If I were to tell you my Testimony as a Christian one year ago, I am not sure I would tell you the same thing that I would today. I am going to walk you along my journey, my testimony, and how my testimony has changed.
You see, for the longest time I thought my testimony was related to 9 year old-16 year old me who was depressed and self harmed. The me that was bullied, ridiculed, and a danger to myself. I would have told you about the girl with no passion, no want or desire to be alive. I would have told you about a person who put up a fake front and lost touch with herself and the world. See the me that I was in the 7 year time span that my life just seems to be a black hole was a different me. I stopped going to church, I stopped working hard at school, I pushed my friends and family away, and I lost who I was because I was not being anyone. I was a body, pretending to live while dying inside. This happened to me in a time when I cut off my connection with God and shut the door on him and myself.
I find it funny how the people in our lives are the people God puts in our lives. I met my current, and closest friend in 10th grade. (Though we later found out we went to the same daycare together for 2 years, had the same friends, but have no memory of one another). Bear in mind that I was in “The Before” stage of my life. Well, she invited me to her church one night to help with the two year old class that she taught. Hesitantly I went, and that was the beginning of how my life changed. Sometimes God uses those around us to influence our lives. During a time in which I shut him out, he used my friend of mine to bring me back to him. After all of the kids left, we had to clean the room. We weren’t the closest of friends at this point but we were friends. She had asked me, “so what’s going on in your life?” I found it a bit personal, especially for someone I did not have a close relationship with, but for the first time in years, someone genuinely wanted to know. This was the first time I ever told someone about my depression and self-harm. Long story short, she told me to be smarter than that and reminded me how loved and blessed I was. Secretly this is something my heart desired for a long time – a person who cares, a spark of hope, help. It was an important and influential moment in my life.
So much changed for me after that 2 hour long talk that night. I took on a challenge with myself. I took on a challenge to open the door and find my way back to God – and I challenged myself to truly be happy. Let me tell you though, this was not an easy path. It was similar to playing Chutes and Ladders, but with more Chutes and less Ladders. It took me about 2 1/2 to 3 years to get to the spot I wanted and needed to be at. Every time I climbed up the ladder, one incy-weency-tiny detail would send me spiraling down a chute. I gave up a couple of times – but I tried again, and again, and again, and again. Luckily, I had a friend who kept pushing me and reminding me why I was trying to take on a better way of living and that is what got me where I wanted to be. I was able to find things I was passionate about-writing, filming, photography, helping people, working with the 2 year olds at church.
It wasn’t until last year in January that I got to a really good spot in my life. It was the first time since Elementary school that I took on having a relationship with God and actually put the time and effort into my faith. I started a daily devotional and a Bible plan, I started praying, I started to write my experience and what I was feeling. I could have been doing better, but I was doing good and I was making progress. My dark cloud was slowly fading away.
This January, one year after I truly started putting my faith into action, I decided to give God 100%. I mean, Christ died for me on the Cross, He gave his life to save me and for that I should give Him everything I have. I remember watching War Room (and if you haven’t watched it, you should), and there is a part that has stuck with me. Miss Clara says, “People drink their coffee hot or cold. Nobody likes it lukewarm. Not even the Lord.” I felt like I needed to stop being lukewarm in my relationship with God. I needed to stop listening when I wanted and just listen, I needed to stop following his plan when it was convenient for me and acknowledge that He has a plan for me and it is the best path I can walk even if I am scared and hesitant, and I needed to stop daydreaming about the person God was calling me to be and that I wanted to be and start BEING the person I want to be and the person God called and created me to be. So, with that in mind, I went for it. I remember my prayer on January 1st, I remember telling God that I was in this life with Him; that I would act, that I would follow, that I would listen. That I would turn to Him instead of away from him when times got rough and when life got unbearably difficult.
In “The Before” I became depressed because I lost my Grandma, and she was the person I was closest to. By the time I was 9 I had lost all of my grandparents. At the age of 4 my parents got a divorce, at the age of 3 my dad got cancer, and when you throw in bullying at school it just go to the point where it seemed like it was too much. I didn’t know how to handle and understand what was going on in my life.
I tell you that here to emphasize the underlying reason of my depression. Remember that now, in January 2016, I have decided to go full-force and give God 100%. So what happens after that? Well in November/December my mom and step-dad are on the edge of divorce. They decide not to go through with it but it has created financial problems and tension in the house that carry over into this year. January 20th, my dad dies. February my lawyer for my dad’s Estate dies. March my dog is attacked, my step-dad is threatened and assaulted (mildly, but the police refuse to do anything, see this Be a Responsible Pet Owner for more info), my parents truck got repo-ed, and the house payment is 3 months late. And since I have been so open about my depression, and the cause, as each event has came to light, the people around me are constantly checking on me. I know they worry about the ripple effects of the events of this year, and they worried about how I would handle each event.
But the amount of strength that I have found through God is almost incomprehensible to me. The amount of change I have had in my mental strength astonishes me. I have somehow managed to handle all the trials of the year on top of my school and work load (which is also surprising to me). I find it amazing how different I am experiencing these trials because with each thing I have turned to God. I have acknowledged that He is in control and when I need strength He will give me strength, when I need peace and comfort He will give me peace and comfort, when I need guidance and understanding He will provide me with guidance and understanding. He has done that and more.
I hope that any of you who may be struggling with depression, or the loss of a loved one, or if you just feel like it is to much, find comfort in this post. Even if you don’t believe in God, I hope that you reach out for help. I want you know that you can make it through, and it may not be easy, it may not be what you expect it to be, but it is worth it. I have found many passions, great friends, a wonderful and loving boyfriend, and a life that I want to live. I accredit my healing to God – I find my solace through Christ who lives in me. Life may not be easy right now, but I am the strongest I have ever been. I even found myself telling God to give me all he has because this time I will lean on Him and this time I am not giving up on myself, and more importantly I am not giving up on God.