I was born in a Christian home. My parents were Christians. They raised me going to church. When I was about four years old it was Christmas time and I remember the Christmas candy. I was full of joy. I don’t think I understood all the doctrine about Jesus but I did understand that I was made to love God. I knew that the right place for my heart to be was in communion with Him. I wanted Jesus in my life. So as I grew up I also grew in the knowledge of God. I always loved Him and I wanted to serve Him. I never knew a time when I didn’t want to be with God. I never experienced an absence from God and I’m very thankful for that. I didn’t have to experience a lot of things that other people have to experience to learn to love Him. I just always loved Him.
In high school I did a lot of things in order to be successful. I did well in school. I ran track and was successful in other sports. I served with Awana in my church. I also started a Bible study for other high school girls. And those were the things that other people saw and I saw all the good that I did and I didn’t cause problems.
But there were other things in my life that I refused to look at. Because I was an athlete I ran around with those kind of people. I didn’t follow them to parties and stuff. I was never tempted to drink or anything like that. It just didn’t seem right to me. But I did fall into other traps like popularity and I did definitely seek that. I turned my back on friends I didn’t think would help me climb the social ladder . . . I was not very kind to them. I didn’t have compassion for people who were hurting because I had never hurt myself and I didn’t understand that. When I was with friends who were sad I’d say, “Come on you guys; you need to cheer up.” You know if you’ve ever been down – that is not what you want to hear! There was no compassion there; I was very prideful! All the things I did I was doing in my own strength and with my own power. Although I loved God and said I depended on Him, I never really depended on Him. Even when I worked hard in school and in running track, I did it in my own strength. I was pretty unrealistic about what the world was like and what I could do. I pretty much thought I could do anything, anything at all. There were no limits for me. But I am still human and God knows that I am dust . . . and He had to teach me that.
So I was pretty much setting myself up for a fall; being unrealistic about myself. My second year of college a lot of things happened at once that kind of triggered it. I was dating a guy and he broke up with me. I had never experienced rejection before. I was also living with four girls in a small house which is a lot of estrogen. I was living with my best friend which should have been good but we were too busy fighting over dishes to support each other. So I just kind of lost all contact with God. I dropped like a rock. Depression hit very suddenly and very hard to the point where I cried all day every day. And getting out of bed was the fight every day the whole semester. And I prayed “God give me the strength to get to class. I can’t skip again. Give me strength.” It was very hard for me because I had no idea what was going on. I thought if God loved me and I was serving Him why would he let me experience this kind of thing.
I had always known God as someone who was good and gave me joy. I had heard that he was the “Comforter.” I believed that but I had never really experienced that because I had never needed comfort. And I had heard that he was the Strength and the Provider but I had never needed that because I had never needed strength. When in my agony I cried out to Him He gave me what I needed, even though sometimes I didn’t feel like it. Even though it was really hard I got to know Him better. And I got to know things about me that I would never have known. I can say that I am thankful for those times and I would go through it again in a heartbeat if it let me know God better. He’s that good. He’s worth any pain if it helps you know him better.
I also learned after that semester that I couldn’t do school any more. I moved to where my best friend and her family lived and they were a really good support for me. And I was doing something I never thought I would do – I was a youth intern. I was in full time ministry! From not being able to get out of bed and go to class I went into full time ministry with high school students. I don’t know what caused me to say “yes” to that but it is the best thing I ever did! And I learned I had to stay IN CHRIST – it was not my strength. I would be crying on my way to pick up a kid. I had no choice. I had to pick them up and take them out to lunch or whatever and talk to them about their life and I knew I had no strength left. I would just cry out to God that He would give me the strength. I had to stay IN Him for Him to do that. He built my trust on what He could do for me.
To finish the depression story, I struggled with it and was on meds for a few years. Then I went to counseling . God showed me some things about myself and He has freed me from depression. Amazing! So many people prayed . Compared to how long some people suffer, I didn’t suffer that long. But it seemed like forever at the time and I am so thankful that He has freed me from it!
I am now a high school math teacher. I coach cross country running and track and I work as a camp counselor. I have a burden to let people know how good God is. I want to show Christians who aren’t living in the fullness of His promises how good God is. The students who come into my class every day stress me out. But I am learning that Jesus had a lot of people coming to Him every day for healing and help but He went to His knees to His Father and said “What do you have for me to do today? I will do what You have for me to do today.” Learning that lesson is coming to God at the beginning of the day and saying there are a lot of things I want to do but I want to do whatever you have for me to do today and You give me the strength . Stay in Him and get His directions for the day. Proverbs 3: 5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” That’s a verse I have heard all my life and I think I am learning that if I am acknowledging Him and trusting Him that I can trust that He will do with me what He wants to do with me and He will lead me where He wants to lead me and I do not have to be afraid that I’m missing the boat. I can trust that He will take care of me even if my heart is prone to wander and even though I fall down and miss my part of the deal He will take care of me.
Thanks for letting me share.
— A member of Journey Christian Church