Brush With Death (My Story Part Four)

Welcome to my story. I’m so glad you’re here! There are 13 posts in this series, and I will update the links as I post them:

  1. Memories of Divine Light
  2. Remembering: El Shaddai
  3. Descent into Darkness
  4. Brush with Death
  5. Visions of Glory and Bliss
  6. Miraculous Healings
  7. Chasing Supernatural Experiences
  8. Disillusionment
  9. Awakening
  10. When my World Caved In
  11. Understanding: It’s All About Love
  12. Rebirth Into Divine Love
  13. You Are Eternally Loved

I invite you to come along with me as I share my memories of brilliant light and unbelievable love, my descent into darkness and depression, and my reconnection and rebirth into Glorious Love. Mine is a story of supernatural experience intermingled with beautiful and broken humanity, the story of a spiritual awakening, of finding and reconnecting with a love I forgot existed, the story of an explosive, incomprehensible light that fills, awakens, heals, connects, animates, empowers, and spills out of every crevice of your being. This is part 4 of my story.

 

As I grew from a child into a teenager, my depression intensified. The emotional roller-coaster that is adolescence, on top of all of the baggage I had dragged around with me since early childhood, weighed me down like a mountain. I pictured myself as “Pilgrim” from Pilgrim’s Progress, staggering under the weight of his burden. Only in my case the burden was self-hatred, negative thoughts and feelings, intense shame and fears, dysfunction and attachment issues, and crippling depression and anxiety. 

Most nights I suffered from insomnia. I lay awake, wrestling with voices that screamed in my head, telling me I was worthless. I went about my days like a zombie, weighed down by guilt, hating myself, suffering from regular anxiety attacks and nervous breakdowns, hopelessly depressed. I withdrew inside myself and was distant and cold on the outside. In this way, I hid my depression from my parents for a long time. My sister closest to me in age, Michelle, knew all that I carried. She was the only one who truly knew my struggles and she was my greatest source of strength. I had almost no friends in highschool. I was the outcast – the socially awkward girl that everyone avoided. 

At 14 years of age, God began dealing with my heart. I must emphasize again that through all of this, I fully and completely understood the Gospel as it had been interpreted by my church. I had repented and believed in Jesus for salvation from the wrath of God against my sin. I was a Christian by every definition of the word, and I was very sincere and serious about my faith. And while my beliefs made me hyper-sensitive to sin and afraid of judgment, they did nothing to help with my inner darkness. I was a complete mess.

During my first year of highschool, I rededicated my life to Jesus. As soon as I had done so, God clearly spoke to me inside my heart. He told me that in order to begin healing, I needed to forgive those who had hurt me. At this time, I still confused the angry God I had learned about in church with the loving God of my memories. But somewhere deep inside I knew that God could not be both vengeful and forgiving. The God who spoke to me commanded forgiveness, even though most of the people involved would never ask for it.

Forgiveness was very difficult for me. I worked hard for three years to come to the point where I could honestly say “I forgive.” This was a long, intense process of tearing down the walls I had built around my heart to allow myself to feel again, to trust again, to be vulnerable again. It was one of the most painful things I have ever done, and it was the first step in a process of growth that was to occur over the next couple of decades.

At the age of 17, I had truly and fully forgiven all involved in my past, and I had seen unbelievable healing occur in some of these relationships. Then, because my walls were down and my heart was bare, two things happened simultaneously. I felt God’s presence in my life and heard his voice in a way I hadn’t in years. And his voice was the voice of unconditional, relentless love. I began questioning everything I had been taught in church.

Also, I felt all the pain of my insecurities 10 times more deeply, and my depression spiraled out of control. I began dealing with suicidal thoughts.

I remember sitting in the car with my Mom one night around 19 years of age. She was trying to convince me to go on medication for my depression. I told her no. In the midst of the darkness, I felt God’s presence. This was what I had always wanted more than anything. I was not willing to lose that connection, the one I had searched for my entire life, just to numb myself to the pain.

My life became an emotional rollercoaster. Some days I felt close to God, or I heard him speak to my heart. I held onto those moments like a person crossing a desert would hoard a sip of water. Most of the time I felt like I was suffocating in darkness and wanted to die. I fought through the dark days for those precious moments of peace. But the days were long and the nights were longer, and there were times I came very close to giving up.

One night after work I hit my lowest point. Due to my own deeply rooted insecurities and dysfunction, I had alienated the only friend I had, and I was allowing myself to be used in another relationship. The loneliness and despair I felt were too much. I decided I was more trouble than I was worth, and that I didn’t deserve to live. That night was the night I was going to end it.

I worked second shift, so it was late when I arrived home. Everyone was in bed. Unable to sleep, I got up and sat on the bathroom floor with my Bible. I tried to read it, but the words seemed dead to me. I leaned over the toilet, feeling like I was going to be sick. My tears fell into the water, and as I stared at the ripples they created, I decided on which way would be the easiest to go.

I considered several options. Most seemed too painful for the trouble. Some that seemed easy would endanger others. In the end, I decided on something that I thought would look like an accident so my parents wouldn’t blame themselves.

As I prepared to get up and walk to the cupboard to grab the pills and put my plan into motion, something held me back – a memory. Flashbacks of love and bliss. If I could just feel that again, I knew my pain would fall away, meaningless. 

I decided to give God one last chance to be real to me. I spoke to him, not expecting a reply but hoping, longing for anything.

“I’m unloveable. The world would be better off without me,” I said.

And in my heart, the words resonated:

“I love you.”

No more than a whisper, but it was enough. It was proof to me that he was out there somewhere, shining brilliantly, beyond what my eyes could see. If I could just feel that love again, if I could just be in his radiance again, I would walk through the blackest night to find him.

I knew that if he loved me there must be a purpose to my life. I picked myself up and went back to bed and continued fighting my way through the darkness, one day at a time. Little did I know I was about to have exactly the type of experience I wished for: an experience of divine love and bliss.

 

 

 

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

13 thoughts on “Brush With Death (My Story Part Four)

  1. This is so powerful. Such an openly honest testimony that so many need to hear. We feel like, as Christians, we should be confident in God’s promises, but we are all at some point just waiting on a sign that He cares and we are walking in the right direction.

    Like

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