My story is one that has been in the making for close to ten years now.
Like the seasons, it's ebbed and flowed. Some seasons being shorter and sweeter than others. But tis life I suppose.
In it's simplest form, I've struggled with depression and self harm for almost ten years now, with two suicide attempts in that time span as well.
I buried my dad when I was 13. I buried my mom when I was 25.
I'm now 26. And an only child. So as you can imagine, I've had to bear the brunt of the reality of being without my parents for the rest of my days on this earth.
Self harm became my way of escaping when I was 17. By the time I was 23 and still struggling, I realized that self harm was much more than I ever thought it would be. With some scars faded and others still very much visible, it's taken a long time to lay this in it's entirety at the feet of Jesus.
Hope was something that I never thought possible. It was something that I never thought I could have. Recovery seemed like this fairy tale and I figured out at a young age that fairy tales didn't exist.
But then I met an incredible group of people that made my story part of their own. And with that, recovery became intentional. And messy. And beautiful.
Through every slip and relapse, they have been there. They were living out the mission of the church. They were my hope on the days that I had none. And when I buried my mom, they were my strength. They refused to stop loving me and refused to let go. The fought. Some days harder than others, but they still fought. For me. For my story.
There is something so simple and yet so peaceful about feeling a breeze blow through the trees. It's refreshing. It's renewing. It's healing.
I feel the love of my parents and other loved ones that I've lost in those breezes. I feel His love in those breezes.
I see His love in the face of my students.
I see His love intertwined in the precious stories I've had the privilege of hearing.
I am more than the scars that are scattered across my body.
I am more than the two suicide attempts.
I am more than every relapse I've ever had.
I am more than those moments.
And I am more because of those moments.
My story is far from being finished.
Hope is very much alive.
It's alive in all of us.
Sometimes it gets hard to hear, but it's always there.