Even though I grew up in a non-Christian family, we did go to church every Sunday as nominal Christians. Christianity to me was a religion that I didn’t care about. It was a Sunday morning task that allowed me to see my friends (the few I did have). Although as I experienced bullying and I didn’t have many friends, I never had a true sense of purpose or belonging.
These factors contributed to me developing depression about 8 years ago. I started to question the purpose of my life and I wondered how I could make friends when my personality wasn’t one the world particularly liked.
When I was 15 I got invited to a friends youth group. There I heard for the first time that I could have a relationship with God, however, I didn’t understand how to get this. I had no understanding of the gospel. As I was still struggling massively with depression, I felt like I could never be happy again. This loving God didn’t add up to the pain I felt.
When I was 18 I started my first year at uni, I prayed at the beginning of the year that I wanted to get closer to God (As I did believe I was a Christian). And what happened next was the most painful 18 months of my life so far but I wouldn’t change them for the world.
During Christmas of 2017, the anxiety I had became crippling and debilitating and the depression was getting worse. As I was stuck in bed, the only thing near me was a bible.
Therefore in 3 weeks, I read the entire new testament. And in the confusion, pain, heartache and tears (and sometimes no tears depending on how depressed I was), I found a love that was unlike anything I had never known before.
During that 18 months, I met people who showed me unfailing love, kindness and help. These people directed me to the gospel, and I found a truth that became fundamental in my life. Jesus died for me, he put all of my sin, pain, depression, anxiety and bullying all upon his own shoulders, he died a sinners death so I didn’t have to.
In some ways, this made things harder, for the first time I only had the option to live a life glorifying to him. I am starting to learn how to live and not just survive.
I want to share this in the hope that it may help someone see that even if it feels hopeless, the God of hope is on your side.