I was in the third year of my suicidal depression when the lies I believed became too much. The lies that no one cared about me, no one loved me, or would even care if I existed. I desired so badly to feel cared for and known, so I put my identity into relationships and tried to fill myself up with alcohol and drugs. For a while these tactics seemed to work – they did a good job of numbing the pain I was dealing with, but covered up my need for a Savior instead of fixing me. This led to an even bigger void. Even the support of my friends and family couldn’t break this cycle. Only Jesus could fill my emptiness. There were moments every day where I locked myself in my room. I was ashamed and wanted to hide the fact that I was bawling because I didn't want anyone to know what I was going through. I was afraid to be alone because I did not trust myself and what I may end up doing.

Sometimes I would be driving and let go of the steering wheel just to see what would happen, with no regard for anyone or anything. I remember one moment so clearly on the bathroom floor, at the lowest I’ve ever felt. I was crying out asking why I was stricken with this crippling, gut-wrenching feeling of sadness. I asked why it was happening to me. Why I wasn't getting better after so long of dealing with these emotions building up. Then as clear as day, I remember having the thought placed in my head that said, "It's because you need Jesus."

After I heard that, I began to feel that Christ was right beside me through everything. A sudden peace overcame me and everything felt as if it were going to be all right. That moment changed everything.

The next day I started reading the Bible and wrote down my thoughts about how God spoke to me. I didn't know exactly what I was doing, but I was doing it. I stopped abusing alcohol, my drug use became less and less every day, and my dependence on relationships lessened. I realized what I was looking for in these things was really just a longing for Jesus. He gave me what I thought all of those other things would – a feeling of completeness. Looking for more ways to further my knowledge in Christ, I stumbled across a program called Elevate. It was described as a summer discipleship and leadership program that pushes you in your faith while you're surrounded by a loving and uplifting community. I immediately knew I had to sign up.

During that summer, Jesus gave me a life lived by faith. It’s a life of joy even in times of deep struggles. A life that is equally tough and so fulfilling. It's worth every hardship. It’s a life that is worth living, because you are part of a greater purpose. A purpose to share Jesus with others. Coming back from Elevate, I quickly became engaged in the church as much as I could and I have never felt more alive. Giving my life to the only one who unconditionally loves me (so much so that He died for me when He didn't have to), is the least I can do. He bore all the weight of my sin on his shoulders so He could have me for eternity with Him in heaven, and that is more than I could ever ask for.

In the moments I contemplated suicide, Jesus gave me a new reason to live.

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