My Salvation

In my family depression comes easy, as with most families in our situation. There's a history of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illnesses, anger that never ceases and often erupts in fighting, and a constant lack of money. My father's schizophrenic, manic-depressive and a loser punk all the way around. My mother's passive-aggressive but as the year's wear on she's really just aggressive.

Is it any wonder I grew up a sad child? That sadness became depression and by the age of ten I was suicidal. I was a cutter but I wear my scars proudly as a sign that I survived. I was lived through it and moved on ( not that I did it on my own, but I made it anyhow). I don't even hold a grudge against anyone. I can't.

What changed everything for me was God. One could say I found religion. Religion broke the family cycle, the curse. Religion was what kept me alive. Not proud, hypocritical religion most people associate with the word, but true, fiery, zealous fanatical, clear line between what's right and wrong and there's no in-between, what the Bible says goes, and God loves me so I'll love you and I'll give you the clothes off my back if you need it to prove it religion.

It happened when I was fourteen. I was a practicing witch at the time and my aunt invited me to church. She had found religion. I said yes and then regretted it, trying to get out of it later. "I have nothing to wear," I said. "What you're wearing now is fine," was her reply. I looked down at my faded black jeans and said I was tired. Still I went, faded jeans and all, and I went with a pentagram carved into my ankle so freshly it was bleeding.

What happened when I got there was so indescribable; it still has that dream-like quality to it two years down the road. I walked into the church and felt my soul being drawn in. I sat down in the very back, scared though I couldn't say why. Service began with worship and I began to realize "Todo and I weren't in Kansas anymore". These people were singing, dancing, crying and laughing, speaking in tongues and jumping up and down. That's about the time I started to cry. It must be understood I hadn't cried in years. The blood that I shed every time I cut myself passed as my tears.

The pastor's wife (I only seen her as some woman at the time) pinpointed me out of the entire congregation (led by the Holy Spirit I realized later) walked all the way to the back, wrapped her arms around me, and said "The Lord wants you to know that you're beautiful and He loves you no matter what you've done. He calls to Himself the weak and the poor…" Weak and poor I was, but not for long. In Him the weak is strong and the poor is rich. How could I have turned my back on God and forgotten the feeling of love and warmth in His presence? He was calling to my spirit-man so loudly in His "still, small voice" that I could no longer deny His so obvious EXISTENCE.

It's not that my situation has changed any. I still live in the same house, with the same people who hate each other so much. Things only get harder and people only hate you more when you make a decision to serve God truly (though they don't seem to mind if you're a hypocrite). The only thing is, I have a promise from God. He doesn't promise to keep us out of the fire but He promises to get in the fire with us. He doesn't promise the storms won't come but that I'll have peace in the middle of it.