Revelation 12:11 says “And they have conquered him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
By the word of our testimony. Wow. I’m a firm believer in the power to make hell tremble by just that; telling others our testimony.
My pastor once told me that we all have the same testimony: the cross. What Jesus did for us alone is our testimony. We each have different aspects, but all in all, our testimony is the cross.
Similar to many of you, I grew up in two homes with divorced parents. With one parent, I suffered from years of emotional abuse, and with the other, I felt constantly abandoned and unloved by.
My life began to go downhill in my middle school years when I became a victim of bullying and abuse (and became a bully myself). From cyberbullying to gossip to physical… I’ve seen it all. In 7th grade, I was cornered in my school by a few girls and was later pushed in front of a moving bus by the same girls. I genuinely thought I was going to die. If not from them, from the panic attack I suffered.
I began to attack and downgrade others in hopes of easing my own pain.
One day, my “friend” (who was a part of the group of girls who cornered me) showed me her armful of cuts and I asked “doesn’t that hurt?” “Not at all,” she replied. Later that night, I got into an argument with someone and then went into my room weeping. I shattered the glass out of a picture frame and cut myself for the first time which started years worth of a horrible addiction to cope with my depression and hurt.
This entire night is a blur, but one night still in 7th grade I remember being so panicked, feeling so worthless and in so much pain from the depression, the abuse, and the bullying that I decided I was going to end my life. I don’t remember who called 911 but the next thing I remember was being in an ambulance with a paramedic bandaging my arm asking me questions in the most calming voice which made it seem like everything was going to be okay. She was right, but not quite yet.
In the same year, my mom’s house caught fire and burned down in the middle of the night one night and after months of searching for a new home, we moved to a town 45 minutes away from the previous. I decided to move in with her rather than stay in the same town with my dad to switch schools to avoid the bullies, hoping for a fresh start.
At my new school, I had a friend who was my absolute lifeline. She was my rock. I was already pretty emotionally unstable and without her, I would’ve been a complete disaster.
One night, I vividly remember getting into my first argument with her over text. At the time, I was in the car with my mom and brother trying to hide my tears. I thought to myself “If I don’t have her, I have nothing.” and quickly became suicidal once again. The second my mom parked in our driveway, I jumped out of the car and ran into the bathroom, found the nearest razor and tried to commit suicide for the second time. While locked away in the bathroom, I heard my brother say “I think we need to take her to the hospital” to my mom and that’s the last I remember from that night.
For four years, from 8th grade to my senior year, I was seeking desperately for anything to fill the void in my heart. From meeting up with random guys I met online to sleep with them, to sneaking out of the house to spend the night with people I barely knew, to smoking weed and drinking alcohol with my friends, to taking one too many of my prescription pain killers… I couldn’t find anything to fill that void. I tried it all. I sought with utter desperation. I didn’t have any more room on my body to tear open from self harm. I was a wreck. As far gone as could be.
I made the decision to switch to online school from my junior year to super senior year (I graduated a year late due to battling depression). I thought the exclusion from a social environment would be my answer, but ironically it was just the opposite. It made matters worse than I ever expected it could be. I found more men, smoked more weed, self harmed more, and fell to rock bottom.
I was genuinely only a few days from either admitting myself or having my parents admit me to a mental institution to seek help as a last resort. The police even showed up at my house one night because a friend knew I was suicidal and they wanted to take me in but I refused. But, in the midst of all the sin, pain, and trauma,
Jesus had other plans.
My life drastically changed on December 2nd, 2013 and God had to resort to the only thing that He knew would get my attention.
He decided it was time to take my 18 year old brother home. He died in his sleep the night before from a one time use of heroin.
The same day while my mom, my step dad at the time and myself were on our way to the morgue, I was sitting behind my mom to be closer to her with tears in my eyes and confusion in my mind. My heart filled with ache and anger, I heard a clear, calming voice say the five words “it’s going to be okay.” and felt a peace fill my heart like never before. Three and a half years later, God is still fulfilling that promise every day.
I had a home church already but attended basically only when I felt like it, usually with a new boyfriend every time. For the past three years I have attended, been an intern, went on a missions trip with, serve at and gave my whole heart to that church. On that missions trip, God called me to long-term overseas missions.
I’m leaving in January to a missions school to be taught and trained to be a missionary to tell the world about this Jesus who wrecked me in the most beautiful way.
Each day I am learning and growing and each day God is watering the seed. Each day I am still a failure and fall short. The difference now is just one single word: repentance. Admits the agonizing pain, I still have access to fullness of joy that comes from the Lord alone.
You guys, this is all Jesus. All I did was accept Him and allow Him to ravish my heart. I didn’t recover on my own. The antidepressants didn’t heal me. The cross did. I didn’t break my own addiction of self harm. Jesus did. Every day I am able to look back on my past no longer in mourning, but in joy from seeing God’s hand upon my life so evidently, even the times I cursed His name.
Bondage to freedom.
Arms covered in cuts to arms lifted high.
Sorrow to utmost joy.
Impurity to pure before the Lord.
Dark to light.
Death to life.
Cataracts to kingdom eyes.
The very moment I chose to lay down my hurt was the moment He chose to lift me up. I’m so thankful that I serve a God who sees my mess and says “let’s clean this up, I have something better for you” rather than leaving us on our own to figure out our own mess.
Friends, I tried the world and it wasn’t enough. It left me broken. Hopeless. In a dark place. It was just the one touch that changed everything. The one touch that brought my lifelessness to livlihood.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! / 2 Corinthians 5:17
God is the God of the impossible. He is our rescuer. Our solid rock. If He can reach far enough down rock bottom to pick me up, He can reach you too.
Love you guys,
Disclaimer: if you battle with depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts, please don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There are professionals God placed on this earth for a reason. It’s okay to be vulnerable. Take a stand. Be brave. Make that step towards self betterment. You got this.