At the age of fifteen I was living a life crippled by insecurities, sadness, brokenness, bitterness, fear, and overcome by anger. I was held down by depression and chained up by anxiety. I started living life in search for what I believed would bring me some kind of fulfillment. My family had been shattered into pieces before my eyes. In a material sense, we had little to nothing. We slept in a little apartment just getting by with a little help from instant noodles. With that I became numb to the world around me; battling suicidal thoughts and self harm. I was lost.
I believed life wasn’t worth living and everything around me was falling apart.
It seemed as though everything I touched crumbled to pieces, until one day my luck began to change. My mom told me she had just won a cruise trip to Jamaica for me, my sister, and herself. Finally, we can go somewhere where no one knows we’re poor or that I battled with depression. We had the chance to go someplace where we could pretend that we were a normal family. A family I’ve always dreamed of being a part of.
I remember the night before we left, we were playing music through the apartment and eating sweets as we packed all of our things. We were so overcome with excitement and anticipation for the adventure ahead. When the day came for us to board the cruise ship I remember waiting in a long line full of people. Everyone waiting for the next week of their lives to be extraordinary and I felt the same. We walked on board this massive fancy cruise ship and saw a lobby full of people laughing as they sipped martini’s. We saw a man in a suit playing the grand piano underneath the multiple chandeliers that filled the room. Everything was extraordinary and we knew that this was going to be an incredible week.
Suddenly it hit me, we can be whoever we want. We were new people. We weren’t a broken family just scraping by anymore but we were the wealthy type, having meaningless conversations over our steak and fancy dinner without a care in the world. I wasn’t the depressed and suicidal girl battling self harm anymore. Instead I was a charming young lady living in a life of luxury with my mother and sister.
However, all of that faded the night that I got a little out of control in a room full of people I wanted to impress. I went from being amazed by free ice cream and pizza every night to consuming everything that was handed to me. It didn’t take long for me to feel ill and soon after that, someone attempted to take advantage of me. I woke up the next day finding my mom hovering over my body, crying and hugging me. She had spent the entire night watching my chest to make sure her little girls heart kept pounding. Guilt rushed through my soul. Depression and anxiety came flooding back in. It happened again. This was our chance to be anyone we wanted to be and I had messed it all up.
I made a decision to end my life that night. After all, life for everyone would be easier without my stupidity ruining everyone’s good time. So without hesitation I walked over to the balcony, put one foot over and began my pursuit to end everything. Just then a young man that I had met two days earlier walked out onto the balcony and pulled me down. That was the moment I understood that I was worth more.
Later that week I encountered the love of God and a year later I gave Him my life.
At the age of 17 God called me into missions, but during that time of my life I had no idea what that looked like. I certainly didn’t think as a junior in high school who was exploring universities that I would be moving half way around the world to Australia in joining YWAM.
Now, at the age of 21 I’ve been able to work alongside the medical ship on the islands in Papua New Guinea. God’s grace brings us around full circle in showing us His power, His character, and we get brought closer and closer to Him. As I was talking with Him the night I first headed on the ship He reminded me again of who He was (and is), a good Father – One who unconditionally loves and gives freedom.
Five years ago I was on a ship entangled in many waves of despair and the desire to end my life. Now I am sailing on a ship which is bringing waves of life and life to the full.
Steph grew up in North Carolina and has joined us here on staff in June 2016. She works in our communications team, has lead an outreach team to Papua New Guinea on the Pacific Link, and she staffed this past July DTS! Steph is very thoughtful, funny, and she loves surprises! Latte’s and chicken quesadillas share a soft spot in her heart.