"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:7-8
I have to tell you that this epiphany as I will call it took me a long time to come to. For most of my life I dealt with depression. When I was in grade school, I got picked on a lot. I used to come home from school almost every day and just cry because it hurt so bad. I remember thinking about suicide a few times but quickly dismissed the thought because I was too scared to even consider it. I grew up in a Christian home, but never really understood what it meant to have a relationship with God. I used to cry out to Him. I knew I needed Him, but I just didn't understand. When I was almost 13, I went to a Christian convention with one of the youth groups I went to. I remember the speaker had just gotten done giving his message and gave an invitation. At that time, I felt God really tugging at my heart. I knew at that time that it was time to finally commit my life to God. After saying the prayer, I wept. I wept because I was so relieved. It felt like tons of bricks were taken off my shoulders. I cried for quite awhile.
Some people seem to think that once you become a Christian life is all peaches and cream, but it is far from that. My life since Christ has been hard. I'm sure it hasn't been as hard as some. I mean, I haven't really been persecuted for being a Christian, but Satan has still found ways of getting me down. I could go on about a bunch of stuff that happened early in my Christian walk, but.. I won't. Instead I will skip to a couple years ago where I hit my rock bottom.
Three years ago, I found myself in the midst of a miserable life: miserable marriage, etc. I was depressed all the time. I was at a point where I didn't laugh; couldn't laugh, really. My relationship with my husband was pretty much non-existent unless we were arguing. I won't go into details because they really aren't important. About two and a half years ago, I left him. I did it for very good reasons... biblical reasons, even. Shortly after that, I hit my rock bottom. I was at a very dark place in my life. I was absolutely depressed and scared of absolutely everything.. and when I say everything, I mean EVERYthing... and I hated it. I went in to talk to my pastor at that time and told him what was going on and asked him if he could find a woman in the church for me to meet with. Of course, he volunteered his wife. :-) But.. she wasn't the one that really helped me out the most.
God blessed me with some pretty amazing women in the church I was going to, and most of them I had known for at least half my life. Two of them had been divorced and had gone through very similar situations. These two women became a huge support to me. They would walk up to me after church and ask me how I was doing, and I would just start spilling everything out that I was going through and talking to them about how I was feeling and how frustrated I was and they would listen. After I was done talking, they would encourage me and/or give me advice.
God really used this time to reach me. I'm not sure how or when it happened, but gradually I felt myself being released from the depression and stress. I found myself laughing again and gaining confidence in myself (something I had never really had before). Through various different people, books and whatever, God started revealing Himself to me more and more. I read a book called Do You Think I'm Beautiful? by Angela Thomas, and it really opened my eyes and heart to just how much God loves me. (Totally recommend this book). She basically painted this picture of how God is like our knight in shining armor... how he is absolutely, madly in love with us. I think that book may have very well changed my life. I actually started believing that I was beautiful and that I was really loved... and I will tell you, that is life-changing.
The past two and a half years have been the hardest years of my life, but they have also been the BEST because God has done some amazing things in and through me. If you want your life to be drastrically changed, give God the chance to do it. It will not be pleasant. In fact, it will be very difficult, but it is totally worth it.