my story pt. 1

I don't write about, or even think about, my past very much. It's filled with a lot of pain that instead of processing I just got very good at repressing. Early on in life I figured out that detaching from my emotions was easier than dealing with them. I learned a lot of ways to cope with turmoil and stress, and none of them were healthy. Sometimes I completely turned off my emotions, sometimes I avoided necessary conversations by throwing myself into friendships, and in the darkest moments I relied on the burn of a sharp blade against my skin. I controlled things like calorie intake because I couldn't control the brokenness around me. I binged and purged because I felt like I deserved it. I stayed up all night and couldn't get out of bed all day, because I was consumed by a depression and anxiety so deep that I was certain there would never be relief. What started as simply detaching my emotions from a painful situation spiraled into a cycle of self-punishment that I wrapped around myself like a warm and welcome blanket. The contrast of dark red against my smooth white skin became my proudest accomplishment. The sharp angles of skin pulled tightly across my bones became my ultimate goal. I was consumed by self-destruction, and I loved it.

Even in writing that paragraph I have to stop myself from remembering those moments too clearly. Not because they are too painful, but because they're too appealing. My heart races when I think about the tingling of a fresh cut or the comforting burning at the back of my throat after a trip to the bathroom. It seems impossible to love something so harmful, but that's the only way to describe it. I loved it, and in my most honest moments I know that I have the capacity to love it again. The fact that it's been almost five years since I last caved to the urge to run a fresh blade across my arm is a miracle. And I do not use that word lightly.

I was so caught up in and content with my way of living, that it honestly did not matter to me if I ever stopped. I didn't see the need. I couldn't think of one reason compelling enough to give up the one thing I was good at, the one thing I loved. Then God stopped me in my tracks. I do not say that to be dramatic. I say it that way because it's true. Through a series of events one summer, God grabbed my attention and pulled me out of relationships and situations that encouraged my behaviors. He placed people in my life that were living a version of Christianity I'd never seen. It wasn't the kind that paid lip service to morality while living unchanged. It wasn't the kind motivated by comfort and self-promotion. It was a quiet, humble, bold kind of living that stood unwavering in the storm. I'd been in church all my life, but when I looked around I didn't see anything different or desirable. I saw ruined marriages, hateful attitudes, lives consumed by pride. I saw good people walk through life broken, and nobody could tell me why. These people seemed to have the answer. Their lives were not perfect, but they weren't defined by their pain. They were loving, funny, positive, and selfless. There was a sense of weightlessness around them.

It was the exact opposite of everything I knew myself to be. It was the first thing that ever seemed worth putting down my blade for. That summer God transformed me. He used those people to teach my about love--loving others, but also loving myself. Their lives taught my about redemption and finding worth in who God says I am. They drew me in and accepted me, and in doing so showed me that God was trying to do the same. I did have to make sacrifices. I had to walk away from friendships, retrain how I handled my emotions, and protect myself from triggers. Those loses were just that--loses. They were hard, and I still have days where I struggle with them. What matters more though is what I gained. I was walking steadily down a path of darkness, pain, and willful self-destruction. God graciously reached down, scooped me into His arms, sealed all the cracks in my soul, and gave me a life worth so much more.

It seems almost impossible when I look back and see the contrast between that May and August. I can't believe how quickly and completely my life changed. Where I saw nothing but devastation and a life beyond repair, God grew hope. Where there had been a hardened and crumbling heart, God allowed life to be revived. I was saved in more than a philosophical sense. My life was in very real danger, and seeing the reality of who God is literally saved me.

1 comment:

  1. This only shows me how separated I was from what was going on in your life both internally and externally. I am glad you found what you needed to begin to grow in gods love. I hope you continue to grow as a wife, mother, individual and find healing in all that you have now. You are extremely brave to have shared this and I thank you for it. All my love to you ~Lisa