Forgettable​ humans know by an unforgettable God

One of the lies I’ve been battling lately is that I am forgettable. That no one would notice or care if I left. These thoughts that I am invisible, have plagued most of my thought pattern for a long time. 

It’s one of the reasons that when I’m having a bad night, it genuinely confuses me when others get upset with my depressive thoughts. 

It’s why when I walk away from a fight I want you to follow to reconcile, but genuinely believe even if we talked for years, you’d never love me, not really. you may say you will but then, I’d find you out you don’t really. 

It’s why I get scared when I go to sleep and don’t know that we’re okay (even though the other person will go to bed, knowing we will still be friends, I go to bed questioning our entire friendship, true story). 

I believe that not only will you forget about me, but you’ll also realise that friendship with me isn’t worth it, isn’t worth the hassle. 

But not only is the above not true anyway (although I’m still working on truly believing that), it puts my identity in the wrong place. It puts my identity in what others think, and not that I am a beloved child of God. 

That he knows me completely, that he will never grow tired of me, he will never forget me. He is the only one who knows the true depth and ugliness of my heart (way more so than I do) and loves me anyway. 

But only does he love us in spite of our sin, he chose to die for it. A holy righteous God, can’t ignore sin. God hates sin. It had to be paid for. He couldn’t turn blind eye to our rebellion against him, he had to deal with it. 

He dealt with it so I can have an intimate relationship with him. And now I know I had fully known and fully loved, both, at the same time. I can know that he will never forget me, in 5 generations (at a push), my own family won’t know my name, but he will. Even though we are like the wind, he wants a relationship with us. 

A letter to my 13 year-old-self

Hey there, first things first you are so so loved, never ever forget that you have a father who loves you so much who without any human limitations and will never ever let you go.

I know that life is hard right now, I know you don’t really have any friends, home is full of arguments and you don’t understand how God can ever let you go through you what you have already in your short life. 

But knowing this I have a few things to tell you. 

You will start really liking a boy soon, you will like him more than you ever have liked anyone. But hold on, I know the feelings get so overwhelming, you feel things so much more strongly than a lot of other people, no one around you will understand that right now, but try and remember that he isn’t your entire world. But tell him. It doesn’t necessarily matter how he feels but you will need the closure, trust me. 

Be honest with your therapist, when she asks you about the suicidal thoughts be honest about your attempts and thoughts. It may seem like it would be better to hide and avoid dealing with the truth that you really aren’t, but take it from me, just because you ignore it, it doesn’t mean it will go away. It will take you moving to uni and really doing some heart work to really understand this. 

The emotional manipulation of any sort isn’t okay. It’s not ok for people to do it to you and it’s not ok to do it to someone else. Again, it may seem harmless but it does way more damage then you could ever realize. 

Be kind to everyone, no matter if they aren’t kind to you. Because it matters way more about how you respond to a situation that how they respond to you. I know it’s lonely, I know you struggle to make and maintain friends, and although it seems like you have no one right now, it isn’t true.

This year (year 9 to be exact) you’ll meet Beth. You won’t know it at the time, but you will come to love her and her family very very much. You will cry, laugh and make a billion mistakes together but she will start pointing you to God. Trust her, be honest, she is a good egg. 

Within the next few years you will become very good friends with others in your year, and you will love them very much. But remember that you will make mistakes as will they, make room for that. 

I know school is hard right now, and you are being told that you aren’t very smart, but regardless you will go to uni.

 Depression will pick up (although not diagnosed for a couple more years, its a thing), and it’ll feel hopeless (and to be honest sometimes it still does). At the same time, friendships will come and go, but you will have your first big interaction with the idea of having a relationship with God soon (although you won’t be saved for a number of years). 

People in your year will try and get you to open up to them. Trust them, talk to them. I know its scary letting people in, but it’s so so important. 

You will go to uni, where you will meet Jesus, and some of the most incredible people in the world. You will have to come face to face with many struggles, but the freedom that you long for, will happen in Christ. It may seem like a cop out right now, but trust me when I say it isn’t. 

Your questions about God will continue throughout uni and life, but ask them to him. You can trust him, read the bible for yourself and ask God to reveal himself to you, trust me you won’t regret it. 

One of my darkest days, followed by his great love.

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.

Why I have a problem with the phrase I love you

As a young kid my family said they loved me all the time, at the end of conversations, saying goodbye, even just leaving the room. Even now my mum and dad says it to me on the phone at the end of our conversation. So do my friends. But once I became a christian the phrase took on a different meaning. However before we even go there, lets look at what ‘I love you’ even mean? 

If I asked my friends each person would say different things. Some would say it is a feeling or an emotion, some would say its a decision someone makes regarding another person. But what is the actual dictionary definition? ‘To have strong feelings of affections or a great interest and pleasure in something’. 

But isn’t love more than just feelings? Because feelings change everyday. Isn’t it just more than a selfish state of a heart? Because there will be times where I don’t take pleasure in being with a friend because relationships are hard. Does that mean I no longer love them? 

Well you could say actions have to be involved as well. Because quite often people will say the words but don’t have the actions to back it up. Which does make sense. I’m sure we’ve all been in situations were I love you has been followed by betrayal or manipulation. That isn’t love is it? 

So what even is it? 

Well true love, biblical love is sacrificial. Now you can also argue that you don’t have to be a christian to show this type of love. And that is true to some extent, individuals in the army die to save another life, however this type of love is still based on condition. It’s still based on the condition that you would do the same for them too. But true sacrificial love involves giving to people when you get nothing out of it. For this to happen, it involves knowing the only true and perfect love that has ever existed. Not only do you need to know about it but you need to truly know it.

When Jesus died for us on the cross, he got nothing out of it. He did it purely so we could have a relationship with him, but he didn’t need us, he doesn’t need us. 

True love gives to others when you get nothing out of it. For me that means persevering even when I often don’t want to. For others it is continuing to show love to others when they feel no emotion, for others still it is clearing your calendar so you can be there for another going through suffering.

It isn’t that I have a problem with the words ‘I love you’, I have a problem with societies view on what it exactly is. 

Let’s Start At The Beginning: AKA My Testimony

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.