My birth mom and her family were very religious. So, religion felt like it was shoved down my throat at times. It was not the worst thing, because it laid down a foundation for me to think about God.
Then, around high school some to be put lightly, shitting things were coming right after each other. I started to deal with some traumatic things that happened during my childhood, which drained me mentally. Then, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I was in and out of therapy, treatment programs, and then being hospitalized for suicidal ideation. So, by the end of high school I had lost my faith. I still believed there was a God, but just did not have the push to believe he was there for me.
I then went to college and my life felt “normal” for a little bit. I made amazing friends, was doing great in my classes, was so close to my parents and was happy. Obviously, not every day was sunshine and rainbows, but there was more good than bad.
Then, my sophomore year of college I was raped by a boy I only knew for three weeks. It wrecked me. I tried to deal with it on my own for a couple months until I finally broke down to a friend. I was open about it all to family and friends. I went to therapy and a saw counselor who specializes in ptsd. Yet, still I felt like my life would never change. I had fully believed there was no God at all and faith was a crock of shit. I thought that if there was a God, why would he let something so terrible happen to me. Why would God make me hurt? Why would God not take my pain away?
Then, My junior year of college I went to Guatemala for a service trip. There was a moment during the trip where we were asked why we came on this trip. I had no specific answer. I was honestly so annoyed that I had no answer because everyone was saying amazing reasons as to why they came. Then, I heard a local lady say 7 words that would change my life forever. She said, ” Forgive them for you, not for them.” In that moment I felt God for the first time in a very long time. It was an overpowering feeling that all I could do was cry. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulder and I was not alone. It gave me the answer to why I came. I went on that trip to know how I could move on from all the pain that I had carried since I was a little girl.
Ever since Guatemala, I have gotten the chance to find my own faith. There are some days that are harder than others to keep holding on to my faith. Two months ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder. Which was rough. At first I wanted to give up on my faith. But then one night I broke down and I started to talk to God. It felt so good to be able to just let it all out to him. I realized that having faith is what will help me get through all of the bumps that come along through life. This all sounds so cheesy and maybe a load of crap. But, for me it has given me the push to keep going. It has also taught me that if I have children one day, I will never shove faith and religion down their throats and I will let them find it themselves if they choose. Finding my faith on my own was much more rewarding than getting told it.