She walked the streets, some days out of her mind and talking to herself. Sometimes she would even give herself to the dude on the corner, when he was willing to give her what she needed to stop the voices in her head. Other days, she’d sit in one place staring out as the worst day of her life flashes before her. The day her uncle took her virginity, forcibly. She was 13 and at home by herself because her mom had a work thing. She didn’t think anything of her favorite Uncle Joe stopping by, so she let him in. But what she didn’t see was, Joe wasn’t his usual self, instead he was the monster that heroine turned him into. And that day, he changed her life. She told her mom but she just cleaned her up and told her to never speak of it again. She didn’t but it did not stop it from replaying over and over again, especially when he’d do it, over and over again. Now at 18, she can’t bring herself out of the depression that calls her name. She tried to get help but it never worked, they just didn’t understand. She tried to forget but how can she, when Uncle Joe is still invited to family functions. Tired, she stole cocaine from the dude at the corner and a syringe from the pharmacy. She went into the nearest alley and fixed it up, the way she’d learned. She pulled the belt, tight, around her arm and she stuck the needle in. As the drugs filled her veins, her head fell back and she whispered, “Lord, I’m tired,” before her eyes closed.
When her eyes opened, she was in the alley, belt tied around her arm and the needle still in place. She sits up, looking around because surely she must be dead but then she hears people talking and cars passing by yet no one comes into the alley. She throws the belt and needle into the dumpster and walks out toward the street where she bumps into a girl she knows who asks where she’s been the last few days. Confused, she walks in circles until she gets to the free neighborhood clinic. When it’s her turn to be seen, she tells them what happened, saying the drugs must have been bad. The nurse laughs and says, “Girl, it wasn’t the drugs, it was God.” For somebody who is trying to silence the voices of abuse and molestation, erase the images of losing a loved one or forget the terrible things you’ve been through and the enemy is telling you suicide is the option; it’s not! God is mighty to heal you, if you’ll let Him. God is powerful enough to let you sleep the effects of the sleeping pills off when they should have killed you. God is strong enough to make the gun jam when the bullet should have torn through your skull. God is great enough to take the sting from death just to let you live. And this time when you wake up, your story will change. For you’ll be saying like Psalm 119:67, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.” Your suffering can and it will save you, if you let it. This holiday season, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are not in this alone.