Read This When You Feel Alone

Do you ever feel alone?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my past (I promise I’ll post more soon) and how alone I felt back then, those were some of the darkest days of my life.

The first time I wanted to die was terrifying.

People sometimes say that suicide is the most selfish thing you can do, but when you’re there, when all you feel is pain, you just want it to end somehow. You’re not thinking straight enough to realize how it will impact others, you don’t even think it will.

You don’t realize that if you die now, you might never have the chance to be the person that is there to pick up the phone for your friend when they need someone to convince them to stay.

It’s been haunting me lately–how close I was to ending my story before it was time.

It’s devastating. If you’re there, just know that you leaving is not only a permanent end to a temporary problem, but the most painful one.

I never fully realized the pain I would have caused to others–to realize how hard it is to wrap one’s mind around the absence of someone who should have been there but chose not to.

I know life is hard and painful, but today, I am begging you to stay and fight. Don’t give up, please.

You’re not alone in how you feel, in fact, the Bible has a lot of stories of people at their lowest, read Job, he lost everything, he wanted to give up, but he didn’t. He kept serving God and at the end of Job 42:17, we see how his life ends: “So Job died, being old and full of days.”

That’s how I hope both of our lives end–a life of serving God, not cut short by our own hands.

There’s a Psalms I’ve always liked because it captured how I felt at my low points so well:

I cry out to the Lord with my voice;
With my voice to the Lord I make my supplication.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,

Then You knew my path.

In the way in which I walk

They have secretly set a snare for me.

Look on my right hand and see,

For there is no one who acknowledges me;

Refuge has failed me;

No one cares for my soul.

I cried out to You, O Lord:
I said, “You are my refuge,

My portion in the land of the living.

Attend to my cry,

For I am brought very low;

Deliver me from my persecutors,

For they are stronger than I.


Bring my soul out of prison, That I may praise Your name;

The righteous shall surround me,

For You shall deal bountifully with me.
Psalm 142

I’ve always really resonated with this Psalm, especially the part that reads

“No one cares for my soul”

It can feel that way sometimes, but it isn’t true.

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.”

-1 Peter 5:6-7

Elijah was another person who thought he was alone, but God told him otherwise.

He [Elijah] said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword.
I alone am left;
and they seek to take my life.”

…And the Lord said unto him…

“Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel,
all whose knees have not bowed to Baal,
and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

-1 Kings 19:10, 18

Dear reader, wherever you are mentally and physically at the moment, please know that you are not alone.

My Story // Part Two: The Teenage Confusion

Disclaimer:
Everything written in this series is from my point of view on things then, as I lead up to when and how I changed. These are the major events in my life that had an impact on my view of God, the Bible, and denominations. If I wrote about every event, we’d be here too long and I too many people would get mad at me.

This is my side of my story and I harbor no ill will to anyone mentioned in it (everyone will be anonymous), I know some people from my past will most likely read this and I don’t want anyone to think I am angry, because this isn’t who I am anymore.

This series will include my struggles with congregational problems in the denominational world, my confusion about what the Bible actually taught, LGBTQ+, depression, and suicidal thoughts, so if any of that bothers you, please click off.

Today, this post is about my struggle with my sexuality and what I was exposed to, I’m not going into depth or writing about everything because that is still too hard for me and there are many things I don’t want to relive, but I know I have younger readers as well and this is your warning to click off, I’ll be posting a lighter post for y’all soon to break up this series. ❤

June (fake name) was everything I wanted to be. 

She was tough, she didn’t let anyone push her around. No one looked at her and thought “teacher’s pet” no one looked at her and expected her to be perfect.

She was as short as I was and skinny, but despite being tiny, she had a look in her eyes that dared anyone to mess with her.

She sat by me one night before Awanas started, “I can’t believe I’m being forced to come to this stupid church event, what a scam.” 

I stared at her.

“My name’s June, and you are?” she reached out her hand.

“Grace.” I shook her hand.

June slumped against the wall and looked me up and down, finally, she just said, “Wow, you’re shy.”

We were friends from then on.

We made jokes about the way the preacher ranted about guns during every lesson no matter the topic.

We whispered about our struggles to each other.

We cried on each other’s shoulders.

She was with me when I had my first break down, my first panic attack. She held me in her arms as I just lost in the bathroom one night after youth group, and unlike a lot of my other friends, she didn’t leave.

She didn’t want to hang out with the more popular kids, she didn’t try to leave me behind for anyone. She stayed.

“Invite her to Sunday worship,” one of the youth leaders told me, “she really likes you, she would come for you.”

So I did, and she showed up. She sat on the second pew to the front as I sang in the choir.
“I don’t belong here,” she whispered as I sat down beside her. I honestly wanted to whisper that I didn’t either, but instead, I just gripped her hand tighter.

I was one of the first people she came out to.

“I’m gay, Grace,” she whispered one night, after youth group.

“What? June, that’s against the bible.” I said.

“I don’t care what the bible says, Grace. That’s just an old book people use to control others, besides all of that is in the Old Testament and no one follows any of the other rules in it, like not wearing mixed fabrics. People pick and choose so they can judge others.” 

I didn’t know how to reply to that so all I said was, “I still love you, you’re still my friend.”

“You’re so brainwashed, you’re the only person I come to these stupid things for.” she scoffed as she hugged me.

And that was that.

June was gay and she was my friend. 

I didn’t know what to think of her being gay, all I knew is that I loved her and I didn’t want to lose her, she was one of the only friends I had. Neither of us knew how to love or how to really be friends with people, but we tried as best as we could. We were just two confused and scared fourteen-year-olds trying to find our place in the world.

The majority of the youth group came out to me as LGBTQ+ after that, June had told them that I was non-judgmental and a good listener, and listen I did, an internal conflict in my mind between what I had been taught and what I had been learning–they were just like me and everyone else: people.

They asked me questions on why being gay was wrong and at the time, I had no idea how to answer.

Then, they started to question my sexuality thinking I was in denial.  

“Grace, you’re anything but straight.”
“Grace, everyone’s a little gay.”
“Grace, stop repressing yourself.”
“Grace, if God loves everyone, why would He condemn you for who you love?”

“Grace we all know you’re not straight.”

“Grace, you like June, and June likes you.” 

Was I? Did I?

I didn’t know to be honest.

I had never really thought about it, but suddenly I had all of these questions.

Was it normal to think other girls were pretty, or was that only a gay thing?
Was I gay?
Was I damned to hell for even questioning if I was? 

I had liked a few boys in the past, but never in the way the kids in the youth group described to me, I had never wanted to do anything sexual with anyone.

The majority of the guys I was around were the gross, disrespectful kind that would brush their hands against your body or grab you and then claim it was an accident, I certainly didn’t like any of them. They made me feel so worthless and empty like I would never be anything more than an object.

I use to wear this necklace all the time and I remember one night the group was really small and we were setting some game up and I ended up alone in a room with one of the guys.

“I like your necklace,” he said, he reached out and touched it, then his hand slid a little bit lower and over my chest.

“What are you doing?” He jumped back as one of the youth leaders walked in.

Oops, my bad, b.”

I stopped wearing necklaces but things like that didn’t stop happening, I could never tell if they were on purpose or accident, sometimes I felt like I was going crazy so I kept my mouth shut.

I was the sheltered homeschooler and they took it upon themselves to educate me. The first time I saw pornographic content was during youth group when someone held their phone in front of my face. It took me a second to figure out what I was seeing and then I was too shocked to say anything so I just shrugged it off and walked away with as straight of a face as I could.

They disgusted me.

The way they talked to me and about my body disgusted me.

Did all guys disgust me?
I wasn’t sure, it felt like they were all the same, so maybe they did.

I was really relieved when I finally got a crush on a guy at my co-op. He was a sweet and very sheltered theater type of guy, he was way older than me, but I was just happy to have someone to tell others I liked, someone that was male.

I thought that would solve it, but then people told me about being bisexual and pansexual and the confusion went on.

I didn’t know. 

One night, I went up to an elder and asked him what the Bible said about gay people.

“He hates them.” the elder stated, “They will all burn in hell.” 

I walked away with no verses to study. 

Rumors about June and I being together started spreading.

I was at a party for the fourth of July and I was washing my hands in the bathroom when a girl turned to me and said, “I know you, you’re June’s girlfriend aren’t you? She talks about you.” 

I didn’t know what to say, so I just said no and left.

June and I never talked about it, I didn’t know how to bring it up, I didn’t know how to ask her if she had anything to do with the rumors that we had done stuff together.

“If I’m gay or bi or whatever,” I told her once, “I wouldn’t ever act on it or tell people I was because I’m not sure what the Bible really says or means about it.”

I was too scared to ask about it, I had briefly talked to my parents about what they thought about being gay, it was wrong, they pointed to Sodom and Gomorrah.

“Mom, if I came out, what would you and dad do?” I asked once in the car.

My mom glanced at me, she looked uneasy. “I don’t know, we would pray, we wouldn’t stop loving you. Maybe we would look into some camps…” 

I didn’t want to go to a camp if I wasn’t straight, that thought scared me, so I decided to keep my mouth shut.

The preacher decided to give the youth group the sex talk over the course of the next two youth group nights.

I went expecting the typical “wait until marriage” spill, and that was the first five minutes, the rest, he told us about how God hated all gay people.

How everyone who is gay deserves to burn in hell and is a monster.

He warned us about gay people converting us.

He talked about how some people are born with sin and sometimes the sin is gayness–I remember sitting there thinking how unfair it was that he was claiming that God sets people up for failure.

He ranted about how being gay was a new sin and no one he knew when he was in high school ever struggled with gay thoughts.

All I felt was rage and one of my friends who was sitting beside me shaking.

She was thirteen and had been struggling because she wasn’t sure if she was straight.

“God will never love me again, Grace, for thinking this way. My parents will throw me out, I’ll be alone.” she cried when she came out to me.

And now, here was this clueless man, ranting about gay people being monsters and the worst of the worst to a crowd of questioning and scared teens and pre-teens.

I was angry.

Yes, I wanted to know what the Bible said about being gay because I didn’t know how to view it or how to answer people when they asked why I thought it was wrong, but he hadn’t read a single verse.

I was angry because I knew he had been married before his current wife and the Bible spoke about divorce and yet, he was here acting as if gay people are the problem with the world and not just sin in general.

I stood up and raised my hand.

“Why are you talking about this out of everything? What about people who got a divorce wrongly?” his face darkened, but I kept on,

“what about people that have sex before marriage? What about pedophiles? There are so many sins that seem worse than just being confused, why are you leaving gay people with no hope? If I was gay I would want to know what the Bible says about it and how I can fix whatever my problem was, but you have given us nothing to do any of that.”

I sat back down but my questions were never answered.

June left after that.

Things only got worse after that.

My Story // Part 1: My Denominational Childhood

My Story // Part 1: My Denominational Childhood

Disclaimer:
Everything written in this series is from my point of view on things then, as I lead up to when and how I changed. These are the major events in my life that had an impact on my view of God, the Bible, and denominations. If I wrote about every event, we’d be here too long and I too many people would get mad at me.

This is my side of my story and I harbor no ill will to anyone mentioned in it (everyone will be anonymous), I know some people from my past will most likely read this and I don’t want anyone to think I am angry, because this isn’t who I am anymore.

This series will include my struggles with congregational problems in the denominational world, my confusion about what the Bible actually taught, LGBTQ+, depression, and suicidal thoughts, so if any of that bothers you, please click off.

The view of that little Baptist church through the back window of my parent’s van as we drove away left a knot in my throat for the rest of the week.

I was eleven and that building and that group of people was all I knew.

It wasn’t always the best for me there, the other kids were all older than me, I was a punk and often (I can’t blame them for it) was excluded, I felt invisible most of the time there.

But it had still been my second home.

I had climbed every tree there.

I had sung my first hymns there.

I had announced that I had become a Christian at age five after praying the sinner’s prayer to the congregation there after services. 

That congregation was a strong group of Baptists, we were all homeschooling families and tightly knit before the lying, the stealing, and the greed set in.

I don’t remember much of the bad, I tried to forget a lot of what I did know.

I remember the glares in the hallway.

I remember overhearing one man say to another “I won’t forgive you,” after a meeting.

I remember my mom crying.

One of the most impactful things for me growing up was watching how people treated my mom.

My mom has always been one of the closest people to me. My mom had a very hard life and is a survivor, she’s one of the strongest people I know.

I watched people who claimed to be her friends rip her apart. I watched them quote Proverbs 27:1, say cruel and untrue things about her and use their knowledge about her past to hurt her and blame her for things that weren’t her doing. I watched them leave her to put herself back together alone.

Hearing your own mom, the strongest person you know, sob like her heart is shattering in her chest is one of the worst things. Seeing her break was devastating, and I couldn’t believe that people who claimed to be her friends would do that to her and just leave.

I watched her family and her friends let her down again and again.

I remember realizing that baptist homeschool moms can be vicious and that they’ll tear you to shreds if you don’t fit their standards or if you ever slip up.

I remember wondering how people like them could claim to be Christians.

Honestly, I think that’s one of the reasons why I never have truly looked up to people because one of the first things I learned about people is that they’ll hurt you and let you down.

I remember being afraid of the adults because there was always something wrong with me and my family and never anything right. 

 

BUT, I also remember crying when leaving for the last time because they were still good people, and I didn’t know how we would find anyone like them again.

The new congregation we went to was closer to our house and we had already been going to their Awana program, so we knew some people.

In Awanas my siblings and I did really well when it came to memorizing verses and we could quote a lot. Because of this, people thought that we were super smart and we were all basically teacher’s pets.

We were quiet, obedient, and could quote whole chapters of the Bible, so we were already pretty well-liked and known by the adults when we first went.

It wasn’t that big, but it was bigger than the ten families I used to worshipping with.
It took a while, but slowly that building became my second home.

I joined the choir.

I started going to the youth group’s events.

Things felt like they were on the up.

When I was around twelve, I went to stay with my grandparents for a week in the summer with my siblings.

One night, my grandmother told me that she was going to a praise and prayer night at someone’s house and she wanted me to go too.

I went.

The moment I stepped into that house the smell of frankincense hit me and I felt hands on my face as people started to greet me.

I was used to adults ignoring me, not grabbing me by my face or shoulders while talking about how glad they were to finally meet me.

I was freaked out and slightly charmed at the same time.

We sat around on chairs in a circle, except for one lady who just rolled her wheelchair over to join us.

One guy sat down with his guitar and played some songs, none of which I knew but I tried to sing along as best as I could.

This is it? I thought while relaxing, I can do this. I had been worried that it would be crazy weird.

Then they started chanting, they chanted for healing for the lady in the wheelchair, and I watched as she stood up slowly, wobbling, wincing. The pain was evident on her face as she screamed that she was healed while catching herself on the arm of someone else’s chair as she stumbled forward slightly.

I remember wishing that she would just sit back down. I remember worrying that she was going to fall and hurt herself even more.

After that passed and the lady finally sank back down into her wheelchair, my grandmother asked me if I wanted to receive the Holy Spirit.

I had prayed the sinner’s prayer at five and then I was baptized when I turned twelve as an outward sign of an inward decision. No one had really mentioned the Holy Spirit going inside of me, I was always just told to invite Jesus into my heart.

So, I said yes.

The rest of it was a blur, they sprinkled stuff on my head in order to anoint me and to “invite the Holy Spirit in”.

“Speak.” the guy that had poured stuff on my head told me, and I realized that they expected me to chant like them, I opened my mouth but I couldn’t figure out how to make the noise they had been making. 

“You need to have more faith,” he said after staring at me for a minute, he grabbed my hand and lifted them up. “It’s a gift, ask God to hand you the gift and you will receive it.”

I didn’t know what else to do, so I prayed. I was shaking, their excitement was contagious, I wanted it to be true as much as they did.

When I opened my eyes, everyone was staring at me, so I did the only thing I figured I could do… I rolled my tongue.

It’s pretty easy to turn off your brain and let pig-latin and gibberish leave your mouth, and I figured that was all everyone else was doing.

They were overjoyed, one person shouted out that I was praising God, she claimed to be an interpreter.

I wanted it to be true all of a sudden, so I played along and tried to convince myself that I was doing more than just babbling of freewill.

When my mom found out she was horrified, when I looked back on it I was horrified of my naivety and I wished that I had stopped babbling and had just said “sike”.

Even back then though, I was searching for the answers no one could ever give me in bible class.

Back to our new congregation, an elder of that congregation really liked me for some reason, he always told others that I was going to be the first female president, and he was always talking to me about going into law or politics. He would print out articles and give them to me randomly. He also told me that marriage would be a “waste of my potential” when I said that I wanted to be a mom and homeschool my kids in the future.

I was angry at that point in my life, basically, walking on eggshells made me furious, and I decided to stomp on them.

I cut my hair, dyed it bright red, wore all black, invested in purple lipstick, started listening to all of the “devil’s music” according to the kids at my co-op, and got into writing horror.

I actually got a little bit of a kick out of watching the kids and parents at my co-op wince at the fake tattoos that I put on my neck.

I was still a good kid according to their standards. Being the teacher’s pet never stopped.

We got a new preacher, a man who shouted randomly during sermons, read one Bible verse, and then ranted the rest of the hour and a half. 

He liked me in the beginning.

He would use me in sermons, he would praise me during devos with the youth group, obviously, this really helped me be crazy popular with the other youth.

People love the person that others point at and ask “why can’t you be more like them?” right?

My attempt to break that image by being goth didn’t work.

And then… I met her