I remember hating mornings as a child. I was always awake for them and they always covered my little 90 pound body in the weight of guilt and despair. Probably because mornings are the most revealing hour for me. The most honest. In the morning, there is no clutter, no fog, no arbitrary details. But mornings themselves aren’t to blame. 

I hated showering, too. I was so alone. Reality was overbearing. I actually feared that time every morning when I had to shower because I knew I would feel the weight and guilt and burden of death and loss and failure and confusion and separation from God.

This may sound a little over-dramatic to some and I wish that it was.You’ll accept this to the depth that you yourself choose. Nonetheless, as a child, death was always trailing me. My earliest memories are accompanied with this shameful act that was nothing but confusion to me at the start. I learned of this natural ability to bring physical pleasure to myself. I didn’t understand it, then. I wasn’t purposefully sinning in disobedience to God, but somehow, I knew I wasn’t acting on his side. This grew into an addiction which has plagued almost two decades of my life. It was this secret part of me that I swore no other human could ever know. No other human could stand to look at me if they knew. They would hate me. Detest me. No man could ever love me and my parents would only be devastated in me if they knew. 

At the age of seven, I professed to believing Jesus as the son of God. I was baptized and continued in my involvement with The Church. I meant it, too. My affections for God were honest, but I was this fear-stricken kid with a problem too big for myself. That, I believe, is what made things so heavy on me. I believed in God completely. I grasped that he was literally with me and I grasped too, that someday I would die and face judgement from Him. but I loved him, but I made myself an enemy to him, but I loved him.

I believed every lie that the darkness spoon-fed me. By the age of ten, I was crying in the back of the living room trying to muster the bravery to confess to my mom of these chains that I had. But I cowered away every time. I foolishly put a rock in a sock and repeatedly hit myself in the head with it. I’ve never been suicidal-never had the courage to be. I guess I wanted to punish myself. I tried everything I could imagine to stop this sin. Except, of course, confessing my sin to others. No, I could do this on my own. It was too shameful to share. 

This addiction escalated as I aged. It grew out of any naivety or innocence it once had. By High School, I picked up pornography. I also picked up depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I was so scared of death because I couldn’t understand God ever allowing me into his presence. At Church and home, I learned that we were all sinners and that God forgave us, but nobody ever talked about addiction and about what it meant if I honestly loved God but honestly was helpless to committing a sin. I hated myself. I hated looking at myself. I hated this secret part of my existence. 

By the time I had been hiding this part of me for almost two decades, I began having panic attacks that I didn’t know initially were linked to the sin. I would hide away in the bathroom at restaurants when I felt one coming on and I would cry and huddle into myself as I felt all reality around me darkening. I felt what death has to feel like. Being surrounded by nothing. I had a detached sense of reality. I started daily medication.

Even at my christian college, I would wake in the middle of the night to the middle of a panic attack and would stumble to the bathroom where I would throw-up all over myself and cry, feeling that I was about to die like this- alone and fathoms away from my God. At this time, too, I began really dealing with depression. I couldn’t do things, I didn’t have the energy. I struggled with finding the purpose of my day. I was a nineteen-year-old pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Theology who was completely uncertain that Jesus could love her.

In the fall of 2013, I stumbled into the counselors office. I had been to counseling before had always left without help. I went in initially to just talk about depression and my lack of motivation. I walked out having confessed to another human for the first time in my entire life, my sin. A few weeks later, I confessed in person to my mother and my father and was able to share with some friends. And how I wish I had the courage to tell my parents earlier in my life. I feel like a fool looking back after knowing the wisdom and love they have to give me.

This was the pinnacle of my life. God not-so-graciously refused to have me found out against my will in order that I may willingly, on one fall night, confess my burdens myself. This is when I saw Jesus clearly. All it really took was bringing the darkness into the light.

I’ll do anything in my power to stop another girl from experiencing the kind of shame, loneliness and fear that I have. I refuse to keep this a secret no matter how awkward it may be because I know that if I read something like this ten years ago, my life would be vastly different. Now, I’m trying to detox my soul from years and years of scarring pollution. You are not alone. I don’t care what your story is, or how alone you think you are, or how detestable you think you are.

Truth is, you are a sinner. I am, too. But Jesus looked at me and knew me and he still chose to die for me. Someday, I will stand before the judgement throne of God and The Almighty and Holy Power will look at me and see me as faultless. Nothing could ever change my life like the knowledge of that has. What kind of love it this?! What kind of God would go to such great lengths for a moronic little child like me?

God saved me. I mean it with every ounce of energy in my bones. Without him, I would be nothing. Absolutely nothing. I would be defeated by darkness and fear and self-loathing. He pursued me through so much crap. He is so beautiful and to this day I am still a wretched person and to this day he still draws near to me. I don’t know. I’ll never understand the depths of his being, but there is nothing so deeply satisfying as searching for it.

Talk to someone, please. If you fear, if you have baggage or burden because God is near and there is so much joy for you to find. Such vast wonder and awe of God. 

Zechariah 3:1-2

 ”Then he showed me Jenny standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at her right side to accuse her. The Lord said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebukes you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jenny, rebukes you!’”