But at the same time I am so overwhelmed but the change that has occurred in my own life and so grateful to Christ for all that he has done in my life over the past six months how could I not share??
So here goes my story: (sorry its a bit long)
In short, I am twenty-six years old, have been married for four and a half years, recently moved into a townhouse in Morrisville, North Carolina, grew up in a Christian home in Texas, go to The Summit Church here in the RDU area, have very supportive, awesome friends and a loving God-fearing husband and JUST had a my Christ-surrendering, life-changing "Ah-hah" moment.
As I just mentioned in my two sentence bio -- I was raised in a Christian home. So I should have no struggles, no faith-doubting moments, no big transformations, right? Ha... Anyways, my parents are the most loving people I know and always taught me that God was bigger and Jesus loves me. I am utterly grateful for their teaching and guidance during my childhood and adult life. But I didn't get it. My faith became about "asking Jesus into my heart" at 5 years of age and I was golden. I continued to not get it (and by "it" I mean the impact that Jesus dying on the cross should have had on my life) through middle school and high school. I used church as a social outlet, fitting in with the the associated groups, even using the ability to sing to appear "spiritually together" in our youth praise band. I had the right answers, the right cover-ups, the right friends, the right status, the right guidelines to appear as one of the best Christians on the block. This pattern continued. I moved out of high school into college doing the same thing. Pleasing the groups around me by doing whatever let me fit in. My freshmen year of college consisted of me straying away all together, drinking (not a ton, but still...), never stepping foot into church except when I was home for the weekend, putting too much stock in my boyfriend, cursing/mocking and ignoring God all together. Then my "faith" involved me flipping the Christian switch back on throughout the rest of college, getting very involved in a church college group, going on mission trips, being on the leadership team and ultimately finding myself in the friend groups that encircled me, including my boyfriend (and now husband). Sure I had a "conversion moment" at church camps, mission trips, long services and etc., but they were never real, never life changing, never transforming, never genuine Slowly the feeling of an identity crisis started to set in as real life creeped closer. I met Scott (my wonderful, God-fearing husband) during college and we got married after we graduated. Anyways, my "act" continued as I attempted to find myself within our marriage and my career. Once I realized that Scott loved me unconditionally and didn't care what I looked like or how much money I made or how influential I was I then sought after an identity in a career. Thinking, if I don't make something of myself I will have failed. Well, surprise, surprise...that didn't work either. A little over a year ago I was left with a new town, a new job, thinking I can do this, surely we'll start a family soon and that will fix things, my new identity, motherhood. Guess what, still not happy, not joyful, not getting it.
That's when life started to fall apart. The crying started to happen more frequently. The blank stares increased and the depression and anxiety set in, making itself at home in my mind and heart. I couldn't function. I quit my job. I stayed in pajamas. I cried. And cried. And cried. And when I thought I had no more tears to shed, I cried some more. I didn't want to deal with life. It was too hard. We finally sought help in July. Scott and I went to the doctor and they put me on medicine. It only got worse. I was a motionless object. Unable to converse with friends, family, even Scott. I continued to cry. I relied on random medicines to help me sleep and drown out my despair but the pain didn't go away. The depression and anxiety got so severe I couldn't take it. I cried so much and got so upset I finally admitted to Scott that there were times I didn't want to deal with this any longer and wished I could some how go to sleep and never wake up. I never attempted such a thing because I was honest with Scott and when he saw how serious things were, he took every medicine into his possession. I was grateful but still hurting deeply, feeling that nothing or no one could help me now. I finally got in to see a Psychiatrist and my life was changed. Three days on the right medicine and I felt like a whole new person. Scott noticed, friends noticed, I noticed, my counselor noticed. It was huge. But that didn't fix my identity crisis, the lack of purpose, the whole in my heart. It fixed my mind but that was all.
In the midst of all of this I started biblical counseling. My counselor is wonderful. She loves God, me and hurting hearts which is simply a blessing. But her words of encouragement and scripture references weren't transforming me. I would tell her that this all sounds great and I know it should be impacting me but I just don't care. But I took her advice. I started praying and pleading with God to show himself. I walked by faith. I prayed hard. Praying that God would please reveal himself to me and make himself real in my life because at that point I had no clue what that meant or looked like and frankly didn't care to receive any help from Him. I had faked twenty-six years of Christianity and now felt clueless. Then it happened. On a Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 it clicked. I had just had my counseling appointment with Christi and I was journaling my thoughts and it clicked. I realized I was ready to surrender my life over to Christ. I was ready to give up control of trying to find my identity in everything and everyone but Christ. I was choosing to submit. The Holy Spirit worked in my heart that day. I had always based my Christian walk on feelings and that didn't work out so well. This time it was a choice and it's been the best choice I have ever made. I instantly felt the burden of depression and anxiety lift up off of my shoulders and be placed into the hands of God. I started laughing and crying tears of joy at once.
I am a sinner. I deserve nothing but death. But God sent down his son, Christ who lived the ultimate, sinless, perfect life in my place and then died on my behalf so that I may have eternal life. What a life changing truth? My depression seemed small when I compared to the suffering Christ went through. My depression was no longer my struggle alone, I had God's ultimate power and strength to help me through it. God showed me the ultimate love, grace and mercy when I deserved everything but that. How could I let depression take hold of me now??
"I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears." -- Psalm 34:4
I share this with you today because I like to think of us as friends. And as my friends, I want you to know my struggles and fears so that when I fall back into darkness I can come to you as well as share what is going on in my life. I also share this because now that I have experienced the deep, dark hole of depression, I do not want any one of you to ever suffer alone. I am here (an email away) from lifting you up in prayer, offering comfort, love and support.
So thanks for reading today, thanks for building our friendship and thanks for your willingness to follow along with my story.