My Life Without God
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My Life Without God

What my life would be like if I didn't have God.

My Life Without God
Fashion Gone Rogue

Life has been really hard lately. My parents forced me to go to the psych ward again last month. I’ve been out for 2 weeks and I’m already cutting and purging again daily. I’m popping Xanax like candy, it helps numb the pain. Last night I was with some friends and someone brought a ton of alcohol. I was out of control. I can’t even count how many shots I did. I blacked out around midnight and woke up in bed with a complete stranger in a room I’d never seen before. I looked down at my naked body feeling confused, scared, and ashamed. I scrambled for my clothes and tip toed out. When I got home I threw up and then passed out on the bathroom floor.

I just woke up, but I wish I hadn’t. I wish I’d accidently mixed a little too much alcohol with a few too many pills. I don’t want to kill myself. But I don’t want to be alive either. I’m just so sick of this never-ending cycle of starving and purging, feeling ashamed and cutting, drinking too much and getting high, sleeping with strangers and feeling alone. I don’t want to live like this. It’s too hard and I’m too exhausted. Maybe tonight’s the night I’ll finally get the courage to end it. Maybe tonight I’ll find peace.

This is not my life. This is not my story. It could have been. I was well on my way. I was 16 and starving myself, cutting myself, letting guys use my body because I didn’t think I had the right to say no, using pills and marijuana to numb the pain. I was contemplating and planning my suicide 24/7. And one day, September 14, 2013, I did. I committed suicide. Yes, committed. No, I wasn’t successful, but I chose to die. I chose to end my life. And it should have ended. I should not be here right now, telling you this story.

But the author of this story had other plans. God wasn’t done with me yet, so he saved my life. After I did the deed, I somehow got up and got help. That’s why I didn’t die that day. But I did not choose to get help. I was not in control of my limbs as I walked into the living room and showed my mom what I had done and asked for help. I can’t explain it in a way that doesn’t sound insane but here’s the truth: The Holy Spirit took over my body and rescued me.

And I was pissed. I was so angry for weeks that it didn’t work. That God didn’t let me die. Didn’t he know what happened to me? Couldn’t he see my pain? Didn’t he care?

I was admitted into a long term, inpatient treatment program. It wasn’t a home or a residential treatment center. It was literally just a psych ward for crazy teenagers whose parents had tried everything else. It was a last resort. It was my last hope. But it was awful. Most of the other girls there hated me because I was a basic white girl and had a family who visited me all the time and wore nice clothes. They saw all this privilege and hated me, because what did I know about pain? What did I know about suffering? They saw the scars on my arms from my suicide attempt but they didn’t see the scars on my soul from years of sexual abuse and a bipolar, drug addict parent, having an eating disorder, and depression. They didn’t see the shame that haunted me day and night telling me I was dirty and worthless and broken beyond repair.

I was all alone in that prison with brutal florescent lights and itchy sheets. So, out of sheer desperation or lack of any other options, I turned to God. I grew up in an extremely Christian family, church, and school. So, I never doubted the existence of God. I knew he was there. But I also knew that, according to pastors and teachers and family members, I was dirty and damaged because I was sexually abused and, as a result, acted out sexually. I knew that God existed and that He created me, but I was also completely sure that he was ashamed of me and wanted nothing to do with me.

But I was alone. I was alone and hopeless and scared. So, I started to read the Bible. Every chance I got I cracked open that book and read God’s word. And eventually it started to seem less like a list of rules and chores and more like a love letter. God started to look less like a judgmental, angry dictator and more like a loving, merciful Father. I started to see myself through HIS eyes. With nothing left to numb my feelings out with, my only option to sit with them and feel them, I allowed myself to open my heart to God and let him in. It wasn’t instant and it wasn’t pretty. It hurt like hell. I had to feel feelings I’d never felt before. I had to think about things I never had to think about before. It was no longer an option to push them back, I had to drag them to center stage, look them in the eye and then let them go. It was kind of like defrosting*. For so long I was so numb that I didn’t even know how severely injured I was. But getting sober was like melting. I could suddenly feel everything, all at once. And it was excruciating. But the more I let myself melt, the more I let myself hurt, the closer I got to freedom. And eventually things started to hurt a little less.

So, if getting sober was like defrosting, the Bible was my microwave. Every scripture, every story, melted my stone cold heart a little bit. Every time Jesus healed the sick or fed the hungry or gave hope to the hopeless, I got a little closer to freedom.

There was one passage that was especially instrumental in my healing. In Luke 7, Jesus is having dinner with some Pharisees (prestigious religious men). While they were eating, an “immoral woman” entered the room with a jar of expensive perfume. She knelt before him and wept, her tears falling onto his feet. She wiped them with her long hair and put perfume on them.

The Pharisees didn’t like this. You see, a religious man shouldn’t be seen with an immoral woman like that, much less touched by her. The men start yelling at Jesus, throwing around judgments and accusations. But Jesus responded by telling them this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you supposed loved him more after that?” The Pharisee knew the answer was the person who had a larger debt. Then Jesus began commending the woman. The Pharisee didn’t wash Jesus’ feet with water, but the woman washed them with her tears. They didn’t kiss him, but she wouldn’t stop kissing his feet. They didn’t anoint his head with olive oil but she anointed him with rare perfume. All of this to show that the woman expressed more love and thankfulness for him than the Pharisees.

Then Jesus says, “Her sins-and they are many- have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you, go in peace.”

Gahh! This spoke so strongly to me. I always felt that, because I was so damaged and because I had so much pain and sin in my life, Jesus loved me less. I compared myself to the neat, happy, simple people I grew up in school and church with and thought, because I didn’t look like a “good” Christian, that I was worth less. The truth is that it’s BECAUSE of my past that I am able to love him to the extent that I do. Because I have sinned much, I am able to praise much. And because I have felt great pain, I am able to feel great joy. This story taught me that my abuse and my disorders and my past are an ASSET in this world. That I can USE all my grief to bring glory to God. And it is this truth that has carried me to where I am today: living on my own in Chicago, going to college to become a therapist so I can lead other hurting women to the feet of Jesus. So they can be forgiven and Jesus can smile at them lovingly and say, “Go in peace.”

This is my life with God. But I am not extraordinary. I’m not particularly strong or resilient. But my God is. And what I love most about him is this: his love and healing is not selective. He doesn’t discriminate and he isn’t picky with who he saves. Jesus tells us that all who call on his name will be saved. So call on his name, trust in him. It’s going to hurt: defrosting is painful. But it’s so worth it. Life with God is worth it.

*Idea of defrosting came from Glennon Doyle Melton. Read her books Love Warrior and Carry on Warrior. They will change your entire life.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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