There have been countless times when I have begged God to take me home. In these moments I felt like it would have been better for me to have been hit by a bus than to have continued on for one more second. Life felt like it was more than I could bear. I was in anguish and it felt like it would never end. The only way out, it seemed, was to end my life.
I wanted to. I thought about it. I thought about it a lot. I knew how I would do it. I would take pills. It would be easy and painless. I would take them, go to sleep, and never wake up. Easy.
I scoured the medicine cabinet. I stared at pill bottles. I held them in my hands. Once I even took a few. I knew it wasn’t enough to hurt me, but it was more than I should have taken.
But something in me wouldn’t let me do it. It wasn’t right. It wasn’t my time. I knew I couldn’t take matters into my own hands. So, I gave my pills to my husband. We locked them up. We developed a safety plan. We did everything we could to keep me safe.
I was scared. We were all scared. And I still felt like I couldn’t handle life. So, I began to pray. “Lord, please. Please take me. Please make it stop. Just bring me home. I want to be with You. I’m ready. Haven’t I suffered enough? I can’t handle anymore. Please.”
Over and over, I prayed this. But still, I woke up each and every day. He wasn’t coming to get me. Not yet. I began to think there must be some kind of purpose in all of this. There had to be because I couldn’t be going through all of this for nothing.
Depression has a way of making you believe that you have nothing. It tricks you into believing that everything good in your life has been stripped away. Though it wasn’t true, I felt as though the only thing I had left in my life was my relationship with God. I was blinded to everything else for a while. Maybe it was supposed to be that way because clinging to God turned out to be the best thing for me. I’m convinced it saved me.
I know it was my faith that didn’t allow me to make irreversible decisions in my darkest moments. It was the knowledge that He was sitting with me, holding me in His arms, keeping me safe that protected me from myself.
Over time, God began to show me how He wanted me to use my story to help others. He began to reveal to me that I now have a path to follow. I have a mission, and that is to help others who are dealing with these same hurts to get through them. I’ve walked this road and survived it, so I know it can be done. I am proof that it’s possible. I believe God wants me to share my story with anyone who will listen. He’s given me opportunities through my counseling career, and now through writing this book, to be transparent about the journey He and I have been on. Wow!
I never thought in a million years that I would write a book. I never dreamed that God would want to use me in such a big way, but here I am. None of this would have been possible if I had succumbed to my weaknesses and chosen to end my life. My purpose would not have been completed. God’s glory in all of this would have never been reached.
So many times, in the midst of hardship, we can’t understand why God doesn’t hear our pleas for help. We can’t understand why He doesn’t rescue us from our desperate situations. But hindsight usually reveals a bigger story – a better story – that He knew all along.
There is a song by Austin French called Break My Heart. The lyrics captivate me. Each time I hear it, I have trouble catching my breath for just a moment because I’m reminded yet again at the goodness of my God. I’m reminded that He had me all along. He had a plan for all of my suffering, and His plan was for His glory. How could I not want to be part of that plan?
If I’d never felt so empty
If I’d never cried those tears
I wouldn’t know You as my Savior
I would’ve never found You here
I wouldn’t know the greater purpose
Or see the hope beyond the pain
But there was a bigger picture…
I wouldn’t know I had a Healer
If there never was a cost
I wouldn’t know I had a future
If it wasn’t for the cross
There could be no greater purpose
Than to magnify Your name
And tell the world about You, Jesus
Every broken road, every shattered dream
All of the times I failed, You were grace to me
Now when I look back on my story
There is no way I’d know who You are
If You’d never let this world…
Break my heart and take me down to my knees
You were chasing me and now, at last, I can see…
He did, indeed, let the world break my heart and take me down to my knees. If you’ve never questioned whether life was worth living or wondered if God would forgive you if you ended your suffering, be blessed in that. If you’ve never had your world shattered into so many tiny pieces that you didn’t think there was any way you could ever pick them all up and put them back together again, praise God for that. If you’ve never felt pain and sorrow so deep that it hurt to breathe, you might not understand what I’m trying to convey by saying that God allowed me to be brought me to my knees. Forgive me if that offends you. I just really want you to understand the magnitude of what I’m saying here.
Imagine the absolute worst thing that could happen to you. The thing that would be unbearable for you to get through. That’s it. That’s the pain I’m talking about. It’s the kind of pain that keeps you from getting out of bed in the morning. It’s the kind of pain that has you curled up in the dark on your closet floor sobbing because you don’t know what else to do.
I’m praying that you have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m praying you’ve never endured that kind of hurt. But if you have, you know exactly what the floor of your closet feels like. You know exactly how dark it is in that small space. If you’re like me, you may have even fallen asleep and taken a nap in the safety of that space. You understand the depth of the hurt.
My hope for you is that you also understand that God has a plan for you in your suffering. I hope that you seek Him in your pain. Allow Him to journey with you. He will sustain you. He will give you the strength you need for each and every day. If you are in the midst of your suffering now, it may not feel like God is present, but trust me, He is. He is waiting for you to invite Him in. He wants to unveil His plan to you, one step at a time. You just have to let Him.
I could not have survived without God. At the end of every day, I didn’t know how I would be able to make it through one more day. But each day, I woke up renewed enough for that day. The Bible tells us that God will give us enough for each day, and that’s exactly what He did for me. He gave me enough so that I could survive, but just enough so that I had to rely on Him daily to provide me with what I needed. I still rely on Him daily!
God is so good. Even in the midst of our pain, He can bring good out of our sorrow. I believe He can and will use anything we go through for His glory. He can make our painful stories beautiful testimonies of His love for us. He has begun doing that with my story, but I know He isn’t finished yet. He has brought me a long way, but He hasn’t shown me the end yet. I have a feeling the adventure is just beginning. I’m hopeful that I’ve endured the hardest parts already, and I’m on to more enjoyable seasons of my journey. But if not, God’s shown me that He will carry me through anything I can’t walk through. He’s proven Himself faithful. I will rest in that, no matter what lies ahead.
If you find yourself in a moment of weakness that feels unbearable, please hang on. Cling to the hope that only God can provide. He will provide a way for you to make it to the next moment, and then to the next. Hold onto that faith, even if it’s all you have left in this moment. You can make it through this. You don’t have to walk. Let God carry you. Surrender yourself and your burdens to Him and He will bring you through your battle, even if it’s one breath at a time. Just keep breathing. Inhale. Exhale. Don’t give up. Your story doesn’t end here.