I was recently (as in yesterday) asked to attend a youth retreat in a few months and share my testimony with a group of high school girls.
My first reaction was, "I don't know about this..." I've never been one to shy away from telling my story. Heck, I will tell you about my entire life if you give me the time. But my immediate feeling towards the request was "no way, ever."
But then two seconds later, I remembered that this is God's purpose for my life. To share my struggles so that maybe someone, even just one person, can be spared those same trials.
I have shared this story before, so I'll keep it short.. but for those of you who don't know. I self-mutilated for years. I was 'depressed' for some time; I use the word depressed lightly, though. I was more sad than depressed. My home life was fine, I had friends, I was active in school as a member of student council and a cheerleader. But something inside of me was not clicking with all the good things in my life. Satan really took control for about 3 years of my junior high/high school years. I rarely sought help for this. I mean, I had friends that knew that I was cutting myself, my parents knew (and really did try to help). But I knew inside that real help could only come from God, and at that point in my life, that's just not what I wanted. I wanted to be self sufficient, I didn't want to rely on anyone for help. And for 3 years I continued to be sad all the time, to not be thankful for the amazing life God had given me, and to cut myself.
I'm not sure what it was that made me stop, but something finally clicked inside, and I stopped. Every day since then has been a struggle. It's been 6 years since I've cut myself and it's still hard to not go back to it. It's a habit that was formed that you just can't shake. But I've come to realize, and ultimately acknowledge, that those few years of my life are part of me. I can't take back those 3 years, but I can use them to better myself, and to help others.
I had the HUGE pleasure of mentoring a young friend of mine for a few years. He is one heck of a guy. And he's an inspiration. He went through what I did x10. And he pulled through and is stronger than ever, now. It was through him that I realized that this is what I'm supposed to do.
God has blessed me immensely, giving me an insanely large platform to speak on. He's given me a subject that I am passionate about. Not just passionate, but seriously on fire about. I could talk for days and days about the harms of depression and self-injury. I don't know how I'll use this in my career and my future, but I'm excited as to where God will lead me.
And so, really, I'm excited to talk to these girls. I don't know what I'll say to them, but I'm praying that God will speak through me that day and that He will be glorified through my testimony.
Thanks for reading word vomit part two.