“I want to die.”

Those words defined Summer of 2011.  It was a difficult year; a friendship of mine ended, my Dad lost his job, things were unstable and uncertain and all I wanted to do was die. It seems like a blur now, but it was in the pit of my despair where I found God.
I grew up in a Christian home, raised Baptist, went to Church every Sunday for most of my childhood. Until my grandmother’s suicide changed everything in our family, including my relationship with God.
I had spent most of the following years searching. I got involved with the wrong people, experimented with drugs, drank, and did things looking back now cringing. I struggled with pornography addiction, was involved in mentally and emotionally abusive relationships, and did things outside my character to feel loved and accepted.
That year, I literally came undone. I remember sitting in my room one night frustrated, angry, in tears crying, I don’t remember what I said, but I remember praying to God verbally hoping He heard me.
Not long after, something told me to start searching for sermons online. I didn’t know what exactly what I was looking for until I came across a series called “The Invisible War” by Pastor Rick Warren. This series changed my life. It was like God wrote that series specifically for me. I watched in tears and knew in that moment He was real.
Things in my life and heart begin to shift. I realized I had purpose. I begin to turn my pain into writing which birthed my online presence with my blog and Twitter @incitefaith. People started to reach out to me for help and I realized when they reached out to me, it helped me too. The pain I felt no longer carried weight because I was carrying someone else’s in its place.
It’s been an incredible journey and I’ve met some amazing people. People who have changed the trajectory of my life forever. Nothing God has done in my life have been accident. Everything to now has served purpose.
2011 was a brutal year but was a year of rebuilding. He rebuilt my relationship with Him and restored my faith.

I’m not going to lie and say I don’t struggle. I struggle daily. I struggle with insecurity, rejection, sexual temptation, and doubt. Those things didn’t disappear the moment I gave my life to Christ. What I can tell you though is every time I focus on my weaknesses, I look at them as a signpost towards Jesus. My weaknesses don’t define me, they only solidify how deeply I need more of Him in my life and areas of struggle.
This journey is difficult. One thing I’ve learned since walking with Jesus is there will be so many people who we think are in our corner cheering us on, but the truth is, only a few will remain. People who started along on this journey with me are no longer there. Being someone who struggles with feelings of loneliness, I don’t feel as alone any more.  I know God is with me. He was with me that night in my room and is with me now 5 years later.

Wow, what a ride.

—My name is Julie, and iFollow Jesus.

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