My dad and I cuddled on the couch every night when I was a little girl. He was a business man and was away often on business trips. In his absence, I would sit in our front lawn and sing songs about missing him and how much I loved him.
One afternoon when I was eight I came home from school to a house in disarray. I learned that my dad had tried to commit suicide.
Those days of singing about him and nights of cuddling were over for me. He was sick, could no longer control his anger, and I no longer felt safe around him. He became verbally abusive and my home began to feel like a battleground. I missed him.
He began submerging himself into religion. I know he was hurting and was looking for peace, but I felt forced into something I didn’t understand. I really didn’t want to believe any of it because I didn’t see it helping him. I figured if there was a God He could not be good because of what I was experiencing at home.
My dad succeeded in his second attempt with suicide when I was sixteen. I was confused, I felt abandoned, and wondered about my worth.
At nineteen I quit college and moved to the city where I worked as a waitress. I was having fun, enjoying life, but it all seemed meaningless. The cycle of me seeking to feel cared for by others but being easily forgotten, was wearing me out. I wanted someone to love me, I wanted lasting and real friendships, and I wanted a purpose that went beyond a career. I wanted my life to count and to have meaning.
That is when all of the philosophical questions started coming at me. Like, what is the meaning of life, why am I here, what is life. I realized it was my responsibility and right to know. I turned to the Bible. I didn’t feel like searching through websites or seeking out great philosophers. I wanted to go to God Himself. I figured if He was real He would speak to me.
I sat alone with my Bible and talked to Him. It felt like I was talking to myself. I tried to do this every day and soon enough verses started to pop out at me and I no longer felt like I was talking to myself.
I learned that God had loved me so much even when I didn’t love Him back. He demonstrated His love to me by dying for me (Romans 5:8)! I had a hard time comprehending someone loving me without me doing something for them. I learned so much about God during this time. My understanding of myself and life started to change. I started to see the world differently.
One night, I was at a party and felt a tug to leave. I went home and cried for hours telling God that I wanted Him to be my friend so badly and I wanted to have worth.
That was the beginning of my new life. Revelations 3:20 says “look! I have been standing at the door, and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in…” God became my friend that night and changed my life. Jesus gave me worth, purpose, and life. He became my Savior
He cleaned up my life. I went back to college and even got involved in a church.
After a few years, I began praying for the opportunity to help start a church one day and the Lord answered me! I was given the opportunity to start a church in Oklahoma with some of my closest friends.
Losing my dad to suicide taught me that my worth was not based on other people’s actions but only on the greatest act of love known; God giving up His only Son in order to have a relationship with me. That sacrifice is what gave me worth.
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26