Updated: May 24, 2021
I'm going to warn you that this is about to be one of the most vulnerable and raw blogs I've written to date. It may also be lengthy so please bare with me as I take you on the journey...
I was born and raised in a Catholic Church. I was baptized, received my First Communion and Confirmation. God was someone I've known about since the beginning. My family attended church every Sunday. As a kid, I'll be honest that I dreaded going. It was so boring...everything was always so serious and monotone...It felt like the same thing over and over again every single week. On top of that, every Wednesday consisted of Catechism, where I did not pay attention and was quite a rebellious spirit.
Now I'm about to get extremely real...so to any of my family and friends back home, please know that my intention isn't to hurt any feelings, it is just the way I experienced the journey.
I grew up in an insanely toxic home.
Fighting, anger and alcohol were the driving forces. I must say, those actually groomed me for the way I am able to thrive in chaotic situations because for me, the true anxiety and fear lied within the quiet moments...that was the calm before the storm.
My parents split when I was about 5 or 6 years-old so the chaos intensified while being tossed back and forth between the two households and two totally different ways of upbringing.
On the weekends spent at my father's, my grandmother would take me to church and I hated going. I already wasn't the biggest fan of church so having to show up 30 minutes before mass even started...sitting super still and trying to figure out why this was so important, it wasn't a fun time.
God had so many rules.
We couldn't laugh in church. It was serious. Jesus died for us. There's nothing to joke about. It was always stressed about all of the things you couldn't do.
Now as I was slowly growing into my teen years, with hormones, bitterness and no sense of self confidence or worth, this just always made me feel worse. I was filled with so much hurt, shame and guilt...always. So I wanted to rebel and just do what made me feel good...or what I thought would make me feel good anyway.
I experienced a lot of death at a young age. My grandpa passed away right before my parents got divorced. I missed school one day because a semi flipped over in front of our driveway and the driver was dead, pinned underneath it. In eighth grade, I was forced to see a therapist, diagnosed with depression and became a science experiment...where they tried about 3 or 4 different forms of anti-depressants on me.
I played as many sports as possible...anything that kept me away from home. I was angry all of the time. One day, a fellow classmate who I played basketball with and also was dealing with being from a divorced family, smiled at me by our lockers and said, "Good morning, Jayme!"
I was so disgusted that she was happy and I even remember telling her to wipe the smile off of her face because there is nothing in life to feel that happy about (I still feel pretty awful about this one).
I was never the pretty one. I was never the talented one. I was never the smartest one. I was just average and I continued living in such a dark space.
Then, while on my anti-depressants, I remember attending a funeral to an older cousin of mine who just had his depression medication dosage increased and the very next day, he hung himself. He was only in his 50s.
High school came and drinking was a great coping mechanism. Trying to fit in with anyone and everyone was always what I hoped for. I was stilled forced to go to church. I knew about God...I knew God made all of the rules, but that was it.
Then, at 16, two of my best friends died in a car accident. They also were Catholic so both of the churches I attended, was where their funerals were held.
I was angry at God. I didn't even know Him, but I was angry. I hated my life. I hated what happened to those I cared about and didn't understand why. I now hated going to church even more because the same music that was played at their funerals, was the same songs played at a regular mass. For the first time, my mother backed off. She no longer forced me to go to church. I stopped taking my medications. I was sixteen years-old and refused to spend my life relying on a pill to make me attempt to get through.
The drinking stopped temporarily but still was my safe space. I also tried seeking for a guy to love me in ways that I not only didn't love myself nor felt I received from any man in my life or this God I was supposed to commit to.
I then landed myself into a relationship that was insanely toxic.
This was where my darkness turned even darker...
I was trying so hard to fill the massive hole in my heart. I didn't even love myself so I clung onto anything and anyone that even wanted to be around me even part of the time.
I latched onto a relationship where manipulation, emotional abuse, physical abuse, drugs, alcohol and cheating ran the show. I would bend until I would break...and then somehow find a way to bend some more. I lost my mind. I became super crazy and just extremely poisoned by the toxicity I indulged in.
I tried killing myself.
Multiple times. In multiple ways.
I knew enough about God to ask him WHY and to beg Him to keep these people in my life, but I never actually knew Him or trusted Him and His power.
Then, one year on New Year's Eve...it got even worse.
My crazy, broken self was super wasted. I got into a fight with my toxic boyfriend, made a fool out of myself in front of his entire family, to the point they had to call my dad to come get me.
This was the last person I wanted to see in that moment.
It was raining. My dad didn't want to drop me off at my mom's and said I had to stay with him. I refused and screamed at him, saying that he was why I was this way. I threw myself out of his truck while it was still moving and I ran the rest of the way to my mom's house. The next thing I remember, I was in the bathroom with the door locked trying to slit my wrist. I was way too intoxicated so I had no idea what I was even doing. Then, I came to my bearings.
I was lying in my bed and my mother was there with me. She was holding me so tightly. I was BEGGING her to let me kill myself. I told her that I had no reason to be here and that I just wanted to die...but I wouldn't do it unless she gave me permission.
WHO IN THE WORLD SAYS THIS TO THEIR MOTHER?!?!
Mom, if you're reading this, to this day I still have no idea how you had the strength to be there with me all of the way through this.
Somehow and some way, I got through it.
A few years later I was introduced to some mentors who were very successful, positive individuals who had a love of God and they always gave so much gratitude to Him. It impacted me enough to decide to start going back to church. I started to feel this sense of relief and although life was hard and I was still extremely angry and bitter, it started to feel different.
I started to draw closer to Him and for the first time in my life, I actually WANTED to get to know Him.
Before I fast forward to the big news I wanted to share with you, I want to connect some dots.
God was always there. There is absolutely no way I should have survived the things I did...the attempts of suicide, the ridiculous amount of times I drove drunk, being pushed down the stairs, choked, head bashed against a window while driving, rape and the drugs I consumed. I shouldn't be here.
That moment lying in bed with my mom...it wasn't just her and I in the room.
God was there.
He was protecting her. He was giving her the strength to hold on...for me and for her.
HE was hugging me. HE was protecting me.
There is no other explanation.
So, fast forwarding to now. I made a decision.
I have spent the last few years learning more about Him and doing my very best to surrender to Him. I have completely turned my life around. I have prayed so hard for God to help me let go of all of that anger, bitterness and shame. I've begged for God to teach me how to trust Him.
There wasn't some magic moment...it just happened over time.
I made a decision. I chose to get re-baptized.
I needed this for me.
This is my testimony.
God helped me through so much. I am still standing here to help others through their dark times. God armored me. Despite all of the imperfect decisions I made, He loved me anyway.
"God doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called."
I've prayed so hard to find someone to love me and this whole time, I've had a God to love me through it all. He never left me...even in the darkest of moments when I left Him.
I decided to get baptized. God has already done the work. I've already committed to Him. This was a physical experience for me to wash away all of the shame, guilt and brokenness I always thought I deserved to carry.
He washed it all away at my baptism.
Getting baptized yesterday has become the most important day of my life. I committed fully to God yesterday.
As I wrap up this extremely vulnerable blog, I want you to know that God is with you, too. He has never left you. He is waiting on you to come to Him. No matter what guilt, shame, embarrassment or fear you're carrying, let me be here to encourage you that none of that matters and none of it is true.
He is waiting on you. He loves you and He wants to bless you....You just need to draw into Him.
Thank you for reading this and letting me share my heart and super intimate details. I would not be where I am without Him and I am so blessed for the people and experiences He has given me for choosing to follow Him.
If you feel in your heart...even just a tiny spec...that you want to know Him, please take courage in reaching out. Get to know Him.
If this is something you feel you do not know how to do, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am here.
With Love and Much Vulnerability,