I have never been more terrified to write a blog post. In fact, as I type on the keys the word “stop” is running, no screaming, through my head. It’s about who I am, and the mistakes i’ve made in my life. It’s my testimony.
Before I get into this post, it is necessary to know some recent happenings for background purposes. For the past two months, I have had an urging on my heart to be more genuine with people, as well as be vulnerable with them. Well, simply put, this is terrifying. To be genuine with someone, and allow yourself to become vulnerable is to make yourself an open book. The reason why this is terrifying? Any and all information you tell someone could be used against you in a negative way. I don’t like this idea, but I know that this is what God wants me to do, so I began asking Him to help me.
He has guided me to new truths, and has really been laying it on my heart to share my story with people. For some reason I think He wants me to write a blog post about this, so here I am. It’s funny because this idea has been in my head for two weeks now, but i’ve been fighting it. But, last night, through many crazy series of events, I am positive that this is the right decision.
So, here we go (my apologies for the length).
During Christmas break of my sophomore year in high school I went to a Christian conference. During this conference, I was on an extreme Spiritual high. I was on fire for the Lord, my biggest desire was to spread His name, and to expand His kingdom. After this conference, I came home. It was 4 days until school started back up, and so my Spiritual high stayed. However, once I went back to school no one else was this on fire for the Lord (I went to a small, private Christian school). So, my high quickly went down. I started to get frustrated, seeing that no one really cared about advancing the Kingdom, and so I started to pray for my friends and that God would give them a “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6). But God didn’t. Everyone kept on living for themselves, no one was even willing to discuss God. So I became angry with Him. I told Him that if He couldn’t make my friends be more on fire for Himself and His kingdom, then He really must not be very powerful. So, I stopped pursuing Him. I turned my back on Him. Kicked Him to the curb, and set out on life by myself.
Not a good idea.
For the next two years, I made some decisions that I regret. I did some things that honestly, I wish I hadn’t. These choices I made had consequences, and I will have to live with these consequences for the remainder of my life.
One of my biggest struggles during these two years (my “two year slump” as I like to refer to it as) was depression. I felt totally alone, and everything in my life was going wrong. My friends didn’t really talk to me, or include me in invitations to hang out. School was really difficult, which made me stress over my grades, and fret over losing my 4.0 GPA. And I was fighting with my family a lot.
Because of all of this, I dove deeper, and deeper into myself; sprinting further and further away from God. I got involved with the wrong crowd of people, and began to smoke and drink. But this really wasn’t very fun, or satisfying, and it didn’t help me deal with the pain I was constantly feeling. I was alone, and no one understood me. Nothing was going right, and so I turned to a blade.
My hands are marked with many scars. I cut myself because it was the one thing that actually felt good in a world filled with pain and hurt. The adrenaline I received from self-harm was enough to get me through the days, weeks, and months to come for the next two years. I didn’t cut myself every day, or even every week. Sometimes I could get through by writing (venting) into a journal. I would write out all of the things that were going wrong, all of the junk that was happening in my life, and how much it ticked me off. Sometimes this satisfied my frustration, but usually it didn’t, so I would turn to the blade.
The funny thing?
No one observing my life would have noticed what I was going through…and they didn’t. No one, and I honestly mean this; no one knew what was going on inside of me. The pain, hurt, and depression I was undergoing, was being handled by me, in my way, entirely by my own methods. But I sure was one heck of an actress. Not even my family knew how depressed I was. They just thought I was stressed out because my high school is known for the junior year being the hardest academic year.
But I wasn’t stressed out. I was depressed. I was living my life for myself. I’d turned my back on God because I didn’t think He existed. After all, how could He? With all the pain and suffering in the world, if He did exist, why would I want to worship a God like that? So I didn’t. I walked through my life for two years without God, living life entirely for myself. Growing more and more depressed daily, diving more and more into myself.
One night, after a particularly awful fight with my mom, I locked myself into my room and gave up with life. Completely. I decided death would be better than the life I was leading. So I looked up ways to commit suicide: pills were too unreliable, my dads gun was under lock and key, and if I drove into oncoming traffic, it wasn’t a guarantee that I would die. So, I decided that I would drive to a park and hang myself on one of the swings.
So, I snuck out of my window at 2:30 in the morning, and drove to the nearest park. **Keep in mind: I have not touched a Bible in nearly 2 years** Upon arriving at the park, I stopped and randomly looked at my dashboard. On it was a book. But not just any book though, a Bible. It seems one of my friends had left it there when I had given her a ride home from school earlier. At this I became furious. I picked up the thing and literally started screaming at it, yelling at God:
“Okay, now You’re just mocking me. What do You think You’re doing anyways? It’s not like this book is even true! You have done nothing, absolutely nothing for me in the past two years! You took me to a dumb conference, got me excited about spreading your false truths, and then you didn’t answer my prayers! YOU ARE NOT A POWERFUL GOD!”
At this point I threw the Bible at my windshield.
It fell onto my passenger seat.
I looked at it and laughed. I thought,“Really? Now You’re just taunting me. You really want me to read that junk? Not like it’s true anyways, all that’s in that book is a bunch of lies. But sure, if You want me to read it, why not? Not like You’re real anyways.”
I picked up the Bible, and my eyes fell upon Isaiah 41:9,10:
“I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
My heart stopped.
“What?” That was the only question I could conjure. What.
God slapped me in the face and revealed to my heart the He was ALWAYS there. That He had chosen me, but I had turned my back on Him. Yet, He was still there. Waiting with arms wide open for me to run into. He had NEVER left me, but rather had been standing by me, calling out to me, and I had chosen to ignore Him. He would not make me choose Him, because His desire is not a puppet, rather He desires an intimate relationship with me.
My world was rocked that night. In the most wonderful, glorious, painful way ever.
I drove back home, crawled back through my window, and sat on my bed with a Bible open on my lap.
I sat on my bed and reflected on everything I had done during the past two years. I thought about every awful decision I made, every angry thought I’d had, but I was especially captivated by the scars on my hand. The marks that I had put there permanently. They stood out on my skin like a grass stain on white baseball pants. I felt sorrow, guilt, and regret. But God never allowed me to feel shame for the choices I made. He was there, whispering to my heart that I was forgiven. He had redeemed me when He died upon the cross. The mistakes I had made were completely done away with . When He looked down upon me, He didn’t see the mistakes I made in the past, but rather the redemptive blood of His Son.
God broke through the walls I had put up around my heart and myself. The place I had been diving into for the past two years, God broke into and destroyed.
So, for the past year and a half I have been urgently searching out the heart of God. I’ve been fervently seeking out His Wisdom, and I’ve been diving into His Word.
God is literally the reason why I am alive today. He slapped me in the face, and very blatantly told me that I am loved.
I know now that I am loved and cherished by the highest King. But for two years of my life I didn’t believe it.
For two years I turned my back on our Creator. I cursed His name and didn’t want any part of Him in my life. I journeyed through life on my own, apart from God, and I made some awful choices. I did things and made decisions that will literally stay with me for the rest of my life. There are scars that I will never be able to get rid of, both emotional and physical scars.
Depression doesn’t just go away though. I struggle with past temptations daily. But, rather than choose to embrace this sadness, I choose joy (this truth is confirmed here).
Life is full of ups and downs. Even in the midst of pain and death there is still life and joy. Do not let the darkness over come you. No matter what happens you will always be loved. Always.
Faith. Hope. Love.
But the greatest is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Life was an awful experience for two years because I chose to make it that way. Now I choose to make every day a wonderful experience. I smile because life is beautiful. I laugh because life is full of joy. I choose to smile and laugh often because I didn’t for a long time. I choose to live transformed.
What’s your testimony? Is there a struggle you’ve had in your life that God’s brought you out of? How do you live transformed? I’d love to hear your story or your thoughts on mine.