I initially shared my story briefly on here in a post titled “What Should I Do Now?”
Crazy to see where I was to where God has brought me now. At the time, I didn’t think I’d make it any longer but here I am by the grace of God. Now here is my story in full. May God be glorified, and you be encouraged reading it.
February 6, 2008, my life forever changed. I was just days before my 19th birthday, and I had just started college as a freshman. While that sounds exciting, I never felt so worthless and miserable in my entire life. In fact, I wanted to take my own life because of how miserable I was.
But it is only because of God and God alone that I am alive today 15 years later. That being said, today I want to provide my testimony so that we would bring God the glory and that we would be encouraged to move forward and live for Him because He meets us right where we’re at, even when we are at our worst.
Growing up, I was already involved in church. Had parents who believed in the Lord and taught me about the Christian faith at a young age, in addition to Sunday school and the first few years of grade school since the school was Christian. For the most part, my life was good, almost perfect even. There were many happy times until things changed as I entered public school, where I was exposed to a secular environment for the first time.
Despite growing up in a Christian household, I felt like the most worthless person in the world. Growing up, I was bullied and was made an outcast in school, even among those who were supposedly my friends. This caused me to have serious trust issues and social anxiety as a result. At the same time, I also wanted to fit in since I was rejected, which included dressing like the “cool” kids and pretending to like the same things they liked, including music, tv shows, etc.
In high school, things got worse as I began skipping classes, including full days of school, just to hang out or even be myself. There was even one point where I got arrested and spent the night in jail for vandalism. My grades suffered significantly, and I became rebellious to my parents, who were concerned for me and prayed for me nonstop. Nevertheless, I managed to graduate high school but just barely.
Fast forward to college, several factors took place that led me to wanting to take my own life. I did not do well in class, I lacked understanding of many things due to my lack of studying and laziness throughout the year. I ended up dropping out after my first semester due to failing a class that I had little to no experience with before switching to another school with more course programs. Despite the change, I still felt overwhelmed with school, and I didn’t know what to do with my life.
I was also dealing with relationship drama from a girl I was briefly with until I ended it abruptly after finding out that another guy was talking to the girl, and she was interested. The guy, however, turned out to be a jerk to her and she eventually broke up with him. I was also mad at her for jumping from relationship to relationship, which she apologized and asserted she still had feelings for me.
However, she said that we should wait a while before coming back together again. Little did I know, she was already talking to someone else. Either way, I felt unloved because the ordeal with my ex left me feeling like I was just some other guy without any regard as to how I felt.
Overall, I was at a point in my life where I felt like an insignificant worm of a human being. I became depressed and disoriented because I felt like my life was meaningless. I felt that I wasn’t living, I was merely existing. I used to tell myself “Day by day I feel like I’m wasting my life away and if I died nobody would care”. I felt like the writer of Ecclesiastes, who repeatedly said “vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” Nothing felt significant and everything felt numb.
Although one friend told me, “It’s going to be ok” but she did not understand what I was going through because I was too ashamed to tell her. My parents didn’t know about it either because I was too ashamed to tell them. You would think that since they are Christians, plus your father is a pastor, that it would be easy right? Quite the opposite, I was too ashamed because I don’t think they would understand. If anything, I felt like I failed like a son.
Due to rough social experiences growing up, I felt like I was the worst talker ever because I felt like I had nothing to talk about. Trust issues aside, my personality is introverted, so being amongst crowds or large groups of people hanging out were a no go for me. As a result, you end up feeling lonely because you feel invisible, unseen, unappreciated and unloved.
I also struggled with sleeping, fearing that I would die in my sleep and go to hell, only to wake up and throw up. What truly shocked me is my reflection in the mirror. I was as pale as a ghost. At that point, I realized I was truly miserable and began thinking things like wanting to cut myself or maybe I should end my life, such as letting myself get hit by a train. I had never thought about self-harm before but here I was thinking about it, to the point where I wanted to die.
At the same time, however, I thought about the Christian faith I was raised in and how some Christians were full of joy because they were in love with the Lord. While I knew of God and was not opposed to his existence, I didn’t have an actual relationship with Him. My Christianity was limited to just Sundays, a couple of Bible verses, and prayers here and here. But I wasn’t what you considered devout or passionate about the Lord. Even so, I wanted to seek God because I figured hey, I was at the end of my rope, this was my one chance to find hope.
And so, on February 6, 2008, He saved me. At the time, I was on break between college classes and decided to go home because I was so broken inside. I didn’t want anyone to see me cry. The moment I got home, I got down on my knees and wept like a baby.
“God, save me, I need you,”
I cried. At that moment, the Lord heard my cry. One moment I was feeling empty and dead inside, next thing I felt was joy, love, peace, hope. This wasn’t me conjuring up positive emotions, it was the presence of God and for the first time in my life, God was real to me. He wasn’t some distant being in the cosmos. No, He was here with me in a tangible way. As the psalmist said,
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit,” (Ps. 34:18).
Not only was it a moment of prayer, but a moment of worship. I looked up the song “I can only imagine” by Mercyme, since it talked about one day being with Christ in eternity. More than that, He was there at that moment and all I wanted to do was worship. Afterwards, I went back to school for my next class except this time I wasn’t miserable, I had hope, for I have met the hope of my salvation. And the rest they say, is history.
On that fateful day, God didn’t just save my life, He saved my soul. Despite all the pain I faced, my biggest problem is that I’m a sinner, just like you are a sinner. And by default, I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). It didn’t matter if I grew up in church or knew the Christian lingo, I did not know God and if anything, I was under condemnation and His judgment. No righteous work or claiming myself to be a good person would save me.
As Romans 5:8 says,
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Christ took out place on the cross, bore God’s wrath that was meant for us, so that we would be justified and reconciled to Him. Moreover, we have been brought from darkness to light, from death unto light, regenerated in the power of the Holy Spirit, sanctified, and ultimately glorified to the glory of God. We are here for a reason and that His to know God and to make Him known. Just as God saved us, so we must tell others who don’t Him about Him.
And if you’re someone, who like I was 15 years, just know that you are not alone. Cry out to God and He will save you. He will forgive you of your sins and give you a brand new life, that is eternal life, one in which you know God. Friend, knowing God is the greatest relationship that you will ever have and coming to know Him is the greatest decision you will ever make.
15 years later, I am more grateful that I have ever been. While I have much to learn, I’m thankful for what the Lord continues to teach me, whether in my life or in His Word. I know that without God, I wouldn’t be here and with Him, my life will never be the same.