As I contemplate my life, and my relationship with Christ during this Easter season, I want to share my story, my journey to Christ. During high school, when a lot of teens are struggling to find out who they are and where they belong, I was part of the group that knew a lot of people but didn't really fit in any group. I felt ugly, unpopular, and unloved. I started to feel depressed and completely alone. I was hurting so much inside. I felt like no one understood, that I was a burden on those around me. I found myself literally thinking of ways to leave this earth. I felt like everyone around me would be better off if I was gone. Unfortunately, one day, when I was feeling extremely low, I took handfuls of my medication. Then I went for a walk. I truly wanted to die, but when I started feeling really sick, I called my friends and they took me to the hospital. I was put in the psych ward for teens battling suicide, and drug and alcohol abuse. I felt sick and angry. I wouldn't see my mother. My friends didn't want to come see me because I was "the crazy one". I spent two weeks going to group sessions, one on one therapy meetings with psychologists, and hating every moment. I did not feel any more loved. And when I went to school, it was worse. Everyone knew what I had done and while some kids were kind, others were not. My senior year, I tried suicide again and was not successful. And one of my good friends fathers told me in no certain terms that I needed to stop being so selfish, that I needed to see how many people love ME and how it would devastate them all if I were to succeed. Somehow, I managed to graduate high school, I moved out of my mom's house and moved out on my own.
The next three years, I worked full time and spent time going out with my friends. Looking back, I realize that I was still punishing myself. I was taking risks, not taking care of myself, passively hurting myself. I told myself I was having fun, but inside, I was still hurting.
When I was 21, I met an amazing man. He was funny, he was a good friend. He listened to me. He held my hand. He cared. He loved me. He became my very very best friend. One day I asked him if he went to church. He said he was a Mormon, but wasn't currently going to church. I told him I knew that I wanted to belong to a church, just wasn't sure which one. He took out the Book of Mormon, and read the Joseph Smith story to me. Hearing that story made me curious, and I wanted to know more. Two weeks later the Sister Missionaries were going from house to house and landed on our door step. Stuart and I took the discussions together.
We got married that year, and then one week later I got baptized. That was twenty years ago. I remember when I was first baptized sitting in sacrament one day, and tears just came out of my eyes as I realized that all those times I thought I was alone, He was really there with me. Although I didn't grow up with a father in my home, I had a Father in Heaven that was always there and loved me and protected me. That He got me through those difficult times.
Now, as I look at the last twenty years, my sweet husband, my amazing children, I thank God so much for giving his only Son......for Because He Lives.....we will all live again.
My son who can't walk right now will walk one day; he will be whole.
My daughter who doesn't talk will one day run and jump and play and talk my ear off.
Because He Lives, there is love. My heart is so full and I am so thankful.