I'll start off by saying this: no, this is not a photography post. This isn't a wedding. Or a senior, or an engagement set. This is a personal blog post about my life and what I've encountered. Why am I sharing this with you? Why on my photography website? Because I think it's important for you to know who I am and where I've been. Most of you know this story already, some of you don't. I don't enjoy sharing this but I know it will help people. Are you struggling? Are you worn out? Do you just want to throw in the towel? I know how you feel because these same questions have haunted my mind for months. So, if you feel the same, maybe this post is for you.
I met my husband two and a half years ago. (No, he wasn't my husband yet, but I knew he would be.) I liked him, he didn't like me. I stared at him from across the room like a freak, he didn't pay attention to me one bit. Eventually he spoke to me and hey! Fell in love. Everything was so great. We both served at the church, ran a cell group, helped out with/attended Encounters frequently and even prayed every morning. It was perfect. Then... Offense crept in. We all have been here before - someone says something that rubs us the wrong way and so our instinct is to distance ourselves from that person. Even if we're totally wrong, sometimes we are too stubborn to realize that they only say those things in love. He left the church. Wait... what? How can that be thrown away so easily? I stayed, but I felt like a whole piece of me was missing. The man I was going to marry, leaves something we both invested our entire lives in. Months went by and I began to just "show up" to everything. I came, but I wasn't actually there. I completed my jobs and sat and listened to the sermon like I was supposed to. But my heart wasn't there.
This led to me leaving. Wow! My whole time here at this church, with this family... gone? I gave up on the most important thing in my life. Abandoned the girls I was leading and gave up completely. Then one day... BAM. He comes to me and tells me he's been a slave to addiction for months. Without me knowing a single thing about it. How had I not noticed? Day after day after month after month I saw him and never noticed the red eyes. Never noticed the way he talked, how it was different somehow. Anger, that's all I felt. How could I be so stupid? I thought I'd finally arrived - only to see that I was stuck in the deepest, darkest hole I had ever been in.
So I thought... Okay. We can do this. People get clean of drugs all the time. It just takes a little hard work. So, he did. I stayed with him for a week while he withdrew from this deadly addiction. I took care of him. I prayed over him for hours at a time. I held him while his body shook, dying to have just one more fix. Itching for a way out. When he wanted to give up I pushed him back and tried to stay positive. It broke my heart to see the man I loved more than anything struggle so much. It tore me apart. His birthday passed and yes... We did it. Thank you, Jesus! "My head feels so... clear. Thank you God" he said on his 25th birthday.
A month passed by, we were happier than ever. He was clean. We were restored. HE was restored. We went back to the church and all was well. On one monday night, February 17th, everything changed. We were watching Grease and singing to each other like crazy people. It was a normal night for us. He goes to the bathroom but before he does I jokingly say to him, "Hey! Don't leave me!" and he says back, "What, are you going to come in the bathroom with me?" I shake my head and smile. "Thought so." he says. As soon as he shuts the door my heart sinks. Why? Everyone uses the bathroom. It's not an abnormal thing to get up and go to the bathroom. Then why do I have this awful, sinking feeling in my stomach? My eyes never leave the bathroom door. Minutes pass by and nothing happens. No sound. Just the noise from the actors on the TV. Thud. What was that? It must have been something downstairs. A cat or something. More minutes pass. I get up and press my ear to the door and hear nothing. No movement. I knock. Nothing. I knock on the roommates' door and tell them that he hasn't come out in a long time, that he didn't answer when I knocked.
Long story short, the love of my life passed away that night in the hospital after doctors upon doctors upon doctors tried to revive him. When they came in to tell me that there was nothing more they could do, my heart broke into two. I fell into a secret depression that no one noticed. A flood of "I'm praying for you" and "You're so strong" messages came in and all I wanted to do was end it all.
Four months later and I am filled with the joy of the Lord. I still have days where I struggle but I know my future is bright and he is home now. The plans that I had - for marriage, for a family, for everything... it WILL still happen. I know that today, I am standing triumphant not because I am "strong", but actually - because I am WEAK, and JESUS is strong. He holds me up and puts a smile on my face. The only hope I have is through His blood and love.
So now the thoughts that I have are these: You're NOT depressed, you WILL get married one day, your future does NOT end here, this is NOT your identity... and so on.
So, if you're addicted - it does NOT make you an "awful" or "bad" person. Joshua wasn't a bad person, he was actually the godliest man I have ever met. Within two minutes of knowing him you KNEW he was a man of God. He led more people to Christ than he even realized. BUT - you can get out of it. You don't have to struggle anymore. If you feel depressed, if you feel hopeless, if you feel worn out. If you've been through hell and back. If you've been hurt by people all your life.. The only thing in the entire world that you can turn to for help is Jesus Christ. No amount of alcohol, drugs, sex, self-harm, money, relationships or ANYTHING can cure the way you feel. Trust me, when I ran into the arms of God, I knew I was safe. The best life a person can live is a life lived for Jesus.
UPDATE (OCT. 1ST, 2015)
I can now say that I am married to my sweetheart (sept 18!) who has helped me through so much in the past two years. We are passionate, we are on fire, and we are here to change the world with our testimonies. I AM healed, I AM set free, I AM renewed, and I have such an amazing future ahead of me. Thank you Jesus for pulling me out of that time in my life.