I’m about to get really honest and it’s going to be uncomfortable for me, but God is asking me to share this with ya’ll. A lot of this story, my family doesn’t even know…so if ya’ll are reading, I’m sorry I never reached out. I hope ya’ll can forgive me too. I love you guys.
I have been through a lot of rough times in my life. I’ve been abused. I’ve been cheated on. I’ve been lied to. I’ve been emotionally scarred. I’ve had people do some really messed up things to me. On the other hand, I’ve also been the abuser. I’ve been the cheater. I’ve been the liar. I’ve emotionally scarred others. I’ve done some really messed up things to people. I’ve been a sinner, and I still am. I have felt immensely guilty for the things I’ve done in my life. I have struggled with self-harm. I’ve had a battle with alcoholism. I have had WAY too many sex partners. I have numbed my emotional pain with drugs. I have struggled with depression and anxiety because of how much wrong I have done in my life, as well as how much wrong has been done to me. I spent years searching for something in this world to save me. I didn’t figure it out until recently, but I never needed anything in this world to save me. I already had a Savior, and He was just waiting for me to reach out.
The first time I can remember going to church, I was a little girl. I went to Sunday school. I colored during the sermon, but I remember singing the songs and dancing without a care in the world. I loved it! My mom got out of the habit of taking me. I never really knew much about God growing up, except the things that my mom and grandma would tell me. I went to church a few times with friends throughout my teenage years, but I never actually knew God until I met my husband. For now, I’m gonna focus on the period of my life that I like to call my “Lost Years.”
At 16, I had an abortion. It devastated me. I sunk into a deep depression, unable to forgive myself and dwelling in the guilt of my decision. I became promiscuous, and I think in some way I was trying to cope. By the time I graduated high school, I already had 5 sexual partners. After graduation I did okay for awhile, but when I was 19, I started online dating. In retrospect, it was a terrible idea given my mental state, but I was young and extremely naive. I starting chatting with this guy and we decided to meet. The first time I met him, I went to his house. He seemed nice enough at first, but jumped into being physical fairly quickly. I was really uncomfortable and I repeatedly asked him to slow down, but he never did. I ended up having sex with him, mostly because he wouldn’t stop. I convinced myself that I was giving in willingly to keep myself from feeling like I was being raped. I think deep down I knew the truth, but it wasn’t until years later that I actually accepted that I had been raped, and that this event was the starting point to a downward spiral.
Then, it became almost too easy. I didn’t value sex anymore. I gave it away to anyone who wanted me because I was immensely afraid that I wasn’t good enough for anyone. I started partying to mask how unhappy I was. I drank until I didn’t care. I had meaningless sex with strangers, each time giving away a piece of myself that I can never get back. I chose to date guys who were very toxic, controlling, and narcissistic. Anytime that I had a good boyfriend, I cheated or lied and messed it up. I put so much distance between myself and anyone who tried to get close to me. As I struggled, I self-harmed because it felt like the only way to gain a little control in my life. I could never control my emotional pain, but I could control the physical pain, and I was the only one who could make it stop. I contemplated suicide several different times, because I was genuinely convinced that my family and friends would be better off without me. At that point, my life didn’t seem worth living. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I never went through with it.
I got treatment for my depression at 22 years old. For awhile, it helped. I was in a long-term relationship, I moved out of my mom’s house, and I didn’t feel as much pain anymore. Then, I realized that I didn’t feel anything anymore. While I couldn’t feel the sadness or guilt, I also didn’t feel love or joy. I didn’t care about anything anymore, and I didn’t like that. So I stopped taking my medication altogether (which I acknowledge you’re definitely not supposed to do). My highs were higher and my lows were lower, but it was better than feeling like a zombie. But the lows got really low and I started thinking about self harming again, so I started smoking cannabis to control my depression and anxiety. I loved it. I smoked ALL the time. I don’t think I had a sober moment for about 6 months straight.
I broke up with the guy I was in a semi-stable long-term relationship with. I started dating a guy who also smoked, and our relationship was strained to say the least. I moved in with him. He smoked because he was bipolar, but marijuana didn’t always help him. Sometimes, he would lash out at me out of nowhere. I had to be careful what I said to him, even jokingly, because I never knew what would set him off. I stayed, though, because I thought I had nowhere else to go. Then one day, he slammed my head in between the door and its frame. I felt something pulling me away, saying, “Chelsey, leave.” I called my mom and she said I could move back in with her, so I did. The guy threw all my stuff into big black garbage bags and broke a lot of my things in the process, but I knew I needed to get away from him, so I didn’t really care. This was rock bottom for me. Thank God for my mom, I really don’t know what I would have done without her.
A couple weeks after moving back in with my mom at 24 years old, I met my husband, and simultaneously, I met God. I know that God put Eddie in my life to bring me back to Him. I walked into the church I now go to every Sunday…and I was home. Finally. I gave my life to the Lord and expected everything to be better. And of course, in a way, it is better. But it’s not better the way I thought it would be. You know, some Christians like to say things like, “If you just believe in God, He will make all your problems disappear!” But it doesn’t work like that. Believing in God will not get rid of your problems, it just gives you access to the Problem Solver. I still struggle with the guilt of my past. I still struggle with depression. I still struggle with urges to revert back to my old coping mechanisms. But ya’ll, here’s the amazing part: I know I’m never alone. I know I’m loved beyond what I can comprehend. I know God will help me fight my battles. Most importantly, I know I am forgiven. When I think about my past and start feeling guilty, I know that is Satan trying to remind me of what I’ve done so that I start to doubt God’s forgiveness. In a way, knowing that Satan is attacking me makes it so much easier to turn to God for help.
When you give your life to God, you give up your past. You give up everything you used to be, and you are born again, renewed, cleansed, and forgiven. When you give your burdens to God, don’t go pick them back up. Rest easy in God’s gift of grace, and PRAISE Him for giving His Son Jesus to die for your sins. I know I’m not perfect; no one is…except Jesus. Those nails didn’t hold Him to the cross; LOVE DID. He loves you so much that He chose to die in your place, receiving the punishment that should have been yours. God gave up HIS SON for YOU; don’t you realize how important you are to Him? Your past mistakes don’t define you; they are reminders of how far you’ve come. Don’t let your guilt keep you from receiving God’s gift of grace. You will be forgiven, totally and completely, but you have to ask for it. Nothing you’ve done in your life can keep God from loving you. Nothing. Run to Him and He will accept you with open arms. He saved me and changed me; He can do the same for you.
I really hope that this helped someone. I know what it’s like to feel like there’s no hope, but I can promise you one thing. There is always, always, always hope.
God bless you.