Heart beating, tears streaming, blood running down my arm, the strength to take just one more breath. This is survival. My whole life has been a fight for life.
I was born with cleft lip and pallet. Apparently the doctors didn’t know that kids with cleft can’t suck so they accused my mom of not nursing me right. How could she know. She had never had a baby with cleft. I was starving before she found a doctor that told her that I needed bottles that she could squeeze. I don’t know what its called, but I was sick. Mom says I stopped breathing 21 times. When I was 5 years old I had my first asthma attack, spending 3 days in the hospital before I could breathe normally.
When I was 5 years old was my earliest memory of depression. As I grew older, it worsened. When I was 15, I nearly ended my life. I was in the bathroom ready to plunge a knife in my gut when for whatever reason I stopped to read a little note card my mom had hung on the wall with a Bible passage on it. It said crazy insane things like God knew everything about me and he made me complex and beautiful and that his precious thoughts about me outnumbered all the grains of sand. It was the first time I really remember feeling loved. And I live to tell the tale.
But the depression and hopelessness continued. I had good days. I had good weeks and even months but it seemed like dark nights and stormy over-heads were always around the corner to devour my childhood.
Months later I gave my life to Jesus. It wasn’t a pretty prayer of I’m sorry for the bad things I do and I believe in you, wrapped with the fragile bow of “come into my heart” like you may have heard church people say. It was raw. It was full of rage and misconception. I cried, “I’m sick and tired of life. If I just get up in the morning and try to make it through the day only to face the night and do it all again, day after day of so much pain and heartache then life is not worth the living. I’m not worth living for but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m suppose to be living for someone beyond my self and I wonder if Jesus is the one who will give meaning to my life.” I screamed “I don’t know what you want God but take my everything.” I felt his love and a sense of hope was born within me that day.
Its not that depression wasn’t a thing. It is very much. I struggle with cutting and a week and a half ago I laid on railroad track waiting for a train to come. It didn’t come that night. As I laid there, just wanting to die and escape the pain of life and depression, I encountered this hope again that is more real than depression and the lies I so often fall for in it. It’s like looking up at dark clouds. All you can see is the darkness but as you focus you can see a glimpse of sunlight. Now all you see is dark. Your eyes desperately search for that little light. Again you spot it. Its easy to loose focus and get caught up in the darkness and you loose sight of the light but its still there. That’s how hope is. Its easy to get caught up in depression and heartache and loose sight of hope but its still there in Jesus. I choose to focus in on that light.
Joyful but sad. Light-filled yet darkness hovers. A smile of a hopeful future breaks through the tears. Raging storms yet peaceful sanctuary. This is what its like to have Jesus and depression. I couldn’t make it without him. He is my survival. He is my strength. He is my one constant in all life’s drama and raging emotions.
I’m not one to go down without a fight and when life knocks me out still I’ll stand because my hope is in God.
I am a warrior. A soldier of hope.