Tonight I want to tell you my story, or my testimony, as some may call it.
It started off slow. See, I was born Catholic and raised Catholic, and for me, the existence of God was never a question. Even in the darkest times, I knew that Christ was still there, though I didn’t always feel Him with me.
My childhood was, for the most part, ordinary. I was always active, carefree, and relatively happy. I excelled in school, and I was a natural born leader. However, over time, my childhood successes became less important to me, and instead I began to focus only on my failures and shortcomings. Consequently, by the time I reached my late teenage years, I developed a profound lack of self-confidence. With several cases of depression in my family history, I wondered if maybe I was a sufferer of depression as well. Many times I would wake up with a feeling of deep emptiness and an inexplicable sadness, and with each day, my confidence lessened and lessened. I began to lose myself, and I questioned everything.
Who was I? Why should I even bother getting out of bed? Is my life worth anything? Would it make a difference if I was gone? Who was I?
I continued to question different aspects of my life, and in those moments I hated myself for not having any answers. I wondered how God could be so distant, and I didn’t know how to go back to the way it was before. Instead of seeking him out, I pushed further away. At the same time, my prayer life diminished, and any relationship that I had with Christ was then cut off. I spiraled downward, and I gave up everything that was good in my life. I compromised my purity and my morals, all the while pretending that nothing had changed. And I hated myself for that. I quietly despised everything about my life and became hypercritical of every choice that I made. However, I never told anyone of my insecurities or my psychological sickness; in my heart I believed that I was undeserving of anyone’s love or sympathy. In fact, I felt undeserving of everything. Though I wouldn’t consider myself suicidal, it didn’t matter to me whether I lived or died; I was indifferent either way. My situation never improved, and I never seemed to get better because I truly didn’t believe that my life was worth working on. I felt as if I had no reason to breathe.
But today, New Year’s Eve, something changed. After spending a quiet, dark Christmas with my family in my hometown, I had planned to come back home today and settle in before University classes started. Feeling at an all-time low, I imagined myself driving as fast as I could into the snowy ditch, ending my pain and my life. But instead, when I got into my car, all I could manage to do was cry. I cried the whole way home, and for the first time, I sought God with an honest and desperate heart. I spoke out loud, to be sure that He could hear me, and I pleaded for the peace that I lacked. For a while I sat in silence. I listened as I continued to sob. On that trip home, two things happened. First, my car hit a patch of ice, and my tires slowly skidded along the highway, fishtailing back and forth. My heart stopped, and I realized that, for the first time, I valued my life and I cared about the outcome. And most importantly, I found the courage to pray again.
I can’t explain the healing that took place. It wasn’t a big moment, nor a bible verse that fell into my hands. It wasn’t a voice that came over me, or an overwhelming sense of peace. It was just progress.
I think sometimes even the un-prayed-for prayers are answered. I have always been amazed by God’s timing, and his plan. He rarely gives me what I ask for, but he provides me with exactly what I need. Think about how loving that really is.
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart from what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdoms cause
As I go from nothing to