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Life Abundant

Growing up feeling in control was very important to me, especially as I watched my Dad loose control to alcohol and drug addiction.  There were a lot of things in my family that were out of my control as my parents separated and my Mom and I left the small town that I had lived in all my life to move to the city.  I responded to all these tumultuous times in my teen years by seeking to keep control of everything else in my power.  I worked hard in school and by the time grade 11 started I had already chosen grad schools.  In extra curricular activities I always strived to be the best and to try to get my dad’s attention and approval.  My faith was always somewhat important to me, I went to church and I prayed regularly, I was even involved in youth groups and retreat teams, but Jesus had his place in church activities and in my prayer time and I had the rest of my life under control. I put a lot of pressure on myself and I was already stressed out, but add to that the emotional strain of losing my Grandfather, my parent’s separation, and meeting my biological family around this time too!  I found myself confused and overwhelmed with all of the changes in my life.  I was an emotional train wreck.  I could never seem to get enough sleep, my appetite was all off, I couldn’t concentrate, and things that I was always so good at and found joy in were suddenly causing me anxiety.   I was diagnosed with depression and found myself in and out doctors psychologists, psychiatrist and counselors office, tried more antidepressants that I can count and spent some time hospitalized on suicide watch.  My mom was heartbroken and concerned.  My Dad was absent from my life completely for two years around this time.  Close friends who I thought I could really trust and depend on were anything but understanding. I felt so lost and alone.  I didn’t even know who I was, as so many of the things that I had defined myself with were stripped away.  I isolated myself a lot during this time because, I felt like no one could possibly understand me, but in my isolation I found myself reaching out for God more, I would listen to Christian music, read the Bible and write in my journal daily.  It was about a month after my release from the hospital and things were slowly getting better that I found myself at a weekend retreat.  I don’t remember many details of what happened that weekend or from those years of my life to be honest, but God reached down when I was in the midst of my darkest most confusing place and he met me there where no one else could. I heard a Bible verse from 1Peter 5:7 that weekend that simply said, “Cast ALL your worries upon him because he cares for you.”  I was weighed down in many worries and anxieties.  I was tired of living.  I was tired of trying so hard and failing to control my life and I knew that I was at the end of my rope. I desperately needed a way out and I knew that God was reaching out asking me to give Him my life, not simply the parts that I had a grip on but ALL of it in the mess and brokenness.  I sat in that chapel and I cried out to Jesus that night and slowly one by one He brought so many little cares, concerns and worries to my attention and asked me to place each one in His hands, and to give up control.  That night I made a commitment to give ALL of my life to Jesus. In the years that followed I grew in relationship with Jesus.  I actually desired to spend time in prayer, it wasn’t just something I did to check it off my list of things to do, and I really wanted to spend time with the one that I loved!  The scriptures came alive and became relevant in my life I was learning to recognize His voice and to follow where He lead.  I was at peace resting in Him, no longer racing to find my own way.  I had my life back and it was more abundant than I could have ever asked or imagined!  I knew I wasn’t alone and that I didn’t have to carry my worries and anxieties on my own.  Jesus helped me to overcome anger and hurt.  And even the most difficult and seemingly impossible relationship with my Dad, years later was restored.  It took some more time, medicine and counseling, but Jesus lifted me from the darkness of depression and set me free.  I can look back at those dark years now and see the beauty in the brokenness, of the intimacy I experienced with Jesus in the midst of it. Jesus restored my life abundantly and I experience joy each day walking with Him.  

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