a story that I feel like everyone needs to read. I worked on this on and off for a week because some of this was just too heavy. This is a story about God’s healing.
God has not always been the center of my life or the obsession of my heart. My family didn’t go to church regularly while I was growing up and I learned about God in the basic sense, no more, no less. As a child, I remember wanting to go to church every Sunday, wanting to learn more and more about God and when I was in fourth grade, I checked out the Beginner’s Bible from the school library. Ya know, the exact one pictured… I’m sure most of you have seen it somewhere before or even read it. My mom was super proud of me for wanting to learn about God and I was proud of myself for finishing such a big book and enjoying it. I don’t know what happened after that, but I just never was totally on fire for God, and looking back, I guess it’s because no one else around me was either. That, and that I didn’t think I really needed Him then either.
Middle school came around and at sometime in eighth grade, I became depressed. Not just like, “Oh what a crappy day”, but like really depressed. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was always a happy kid and then all of a sudden, I had no interest in anything anymore. All I wanted was to be alone in my room and listen to sad music, which, I know, sounds super melodramatic and emo but I was like thirteen… so give me a break. But even more significant, the way I was feeling caused me to lose faith in God. I didn’t believe in God anymore because I didn’t understand why He would allow His children to feel this kind of pain. I know now that going through that was exactly what I needed.
These feelings continued to high school and time only made it worse. I began cutting myself with anything sharp and the anxiety in my heart was only rising. I felt like I was drowning and I couldn’t do anything about it. I remember laying in my bed thinking “There has got to be a better life out there. There is no way that this is what my life is supposed to be.” I began fantasizing about death. I honestly thought that killing myself would fix me. At this point, I think my parents knew there was something wrong with me but I don’t think they knew how bad off I was. One day, during my freshman year, I accidentally left my phone in my mom’s car when she dropped me off at school. (I know now that God intended me to leave my phone that morning.) Now, because I had been acting so different, my mom, who never had snooped around my phone or my room, looked at my texts on my phone and saw some messages I had sent to some friends talking about the way I was feeling. She picked me up from school that day, which was unusual because I always rode the bus, and she told me what she had found and my heart dropped. She brought me home and hugged me and we cried together and talked about getting help. My dad was working nights that night, and at 4:30 am when he got home, he woke me up. Now, my dad is the manliest man I know. He’s 6’3, muscular, tough, and I had only ever seen him cry a few tears at a funeral before in my life. On this day, my father hugged me as tight as he could and completely broke down. He told me how much he loved me and how sad all of this made him. I cannot even think about this memory without crying, five years later. We went and sat in his truck and he played this spoken word poem with a piano song in the background that he had found. (I included the link because I know how important this was to hear when I needed it most) And to this day, anytime I hear “A River Flows In You” played on a piano, I hold back the tears because it still makes me think of this moment with my dad.
At this point, my parents took me to a psychiatrist in Houston, 2 hours away from home, and I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and anxiety. I was put on medicine and recommended to see a therapist once a week. We went through a few therapists and found one that worked for me, and I seemed to be getting better with the combination of medication and therapy. Soon enough though, I began cutting again. My parents were heart broken and my mom brought me to a behavioral hospital for an evaluation. Going here, I realized that I was not better. We were there for what felt like forever and they told me that they thought it was best that they admit me. Which would mean that I would live there, in the hospital, as a psychiatric patient. I didn’t feel comfortable there, however, and my mom told the nurses and doctors that she would bring me somewhere else. She talked to my psychiatrist and they recommended a place that was about 3 hours away from where we lived. I would have to live there as an outpatient though, which would mean my mom would have to quit her job and she and I would live in an apartment 3 hours away from any family and I would spend all of my days at this hospital, go to school there, go to therapy there, etc. and then at night go home to my mom. My parents decided against this however, because I do have two younger brothers that my mom would be leaving behind. At this point, they raised the dosage of my antidepressants and I guess I was okay. I would still cut myself on occasion, but it wasn’t nearly as often.
The next year or so regarding this topic is very blurry. I still took antidepressants, I still went to therapy, only once every two weeks then, but I still wasn’t 100% and I was still cutting and my self confidence was at an all time low. Also, keep in mind, I’m still unsure about God at this point. Somehow or another, somewhere around my junior year, I came across a bible verse on pinterest. I read that one, and read another and another and another. I cannot express the feeling that I felt that night. I honestly felt God’s presence for the very first time in my life and I was so overwhelmed. I cried and cried and read about God until I fell asleep. I told my mom about what I had read and she took our family to church that Sunday. That morning, I knew that that was what love was. I was so consumed listening to the preacher talk so passionately about God and His love for us. I knew that I wanted to go to church every Sunday, and we did. Eventually, I eased off of my antidepressants, slowly but surely. Today, I take no medications and I have not had any symptoms of depression since I fully let the Lord into my heart. (I would also like to mention that I will be four years self-harm free on April 14 of 2017!!!)
I am so in love with God because I have experienced, first hand, what He can do. He can take the broken and the hurting and transform them into something beautiful. I can say that without God in my life, I would not be here today. I haven’t told this story since it all happened, and now I see how obviously God was working through it all. This is not all of my story, this is only the most important parts and after writing all of this, I have learned so much. I hope you take something from this story. If you are struggling with depression or anxiety, I hope you find comfort in this story and I hope that you pray tonight for a recovery. Our God is so forgiving, but you must ask for forgiveness and open your heart up to receive His forgiveness. My life today is so beautiful and I am so incredibly blessed and I thank God for giving me this life and for giving me to my wonderful parents and for allowing me to see all of these blessings. I am so beyond thankful to our awesome God for healing me when I didn’t even ask. “Tears are prayers too. They travel to God when we cannot speak.” God knows exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. I have come out of a terrible and dark time in my life so much stronger, mentally and spiritually, and I know now that that dark cloud in my life was a blessing in disguise. Without that time, I would not have been this close to God. I would not have this relationship with my Heavenly Father like I have now. If I had to, I would go through all of that mess again, just for the closeness that I have to God.
I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. 2 Kings 20:5
I am the Lord that heals you. Exodus 15:26
Daughter, go in peace and be freed from your suffering. Mark 5:34
He heals the wounds of every shattered heart. Psalm 147:3
Please, if you’re still reading this, please remember to pray tonight. Thank God for all of your blessings and pray for the broken and the hurting, please pray that they will find peace soon. Thank you so much for spending a little bit of your night, or day, with me. God bless.