Graduate: Liddy

Liddy’s Move In Date
October 9, 2008
Liddy’s Graduation Date
April 16, 2010

Liddy’s Graduation Testimony
I grew up in a Christian home, I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday. I had a good life, I had an awesome family and great friends, so I just couldn’t understand what was wrong, what I was missing. It was frustrating to go by, day to day, and act like everything was fine, when deep down I was struggling. I felt so alone even though I had plenty of friends and a big family. I continued to pretend I was fine and happy, but inside I was hurting, I was missing something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I bottled up so much frustration and confusion; it seemed pain and anger were the only things that surfaced and I could barely hold in my rage when trials came. I needed a release, something – anything – that could take away the pain and the void that I locked away in my heart.
As for God, no way. My heart was hardened and God wasn’t in the picture; I would not let Him have a chance. I knew that God was real, but I just couldn’t allow myself to worship Him. I wasn’t willing to worship a god that claimed to love the people He created, yet He let them suffer so much. To me that wasn’t love, that was cruelty and I hated God for that. I no longer wanted to go to church either. I mean c’mon! All I did was sleep. To me, at that point, church was one big lie. Church is a place to worship God, to praise His name, and I couldn’t do that. And it made me angrier and angrier. I was mad at my parents for telling me that God is a great and powerful God, who loves us so much. Mad at the church body for lifting their hands in praise to God, whom they loved and held close to their hearts. They all really loved God, who they believed was so mighty and so worthy of their praise. How could they?
And that’s how it all began. Doubts. Bitterness. Just like in Genesis, the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, the Serpent, the Tree, Deception. The serpent planted seeds of doubt in Eve and deceived her by allowing her to think it was okay to go against God. And Eve sinned. I doubted God’s power. I let my heart deceive me. I believed the lies, I rebelled against the Truth, I fell into darkness. A darkness that seemed so appealing, so helpful. Depression was my only comfort.
It was in eighth grade I was introduced to self-harm. My friends told me about cutting, as scary as it seemed, I was intrigued. Unsure about adding physical pain to the emotional pain already inside, on the surface it seemed to bring my struggling friends happiness, so I joined them.
I kept everything a secret from my family. I didn’t want them to find out and take away my only means of escape, the only thing that seemed to give me the feeling of control. I loved feeling in control and hated anyone who was above me, or tried to take that power away. So I was constantly in trouble with my teachers and always fighting with my parents. They didn’t like that I was classified as ‘emo’, wore all black and listened to hardcore music, so if they got wind of me harming myself I knew they’d be furious. I couldn’t let them take that away from me, I absolutely wouldn’t. I never would have guessed that over the next few years my obsession with pain would affect my family so badly. I never took the time to read the disappointment, the pain written on their faces as they watched me wither away. I was silently killing not only myself, but those around me who loved me most. But I didn’t care. I just wanted peace, I wanted away from the insanity.
I was so deep in my sinfulness, that one mistake, a tiny ripple in my sea of sin, sent me over the edge. It was then that my eyes were open to the chaos i had caused for everyone. This wasn’t what I had intended at all! My whole family was hurting because of me, everything was my fault. Disappointment and exhaustion were all I could feel. So I decided to end it all. No one would care if I was gone because I had wronged them all so much. As I slipped away, it hit me like a ton of bricks. This isn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want to die! I cried out to God to give me another chance. I asked Him to forgive me for all the wrong I had done to all those who loved me.
And God was so merciful in allowing me to live. When I woke up, in the hospital, to find my whole family surrounding me, in tears, I knew that something had to change. None of us could go on living like this. I needed help, and I needed it now. But my family didn’t know where to turn, none of the treatment centers or counseling I had been to helped. But God didn’t give up on me. My mom, was taking care of a former resident who had just had a baby at Vision of Hope. She told my mom all about Vision of Hope and how it had changed her life. In less than two weeks time, I was moving into VoH as a resident.
I had big issues and moving into a house full of complete strangers was a little scary for me. It was these strangers that I would have to trust with my deepest, darkest fears and troubles. Though everyone seemed genuinely kind, I wasn’t willing to open up. I didn’t talk about the serious subjects; I was only full of laughter and jokes. I didn’t take my counseling seriously; I didn’t even do my homework truthfully. I didn’t talk openly with my mentor, Lyn Taylor. I wanted things to be easy, like old times, so I rebelled. But my counselor Debbie Costa and the program’s director Jocelyn Wallace refused to give in to my manipulative habits. They told me straight up, “Get serious or go home.”
It was by God’s grace, the truth of God’s word, the never-ending support from my family, the continuous encouragement of Lyn, the faithful counseling of Debbie, the love that everyone poured out upon me, staff and resident included and many trials that God brought me to my knees. Being a resident at Vision of Hope has taught me so much about life, friendship, family and most importantly, my relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I learned to trust my family, to open up and talk to them about how I feel. I learned that regardless of how I feel toward my authority, God put them as my authority for a reason and I am to love and respect them in everything I do. Because if I don’t listen to my authority, I’m not only disrespecting them, but I’m also disrespecting God Himself, for he put them in charge of me. I’ve also learned a lot about friendship. I am easily influenced by my friends, so Debbie went through the Bible with me, to show me what godly friendships looked like. She told me one session that friends will lift up themselves because the relationship is focused on you and that friend, while true, godly friends will lift up God because though the relationship is you and the friend, it is focused on God.
But, above all these things, I learned how important God is in my life. Though I knew verses like John 3:16, I didn’t understand just how significant they are to me. The God that had always seemed so cruel to me, began to seem merciful, gracious. I had convinced myself that God let us suffer through trials because He didn’t love us, but I never stopped to think that God uses those trials to make us more like Christ. So when Debbie and I discussed Romans 8:28-29, to say I was stunned is an understatement. I never thought that God would help us through our trials, and the fact that He would never give us any trials that we couldn’t handle without Him, which is stated in 1 Corinthians 10:13, just blows my mind. There was so much about God and Christianity that I either didn’t understand or I twisted to make myself seem justified in my sins, which I was not.
I look back and am amazed at how much I have changed, since first entering the program. Though my pride would love to shout out that it’s all thanks to me and my hard work, I know, we all know, that it’s only through God’s amazing grace, His patience, His persistence in my life, as well as a countless number of people here, that I could have ever come this far. And though I have come a long way, I also know that I still have a long way to go because this side of Heaven no one is perfect, I’m far from it, and I make a countless number of mistakes every day. But every day, God helps me stand back up and fight against sin, and against Satan.
I want to thank my church family at Faith Baptist, all those at Vision of Hope, my family and friends for being such an encouragement, and Jesus Christ for being my Lord and Savior. Thank you all for never giving up on me and for always being there for me. I owe you all a lot, and there is no gift I can give that would express my gratitude, other than the assurance that I know, that I know, that I know, I will see you all in Heaven one day. Thank you.
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Jocelyn WallaceJocelyn Wallace
Jocelyn was the executive director of the Vision of Hope residential treatment center (www.vohlafayette.org) on the campus of Faith Ministries until 2013. Her experience in the biblical counseling field goes back to 2002, and includes work in parachurch organizations and Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.