To be perfectly honest, I'm not entirely sure where to start my story. So, I'll start it with the verse that says it all. John 1:5 "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." Darkness. My life was complete and utter darkness. When I was thirteen everything began to shift. I started seeking after love and approval everywhere except for the only real place I could find it. It was at this time, with no identity to hold to, that I faced one of my hardest battles.. Sexual abuse. This affected me in the worst possible way. First came the panic attacks, then the nightmares, which ultimately caused sleepless nights. Depression that caused my heart to physically hurt. A longing to be free from life itself. A loss of interest in everything. But by far the worst was the shame. Everything inside of me hurt and wanted to hide. I felt it was all my fault. I started wearing baggy sweatpants to school. Anything to stop it.. I stopped eating, to the point where I had to undergo many medical tests because of the negative health effects it had on my body. I went to the ER confusing panic attacks with asthma attacks. All in all, my life was a complete mess. I was an incredible actress hiding it all from my parents until I felt something inside of me say this is it you either ask for help, or it's over. So, after almost three years, I asked for help. I ended up in an outpatient facility where I spent 8 weeks, however I didn't find myself getting any better. After months of "sleeping" on a mattress on my parents floor where they would hold me in the midst of the nightmares, my parents made an appointment with a lady named Nancy. Little did I know this lady was a strong believer in Jesus Christ. I spent hours with her telling her in detail everything that happened, and in every memory she would say just three words: Jesus is here. I knew who Jesus was, but never before had I encountered him before. I saw him in the midst of my memories and to each one he brought real and tangible peace and healing. I went home that day and found a Bible that I hadn't touched in years. I asked God to speak to me and I opened up to Isaiah 43 where God speaks to the Israelites and says, "you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.
At that moment I felt something I had never felt before, something that had always been there, the most overwhelmingly deep and all-encompassing love of God. It was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. It changed everything for me. When I felt worthless, I read "precious" when I felt shameful, I read "honored" when I felt unlovable, I read "loved". That was the moment I accepted the free gift of forgiveness and salvation in Jesus Christ. It changed everything for me. No counselor. No medicine. No friend. No boy. Nothing in the whole world could have pulled me out of my darkness except for Jesus Christ himself. And from that moment on I was able to sleep without nightmares. I was finally free from my shame. I felt a joy that I had truly never felt before. I had a new purpose in life. I had a will and excitement to live. My life was and is forever changed. Looking back, I see the faithful fingerprints of God throughout my entire story. The light truly shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. There is no darkness too dark that the light cannot be seen. There is no weight too large that cannot be lifted. Jesus Christ is the answer. Jesus Christ is the solution. And Jesus Christ is the light that shines amidst all darkness.