“They are better off without me.” If these words mean anything to you, I hope you’ll read this…

I know in my heart that I am not the only one who battles dark thoughts such as this. Some who are close to me may be surprised to find that I was fighting this thought very recently. I was fighting hard. For a bit there, I felt like I was losing. I think until I decided to write about this just now that only my pastor and one or two others in my life that I trust were aware that I was hearing and starting to believe those words again. It brought me back to my old dark days of depression and isolation – the horrible days when I tried so hard to drink my way through tormenting thoughts of suicide. The difference this time though, is that I did not keep it to myself. I did not withdraw from people and isolate, although it does get tempting at times. I did not relapse and try to drink it away again. Instead, I reached out to God and I reached out to my pastor and trusted Christian friends for help and I am grateful for this amazing and lifesaving change that God has made in me over the last five years.

This morning with my church family, I had the wonderful opportunity to share another testimony of God’s greatness in my life and it triggered my heart to share it here too. I have spent the last five months trying my best to be strong and courageous, trusting and leaning on God as I walked what felt like the longest and darkest valley of my journey into the unknown with Him. It did not come easy for me at all. I had some very good days, but many bad ones and shed many tears through it. It took five months for doctors to be able to tell me whether or not I have cancer. I have had amazing people of faith, much stronger than me, claiming in Jesus’ name that I am healed and that there would be no cancer. I received and I claimed it. However, because I am a weak human being, the long wait for the medical report to confirm it became quite challenging for me. The enemy knows my weaknesses very well and when I am not careful and allow him and his lies to distract me, he attacks and I get knocked down hard. I had to wait for consultations that kept getting cancelled. I had a painful procedure in December that did not go well and the attempt for a biopsy failed. So, more waiting — more of the unknown and more distractions. I started losing my focus on Jesus and started listening to the deceiver and believing his lies that I am a bad person and I deserve what’s happening to me. I started believing his lies that everyone would be better off if I were not around anymore. I was not doing anything good for anyone, I was too busy feeling sick and defeated.  I felt shame for what I was going through because I believed that it was caused by my past choices when I was living a godless life all those years before God had reached down and revealed His power to me. The enemy seemed to be winning this battle of my mind. But thankfully, I can share today, that he has lost once again. He’ll always lose with God holding me by His right hand. He will always lose, as long as I never give up.

I am so grateful that no matter how many times I get knocked down, God gives me incredible strength to keep getting back up and to keep pressing on. I am so grateful that I never give up on Him. Not that I don’t think about it once in a while, especially when I become exhausted, but I really do know better by now. Going back to the way I used to live is not an option. Not if I want to live…REALLY live.

People who are isolating and battling tormenting thoughts on their own are in danger. Isolation is the devil’s trap so he can be free to go in for the kill, but first he likes to take his time and torture for as long as he possibly can. I know. I was there. And I believe this because he almost killed me there. Isolation brings darkness, loneliness, hopelessness…basically, it brings death. A slow and painful one. I pray that if you are in this situation that you will do something about it. Stop trying to fight it alone. Let go of pride. If you haven’t called out to God yet, just do it. He’s listening! Reach out to a pastor. Reach out to others, but make sure those you reach out to are godly people. Surrounding myself by a team of godly people was not easy at the beginning, but I have a safe place to be each week where I can open up and cry and ask for help if I need to. They don’t judge and they do not make me feel ashamed. They just love me with the love that God pours through their hearts. Love I have never known before. They aren’t just a team of godly people, they are my family. Everything I have shared here is what I have done myself and is why I am still here to write about it. I was not sure what all to write about today, but I felt my heartstrings being pulled to write something. Too many are suffering alone right now. Too many have already given up on hope and too many are about to. It does not have to be. Hope in Jesus saves lives. He saved mine, in so many ways.

I have seen many miracles in the lives of others and in my own. I have prayed for miracles. I keep praying for them. But lately, I started thinking that maybe I should do more than just pray for a miracle. Maybe I should start praying that I would BE a miracle for someone else. How awesome would that be? This gives my life amazing purpose. Each of us has a special purpose for being here so let’s not give up on finding out what that purpose is. I believe it will save your life. And how amazing will it be when you find that you can be a part of God’s plan in helping other lives to be saved? What if your life and testimony helps someone else to choose Jesus — the only Way to eternal life? Is that not worth living for? I certainly think it is. Imagine if each of us touched just one heart. I get overwhelmed at the thought of what God can do with that. That’s what keeps me going in this dark and fallen world. And when I get tripped up and fall hard, which happens more than I care to admit, God helps me to get up and to keep on keeping on for Him. I am so grateful.

My heart goes out to those suffering things I suffered for too many years. If you are one, I am praying for you, that God would intervene and do for you what He has done for me and so many others. I pray you will open your heart to Him like never before. I know He will meet you right where you are. And you need to stop believing the lies and believe this…no one will ever be better off without you! It is the truth. It is not my truth, it is God’s truth!

God’s love is amazing. I am so grateful for all He is to me. I am ALIVE!! I hope you or someone you know will be encouraged by my openness today. It’s never easy, but it is always more than worth it. Oh, and I almost forgot…that unsuccessful procedure to remove only a part of the abnormal cells was a blessing that led to a minor surgery that removed ALL of the abnormal cells for biopsy. I got word the other day…NO CANCER. I am healed! Praise the Lord! Ah, God is SO not finished with me yet. And friend, I don’t believe He is finished with you either. I hope you will join me on this amazing pathway to heaven. And if you do, FASTEN YOUR SEATBELT. It is going to be the ride of your life… just sayin’.

Thanks for listening to my heart…God bless.

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Where’s God when I’m hurting? (Hard lessons learned while desperately seeking God through the pain…)

I learn things the hard way many times and because I have a call on my life to share my heart no matter how uncomfortable being vulnerable is, here I go again…I was listening to “Your Presence Is Heaven To Me” by Israel Houghton. It’s a great song. It made me think about the rough patch that I’ve been in the middle of and how I’ve been desperate for the Lord’s presence and have not felt Him much lately. I know the truth. One of His greatest promises is that He will never leave nor forsake us and I’ve been holding on to that, but the struggle has continued anyway. The enemy loves when I struggle for a good amount of time because he knows I grow tired. That’s his perfect opportunity to get through with his lies: “God isn’t with you” or “You are no good”, or “God is no longer pleased with you”, things like that. They are horrible thoughts and are flat out lies — THE DEVIL IS A LIAR. But when your challenges linger on and seem like they’ll never end, it’s hard not to start doubting that God is near. I’ve become a strong woman of God, but even I have moments of wondering if He’s mad and has walked away from me. What can I say…I’m only human.

I’ve had a very difficult time feeling my feelings now that I live a sober life. Feelings are the worst part of my sobriety, but thankfully I don’t dread them enough to throw my life away again. I’m super grateful that I don’t make things worse by trading out my old addiction (alcohol) for something else that could numb me out. Those days are long gone. Suffering with God wins over suffering without Him every time and it amazes me that not everybody chooses to live that way. There are times when I really need to feel God, but can’t. And what I don’t want to feel (like way too many emotions), I feel. It’s been a tough battle lately but I’m finally winning this latest one. I am grateful that each time this happens and I persevere, the Lord continues to turn my battles into blessings. He’ll do that for anyone who puts their entire life in His hands.

I’m learning so much through my journey with my Lord Jesus. Every trial I’ve been through has prepared me for the next one. Each one has been tougher than the last. But if I hadn’t gone through what I’ve gone through in the last couple of years, I don’t think I’d still be standing right now. And because I was taught early on in my journey to surround myself with godly people (those I consider my human angels sent to me from God Himself), I am able to remain steadfast. There’s no way I’d ever make it without them. (You all know who you are and I am incredibly grateful for every single one of you.) Nobody should ever try to walk this walk alone. Not ever.

I think God just showed me today that the reason I haven’t been able to feel Him lately is because a barrier had come between me and Him. He’s been there all along, just as He has promised, but the barrier became too much for me to be able to sense Him. I think He wants me to share that the barrier came because I allowed worry, fear, and doubt (just to name a few) to enter my heart. No wonder why the presence of God was suddenly being blocked as well as His peace, and all the other great things He wants to bless me with. He also showed me that through this whole time I’ve been seeking His presence and was thinking He wasn’t anywhere near, that He was really there through all the people He moved to reach out to me through phone calls, text messages, emails, hugs, etc. So many words of encouragement and prayer have reached my heart reminding me that I am good, I am loved, and God is with me. Even the prayers that I wasn’t aware of have reached and have blessed me. Wow. His presence through His people and I was missing it! Not anymore. My eyes and heart have been opened once again and God’s mighty and powerful hand is on me helping me to break the barriers. I’m sooooooo grateful.

I make a lot of mistakes on this journey that cause me to fall, but I’m learning through each of them. I keep getting up and dusting myself off and with God’s help I keep pressing forward no matter how hard it gets. I hope that someone else going through a rough patch who’s thinking that God has forsaken them will read this and think again. I want to encourage you to seek God’s help to recognize and break down any barriers that may be from worry, fear, or any other weapon of distraction by the enemy — it only takes a tiny bit. We need to keep trusting in God even when we can’t feel Him. God’s Word is Truth, it’s not about feelings. That is a hard lesson that I have had to learn over and over again, but I think I’m finally catching on. I’ll always be a work in progress, but at least I’m headed in the right direction. And even though my challenge isn’t over yet, I’m choosing to believe that it will be coming to an end soon for I know God is going to get me to the other side of it because He’s not finished with me yet.

I have all kinds of words of God pouring from my heart right now but I think this is what He wants me to share at this very moment for someone out there going through a tough time — this one is helping me a great deal: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” (Isaiah 43:1-3) Wow. That is a powerful and comforting Word from God. Can I get an AMEN?

“Lord Jesus, Your Presence really is heaven to me and I pray it is to many, many more. Please help us to see and break down the barriers that are blocking Your amazing blessings from pouring in. Thank You, Lord!”

May God bless you through this heartfelt message (that wasn’t so easy to write). 🙂

When I found Hope in the midst of my darkest day…

Many people are struggling with depression, loneliness, emptiness, and other difficult situations that bring heaviness to the heart — especially during the holiday season. It’s a sad truth. I’m so amazed by it because when I was there, I could swear it was just me. Now I can see that it affects so many different people in so many different circumstances. More than I ever could have imagined. It breaks my heart to see others suffer. I know the pain. I still deal with the occasional blues and occasional loneliness, but I’m so thankful that it’s nothing like it used to be. When I was deep in the middle of it, I really did believe that no one else could ever understand my pain so I hid it for as long as I could. I was convinced that something was very wrong with me and it would not be a good idea to let anybody know about it. It was a lie that I believed.

So here were are again. It’s Christmas time, and for most it’s the most wonderful time of year, right? (Darn, now I can hear that song starting to play in my head…) Unfortunately, for many it’s not. So at the risk of being called “Debbie Downer” by those who don’t get what it’s like to be like me and so many others, I thought this was a good time to share some more heartfelt words with the hope that a struggling heart will find THE Hope, the only Hope that can shine light in our darkness. It’s the only Hope that saves lives, and it’s the very Hope that saved my life.

We’re all different, but not so much once we reach a state of darkness. My darkness was depression and isolation. It doesn’t really matter how each of us get there, once we get there, I think we can relate to each other whether we go through similar situations or not. So I’m just wondering…when someone tears a hole in your heart, what do you do? How many times do you allow it to happen? How do you react to it? For me, when I was a very lost soul with no self-worth or self-esteem, I would let it happen to me too many times. It took a few people to cause significant damage to my heart – the destruction of my soul. My dad leaving me at the age of 16 seemed to be the beginning of the end. That messed me up so much, the rest happened because I allowed it to. I wasn’t strong enough to fight it. I didn’t care enough about myself. I figured I didn’t deserve any better. I was a loser. There were so many hurts and tears in my heart I ended up with one giant hole. I was completely empty. I finally decided to put a wall up to protect my heart and keep people at a safe distance. I believed that if I did that, then no one would be able to hurt me ever again. I walked around like that for many years. One of the problems with that is that I didn’t do anything about the giant hole prior to putting up the wall. That was the worst thing I could have ever done. I needed healing and I didn’t get it. It caused many years of depression, isolation, and alcohol abuse to numb the pain as much as possible. The wall was not only keeping people out, it was keeping God out — complete separation from the only One who could ever rescue me from my darkness. I wonder how many reading this might be doing this very thing right now. I hope my personal testimony will speak to you and help you to realize the extra damage being done so that you can stop doing what I did and do something about it. It’s not too late.

I remember my old days of severe depression quite well. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when God made Himself real to me and delivered me from what I believe was a very slow and painful death. I remember the suffocating darkness and how alone I was for such a long time. I can’t blame anybody but myself. I made the choice to be a loner because I was too ashamed and maybe too proud to tell anyone I was hurting and needed help. And the longer I spent my days that way, the more convinced I became that there was absolutely no way out. The bottles — beer, wine, Malibu Rum…whatever…all became my companion. They all became my medicine. The only thing I knew to do was drink the pain away. Of course, that made things much worse. The more I drank, the more I needed to drink to keep the temporary peace going. Eventually, there was no peace at all. I drank more because it turned into a mission to kill myself. It was a losing battle from the very beginning. But when your soul is as lost as mine was, there’s nothing else. I’m sure the devil was thrilled that I believed that back then. The deeper I got into it, the less chance I had of reaching the only One who could save me – that was another lie from the devil that I truly believed when I was in a battle for my life. I wish I knew more about Jesus Christ when I was younger. I knew of Him, but I had no clue that He could save me in today’s world. I thought He was just a part of history. How sad is that. Well, it turns out that it didn’t matter how deep I was or for how long I was in the darkness, all I needed to do was cry out to Jesus. It took a rock bottom incident to make that happen (I’ve shared about it in earlier posts), but the only regret I have is not reaching rock bottom sooner than I did.

Sounds weird to say that doesn’t it – who really wants to get to rock bottom? Not anybody I know. But rock bottom is where I met Jesus for the first time in my entire life. It’s where I found out that He was real and had been waiting for me there. He’d been waiting because He knew it was going to be the only way. I was not going to be able to change my destructive way of living on my own. He knew it. I knew it. I have no reason to be in denial about it.

Even though some amazing miracles and breakthroughs started happening after surrendering my heart and giving up control of my life to Jesus at rock bottom, I used to think that I wanted to help people avoid rock bottom. There are different levels of it. Mine was significant for me, but it wasn’t as bad as others I’ve heard about. I honestly thought that helping others avoid it would be a good thing to do. But as I continue to grow stronger in my faith and in my sobriety — the more I am blessed to witness and experience miracle after miracle, I am seeing that people are not becoming as desperate as they need to be. It’s sad to see because at least for me, the choices I continued to make were very poor ones and I was living in absolute hell. I’ve been set free and I am so not enjoying watching others continue on that path. It literally breaks my heart. I’m grateful I surrendered! My way wasn’t working! I hope someone can see through this story that their own way is most likely not working for them either.

It took full surrender to God in order for Him to reach down and pull me out of the pit to save me. Surrender takes a huge daily effort on our part. We need to surrender every day. We’re human. It doesn’t come easy. We’ll never be perfect at it, but we can try every day and it really is doable. God sees the effort. I’ve been doing it (not perfectly) 24/7 since 2010 now. Life has been amazing. I’m ALIVE and more than well. I believe through my own experience that if we want to activate the hand of God in our lives, we need to give it all to Him. ALL OF IT.

We really, REALLY have to want to be made well. More than anything. And we have to be an active participant. That means a lot of hard and many times painful growing doing things we don’t want to do. It means losing things we are having a hard time letting go of. I know this because it’s what I had to do to get better. And, I am truly better today. I’ve been delivered from the severe depression, the isolation, the shame, the unforgiveness, the bitterness, the hurt, the abusive relationship, the alcohol abuse, you name it. I’ve been delivered from everything that was holding me back and being used to destroy my soul.

I have no regrets for my challenging new life. I see how God is using all the hard stuff for good. I have an incredible testimony that He has given me and I wouldn’t have it if I hadn’t gone through everything I’ve gone through. He has given me a divine purpose in life. A true reason to live. My desire is to be open and painfully vulnerable in sharing my story to help others. It’s hard to be vulnerable, it really can be painful and uncomfortable, but it’s worth it to me. I can’t keep the great things of God to myself. People need to know that He can help them too.

In just two months I’ll be celebrating five years of sobriety! That is such an incredible miracle in my life considering how I tried so many times to quit under my own power. I had suffered relapse after relapse. I abused alcohol for over 20 years. Once I reached rock bottom, God gave me the desire to seek Him with my whole heart. He gave me the power to quit drinking and the power to change everything about me. He took away the depression and the suicidal thoughts. I have not relapsed. I haven’t even come close — not one time. My sobriety is just one amazing ongoing miracle in my life. I have so much to write about, so many great things of God in my life to share, but this is it for now.

So that’s my story about when I was finally able to find Hope in the midst of my darkest day. It was life saving Hope — Jesus — my Rock at the bottom. It’s a day I will never ever regret. If you are where I used to be, I pray you will find Jesus waiting for you today. Whether we admit it or not, we are desperate people. That’s a good thing. So I want to encourage you to turn your desperation toward Jesus. And when you do, you will be starting a new and amazing journey upward.

I heard an encouraging message from my pastor this past Sunday and the theme of the message that I want to share with you is this: “Just when you thought all hope was gone — God sends a Savior” I thought my hope was gone. I thought it was too late for me, but my Savior came right on time. I believe your Savior will be right on time too. Actually He’s already there, He’s just waiting for you to call to Him with your whole heart.

Jesus is our only HOPE – the only Hope that never disappoints. May you also find His Hope — The Light — in your darkest days. God bless you and Merry Christmas.

Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Advent

Singleness and Celibacy — A gift from God

A gift? Really? This is such a difficult subject to write about, but I’m going to take a chance and just do it. I’m really glad that I don’t have to wonder any longer about whether or not it’s God’s will that I remain single. I’ve written in earlier posts about having such a deep longing for family. I kept praying over and over for God to fulfill that longing. During that time of waiting, I also had learned how to pray to ask Him to remove the desire if it was not of Him. I waited for an answer either way for a very long time. It was tough waiting. Since initially the desire had not been removed, I kept holding on to the hope that He would send the perfect man of God my way.  Well, just a couple of blog posts earlier, I wrote that God had answered the prayer. He didn’t answer how I hoped He would. It’s truly amazing, the things that God does for those of us who seek Him and His will wholeheartedly. He ended up completely removing the desire for a husband and family that I carried for too long and He replaced it with a desire to fully devote my life in service to Him. Wow. I can’t begin to describe what I feel inside about this. I guess I can simply say that I am happy! I’m in awe of the joy He’s given me with this answer. What an incredible blessing. What an incredible call on my life! And the more I’ve been thinking about it, it truly is a relief that I don’t have to deal with the distractions and complications that can come with being in the dating world. Now, what I can’t say that I know for sure is whether this is for the rest of my life, or for just a season (however long that might be). It doesn’t matter. What I do know is that I am extremely blessed to discover God’s will for me and for that old longing that made my heart ache so much to finally be gone. Today, my focus is on my mission to fully serve God.

There’s a passage in the Bible that really spoke to me some time ago. I wasn’t really sure about what I read back then, but I’ve always kept it in my heart waiting for a confirmation from God. The passage talks about marriage and about being single. When I first read it not too long after I started absorbing and living out God’s Word, I couldn’t forget about it. But I don’t think I was ready either to really accept or understand what God’s Word was telling me in the passage. I wasn’t ready for a long while. But I’m truly happy now that He has answered my prayer and gave me the confirmation I had been seeking. He has shown me very clearly the way He wants me to go.

I’ve been single my whole life. And I’m grateful to be celibate. Of course I wasn’t always, but God has changed everything about me. He’s forgiven me and He’s taken away the ungodly desires from me and I am thankful they are no longer a struggle. I’m thankful He has helped me turn away from sin. This is all so personal, but talking about my singleness and celibacy has been on my heart to share for a while now because I know so many out there are struggling to find their soul mate. I see and feel the emptiness and the loneliness in their hearts. Many times people choose partners without seeking God’s direction first. When someone finally comes along, sooner or later there’s nothing but heartache because one or both end up bringing even more turmoil into the relationship. At least, I’ve witnessed this in so many couples who choose to do things their way instead inviting God to be the center of their relationship. I can see it so well in others, because everything I’ve mentioned is where I used to be. My last relationship was a disaster, I don’t know if I would have ended up taking my own life because of it, but I can tell you I wanted to be relieved of the humiliation and pain the man was putting me through. I was hitting rock bottom with the depression and the drinking so I really think it was just a matter of time for me. (You can read more about my mental abuse story “I wished he would have hit me” in an earlier post if you’re interested.)

I’ve spent most of my adult life feeling out of place for being single, yet I did enjoy the freedom. Before God broke through, I was at a very confusing period of my life. I was quite happy with being single, but as I started to grow older, I really started having a longing for my own family. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I know now that my whole problem back then was that God was never the center of my life, He wasn’t even a tiny part of it. So when I talk about Him today, I love that I can say that He is absolutely my everything in life now.

I’m finally understanding that being single is a gift from God and I am truly grateful for discovering this gift in my life, at this point in my life. For many years some people did a really good job at making me, the single and childless one, feel like something must really be wrong with me. I was always out of place. For so many years, I dreaded a relative of mine looking for a ring on my finger every time there was a gathering. I never said anything, I went along with it, but that sure brought me down every single time. I don’t think the person meant to make me feel that way, but still, it put me in a very bad place. It had such a negative effect on me, it would just keep adding to my depression.

My circumstances in life caused me to be such a lost and depressed soul, I turned to alcohol to self medicate and to numb myself out of reality as much as I possibly could for as long as I possibly could. Today, I see it as a blessing that I didn’t bring children into my dark world. As I have been growing and learning God’s Word and will for my life, He has opened up my eyes and heart to His beautiful gift. I realize how incredibly blessed I am for this call He has placed on my life. ME. The one who for decades didn’t care to know if God was real and then tried so hard to drink herself into a grave since it seemed to be the only way to be relieved from lifelong heartache and despair.  I am SO thankful to God for breaking through when He did almost 5 years ago!

So back to the passage I mentioned earlier — at the beginning of this incredible journey, although I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into it at first, I do remember wondering about what I had read in 1 Corinthians 7:34-35 — God’s Word translation puts the Apostle Paul’s teaching this way: “An unmarried woman…is concerned about the Lord’s things so that she may be holy in body and in spirit…I’m saying this for your benefit, not to restrict you. I’m showing you how to live a noble life of devotion to the Lord without being distracted…”

I SO want and desire to live that noble life of devotion to my Lord! He has given that to me! Wow. It’s an amazing change He’s done in me. And as for children, I believe He has shown me through His Word that He will bring me spiritual children and I’m pretty excited about that too. I know there are a lot of single Christians out there walking around with a void in their hearts. It’s not easy being single. I always find it interesting how some married people look at a single person’s life thinking “If only I were single…” And then there’s us single people looking at a married couple thinking “If only I could find someone to love who will love me back…” As a single woman, for the longest time there would always be triggers that would have me feeling a giant void in my heart. I always felt it more during the holidays where families celebrate together. I’m not talking about extended families, I’m talking husband, wife, kids…you know, the perfect family. I know there’s no such thing as a perfect family, but that’s how I looked at them. I saw the love, and I wanted that.  But today, I no longer have that desire. I no longer have that ache in my heart. God has given me something better and no matter for how long, I’m going to fully devote my single life to Him and rejoice over it with all my heart. I pray for other Christian singles to discover God’s will for them too. And I pray for the unspeakable joy in their hearts and souls, just like God has given to me.

Well, I am grateful for the courage to share this. I pray that God would reach someone else’s heart through it. Now this life I’m living is not easy. I don’t think it will ever be. There are times that I still feel out of place and even feel an occasional void, but I just keep reaching out to God, I keep seeking Him, I keep asking Him to fill my heart with all of Him and He always does. He never lets me down. What an amazing God I serve. If this has touched you in any way, I hope you will share it with someone who may be struggling in their own journey of singleness so they can know they are not alone in their struggles. Thank you, may God bless you.

Better off dead?

My heart goes out to those who believe that right now. Christian or not, life is hard. It’s much worse when we live it apart from God. When I was experiencing years of those tormenting thoughts of wanting to die, I wasted a lot of time as if I had already died. I felt dead. I was dead. I became out of sight and out of mind from family and friends. I didn’t want anybody to know. I tried so hard to drink my life and pain away, but all it did was make my world darker and more painful. It left the door to evil wide open so it could completely destroy me. I believe it was a matter of time. It is a complete miracle that I am still here today and set free. During the entire time I lived and breathed darkness, I did not know the Lord, nor did I want to know Him. I’ve had my regrets of the time that I wasted, but I no longer dwell on the past that I can’t change. I am alive today, and I don’t waste a moment now to share how God has changed everything. That’s pretty much what “A Reason To Live” is all about — an ordinary soul who God touched and chose to write an extraordinary story to share with the world. I’m just me. This story is SO not about me, it’s all about Him. I pray people will see that. Many will choose to not believe the words I share. They’ll roll their eyes and think I’ve lost it. Many will completely ignore it, but if just one troubled soul is touched and given the hope that only turning to Jesus can give, if His light shines through the darkness of one soul who thinks they would be better off dead, if His light and hope has them holding on one more day — one more precious moment at a time, then me taking the risks that I have been taking in sharing my heart so openly and suffering for some of it is more than worth it. This is my ministry, my passion, my reason to live, and I will not stop until God decides that I’m finished. I praise God for the gifts He’s given to me to bring glory to Him. When I come to the end of my earthly life, I don’t believe I will have one regret because I spend my life each day doing all I can to do what God has set for me to do. Of course I fall short each day, but I keep trying to do better each chance He gives me. That’s an incredible place to be in this journey of less than five years that has brought many tears, but unspeakable joy. I do believe I have much more sharing of His love to do in the years to come.

I am grateful that God rescued me when He did. I admit I still have occasional moments where I wish it would have been sooner, but since I can’t go back and change it, I am just thanking Him every single day that I am able to get out of bed and follow Him. I’ll be honest. On occasion I still battle with the dark thoughts. So I think it will always be a battle whether I am obedient to God or not. Only now, the thoughts have become easier to overcome with God in my heart. And because I let go of pride and sought help throughout this growing and healing journey that seemed to bring a lot of the darkness back, I now have some amazing tools that I have learned to put into practice to keep me from going back to the pit. Seeking God, seeking help, and although it’s challenging, I continue to share, cry, and talk about it with some amazing women of God I am blessed to spend time with each week — it all keeps me wanting to live one more day and it’s all for Him. What an amazing ongoing miracle in my life. God rescued me by reaching down and pulling me out AND by putting the right people in my path to love me and show me how to live for Him. I am eternally grateful. Now when the pain comes, I hold on tight to my Lord and He carries me through to the other side, every single time. Just like Jacob who wrestled with God and told Him “I will not let go until You bless me.” (Genesis 32:26), I too, will continue to hold on until I receive His full blessing.

When the hard times come, I won’t let go of the One who will never let me go and I pray that you will keep holding on to Him too. Life is truly worth living. Thank You, Jesus.

2014 Summer Sky in Anaheim, California

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5)