“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:32-33 NKJV)
I have never attended a bible study group, nor have I been to church. My parents are not Christians, in fact, no one in my family is. I used to be an atheist. A firm believer in an empty heaven. Surrounded by what I thought was reason, logic and rationality.
I thought I was tolerant, educated, respectful. In reality I most certainty was not. I expected people to respect me when I could not respect those who disagreed with me. Hypocrisy, double standards, arrogance, all were specialities of mine. I jeered, I mocked, insulted, attacked.
And worst of all I blasphemed.
I thought, why can people believe in some autocratic deity? I thought that those people are stupid, that they deserve to be belittled. My motto was, “Everyone is equal. Except you. And you and you and you et cetera et cetera.”
I was a person of prejudice. Worst of all, a person of hate.
Depression and self harm are part of my life. I never had any real friends. I was very lonely, an introvert. The death of my grandparents hit me hard. I wanted to do well at school and I would push myself, punish myself if necessary. I didn’t have anyone to talk to, reach out to, all I did was spiral down into myself not once being brave enough to admit that I needed help. I thought asking for help meant that you’re weak, when really calling out and asking is strong. It takes a strong person to admit that they can’t do it alone. It took me a long time to reach this conclusion.
I still remember that night. Alone in my bedroom with as many pills as I could find. One by one I swallowed, willing myself on, encouraging the chemicals to hurt rather than heal. The only word I cared about was “overdose” because it carried with it death. I had given up. Stopped caring. “There is no point and no hope”, I kept muttering.
Yet I didn’t feel alone.
Was it the comforting embrace of finally ending it? No, it was the exact opposite. Still to this day I have not found the words to describe what I felt. All the superlatives and adjectives of the English language cannot describe what I felt. Love. God’s love.
Something said, “Not yet, it’s too soon.” Something pushed me back. I listened and didn’t resist. This is the beginning of my realisation, my revelation, my redemption.
At the time I didn’t know what it was, I just clung to it, desperately grasping onto what I had thought I’d lost forever. Hope.
Two years later I know now what I felt, what actually happened. It’s been tough, challenging, overwhelming and ultimately amazing. Suddenly I was questioning all I had believed before. I asked: is there a God? Who really is Jesus Christ? Am I actually completely wrong?
Finding out you’ve been wrong for the whole of your life is hard to swallow. I admit, I didn’t immediately accept this fact readily. I often think about what happened in a metaphor, one I’ve never told anyone before. I think of myself being led to the gallows and that my resistance to the truth, the truth which would have never led me there, is just a hangman’s dance. Fruitless, desperate, weak. The only way to be saved is to ask for the rope to be cut.
And I did.
I found out about Jesus, about God, about the Bible. I explored, investigated, I began to fall in love with God. I didn’t realise at first but I was taking my first humble steps towards God, the first steps on the right path. And who is there on this path I now try to tread? Jesus Christ.
I don’t know anyone who is a Christian. The path to here has been one with just me and Jesus Christ.
I understand now. I accept Him now. I’m ready to have Him as the guide and light of my life. He has cleansed me and washed away my sins.
My Lord Jesus Christ has built me and restored me to life. I now try to reach where His finger points.
I still have problems with depression and self harm. The difference between the old me and the new, is that I ask for help. I pray. I believe. I know it’ll get better.
And I love God and His only begotten son, Jesus Christ.
Caitlin Kitchener [email protected]