The very bottom of my pit.
I was 19 years old. I’d been raised in a Christian home, I should have had a stronger faith. I should have known better. But my world was crashing down around me and I felt I was suffocating. It was rising inside me, threatening to take over my person.
My great-grandmother had died the year before, I’d been accepted and was registered to attend college when the funding fell through, my sister was slowly killing herself with anorexia, and my family was scattered. Some living in the same town where my sister was in the hospital, the other half living (and I use that term loosely) in our house. We were ghosts that passed each other in the halls, acknowledging each other's existence but had little interaction, for we were all in survival mode.
I was choking from the lack of control I had in my life. And I needed an escape, any kind of escape. I turned to drugs, alcohol, and sex.
And for a number of weeks, it worked. I numbed the pain, the fear, and then the shame, with it. There were a number of times I looked at my life, knowing I was making decisions that went against everything I’d been raised on, but I didn’t care. It was a way to pretend that everything wasn’t falling apart. I could pretend that I wasn’t hurting the very ones who loved me. Including Jon.
It was the love of family and Jon that brought a halt to that lifestyle. Confronted with the truth of my actions, I confessed in a heap of tears to my aunt, my parents, my sisters, and Jon. There’s nothing that will tear at a person’s heart like watching the disappointment in your parents eyes, to watch the pedestal that your younger sisters had you on, crumble like it was made of sand, or to see the heartbreak in your beloved’s eyes when he hears of your betrayals. It brought me to my knees.
I don’t tell you that story for the fun of it. Because trust me, reliving that time in my life is anything but fun. It’s a sobering reminder of where I’d been. I tell you that story because it’s important to the rest of the story; this past summer.
When I was first approached to do the Marriage Series, I hesitated. Not because I don’t believe in strong marriages, but because by agreeing to the series, I knew I was painting a target on my back. I knew I wasn’t in any place to stand strong against the spiritual warfare I knew would follow. And boy, was I right.
It was the perfect storm. Spiritual warfare, my grandmother’s death, a sister struggling and I had no way of easing some of her pain, I had been doing too much for too long, long nights, early mornings, my dad’s cancer. It was a firestorm of circumstances in which I had lost all control.
Old demons rose up. Enveloping me in darkness, suffocating me, making me desperate. I thought old, destructive thoughts. I was tempted to give in to old, destructive behaviors. And I sat in the bathtub ready to turn in my card of life. I was done in, exhausted, overwhelmed, I was drowning. I wanted out.
Jon sat by that bathtub every. single. time. Praying over me, whispering words of love and encouragement, fighting for me when I couldn't. He was scared. My mom was scared. My sisters were scared. I was scared. I have never seen myself like that, and for the first time, I had no hope. None. I just wanted out.
Then just when I saw a sliver of hope, there was a falling out, hurtful things were said, and I slipped even further under the water. And again, my loved ones stormed heaven’s gates on my behalf. They stood in the gap when I couldn’t, they prayed over me when I didn’t want to get out of bed. They reminded me of the things that were real and true and right.
And then I stepped over to the other side and decided to believe God.
I don’t credit Jon, or my mom, or my loved ones of saving me. Supporting me? Yes. Praying for me? Certainly. Holding me up? Of course. Being Jesus with skin on for me? Absolutely. But I KNOW who saved me from myself.
I KNOW it was God, JEHOVAH-SABAOTH (The Lord of Hosts, my protector), who refused to leave my side or let go of me. He fought for me because I am HIS, and it was He that restored my soul. I’ve never felt His presence more acutely or more tangible than I do right now. His hand was on me and I survived one of the hardest times in my life BECAUSE of Him.
I won’t do this life correctly, I will mess up. I will make mistakes and its ok to admit that I have no clue what I’m doing because He is sufficient for me. As long as I cling to Him and believe in Him, I have everything I need. Right now my appetite for God and His word is insatiable. I cannot get enough of His promises for me. I’m starting to get glimpses of God’s character and how big He is. I’m standing like a child at His feet, begging for more. I’m asking Him to increase my thirst for Him, to allow me to fall in love with Him, because when you face the very bottom of your pit and come out alive, you hunger for the one who saved you.
I’m not saying that I’ve faced the end of my depression, anxiety, or panic attacks. I believe as long as I live on this earth, this will probably be my thorn to bear. But I pray that I won’t ever forget this summer, the darkest of moments, I thought all was lost, and then the light at the end of it. Because truth be told, if I had to experience that darkness to reach this point of love for my Savior, it was worth it.