Depression led me to try to take my life; but, God had other plans.
I was raised in a family where morals were very important but a relationship with God wasn’t talked about. We went to church every Sunday, though, and I was baptized when I was 10 because it seemed like the right thing to do.
When I entered junior high, I met an amazing group of friends who I call the girls. They were different than any friends I’d ever had before. As I hung out with the girls, I began to crave what they had- lives centered around God.
I thought that by doing Christian things more, my life would be centered around God too. So, I began wearing Christian t-shirts, listening only to Christian music, going to youth group more often and talking about God and Jesus when I was with the girls or at church.
When I got into high school, another chapter of my life set in. On a daily basis I wanted to kill myself. I constantly felt worthless and hopeless, like I would be better off dead. I cried myself to sleep several times a week and had trouble sleeping. I also struggled with worry and often the same thoughts would plague my mind like a broken record. I never told anyone about these things, though. I thought that because I was a Christian I had to be happy and I was ashamed that I was struggling with a walk that came so seemingly naturally to my friends. So, each day I put a smile on my face while I decayed inside.
After a year of pretending I was fine, I finally broke down. My sophomore year I saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with clinical depression and an anxiety disorder. I was put on medication and slowly happiness came back to my life.
When I say that happiness returned to my life, I don’t mean joy. I was happy with the lack of depressive feelings and happy with circumstances, but there was a void in my life, and I was unsure of how to fill it. As I went through high school, I tried to fill that void with a number of things– mainly academic success, clubs and relationships. I made it a goal to be at the top of my class. I joined lots of clubs and became a leader in the majority of them. I dated two guys and both relationships were based on physicality.
In high school, I grew very slowly spiritually. I read my Bible once or twice a week and I prayed when I could squeeze it into my schedule, but I didn’t really care. I was a good person and I knew who God was even if I didn’t know Him intimately. As long as I did the Christian things, I would earn a good reputation and that, in my mind, was all that mattered.
After I graduated, depression came back into my life. I had just finished high school and had an amazing list of accomplishments; but, all the things I had filled my life with before were gone. I no longer had clubs to be president of or classes to ace. I was terrified because all of my past achievements wouldn’t mean a thing in college. I was leaving everything I had ever found my significance in.
One night after graduation, I was at a party with the girls. A huge feeling of loneliness swept over me. I was in the rock bottom of my depression and I felt like there was no way I could ever get through it. The achievements I had used before to find my worth were gone, and I felt like I no longer had a purpose. I was supposed to spend the night with the girls, but I didn’t want to dampen the atmosphere. So, I began to drive home.
While driving, I searched my mind for a reason to continue living. If I killed myself, I thought, God would forgive me because He had forgiven me of my other sin. I would be in Heaven with Him and would be much happier. And, if I was wrong, and I went to Hell, I didn’t really care. I just wanted out of my life and the pain.
On my road, there’s a huge hill with a sharp curve where many people have wrecked. As I approached the hill, I decided I had to act. I took off my seatbelt and pressed the accelerator, planning to drive off the side of the hill, wrecking and hopefully killing myself.
Determined as I was, though, God had other plans. I felt a force take my foot off of the accelerator and onto the brake just before I drove my car off the hill and, for the first time, I heard God speak to me. He reminded me of His words in Jeremiah 29:11 where it reads, ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.’ God reminded me of the love that the girls had for me and told me that His love was even greater than that. That He had loved me so much that He sent His own Son to die for me, for my sin. That because of His love for me, He had a wonderful plan for my life, and suicide was not part of that plan. That night, I slowly drove to the bottom of the hill and through tears, I wholeheartedly gave my life up to God.
For the rest of the summer, I made an effort to get into my Bible daily and to seek intimacy with God, giving each part of my life up to Him and going to Him in all circumstances. I found that for the first time in my life, I was truly joyful. Although before academics, clubs and guys had made me happy, my joy came from God because I finally understood that He was constant. I finally knew that He and His love would never leave me.
I would like to tell you that since then life has been easy, but it hasn’t been. I still struggle with depression and I sometimes find myself slipping, trying to put other things before my relationship with God. But, the difference between before that summer and now is vast. I now can cling to God and His promises, knowing that He is constant and loves me without condition. Because of Christ, God sees me as His beautiful and spotless daughter. I can find my significance in Him because He is the only thing that will truly satisfy.
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