It was dark, but I could faintly see the concrete below. I calculated roughly my chances of surviving such a fall, but I paused. Darker than the night around me were the thoughts surrounding me, but even in the darkness, God was there offering a better way. He wanted me to see that there was hope even when all things seemed hopeless. He wanted to pierce the darkness of my soul with the glory of eternity. I once again cried out towards heaven, another prayer in the night as I often had, but this time was different. This time instead of asking for courage or strength or something else for myself, I simply said, “I no longer want my life. I no longer have a use for it, but if You can use it, if You can do something with it, it’s Yours.” It was at long last a prayer of complete surrender. I can’t say that I experienced an immediate 180 degree turn around in my life like Louis Zamperini of “Unbroken,” because my journey was still much slower, but this rooftop experience was a critical turning point. Charles Spurgeon once said, “God will never do anything with us till he has first of all undone us.”
I was raised Seventh-day Adventist, in a faithful, supportive, loving family. I was never abused and always was loved. However, as I experienced, no matter how good life is, no matter how little of a “reason” there may be, depression can still weigh on a person. God was always there for me, prior to the onset of depression in high school He loved me and was guarding me. Through the ups and through the downs of emotionally turbulent high school years, even when I couldn’t feel His presence or see His hand at work, I know He was there. God never forced Himself into my life, as Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” I struggled with years of never feeling like I had a true conversion experience, because I was raised in the church. So there were years in college and thereafter that I went out and made a story for myself, and I gained scars, and I saw what the world has to offer. I never considered myself to have completely walked away from Christianity, but there are only two sides we can be on (Matthew 12:30). There are so many examples I could share of times that God answered my prayers and didn’t give up on me, but I share this rooftop experience because it was a crucial time, and it was when I finally hit rock bottom enough to fully surrender. I don’t know the exact date of that important night, and I have had an abundance of ups and downs since. However, one thing that has changed since then is that I have learned to stop pretending so much. It’s okay to tell God how I feel and what I think, because He already knows! It’s okay to even share with some trusted friends how I am doing, because God gave us relationships for a reason. I don’t have to pretend to be a perfect Christian with all the answers, because nobody is. We all may sin differently, but we all sin, and therefore it’s okay to go to others for help and for accountability. I have had bouts of depression on and off for over half my life now, but never felt comfortable discussing it due to the stigma surrounding mental health. I have found that it is liberating to not have to hide this side of my experience. It is difficult to be vulnerable and honest at times, yet God has promised that His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). I know I have the natural tendency to try to do things of my own ability, yet depression as my thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7) has kept me humble and ever reliant upon my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is my story, and why I am excited to be a part of Ending Pretending.