Ok. So wishing myself a happy birthday probably seems incredibly narcissistic, but…
There was a time in my life, mostly from the time I was 12 to about 21, where I was fighting to die. I was incredibly angry with God and despised the life He had given me. I had been taught since I was little that our bodies are God’s temple, so I figured the best way to get even with God was to destroy my body as best I could on my way out of this life. It was an actual, concious thought of mine. I did it knowing exactly what I was doing and knowing full well it was wrong. I have no excuse.
But God exists outside of time and space, and He saw through my craziness. He showed incredible grace to me even before I really knew who He was and definitely long before I was willing to seek His forgiveness. I have no doubt that the prayers of many who were interceding on my behalf were a great help, and that the tremendous mercy He showed me was directly related. I think we sometimes underestimate the power of prayer.
When I finally, in anger and pain and deep sarcasm, prayed, I asked Him to give me a reason to live or to let me die. I had no idea that He would actually take me up on it. And give me both. He allowed me to begin dying to self so that I could finally find my reason to live, which was Him. I look back now, and I can see the incredible ways that He has, and is continuing, to work in my life.
That’s why I celebrate my birthday today. Not because I want presents or attention (ok, maybe a little attention!), but because I want to celebrate the gift of life that God gave me. After years of wanting to die, I want to live!
It’s not always easy. It was just over 2 years ago that I woke up on a Sunday morning and the first thought that went through my mind was “I want to drive my car off a cliff.” But I didn’t go there. I fought back. I texted friends and then the next morning I made an emergency appointment with my doctor. Right now, I’m struggling with crazy awful panic attacks, but I don’t give in to them. I fight like hell to live in spite of them. I fight for the life He has given me and fall on His grace when it is too much for me. Because it’s not too much for Him.
If you are reading this, and you are struggling, please, please know that there is hope! And GET HELP! There is no shame in that. I would not have made it without the incredible love and support of my family and friends.
So… Happy Birthday and Thank You to Jesus for making it happen and giving me a chance to celebrate too! Let’s party!