I remember having feelings of suicide for the first time at the age of 13. I knew it was wrong, and I don’t think I was ever really serious about it, but the thoughts did creep into my mind. Even though I grew up going to church and having devotions with my family, our lives were still not ideal. Our family broke apart in a very dramatic way. I didn’t even know this was not normal and did not understand how I felt. Unfortunately, it is the kids that unintentionally get caught in the crossfire.
I was forced into situations that made me grow up really fast. I bounced back and forth between both of my parents over the years. I even lived with another family that didn’t even want me there for a time. I felt alone. I felt like nobody understood anything, and I don’t even think I knew how to tell anyone. I just felt tossed around and not truly noticed.
At 14 years old, I went to live with my dad and brothers. My dad bought a house for just the four of us. It was hard as the only girl to grow up in a house full of males. My dad worked crazy hours to support us which left him drained, and we didn’t get along most of the time. And as a teenager, it’s already hard enough to figure out who you are in this world and what you want out of life. I rebelled. I had an I-don’t-care attitude. I lost my virginity to someone I didn’t even know well let alone cared for. I experimented with drugs. I lashed out at authority and eventually dropped out of school.
Here is a testament of how patient God is. There was always a still voice inside of me that reminded me that God was right there. I still believed Jesus died on the cross, but I wasn’t about to be a Bible thumper. I felt like it was okay for me to believe without pushing it on anyone, and honestly, I really didn’t consciously keep it at the forefront of my mind or in my decisions at all. I lacked wisdom and guidance. I felt like I was saved so I had the golden ticket.
I remember walking around one day with my runaway boyfriend and speaking the words out loud that I just wanted to die. Immediately, I looked over toward the apartment complex we were passing and saw a man with a black cape and long black hair raise his arms. It spooked me, and I recanted those words. That man was rumored to be a Satan worshipper, and I wasn’t about to mess with any of that. I felt I had no purpose, but at the same time, there was a glimmer of hope deep down there somewhere. It is a crazy feeling to have hope yet want God to just snuff you out all at the same time.
I got pregnant at 18 years old right after obtaining my GED. His father and I were not together when I found out. I didn’t even know anything about pregnancy. It was a scary time. I didn’t know how I was going to raise this child, but I loved him already and had hope that the Lord was going to do amazing things. Life was not easy at all as a single mother.
Over the next few years, I went through several more toxic relationships and two more children. I went through domestic violence and again dreadful feelings of utter failure and wanting God to just take me. I used to think that if something good happened, that meant the bottom was about to drop out from underneath me.
Somehow, God still found ways to remind me that He was still there for me and that there was still hope. I had someone from church pay to have my breaks done on my car. I had someone once tell me that the Lord placed it on his heart to offer me money so that I could buy diapers. I had not even said anything to him. I had a friend who would offer discerning words of wisdom when I needed them most.
I’m thoroughly convinced that reaching for that hope and constantly striving toward the future to survive is what kept me from more destruction than I went through. I felt over time I was getting closer to the Lord little by little again. Although this was different from what I experienced as a child. Each trial that God showed up and I got through brought me more hope and brought me closer to Him.
Even though I didn’t get 100% serious enough about my walk until surprisingly a year ago, I still grew more and more in wisdom, and God still revealed things to me about myself the way He has always seen me. God knows our future and what decisions we will make even though we still have the free will to make a real mess of things. Since God knows the future, He always has a way out just around the corner.
If I hadn’t known Him, I think I probably would have gone through with suicide a long time ago. I remember always thinking, “Maybe if I just hold on a little bit longer, something will break and everything will be okay.” Maybe it was just survival, but there was hope as far as I was concerned even if it was very little.
When my third son was born, a very close and wonderful friend of mine had created a baby picture album for him as a shower gift. In the back, she wrote the verse Jeremiah 29:11. Little did I know what the next three years would bring. Since my son’s biological father chose to not be involved, this left an open position. This is when my now husband, Jeremiah, stepped right on into it willingly and enthusiastically.
When I met my husband, I remember the verse Jeremiah 29:11 coming up all over the place. I prayed and asked God, “If this is the man you have placed in my path to marry, please reveal that to me because I am terrible at picking men.” I wasn’t expecting God to accommodate this request, but God knew what I needed when I needed it. He sent more signs to confirm I was on the right track. Everybody loved him, the verse was showing up everywhere, and things just came together and fit into place smoothly.
I tell my story because I truly want people to understand that God has a plan for your life despite how much you muck it up. He already knew what was going to happen to you. He was already formulating a way out. A workaround. There is always hope. As long as God is on the throne, which we know is not confined by the limits of time, then there is hope for our future.
He never wishes us harm but a prosperous life. There are commandments for a reason. They are boundaries to keep us from harm. But should we choose to walk outside of those boundaries or maybe things happen that are out of our control, He is ready with a plan of action. You can be encouraged and always look forward to what is around the corner.
I started to train my mind to think in a new way. If something bad happens, that means something good is about to happen. When we can get our mind to think of it this way, it is so much easier to see the hope and have faith.
The reason I am alive is that I anchored myself in the hope of Jesus Christ. I always clung to hope.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. -Jeremiah 1:5, NIV
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 hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11, NIV
Featured Image by Josh Calabrese