The Nth Chance: My Personal Testimony

It was January 23. I remember it so well because I could only feel one thing. Rather, I felt nothing. I only had one word to describe it: empty.

The night before, I had come from drinking and in an act of desperation, went to see my boyfriend then and his friends. That led to insecurity and for some reason, anger. Never had I felt so low, so worthless, and as if none of this, none of it, had a point.

I’m sure many of you have felt this way too. When you look around, and it really just looks like one big lie. Well, let me tell you this…it kind of is.

I knew something felt off with me about two years ago. Mornings started to become a nightmare. I would force myself to wake up, “one more day, just one more day”. I’d take a deep breath, or two, and do it all over again. I’d pretend everything was okay, I’d tell myself something might just happen today, I’d pretend that I was happy. Living, honestly, had gotten so tiring. It was always a battle between me and my demons. And most of the time, I’d just let them win. My best friend even brought me to a doctor who told me, my problem was, I never had any real security in my life, thus depression. It really started to disturb me how much I thought about killing myself, it went from being on a weekly basis to a daily basis. It was a constant mental and spiritual war.

I had tried turning my life back to Christ before. I was fed up with trying to, for lack of a better term, keep up, with my own life. There were so many goals I wanted to accomplish, so many people I wanted to please, so many things I think I, out of anyone, felt was the most justified or qualified to say. And it all broke me, it just wore me down. I wrote about it on my blog then entitled “A Letter to Myself” which was written in five parts. I thought it helped to express it, just let it out, and for a time, it did.

But then I went back to what I knew, I let my “life” take over my life again. I fell in love with another guy, struggled through that relationship; I distracted myself with work and socializing, always going home thinking, is this it? I’d keep going back to it; it filled whatever void I needed it to at the time. But in the back of my head was a little voice saying, “Why don’t you just stop already?”

I didn’t stop. Opportunities came, as they do, to distract me from the pain I should have dealt with head-on. I went back to keeping up, I went back to pleasing, I went back to expecting way too much from the world, I went back to counting every little bit of acknowledgment thrown my way…I went back to being absolutely and inevitably, miserable. I, in fact, learned to hate myself.

Fast forward after months of drinking myself stupid, blacking out every night (I would scream at the guards at my apartment) I had had enough. After months of locking myself in the bathroom, punching my face so hard, and cutting my thighs and wrists, standing on the ledge of the 29th floor, thinking to myself the whole time, “It could all end right now.” All that pain, all that senselessness, all that disappointment. All of it.

I never jumped. But I wanted to. I never cut too deep. But I wanted to. I never overdosed. But I really, really wanted to. Something kept pulling me back. A little voice at the back of my head saying, “Stay.”

I ignored it and on that night, my boyfriend (this is the first one I mentioned at the beginning, yes love addiction) drove me home. I had screamed at a gas attendant. I had screamed at the guard. I had screamed and hurt, really hurt, Sam. It was going to end that night, I was sure of it. I just needed a little push and  I got it. I asked for it and I got it. But let me tell you something, at the pit of my stomach, something was stirring, and that thing stirring just felt wrong, it felt evil.

I went upstairs, took out the medicine box, opened the windows, grabbed the Baygon on the counter (I was desperate to go). If it wasn’t going to happen one way, it was going to happen another. I took all the medicine, kept drinking the alcohol left in the refrigerator and went about cutting my left upper thigh. Boy, it felt good to feel nothing. I sprayed the Baygon onto a towel and sucked it in. I kept going on and on and on and on…

Then I woke up. My first thought was, “Why in the world is there Baygon on the table? And a knife?” I smelled the towel. Oh. I saw my leg. Oh. I closed the medicine box and window. What happened last night? Something must have come over me because when I checked my phone, yup. I had broken up with my boyfriend…again.

I rushed to his place and in a mess of myself, apologized and tried to explain as best I could. I can practically memorize it by now, my little script for people who “don’t understand me”:

I’m tired.

It’s just a wave.

I had an attack.

I had learned to belittle my mental health so perfectly already and at the same time make it the biggest excuse as to why I was mean, or why I said or did something, or why I reacted that way.

Truth be told though, I was very tired that day. I wasn’t thinking about killing myself, but I was so tired. I went with Sam to his basketball game and on the way, we passed by Every Nation. There it was again, that little voice again, “Come to me.” I had gone there a couple of times before, but for the life of me, I could not see the point of really becoming a Christian. In my head, I was way past a solution. But I wanted to go.

I didn’t. But I really wanted to.

Instead, on the way home, I was quiet. There was no wave. It wasn’t an attack. But there it was, in the pit of my stomach, at the core of my being: Emptiness. I cried and Sam didn’t know what to say or do, he too, was helpless. How many times had I done this to him? To everyone? Of course. I told him I just needed to be alone and that I’d be okay.

I got out of the car and went up to my apartment. My dad just happened to be out of town. The minute I walked in and closed the door, I let go. I fell down on my knees. I was so tired and I had had enough. I didn’t want to hurt myself anymore, I didn’t want to hurt the ones I loved anymore, I didn’t want to hurt anymore, period. Through my sobbing, I managed to whisper, “God, I don’t know what to say. I don’t even know how to pray. But I need your help. Please God, please God, please God…”

Let me tell you, I was desperate for a solution.

I reached out to the only pastor I had really liked, pastor Robert of Victory, who is now in San Diego.

I told him about what I had been dealing with, and how I needed his help. I needed to read something. Anything. I needed God. I waited for his answer and listened to one song all night till I could fall asleep. All I Need Is You by Hillsong.

He directed me to Psalm 103.

I had thought I needed all these other things to keep me happy. A relationship. Validation from people. I thought I needed to constantly be “pretty” or “perfect” in the sight of others. To be the smartest in a conversation. To be the loudest in a party. I was just constantly lying to myself. Let me tell you something, there is nothing this world can really offer. I realized that night, God is the biggest truth anyone can ever tell. And only He can really heal. Jesus heals the broken-hearted. He binds their wounds. This was my story, this was my Jesus.

And that’s just it.

You don’t have to keep up. You don’t have to please others. When you try to, I’m sorry but you’re going to lose, over and over again. Life is so precious. And when I surrendered mine to Jesus, and I mean fully surrendered, I fell into His arms of LOVE. And this LOVE just covered me that in this lifetime, I will never be able to describe in words how that feels. To know, yes people love you, your family loves you, your friends care for you, yes, but no one will love you like Jesus does. No one cares like Jesus cares. The day I fell down on my knees was the day I fell into His arms. It was my nth chance, but it was the chance I was going to take forever. Do I feel bad for making Him my last solution? Yes. Was I glad it finally happened, though? YES.

I found hope, guys. I found security. Where? Believe me now or believe me never, but it’s only in Jesus. It’s only in the chances HE gives to run back to Him.

Psalm 103

Praise the Lord, O my soul, all my inmost being, praise His holy name

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-

who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion

who satisfies your desires with good things

So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s

FOMO: Who’s Really Missing Out?

Have you ever encountered a Christian and just been like, yo what are you on? I used to hate Christians.  I didn’t understand how they could be so happy…all the time. It seemed fake. I felt like they were missing out on all the world and life had to offer, if they could just enjoy it for once.

resized gif

I never wanted to change. It’s not necessary, right? We say to ourselves, “I’m a good person. I don’t hurt anybody. So what do I owe God?”

Recently, I watched two faith-inspired films (both I HIGHLY recommend).
1. I’m Not Ashamed is about a girl who tries to live her life for Jesus, but is constantly swayed by peer pressure. A line in this movie struck me: “I don’t think you’re making an impact. I think you’re the one being misled.”

2. Grace Unplugged is about a girl brought up in a worship background who tries to make it on her own in the secular music industry. The line that struck me here was, “If you want it just for yourself, there’s always going to be something missing.”

 There’s always going to be something missing.

DEFINE FOMO

FOMO = the fear of missing out. The anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere.

For the last seven years of my life, it was impossible to be a Christian. There was just too much going on! Why would I let God hold me back from living a carefree life? Doesn’t he want us to enjoy ourselves and not miss out on the blessings, good times, and friendships?

But here’s the question: Who’s really missing out?

Those who are in the world but not following it (Of it)? Or those who are living “in the moment” and all about it? Take me the wrong way if you must, but there has to be a limit to happiness if it is only being supplied by the things around you. There has to be a limit to your own “goodness” if it’s not based on God’s. And that’s the truth.

  1malbf (1)

After years of justifying my behavior by, “I’m a grown-up, I can drink and go out and date whoever I want!” “I’m a bad girl, that’s what I’m known for, I don’t care what people think about me!” “I don’t care what I get myself into, so what, I’ll face the consequences!” Well, that led to alcoholism, five failed relationships and an addiction to love (that’s a real thing), an FHM cover a month after giving my life to Christ (oh, irony) a bunch of offers for indecent roles, people I turned off and hurt, self-harm and abuse…and the worst, attempted suicide.

You may have a different story but let me ask again, who is really missing out?

ezgif-2-39b7e8b7b7

Yup, I don’t miss that.

If you’ve ever been a fan of OTH, remember that scene where Brooke brings Mouth to a strip club and he’s so ecstatic but he sees her face, and she’s just bored? Brooke says, “Thanks, but this gets old, pretty quick.” Beyond drugs, drinking, and having a good time, what does the world say you’re missing out on if you’re not part of it? Success? Beauty? Popularity?

I don’t know about you, but if I could take back the years I wasn’t a Christian and relive them for Christ, I would. Party’s over. Everything I thought would satisfy me back then is either gone now or did not turn out as I had imagined. An empty heart crushed by empty dreams swallowed by an empty world. Yes, I’m telling you now, this world has nothing to offer. It is temporary and you will not get your satisfaction from it.

BUT WHAT DOES JESUS SAY

But let me also tell you this. When Jesus said in Matthew 16:26: “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world (materialism, living for one’s self, instant gratification) yet forfeit their soul?”; he didn’t mean you had to suffer and never have fun. If there is anything I can assure you of, living a FREE life is fun.

It is fun to get home at 8:00 p.m. on a Friday night, and spend time with your family. It is fun to wake up without a hangover or crash. It is fun to not date around, or be in a relationship you constantly worry about. It is fun to hang out with friends, drinking soda.

It is fun to care about others and not yourself. It is fun to read the Bible every day. It is fun to pray and talk to God about absolutely anything. It is fun to go to church and Bible study and LEARN. It is fun to blast praise and worship music in the house. It is fun to be content in Christ and to trust Him in everything.

SO WHAT NOW

Is Jesus Christ who you’re living for? If He is not, then my friend, frankly I think you’re missing out. Slow down and stop running from God. He loves you so much and He doesn’t want to see you hurting over a world that could care less about your problems or situation. A world that is on to the next thing already when the thing now hasn’t even finished its sentence. A world that denies God, denies JOY (happiness is momentary,) and denies real love. I once asked someone dear to me, “Stripped of everything you know and you have, what then?” His answer? “I don’t know.” And he was the happiest person I had ever known.

It is our society that is experiencing the biggest FOMO because they’re missing out on God’s grace. So I leave you with this:

Ephesians 4:22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its DECEITFUL desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

We don’t do the same drugs no more. 

Dating The Perfect Man

I wake up in the morning and roll over. He kisses me on the forehead and says, “It’s time to get up. We have a whole day to knock out together.” I ask, “Five more minutes?” He smiles and lets me sleep a little more.

At the table, we’re having breakfast. He’s stirring his coffee while I open the Bible to Matthew. He asks me, “Which part are we reading today?” I reply, “Chapter 8, the part where Jesus calms the storm.” He smiles and says, “Ahhh, that’s my favorite part.” I laugh and exclaim, “You say that about every chapter!” We read and pray together, and our day begins.

In the shower, I start to cry because I think of how much pain I’m still in. He’s sitting on top of the toilet, and he asks, “What is it?” I try to muster the words, “It’s my fault. He left me. What did I do wrong?” Gently, he whispers, “It’s not all your fault. But he’s in your past now, and I’m here. I’m never going to leave you.” I cry and through my tears, say, “They all said that. They all made that promise.” He says, “But you know Jules that I never break my promises. I love you.”

I dress up and while doing so; a song blasts in the background, “This Is Amazing Grace.” I’m dancing along, and so is he. He says, “I really like this song, it’s so catchy, and it’s so true!” I couldn’t agree more.

On the way out, he smiles to the guard and I smile at him too. On my way into work, he tells me to smile to the other guard, gently pressing my hand. He tells me to smile at all the people at the office. He even tells me to ask a few how their day has been and gives me words of comfort to those who seem a little stressed out.

At lunch, he sits right across from me. “How’s your day been so far, Jules?” “Really good,” I reply, “but I can’t do it without you. Could you please stay with me? It’s starting to hurt again.” He nods and with all assurance says, “Yes. I’m not going anywhere.”

I try to finish my work, but my draft of an article does not save, and I completely lose it. In frustration, I slam the laptop down. He pats my back, “Hey, just start over again. You can always start over again.” I take a deep breath and finish my work, this time liking it better than the last. “Thanks,” I say, “It was actually good I got to do a second draft.”

As the day ends, we ride in a taxi together, and he encourages me to ask the driver how his day has been, what his family is like, etc. The driver waves us goodbye as we get out and go home.

This is my favorite part of the day. I sit down with my guitar and start strumming while humming a melody to myself. He sits on the floor next to me. I ask him, “What kind of love song do you want me to write for you?” He replies, “Write about how much I love you.” After a few hours of going through the song, he says, “I think that’s my favorite so far out of everything you’ve written.” I think to myself, “You say that about every song.”

I get ready for bed and bend down on my knees. Another day has gone by smoothly, despite its little obstacles. I thank God for the miracle of living another day and getting through it with the perfect partner. I look over at him and ask, “Why me? Why did you choose me?” He stares deep into my eyes and says, “Because you are so special to me, and I want to heal you…” Someone interrupts him from afar, “You don’t mean that. She’s guilty. She isn’t worthy of someone like you. She doesn’t have that much talent, and you’re not going to stay—”

“Be quiet,” my partner rebukes, “She is beautiful, and she is mine.”

I cry and hug him, “Thank you,” I whisper, “I hate when he does that.”

“It’s a lie. I am the truth. You have me. One can never love you as I have loved you, but that’s why you will always have me. I am always with you. Forever.”

He lays me down to sleep and sings me a lullaby. “Don’t go,” I say, “It’s scary at this point. The dreams, they haunt me.” “Shhh,” he tenderly brushes my hair, “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be with you in your dreams and right here again when you wake up.”

Before finally falling asleep, I tell him with my whole heart, “I am so in love with you, Jesus.” He smiles, and He is the face I see before the sleep sinks in.