This week I need to give a shout out to my amazing kids. I’m not sure how they turned out so well. Thank you Zak, Chey, Kassi, and Aspen for letting me include you in my blogs. And to my amazing sister in Christ, Lisa, you give me the courage to keep going and sharing my story. Thank you for always being there for me, for encouraging and giving me feedback, you’ve helped me uncover some of myself.
I really struggled this week with coming up with something to blog about. In grow group this week we talked about grace and knowing where your heart is so you can do what God is asking you to do. I feel like I have kind of covered those topics in my previous blogs. When I sat down to blog nothing was coming together, the topics that came up this week didn’t flow.
I told my husband maybe I should just skip this week. I had to work on Saturday and also spent some of Saturday creating the power-point for church so I didn’t have time to blog yesterday. He encouraged me that I am doing what God wants me to do by blogging and I need to write something.
So what is on my heart today is my testimony. The events that happened that led me to Christ. This is a story I have shared with some. The details I have shared with few. I am open to what God wants me to say and do with my story so I am just going to let the words flow and see where they go.
Brian and I were “sealed” or went through the LDS Temple wedding ceremony 9 months after we were married civilly. This was a special circumstance the Mormon church allowed because my oldest sister was getting married and would allow us to attend her wedding. Shortly after we went through the temple we quit going to church. The Temple wasn’t quite what we expected. We still attended church on occasion, holidays and special occasions. I think we basically still believed it all but, it just wasn’t important.
When I gave my life to Christ Brian and I had been married for 6 years. We had 2 amazing kids, our son Zakary was 4 and daughter Cheyenne was 2. We were able to put on a good face. Many people thought we were doing well. Brian had been working at his job, that quickly became his career, for 4 years. I was working part-time as a paraprofessional at a local school. We had moved 10 minutes from our home town and were just living our lives. Brian was doing his thing and I was doing mine.
Over the years, my depression had worsened. I was depressed daily. It was hard to get out of bed. It was summer so I wasn’t working at the time. Before I went to bed I would turn the TV to the Disney channel so all Zak had to do was turn it on. He would get up and turn on the TV, and a lot of the time, he would get himself and Cheyenne cereal for breakfast before I would get out of bed.
I had a lot of guilt and shame in my life. I wasn’t happy. I still loved Brian a lot, but felt that our relationship was distant. He worked shift work and there was a lot of time I didn’t see him and we didn’t spend time together.
The internet was fairly new and I spent a lot of time in a chat room. I had a man I talked to often. I was able to pretend I was someone different. He gave me praise and verbal affection that made me feel better, at times, but also added to my shame and guilt. My cutting also escalated at this time. I cut a few times per week. I also would binge and purge because I thought, if I was thinner, I would feel better about myself.
I hated myself, and hated everything about my life. I didn’t want to live, but didn’t want to live my kids without a mom. I struggled daily with suicidal thoughts. I would contemplate a plan and think about how I could make it happen. As a person who assesses suicide risk I now understand how serious my suicidal thoughts were. I wanted to die, I just wasn’t to the point that I was willing to go through with it yet.
A few weeks before I was at my rock bottom Brian and I had somewhat of a fight. I don’t know if I would really call it that. We were talking, which we didn’t do often at that point. I so wanted to be special to him, his soulmate, and he said he thought he could’ve been happy with anyone. At that time he obviously wasn’t happy with life either. We were at a breaking point and considered divorce.
I was so frustrated and angry. Everyone told me, Brian and I would get a divorce because we got married so young. But I knew we were meant to be together. He was my savior. He was my knight in shining armor. He was my everything. If he didn’t love me, if he didn’t want me, then what did I have.
A few days later I was taking a bath and hitting my head against the bathtub hoping I would knock myself out and maybe drown. While I was in the bathtub, I was creating a plan in my mind of how to end my life. I was considering shooting myself, we had a gun in the home. I was thinking of shooting Brian and the kids too. Brian didn’t deserve to live if he didn’t want me, and I didn’t want the kids to not have parents. I was trying to figure out the order of events. When I got out, I knelt in front of the toilet and stuck my finger down my throat. The whole time thinking of how I would end our lives. This is what I did. This is how I coped with my life that I felt was so out of control. While I was sitting in front of the toilet between purges, tears started streaming down my face, and I cried out to God and said, “I don’t want to do this any more.”
While I was kneeling in front of the toilet, the phone rang. I thought it might be Brian because it was late and he was at work. It was an acquaintance. Someone I had only met a few times. Her husband worked with Brian. I didn’t really know her but I answered the phone and talked with her. She said that God had put me on her heart and she felt she should call me. For the first time ever, I was honest with her about what I was doing. I told her about the struggles I was having. I don’t open up to people. Brian was the only one who knew of my struggles and yet I was pouring my heart out to someone I barely knew.
She was the first person who told me God loved me just the way I am. That there was no such thing as being good enough for God. All I had to do was ask Him into my heart. That was such a foreign concept to me. And yet, in that moment, it felt so right. It was so clear and I felt comfort, calmness, for the first time in my life since I could remember, I felt thing were going to be OK. I had hope, a reason to live, a reason to survive.
In that moment I said the sinners prayer. I don’t believe it is the words that save me, but the belief in my heart that changed, and truly accepted that God was in control and Christ died for me so all I had to do was accept that and live for Him. This friend invited me to church and we’ve never looked back.
After I gave me heart to Christ, my depression lifted, not to say I didn’t have struggles. I only cut 1 time after that. I didn’t binge and purge any more. I was healed. God came into my life in a very powerful way and healed my life and my marriage.
Brian and I agreed to stay together and work on our marriage. We both agreed that God had to be the center of our marriage in order for it to be successful. We found our home church, Journey, 7 years ago and are grateful for our church family. We love them more than words can express and we have grown so much in our time there.
I would love to say since then life has been unicorns and rainbows. It hasn’t. In fact, since then, I think we have faced some pretty big storms. None of them have been as big as facing divorce, depression, and suicide. We have 2 more amazing daughters Kassidy and Aspen. We are blessed beyond measure.
The concept of grace was hard for me to grasp. I said the sinners prayer every Sunday for a year. I’m still learning that some of the things I thought were truth, didn’t come from the Bible. I had to learn new ways to cope, and I had to find myself. But I have realized over the years, the closer I grow with my Lord, the better I know myself.
I am truly grateful to my friend who followed a prompting on her heart. I will forever be indebted to her. I don’t know where I would be if God hadn’t stepped in in saved me and my kids that night. It’s scary to think about.
So in Mormon tradition, I want to bear my testimony. I know the Bible to be the only true word of God. I know that Christ died on the cross for my sins and it is only by His grace that I am saved. I don’t believe in religion. I believe it is important to have a relationship with Christ. I believe in the Trinity. That the Father, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are One. I believe that Jesus Christ came to earth, died on the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended to the right hand of the Father. I believe He will return. I believe all you have to do for salvation is to accept Christ into your heart.
I am so grateful for the joy and blessings that come from just having Christ in my heart. I’m grateful for the chains that were broken, that were keeping me from being able to find happiness and accept myself. I am grateful that I don’t have to be perfect, and that I am perfect, in my imperfection. I am grateful for, not just overcoming my struggles, but for conquering them.
I share this only to help others. I know I am not alone. I know I am not the only person who grew up in Mormonism who struggled with depression or thoughts of suicide. I write this to reach out, and let you know, there is hope, hope in Christ, hope for something better. God loves you just as you are. He created you and wants you to come just as you are. There is more to life than struggling with being good enough. You are enough, right here, right now. If you are struggling, please contact me. I am more than willing to talk to you or help you in whatever way I can.
I’m just a small town girl…