Are you having thoughts that your life doesn’t matter? Well it does, and I say that it does, because I know where you are and how you are feeling, because I have been there. When I was fourteen, my best friend was murdered by her boyfriend, and my childhood sweetheart was killed in a car wreck. I also was going through premature ovarian failure, which had me in menopause, at 15. Crazy right? I was 15, and my body was going through things that it wasn’t prepared for, which had me feeling low and honestly not wanting to live anymore. How did my life compare to those two rock stars in my life?
Ryan, my childhood best friend and sweetheart, he was my world. Our grandmothers lived next to each other and we were each other’s outlets for this crazy thing called life and then he was just gone. Jade was my camp buddy, every year we would go to camp and she was such a ray of sunshine in my life, and then that sunshine turned to darkness with a single bullet.
It was after those two events in my life, that I was at the end of my rope. I had little to no coping skills and little to no value for my life. I had no idea, the impact that I was meant to have on the world. I had a plan laid out, and I was walking out the door to go through with it, when a friend thought to reach out, because I hadn’t been acting like myself. If it had not been for my friend, reaching out, I would not be here today. Douglas shook me awake that day. Had he not called, I would have jumped off a building in town and killed myself.
Life is not all rainbows and butterflies, that much is true. Trust me, mine wasn’t, even after that moment in my life, I’m just too hard headed. (Surely i’m not alone?!) It just took that moment for me to begin to understand the impact that I could have, If I just put one foot in front of the other, and was brave enough to share those struggles along the way.
But, I can’t share my lows, and not open up about my time in the military. I loved my time in the Army, my job was personal security for the Chaplain (pastor) and I would explain my time in the military as feeling on top of the world. It was like what college is to some people, you feel unstoppable. The military gives a young person a sense of purpose and allows for growth. Sometimes growth is forced on us, and even though the following chapter in my life was one of the hardest, it taught me invaluable lessons and has allowed me the opportunity to help others through similar struggles.
On February 14th 2009 I decided to go to a party at my neighbors house, and it was at that party that a, “friend” put something in my drink, held me captive for what felt like an eternity, and raped me. When I finally did get away, I told no one for six months. Until one day, my sergeant noticed a change in me, and helped me find new housing away from my rapist, and the counseling I needed to feel hope again. Rape isn’t something that you just get over, but it was with the care of friends and one foot in front of the other, that I learned to fight the struggle, to verbally speak out my worth. The following October, just before my 20th birthday, I volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan. Every soldier needs a deployment; it’s just a right of passage and the reason why I joined.
Little did I know that I would have to put together 19 memorial ceremonies and be the rock that helped a lot of my soldiers get through it all. Just before I came home, another fabulous leader told me the best advice I have ever heard, “It is okay to not be okay, but it’s also not okay to give up, just put one foot in front of the other, and you will see a brighter day!”
I share all of that to say, If you are thinking that your life is not valuable, think again. Every interaction that you have is another opportunity to encourage, to lift up, to give hope, and to help others feel loved, and accepted. Please reach out to a friend, family or even me if you are feeling like your life does not matter, IT DOES, YOU DO! I may be a stranger, but I am a stranger who loves you and sees the strength it takes to be you. No matter what your story is, your life matters. The world needs you, you never know what a simple smile from you, could do for someone’s hope meter, just keep putting one foot in front of the other, you are meant for bigger things, for brighter days! You’ve got this!
Before you go, Please consider joining the Joy fit community for more encouragement and love! Have a great day! I look forward to many more days with you in this world!
Loves and Hugs,