I spent the past three years on the Chi Alpha leadership team pouring my love and life into encouraging young women. Last weekend I received many words of affirmation that are still running through my mind today. One of my sweet friends whom I’ve seen blossom into a beautiful, bold and confident leader approached me and said, “You believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.” My heart nearly fell to the ground as tears ran down my face. There have been so many times when I wanted to quit, but the only thing that held me together was my faith and trust in someone greater than me—Jesus. This faith and trust led me to believe in the potential that young women are capable of. I am finally at the point in my life where I truly believe with all my heart that I was created for such a time as this.
I’ve contemplated on whether or not I want to share this part of my life on my blog, but it’s time for my story to be told. I live everyday with the desire to give a voice to the voiceless, because I lived voiceless for years. I let my pain define me. I let my pain silence me.
Eight years ago I lived with pain, depression and abuse that no one knew about. I lived in fear everyday. On the outside I looked like I had everything together, but behind closed doors I pressed razor blades against my skin and watched blood run down my body to feel relief from the pain that I was feeling internally. I thought hurting myself would make my pain go away. I was broken, living in darkness and I tried to get through it by myself. I didn’t want to be anyone’s burden.
Eight years ago I was to the point where I only saw suicide as a way out of my pain. It was at that moment when I desperately cried out to God. I didn’t understand why I was feeling this way. These thoughts were not my thoughts. I knew of Jesus, but I didn’t feel worthy of His love. I spent years convincing myself that Jesus would not want my brokenness, my pain and my baggage. BUT that’s where I was so wrong. Jesus wanted every piece of me.
One night I remember crying on the floor as I pressed another razor blade on my wrist. And then something in me shifted completely. Love wrapped Himself around me. I began to realize I was hurting God more than I was hurting myself. My pain was His pain. I didn’t recognize the girl I saw in the mirror. In desperation and in tears I set the blade down and searched my room for something to distract me from my pain. I needed a reason to stop hurting myself. I needed someone to tell me that everything was going to be OK. At the very bottom of my bookshelf I found my Bible, the Bible that collected dust.
I needed freedom and breakthrough. I turned to the Book of Psalms and began reading. I came across Psalm 46:5 and wept.
“God is within her; she will not fall.” (NIV)
When I first read this, these were the words I needed to see and meditate on at that moment. I shut God out of my life and blamed Him for my pain and my suffering. I wanted nothing to do with Him, and yet here I was seeking Him.
I felt such a peace wrap over me knowing that through all of my pain and tears, God was always with me even when I didn’t believe in Him. He didn’t let me fall. My pain only drew me to Him. He has never changed.
Over the years I have studied this chapter of Psalms, because it’s always taken out of context. The psalmist is encouraging hope, confidence and trust in God. When heaven and earth are shaken, God is in the midst of His church and she will not be moved. All the blessing and anticipation of the city of God (Jerusalem) comes because of God’s presence. The city is established because God will help her.
As I prepare for a new season in my life, I am reminded that I would not be here and I would not be the woman I am if it weren’t for God’s grace and mercy. My life is far from perfect, but I rest every night knowing that my hope is in the Lord and His promises for my life. I absolutely love ministering to young women, because I know what it was like to not feel worthy. I hated everything about myself for so many years. I claimed lies over myself. I didn’t feel like I could ever be loved. I didn’t trust men, because I was afraid of being hurt. The moment I decided to not end my life was the moment that I decided to live the rest of my life proclaiming truth and hope into the lives of women.
There was something powerful that awoke in me when my sweet friend told me that I believed in her when she didn’t believe in herself. I watched this young woman grow and transition from being a new believer to a leader. I had the privilege of baptizing her last year. She speaks with confidence and boldness. She believes in herself. She walks in authority. And she knows that she is called to pursue greatness.
As I prepare my heart to transition out of the Chi Alpha ministry at Texas State, my heart is rejoicing because I get to transition into proclaiming and pouring truth, hope and love into young women in Moldova later this year.
I choose to not live in fear anymore. I look down at my wrist today and I no longer see scars of pain, I see scars of hope and scars that tell a story of grace and forgiveness. These scars gave me a voice.