I was raised Catholic until I was about 10 or 11 years old, but my parents never really made our family practice it at home so it didn’t matter much. We didn’t really go to Church that often (we only really went on special occasions and things like that), but whenever we did go, I always found myself being bored to death-I never really understood what was going on because I was really young back then. I never fully understood what being a Christian was all about-I thought that it was all about following lots of rules and stuff, I never really understood the Love of God at all…so, at 10 years old, after leaving my Catholic Primary School and starting secondary school, I stopped practicing Catholicism and just lived my life how I wanted to. Throughout my first year of secondary school, when I was 11, things seemed to be okay…
When I was 12, my parents split-up and my Dad moved out of our home. Because Dad lives away from us now, I can’t just see him whenever I want anymore. It can be tough sometimes, growing up without a Dad who’s able to be there for you most of the time.
That was just the first of the unfortunate things to come, and I became depressed at 12 years old. Whenever bad things happened, they always seemed to happen to me. Everything was falling apart: I lost my boyfriend; I would fight with my brother almost every day; I began to really hate myself and I felt like everyone was completely against me, like no one seemed to want to be around me anymore. I hurt a lot of people during those years because I only cared about filling the emptiness in me-when that didn’t work, I would leave the other people broken as well as myself, but I never took the blame for the things I did-I just thought the other people had wasted my time and that they were never really worth anything after all. I always ended up resorting to things considered sinful for comfort. Of course, that always left me feeling even more broken and empty than before.
I had tried everything to make life worth living, but it seemed like there was nothing I could do to make it worth anything. I was so depressed that, when I was 14 years old, I started wanting to kill myself. I would cry myself to sleep most nights and, eventually, I even began screaming out to God to just kill me in my sleep and not let me wake up the next morning-when He didn’t do that and I kept waking up, I just felt even worse and I didn’t understand why He was keeping me alive. I thought “Doesn’t He hate me as much as I hate myself? I’m sure He does, so why won’t He just solve the problem already?” Eventually, I figured that maybe I should just do it myself-I just thought everyone would be better off with me out of their lives.
I guess that it was when I was feeling very suicidal that God started to chase me again: While on the internet one day, I noticed music by a band called Flyleaf. For some reason, I decided that I was interested in listening to a different band, and gave Flyleaf a listen. As I listened to their lyrics, I realized that their main focus was worshiping and praising God. This made me question the band a little, but after listening to them a little more, I began to really like the band and, eventually, their message of God's Love and a person’s need for It to fill the void in them really knocked some sense into me: it made me wonder if I could reach out to God for help, if He would still care enough about me to save me. So after a few weeks, I prayed:
“Christ, I’ve been in too much pain for so long. I’ve done things to hurt other people and to hurt You, which I regret because they never helped me at all…But I think I now fully understand why You died-it was because You love me and You wanted to forgive me…Well, if You could possibly still find it in Your Heart to forgive me and save me, even though I’ve done so much wrong, I promise You I’ll be better than this, and I’ll live for You if You want.”
I began to feel like God was there, beginning to heal me. Over the following weeks, I also realised just how selfish and sinful I had been over the past years. But despite all this, God said He loved me and wanted me to come to Him so He could fill the void in me and help me to live well. Having finally found a satisfying Love to fill me, I’m now attending Church again, to thank Him for everything He has done for me, and I’m trying my hardest to live for Christ alone-I am unashamed to tell anyone that He is The One who saved me. I’ve ended up finally believing how loving and merciful God is.
Before I had that experience, I’d always felt so miserable and jealous around others, because I just thought they were all better off than me. But after God saved me, I began to love people again, because God loved people. I began to realise that a lot of the people I thought had it all were actually feeling just as empty as I had felt, and that I had never been alone in the first place. I have many hopes and dreams for my life, mainly ones that involve serving Christ in some way. Right now, to help people is what I want from life, but I’ll follow God wherever He wants to take me in life.
I’m a much better person now and I try to avoid sin. I do still have a few occasional bad times and sometimes I do fall away from the right path. But I know that, as long as I confess my sins, believe that Jesus bled and died a slow and grueling death on a Cross to take away the shame, and ask for forgiveness, He is always forgiving.
I no longer feel lonely, because I know God is always there for me, even if I can’t see Him with my eyes! He is a true friend, even when I’m not. He is faithful when I am not. He loved me with an everlasting love, even when I didn’t care for Him at all. I now realise that the reason why God didn’t let me die when I wanted to is because He has an amazing plan for my life. He wasn’t slow because He waited until I had hit the lowest low in my life before He saved me, but He was patient-He wishes that no one will perish, but that everyone will come back to Him and come to repentance through Christ (2PETER 3:9). Since God found me and saved me, I’ve realized something that I’ll know forever: I don’t care if the world suddenly stopped caring about me because I know that God will always care.