Being born into the home of a Pastor, people would be able to assume a lot about where my spiritual input was coming from. The assumption that couldn’t be made however was how my heart received and recognized them as a true source of peace. The definition of a testimony is not a person’s life story or even their mistakes in the process, but how God got a hold of and changed a person’s life in the midst of their mistakes and environment. And while my environment was constantly demonstrating the work that God had done and continued to do in the life of my parents, the only comfort I had found in my childhood to find peace was through my emotions. Most specifically, through anger.
I made a personal decision to accept Jesus Christ into my heart on Christmas Eve when I was only 11 years old. However, this was the very eve of my adolescence and when my emotions would not let my soul go without a fight.
Being the victim of constant bullying in school, instead of responding in prayer and mercy I responded inwardly through quiet bitterness and hatred for those who showed the same to me. This developed into a habit where tears and even laughter were meaningless compared to the serenity found in rage forming a calm in the heart of a storm. These attempts to vindicate my pain had all but silenced my acknowledgement of any other truth but what I felt to be real.
I became addicted to my emotions and by that they became my idol. And as David said in the Psalms, man becomes like his god, I was turning myself into a physical avatar of anger. These efforts of self control soon eroded as my anger could no longer be held in and began to channel it toward myself as the cause through self harm. And with this method of coping being the only way I found peace, I was allowed to see where my choices would lead in a suicide attempt that was nearly successful.
I tore open my rotary artery in my right wrist and began to finish the cut down the center only to see myself forming a bloody cross in my arm. The shock of seeing the consequences of my source of peace gave God the opportunity to speak these simple words to my heart, “I died for you, can you live for me?” The image of the cross is an image of suffering, and a suffering that I saw first hand as the first stable ground I had in a long time to then realize how much I had been breaking His heart beyond that of my friends and family when He allowed His Son to be bled so I wouldn’t have to. To embrace Hell so He could give me peace.
I had known the gospel since I was a child, but only then realized what living with that knowledge looked like. My faith without works almost killed me, but when I began to trust Jesus enough to give Him my pain, Medication and Anti-Psychotics became unnecessary. Rage and my emotions in general were put back in their place in time. The symptoms faded as the root of the disease was dealt with and continued to be a beachhead by which my walk with God continues to be built to this day.
Jesus hadn’t just saved me from death by my own hand, or amputating what one day may have been directed at someone else, but true to His word, He gave me back my life. My desire now is to begin to make good on my choice to daily offer my life back to Him. I was robbed of reason, hope, and the ability to choose anything but what my flesh told me was peace. Jesus is now my sanity, my reason to live, and most of all, the reason I can choose to do so today.
“The thief does not come except to steal, to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that may have it more abundantly.”