My Testimony: How My Pain Rests in His Plan

I was lucky enough to grow up in a Christian home. But to me, being Christian meant a place to go on Sundays and a box to check when asked religion. I never understood I could have a personal relationship with Jesus…

I knew Jesus died on the cross to save my sins, but I never understood how a guy that died thousands of years ago could relate to my life in the 2000’s.

I knew Jesus died on the cross to save my sins, but I never understood how a guy that died thousands of years ago could relate to my life in the 2000’s.

 

Middle school was hard for me and a lot of challenges were explained when I was diagnosed with clinical depression in the eighth grade. Basically, I kicked and screamed all the way to the doctor and continued to kick and scream all throughout the appointment. When I was told I had depression, I was in denial because I knew I wasn’t sad about anything. Like I said earlier, I grew up in a loving, Christian home and (thankfully) had not experience any real trauma or troubles that I assumed would cause depression.

My mom then explained to me clinical depression is caused from not having the right balance of chemicals in my brain, and being on medicine would put the right balance in my brain and allow my emotions and mood to stabilize. From this point forward, I had always thought of depression (and other mental illnesses) as a health concern- like treating allergies or something like that.

High school was a lot better than middle school. Of course there were struggles- and I was definitely a rebellious teenager- but overall I was thriving by the time senior year rolled around. I did the bare minimum when it came to school, but I was very social and happy which was fine with me. When I graduated, I blamed my lower than average GPA on being sick with mono and having to miss a lot of school, which was somewhat true. Nevertheless, I was accepted to the college I wanted to go to and headed there in the fall.

 

My college years is when I felt the weight of depression. I found out I had severe ADHD, which I believe I’ve had my entire life (hence the low grades in high school). Between medicine changes, learning how to live on my own, and the death of a friend, I fell into a major depression for about a year and a half in college, and it took me another year to fully bounce back from it. Looking back, I could pick out only a couple of semesters where I truly enjoyed myself. Although college was a hard ride, it was in those dark moments where I found God.

Although college was a hard ride, it was in those dark moments where I found God.

Over the course of a couple of years, many instances transformed my faith but I believe the real game changer was the YouTube video, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”, which led me to the book “Jesus>Religion” by Jefferson Bethke. It was there when I learned that God and religion are two separate things. After this “ah-ha” moment is when my story really begins…

 

I had always grown up learning God was perfect, so I naturally assumed I had to be perfect when I prayed or went to church on Sundays. I soon realized God is not religion and He will take you in no matter how messy you are. This new outlook on faith encouraged me to start a relationship with the Lord- even though I was still severely depressed.

I soon realized God is not religion and He will take you in no matter how messy you are.

The first couple of years I had a relationship with God were exactly what I said before- messy. It pretty much consisted of me crying out to him, begging him to save me from my sadness and the deep depression that I could not seem to shake. I prayed he would save me from my constant anxiety and feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated.

In times of darkness, which there were many, I was very angry at God. I questioned why I had ADHD, depression, and anxiety while others were free of the burden of mental illness. I didn’t understand how it was fair that I had to go through all this pain and suffering in order to live the same life others around me were living.

One night, when I was filled rage and anger, God finally gave me the answer I had been begging for… “And in my pain, rests His plan.”  At the time, I didn’t know exactly what it meant, but I knew God had a plan for the pain he had put me through.

The last year and a half college is when I began to rise from my deep depression and again find joy in the everyday motions of life. As my relationship grew with Christ, I continually thanked him for this new-found joy because I knew He was the only reason I was feeling it.

 

In 2015, I began to read the devotion “Jesus Calling” (another game changer) and kept a journal every single day. This is when my relationship with God really began to grow. I finally put pen to paper and discovered how the pain of my past gave me a warrior mindset when tackling the trials of the present and the unknown anxieties of the future. As I filled the pages of my journal, I slowly began to realize my words became stories and lessons I could share.

I finally put pen to paper and discovered how the pain of my past gave me a warrior mindset when tackling the trials of the present and the unknown anxieties of the future.

God placed it on my heart time and time again that I should start a blog. At first, this seemed like a fun idea- telling God’s truth through my talent of writing, but then the fear and doubts set in. I always struggled with the idea of sharing my heart with the world in something so impersonal such as a blog. As time went on, I felt the strong urge to not only start a  blog about God’s love- but to mainly focus it on mental illnesses and the plan God is showing me for my life. I would like to say this idea of this blog was given to me only a couple months ago, but in reality, God has placed this on my heart for over two years. After two years of praying, avoiding, and procrastinating- I am finally listening to God’s words that saved me years ago…

“And in my pain, rests His plan.”

 

My hope for this blog is to share my story. My wish is that I can inspire just one person by changing their stigma on mental illness or even realizing that God has a plan for their life too.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard me cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

– Psalm 40:1-3

 

Photo by: Rachael Lindsy Photography

10 thoughts on “My Testimony: How My Pain Rests in His Plan

  1. Abbie, I am in awe of your courage and depth of heart. The last year of my life has brought me to the same place of fully understanding God”s love for me in using my pain to grow my faith and love for Him. I can only say I would have loved to fully understand that before the age of 50. For you to come to that understanding at your age is truly a blessing! The Lord will use you mightily as you continue to allow Him. I, too, read Jesus Calling daily and it has definitely been a game changer. A close friend of mine gave me a book when I thought my life was falling apart, Streams In The Desert by L.B Cowman, and I don’t miss a day reading it. I feel as if God has used it to directly show me how much He loves me and that I am never alone or forgotten in my pain and struggles. Give it a read, I think you will find it to be a game changer also. You are a beautiful young lady and I believe the Lord has started a great work in you and He will definitely complete what He started as you look to Him daily. Humbly trusting God in my pain, also, Elizabeth Williams

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Abbie, what a beautiful blog. Your mom shared this on FB and I just thought I’d check it out not really knowing what to expect. It brought tears to my eyes! Keep up the courage, for God is good! Looking forward to next week

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Abbie …. thank you for sharing your courageous journey. You have a gift for writing that will absolutely help others. Is it possible for me to know you and not know you’ve struggled? Of course – because we all are struggling to find our way. But as you say – as much as we talk – we bontbtalk about “it”. I love you, Sweetie.

    Like

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