Finding Hope -Rose
Rose's family was typical of many God fearing families of her day. Her dad would take them to a traditional church but somewhat sporadically. Her mom would pray for all, read her bible and remind her children that God loved them. Her family made it a frequent practice to pray together. It would be easy for the parents to believe that everything was well with the religious experience of their children.
Unfortunately Rose kept a secret. As she entered her teenage years with all the pubescent and social changes, she started to have thoughts of anger towards God. These thoughts were uncontrollable, kept her up at night and got increasingly worse. I've heard my wife and others talk about being attacked by the enemy. That was the first phrase that came to mind when I read Rose's testimony. It's one thing to be attacked as an adult with an arsenal of spiritual weapons. Quite another when you are young and impressionable. Understandably, Rose was scared.
You would think that attendance in youth bible studies and activities would have helped. Unfortunately one lesson, possibly misunderstood or taken out of context, stuck with Rose. It was in Matthew 12:30 which Rose understood to mean situations where a person could never be forgiven. Convinced that she was unworthy of God's grace and destined to hell, Rose spiraled to the point where she considered hurting herself or worse. Fortunately she sought help.
Although the therapist didn't completely ease her fears, at least Rose was talking and seeking alternative ways to fight her fears. As often happens it was a special person who Rose was close to that made the difference.
In her words,"one day, during the summer, when I was at my cousin's house, I decided to tell her what was going on. I sobbed as I told her my story. She comforted me and reminded me that God loves me, that I am a forgiven child of God, and that I am free. After her kind words, she asked me how I was feeling. I closed my eyes, and I felt this peace. It was this presence, this light that could only be Jesus. I knew it was Him. It felt like He was coming into my heart, letting me know that He was still with me. The tears of pain turned to tears of relief. I felt joy. It was so beautiful."
For those who view healing as one stop, instant shopping, Rose admits that her experiences are an ongoing process. Again in her words:
"To this day, I still struggle with the repetitive thoughts. I still struggle with fear and anxiety. Yet through it all, God still will give me signs that He is with me. He reminds me that I still am loved, and that He still has me in His hands."
Rose took the initiative to tell her story because for too many years in her young life she felt alone, as if she was the only one who felt this way.
" I want people to take away from this story that, even though life can be difficult, to the point where you feel absolutely hopeless, even to the point where you may not even want to live, there really is hope. Just look up. Remind yourself who created you. Remind yourself that you ARE loved, and that you do have a purpose in life.
For those suffering from depression, and especially those who have thoughts of harming themselves or even worse, I really want them to know that hope shines brightest in the places where it feels the most dark. I share with you scripture that helped me the most, 1 John 3:19-20, and the Psalms."
Thanks for bravely sharing your story. We are all saved, all share God's grace and love and all have a purpose. Let us pray that everyone hears and believes it.
- Jim Randazzo
Finding Hope within a Community of Faith
Never give up on God even when it seems hopeless