Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
There I was sitting in the sand, my heart heavy with my decision. Would I? Could I? Should I?
It was the summer right before I turned fifteen years old this particular year and we were on our family vacation at the beach. I was falling apart that year; the weight of the sexual abuse I had experienced was weighing me down mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I was not just dealing with the abuse of my dad, there were others and I felt totally helpless, worthless, like trash. I had decided that if this was what I was born for I did not want to live another day; I was going to take my own life. Walking out into the deep seemed like a peaceful way to go. I could just slip under the dark murky water and take a deep breath and then it would all be over and I would be at peace, right?
I had walked out several times and went under holding my breath as long as I could, but the courage I needed to inhale was not there, so I went to sit on the beach, and there I sat, crying, staring out to see and asking God with my last ounce of faith for help and then…he walked by, no not Jesus, but the one sent to help me.
I am digging my hands in the sand, my eyes staring out at the ocean, my heart pounding wildly in my chest and I quietly say, God please help me? Is this all I am, do you even love me, do you really care, help me please; what am I to do? As I sat there lost in the swirl of emotion, I suddenly realized someone was talking to me, this guy in glasses, hair to his shoulder’s blowing in the wind, long swim trunks on and a white button-down shirt, partially unbuttoned ballooning out as the wind blew; he is leaning in and I hear him say: “Hey, are you okay?” “You look as though you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, want to talk?” And as I looked at him it all came flooding out, without hesitation, every hurt I had carried and never spoken aloud to anyone else but God came rolling out of my mouth and my heart between sobs. I talked and he sat quietly listening, somehow not seeming shocked by anything I was saying and then I confessed that I was going to take my life as soon as I had enough courage; at this point, I stopped talking, and that is when he started talking all the while never touching me physically, he just sat beside me and began with; I am so sorry this has all happened to you. I am so sorry you feel that taking your life is the answer, it isn’t the answer, God loves you and he can and will help.
He said a lot, mostly reassuring me of God’s love and that He had a plan and a purpose, and that He (God) could somehow make it all okay. Although he had no answers to the how God would do it, he was solid in is belief that God could. He asked me how old I was and eventually just every day normal stuff. As he got up to leave, I found myself getting up and walking beside him, no longer feeling that tug of the water to end it all, but instead feeling a fresh wave of “maybe, just maybe,” there was another way. We walked and talked for most of the day, I found out that he was in Catholic school studying the necessary things to go into the priesthood. He was the one God knew he could trust with this all-important assignment, me. I am sure there was no big announcement made to him that he needed to go rescue a teenage girl on the verge of suicide, he was just out for a walk in the sun, but when he saw me sitting there, something stirred his heart to stop and he listened and obeyed.
God used him that day, as he shared how God loved me my heart began to come back into focus with the things I knew to be true about God, things I had learned from church and my grandmother. The pain was not pounding in my heart louder than God’s word any longer and so when he got up to leave I without any thought got up followed him and abandoned my plan to end it all. As the day progressed we laughed talked and just enjoyed the sun and sea. At the end of that day, this guy gave me his address and we parted ways. My heart not overwhelmed, my faith made stronger and a new friend in hand. It was a good day.
I wrote to him for many months, he was always encouraging and he gave me the courage to share my secret, and one day I did. I do not know where this man is, but I know God used him that day in my life. When I asked for help it came in the form of this soon to be a Catholic priest in a button-down shirt strolling past me. God had an audible voice that day, he spoke through this man. God uses whatever means he wants to do in you and through you what His will is for you. When I cried for help, it came, literally that very moment. I can look back now and smile on that day; I smile at all of it. God is so good, so gentle, so kind and he meets us where we are. Sun, sand, sobs…God!
I leave you with this verse:
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”