This is a little real and a little raw, but its the only way that I know how to be even to the point of discomfort for me. I apologize if this is difficult to hear, I have shared broad strokes of this on occasion publicly and to be honest it is not my preference…but the acuity of the situation in a culture that regards death as the only option requires me to put it all on the line.
Hope, the anchor of my soul was not always easy to find or frankly readily available to me. I struggled in a big way for many years living in a pit of darkness and torment. There were situations that were beyond my control that made it difficult to cope.
The fact of the matter is, that there is a very real enemy to our souls and for much if not all of my teen years I lived feeling the pressure of Him at my back. I hid it incredibly well…but my freshman year of college it all came to a head.
I kept looking at the next thing like it was going to solve all my problems, and the ultimate “next thing” was going to college…some how that was going to make my life perfect. But…I took me with me. When I recognized I was still so unhappy I made changes to my life my major, my roommate you name it and I was still so empty, so pained, so broken. I remember standing in a stair well looking at my reflection in the window and running through all the “solutions” that had failed me…and I was left to assume that I was the problem. It was an easy default as the roots of self hatred ran deep.
That day as I looked at my reflection, I made a really awful judgement call that not only were there no more solutions left, there was no more hope.
The struggle to stay alive was minute to minute some days. I would repeat the mantra “that’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem” over and over. It was written on sticky notes on my computer screen, pinned at eye level to the wall next to my bed, but sometimes it wasn’t enough. I thought about telling someone how unhappy I was, how real the struggle was, how pervasive the thoughts of suicide were that raged in my mind…but shame held me. I didn’t want my parents, my leaders, my friends to think poorly of me…after all I had an image to maintain. Many nights the only thing that kept me alive was not wanting to ruin my roommate’s life because she found me dead when she came back to our dorm.
The storm did not let up, in fact it raged more strong every day until I reached my max. I had sobbed for hours in my bed with only the light of my computer screen filling the room. I had secretly hoped that my roommate would come rushing through the door with each passing moment because I knew the stakes were getting higher as each minute passed and every tool that usually pulled me out or ushered me off to sleep was not scratching the surface. I made the decision…I was done fighting the chips could fall where they may but I couldn’t do this anymore.
I will spare the details that are all so very real in my mind…
“Something in me”, that I now know was the Holy Spirit said open that Bible on the shelf…to be honest I was terrified of going to hell so I opened it at random to Psalm 63. ” You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” It was my soul song right there on the page. I read it aloud over and over and over, with tears streaming down my face because for the first time I felt understood. There were words for my pain that I had been lacking and they were disarming. As I sang the words to this Psalm hope started to break in and I encountered Jesus.
He was and is the game changer. HE IS LIVING HOPE.
I resolved from that point on that there was more. I found solutions that were not permanent to my temporary state. I dove into The Word which ultimately lead to me coming out of religion and into relationship with Jesus.
I say all that to say this…
THERE IS MORE. THERE IS HOPE.
There is One that is bigger than your pain. Hope that is stronger than a bullet than all of the armor that you huddle under, piercing through every sequestered cave and the darkness threatening to cover. He gives you breath when the shards of your passed cut so deep all the air flees, and when the walls come crashing down He’s the rescuer that pulls you out. In EVERY bleak moment, there is the promise that He is good and faithful. The one that is never ending love, sings a song of joy over you.
There is still time for Him to change your story.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Heb 6:19