Most of you will know that a year ago next month I got baptised. What most people don’t know is the significance of this date. On the 24th August 2017, I overdosed. I overdosed because I felt like nothing good could come out of my life. I felt like after hurting so many people, that taking my life was the kindest thing to do. That it would somehow make all the mistakes I made better. And after I lay there in a hospital bed for 3 hours, they discharged me. They told me that I was fine and should go to sleep.
But the problem was, was that I was not fine. I was broken, confused and lost in ways I had never thought possible. Broken, because in my attempt I defied one of human beings basic functions – to stay alive. Confused because I thought in some ways it was what God wanted, but if it was what God wanted, why was I still alive? Lost because once I realised it wasn’t what God wanted, I thought that my faith was over.
Many times in the days following left me thinking I wouldn’t make the week, never mind a year. And I definitely thought that I would never share this struggle. Shame made me want to forget it ever happened, because how could I ever live with myself after people found out?
But it is important I share this because it was in the next few weeks that I experienced a level of grace and forgiveness that I had never before experienced.
I already knew God forgave me and accepted me once I repented but ‘surely,’ so I thought, ‘This was the one thing that was unforgivable. A blatant attempt to act as God over my life.’
However, first, you have to believe that God has ownership over your life. In my experience, surely if my life was my own and God didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be here now. But that wouldn’t explain those who are still fighting depression without a faith. Those who still find something to hold on to.
But what if I said nothing persuades me out of suicide outside of Jesus. And that isn’t because I don’t have an amazing family, friends and church family. It’s because of how dark my depression is.
Maybe you think you don’t need Jesus to live. But even if you believe that, life with Jesus is so much greater. It doesn’t make it easier but it makes sense of suffering. It gives me (and can give you) a purpose nothing else does.
You may also be thinking, ‘isn’t that a lot to place on a claim that may or may not be true?’. But that’s where I am convinced that it is true (and I also know that I have to trust God, that I need to look back on the fact he never left me and continues to be faithful always, and isn’t about to change that now).
Because that morning that’s where Jesus met me, yes I’d made a huge mistake but Jesus’ death on the cross was enough to cover even this. You may be thinking, ‘That’s all well and good for you, but that was a year ago and I still struggle with this daily’. To you, I say ‘me too’. I too struggle with depression daily and those close to me know how severely, but regardless of what the depression tells me or tells you, you never mess up too much for Jesus. It was then after asking questions about whether I was still a Christian or not, I discovered the amazing truth for myself, that not even this separated me from God’s love.