I became a Christian when I was 7 years old; I grew up in a Christian home. This testimony will only cover a recent season of my life.
About five years ago, God opened a door for my husband to get a major promotion. This job was an answer to prayer and such a blessing- but it called us to move away from KY, dear friends, and farther from my family. We felt it was the right thing to do, so we took the step in faith to come to GA.
When we arrived, it was December, and I had a six week old baby and a three year old. I did not know the area at all, so needless to say I did not get out much. Loneliness began to overwhelm me. I missed all my old friends. I was alone all day until my husband came home from work. He was working long hours getting accustomed to his new job. I struggled with being depressed- I cried a lot.
When the spring came, I met some Moms at the park, started to get to know some Moms at my church, and I started getting excited about the prospect of new friendships. I got together with each Mom a few times, and then they stopped returning my calls- said they were busy all the time- none of the friendships worked out.
This trend continued. My discouragement grew. I started to wonder what was wrong with me that no one wanted to be my friend.
As my son got older and I was breastfeeding less, I started having a drink now and then. My husband and I have always drank alcohol in moderation. We both had great examples at home- our parents never kept alcohol around all the time, but they would have wine or beer for special occasions.
I found myself turning to food and alcohol to comfort myself. Let me clarify- I did not get drunk- but these were my two primary ways of coping with my situation, with my sadness and loneliness. I neglected my kids- I would escape into books, reading for hours each day.
I would have some good days- where I would really try to get out of the funk- to spend time with my kiddos, love on them- plan activities- and then it seemed after about a week I couldn’t hold it together. My spirits would spiral downward again and I would sink into myself.
I started to snap at them, I could see things in my character that were ugly- and I was ashamed. I lost all care about my physical appearance. I would go for days and days without showering or taking care of my physical appearance at all. I was sneaking food during the day so my daughter wouldn’t see me eating.
The up and down roller coaster of trying for a while and crashing continued and then…
Finally, after almost a year of crying, depression, self-loathing, and seeking everything that I could to make myself feel better and escape my situation- God broke through.
I was still spending time in His Word- I was going to Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) each week, and that was like a life-line to me.
God was using that to speak to me- to call me to Him.
Finally, I accepted the reality that all the things that I was doing were not helping me- I felt like a terrible mother- I was ashamed of myself- all my secret sins- I wanted to be an example to my children- I wanted to be filled with joy.
I knew things had to change.
I started getting up early every day to spend time with the Lord. I started running again and taking care of myself. I called a friend from KY and told her the truth about what I was going through- I asked her to pray for me. She came to visit.
And how has God answered? Do I have friends? No. Have my circumstances changed? Yes, but only in one way. I seek God first. I start my days with Him- I try to seek Him in each moment.
I am starting to see Him and Him alone as the source of my joy and peace- not letting circumstances or people dictate how I feel about myself- my identity is in Christ alone.
He reminds me of how much He loves me. He gives me joy in housework, in the simple pleasures of playing with my children. He has reminded me of how blessed I am. How many things I have to be thankful for.
His Word has brought conviction and keeps me on track. I use it against the lies that my flesh tries to sell me daily. No, food won’t comfort me. No, having a drink won’t make it better. No, if I escape into a book, all my problems will be waiting for me when it is over.
God wants me to face my problems- to stop escaping- to stop avoiding- to trust Him and step into the storm- to walk through it in faith. And that’s what I am doing every day. I am still alone most days all day. I still struggle with loneliness, but I make a choice now to let God comfort me- not anyone or anything else.
God is my anchor, He is my shield. He is my ever present help in trouble. He hides me in the shelter of His wing.
I have the strength to make it through only because of Him. I have the strength to fight the temptation to snap at my children, because I remember His Word that says- be slow to speak and slow to get angry. I know that self-control honors Him- and it is an example to my children.
I have never been this hungry for God- never in my life.
I feel my need for Him acutely. I can’t stand the thought of missing a quiet time- I am so desperate for Him. Because I know- without Him I can’t hope to be the Mom I long to be, the wife I long to be. Only by His Grace can I hope to live a life that honors Him.
And the journey continues…