I could have died when I was fourteen.
No, I didn’t run up against any near death accidents or get kidnapped by a maniac or anything that dramatic. No one was threatening my life either.
My dear reader, I know by now you’ve picked up a bit on how traumatic my childhood and youth were. What I haven’t really talked about is how I’d coped at the time. Yes, I’m a tougher, wholer, person today, but then? Then, I was a mess. Then, I was tired. Then, I was sick of it. Then, I was ready to end it.
Day after day of surviving, of doing everything possible to not go back to a house and see the relatives who had invaded what was home for eleven years—it wears on you. Not having a home, not having a place to belong, to feel safe—or rather to have had it ripped from you—it wears on you.
I sat in my bathroom one day; my eyes were dried up from tears long shed. My heart was weary, and my body followed. I sobbed a tearless fit, and I wondered, “how much longer?” How much longer do I have to feel so cornered? How much longer do I have to feel so broken? How much longer do I have to feel so oppressed? How much longer do I have to feel so unwanted? How much longer do I have to feel so unloved?
And a solitary answer drowned all other thoughts.
Not much longer… if that’s your desire.
I could end it. I could finish it. I could finally stop feeling lonely and hurt because of my oppressors’ actions and words. The power was in my hands to never suffer again.
But then a rebuttal resounded through all of the dark corners of my battered soul.
If you do this, they win.
What did they care about what happened to me? Would it have filled them with remorse?
No. No, I doubt it would’ve. They were incapable of remorse.
Instead, my last action on Earth would’ve been breaking my mother’s heart and leaving her completely alone with them.
What a legacy that would’ve been. I would’ve proven to them that they could overpower me.
If I ended it this way, it would’ve been my loss.
And I have never been a gracious loser.
My focus shifted at that moment. I was going to come out of this a winner. I was not willing to allow anyone that much control over me to the point where I no longer had the ability to fight back, prove them wrong, and heal.
So instead, I thought of how I could win, how I could make something of myself, prove that they couldn’t break me.
Being that I was fourteen, plans to change the world weren’t exactly on my mind. I started small. I was going to be a leader in my extra-curriculars, and I was going to graduate high school, and have a life defined by my own terms.
What prompted this entry… you know, I’m not completely sure. I just started thinking about the people in my life and how much I would’ve missed out on had I not chosen to live.
I would’ve died never knowing what family really was.
I’ve just started figuring it out within roughly the last year. I would’ve missed out on redemption: the experience of real family and unconditional love. And I would not have hope for everlasting life but would be living in everlasting death.
Looking back at this time, it’s clear to me that, in this moment before I even knew Him, God had His sight set upon me.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”—John 10:27-28
It makes no sense, right? As far as I know, there has never been a Christian in my bloodline. I was a Buddhist in an abusive situation.
And God said, “I want her.”
In the midst of a hopeless situation, God saw me and led me into His arms and shared with me His family.
No one else can write a story this good. What a legacy this will be!
My prayer for you, dear reader, is that you know just how loved you are; that when you see no hope, God will shower hope on you; that when you want to give up and let go, you find something to live for, no matter how small it is.
Because you never know when a small thing can change your life in a big way.