Photo by Ashely Brown, Shining Light Photography
When you’re little, you’re usually oblivious to all the things that have happened around you or within your family. You don't understand why some family members don’t come around on holidays anymore or why family fallouts happen.
Growing up, I felt like I was the mediator for my entire family. I saw the brokenness that was passed down from generation to generation, along with the drug use, anxiety, psychological disorders, OCD, verbal abuse, depression, and mental illnesses that flooded my family tree. Suicide completion and attempts made its way into my family on multiple occasions. I loved my family so much and enjoyed holidays spent together. I hated to see so much selfish conflict separate a powerhouse genealogy such as mine, when I had faith in each of their potential.
After many years of watching hate and true dysfunction divide my family into bitterness, I decided I no longer wanted this awful family curse to have an effect on my life or have the possibility of being passed down to my kids. When you make a bold decision to follow Christ and be the chain-breaker, the devil keeps up and does everything in his might to distract you, knock you off track, and feed you with lies.
From seventh grade to the end of my junior year in high school, I struggled with spiritual warfare. The thing is, I didn’t know it was spiritual warfare. It was hard to fight a battle blinded by Satan’s schemes. It was hard to find joy in my trials and confidently take up my cross daily when I didn’t realize I was being attacked by the devil; I thought that all the lies flooding my mind were genetic and I was just a depressed member of the family like everyone else. I fought loneliness, self-worth, and had an identity crisis. It was true that you could be surrounded by people and still feel lonely.
I was bullied in seventh grade, so I felt like a burden to everyone around me. I soon gained interests in things that would only leave me empty and confused. I spent many months hiding things from people because I thought they would think I was a hypocrite and not a true follower of Christ. My life was a sinful cycle of doing certain things to find happiness and then seeking help in the wrong people (who didn’t have my best interests at heart), and then being paranoid that they would let my secrets out and expose my actions. It was exhausting keeping up this persona and realizing that what I thought was “freedom” was actually self-imprisonment that held me in chains and created a life of despair.
My depression got so bad my junior year that I would cry for no reason. I thought, “What is wrong with me? Why am I so crazy? Why can’t all this just stop?” My “hunky dory” personality became altered and I was very short-tempered and unintentional; I hated who I had become. My life changed radically when I hit rock bottom at a NeedToBreathe concert. I was with my friends and my sister, and everyone was having a good time, including myself—and then I had an anxiety attack. I cried in the middle of the concert for reasons I couldn’t explain. I felt dazed and was wondering why an awesome night was being ruined by my craziness. I wanted to go home; I did not want to be there. I wanted the unexplained pain to stop. Redemption abounded when my sister pulled over the car on the way home and prayed over me. She told the devil to flee from me and to stop attacking me so I could live for Christ. She yelled at Satan for all the years of personality and heart deterioration he did in my life.
It wasn’t but maybe a week later and I felt completely fine! I could breathe again. I felt like all my past worries and anxieties and living a counterfeit lifestyle were washed away. I felt restored after just that one prayer. The devil lost his battle with me when he was finally exposed. Even though that time was spent in oceans of manipulation, along with chasing vacant desires, I wouldn’t trade those hardships for anything.
The Lord has promised good to me and He will never steer me the wrong direction. He allowed me to share my testimony with a girl who was battling depression in my small group at church. I prayed over her like my sister did and exposed the devil of his awful attacks. My five-year battle reminds me of Psalm 23 when God left the herd of sheep to go find that single lost one. He didn’t acknowledge my brokenness and leave me there, but picked me up, called me His daughter, and restored my faith. He led me beside still waters and refreshed my soul because He knew I was worthy of redemption. Not only that, but He knew my story would be able to be used for His glory and to have my pain used as a megaphone to announce His faithfulness.
I am not ashamed of what I went through because that’s not who I am. I see my struggles as a place where I was lost, and where God came and found me. It’s not a story of what I’ve done, but about where I was and what HE did for me. It’s been about two years since I struggled with depression and internal mental conflict. I still have problems from time to time—like all humans—but I certainly am not in the darkest of places where I was before. I am now working on two applications to become an R.A. for the resident halls and to become a counselor for a camp in North Carolina so I can love on people and share my testimony with those searching for help. I want to share with them the One who rescued me from the situations I got myself in. His name is Jesus, and He alone can restore and fulfill a rebellious heart that was totally shattered. I truly believe that day by day I am breaking the chains of generational family depression and dysfunction and will use the power of the Holy Spirit to mend my family’s brokenness.
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.