When I was eight years old, Twin Towers were attacked. This tragedy shattered my young mind to pieces. I was a little girl who did not understand why the same bad men who killed so many people in New York wouldn't come to my town in Texas and hurt me too. I began to suffer from severe anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. I wouldn't eat or drink without being forced. I wouldn't go outside and play with my friends. I couldn't bring myself to cross the street to get the mail in the good neighborhood where I lived. I couldn't sleep at night. My panic attacks would cause me to be nearly unable to breathe. My heart would race in my chest, skipping like a rabbit. One severe panic attack even sent me to the emergency room. I was a little girl who suffered with big issues and my parents were at a loss of what to do. My mom began getting up thirty minutes earlier than the rest of the family to pray that God would save me from my fears.
The day before my tenth birthday, I was reading a book called "Left Behind" by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. The book was about the rapture and everything involving that subject. I began to think about what it would be like if Jesus came and took all of the Christians up to heaven and left everyone else behind. I knew that I would be the only one out of most of my family and friends that would be left. I would be alone. This frightened me to the core. I finally realized that I could not rely on my parents to believe in Jesus for me. I had to shoulder my own faith and believe in the Lord because I knew it was true.
I got on my knees right where I was and told Jesus Christ that I was a sinner, I believed that He died on the cross for my sins, and I accepted Him as my Savior and as my God.
Almost immediately, there was a change in my life. I was transformed overnight. The panic attacks went away. I could sleep through the night without fear. I was able to travel the world without my parents. I could finally smile again.
I was around twelve years old when things began to change. I've always felt a huge empathy for poverty and those in need. I began to wonder, "If God really does love everyone, then why does He let so many kids starve to death every day? He can't love us." And I started to doubt. Doubt, if not put in check, can easily spread like wildfire. I soon began to dismiss God completely. I openly denied to several of my friends that He even existed... and if He did, I thought that He surely must hate the world.
Depression and feelings of worthlessness hit me hard after I dismissed my faith. I felt stupid, ugly, and unlovable. I was more depressed than I had ever been before. I began to cut myself... occasionally at first, but then it became a dangerous habit and an outlet for me to release my anger and sadness and pent up emotions that I would never let anyone else see. I wanted to hurt. I felt like I deserved the pain I caused myself.
When I was thirteen, I attempted suicide and failed.
My parents found out about my self injury and obviously panicked. They were once again at a loss of what to do. I was depressed, miserable, and I put a wall up against everyone around me.
The summer before my freshman year of high school, I made a 'deal' with God. I basically said,
"God, if You exist, then I want You to show me a sign. Prove that You can work through me. Prove that You exist. If You don't, I'm going to kill myself (and make sure it works this time) before school starts in August. If You give me reasonable proof that You can work in my life, then I'll give my life to You. You can have it. I can't control it any more."I thought that this was an easy way out of my problems... I could justify everything with God.
That summer, my parents sent me to a nine day training program that teaches teens how to witness to kids. I was mortified. I didn't want to share my so-called faith in a God I hardly believed in. I wasn't allowed to quit the program, so I simply shut down. On the fourth day, they took me and some other teens out to the park to witness to random people. I had to share my 'faith' with a nineteen year old girl. I spoke in a fairly monotone voice, inwardly begging the girl to ignore my words. The girl was quiet and shy but she accepted Christ that day, explaining that she had just graduated from high school and received a Bible for graduation. She hadn't known what to do with it until I came along and explained to her what it all meant.
This crushed me. I went home that night and cried because I realized that God had used me, even though I was fighting against Him with all of my might. He still used me to further His kingdom.
I went to Mexico City on a mission trip soon after. I was able to see poverty, serve the needy, and witness to the lost through an interpreter. I went to Angel Tree Camp and shared a cabin with several young girls whose parents were incarcerated. Most of these girls had been abused and neglected throughout their lives and a few of them also accepted Christ.
By the end of the summer, I was able to lead more than thirty people to the Lord. Me- a young, timid girl with wavering faith. There was no denying that God had worked through me. I had my end of the deal to keep. My life was His.
I'm seventeen years old now, an upcoming senior in high school. I have no doubt that God has worked in my life. I'm still growing in Him every day. There are still difficult times that I have to struggle through, but Jesus has held my hand through each trial. Hard situations that would have broken my faith a few years ago now strengthen my relationship with the Lord. I haven't cut in more than three years. I'm not depressed. I have a joy and a hope inside of me that is indescribable. You can't know how it feels unless you have it for yourself.
I want to allow Jesus to control my life now because He is so much wiser than I am. Believe me, I've tried to run my life on my own. It never works. I am so glad I made the decision to stay alive. I've been able to do and experience so many things that I never would have imagined three years ago. I've gone to Africa, mentored young girls who have problems with self injury or depression, wrote music, made many friends, wrote a book, and I am now interning at an inner city mission that is focused on spreading the gospel (and giving food) to the needy in my community.
I've never been happier. And it's not just happiness that I feel... it's joy.
I put up a video where I share my testimony on my vlog channel on YouTube. You can watch it here.
What's your testimony? How has God transformed your life? Feel free to share your story in a comment below. I'd love to hear it.