Hello all, I am looking for some help. My wife and I have been wanting to do this for about 4 years but only recently have the courage. We are planning on sending out the letter below to churches in the area but before I do I would like some feedback. Seeing as I do not personally know any of you I feel comfortable putting this out there to you. Any and all feedback is appreciated.
First I want to say thank you for taking the time to read our letter. I will be as succinct as possible. My wife and I are new to the area and are looking for opportunities to share our passion for the hurting.
A little background might help. I starting cutting myself and using drugs in my early to mid teens. I cannot say I remember exactly when as I have either blacked out or lost a lot of those memories. I grew up in a very broken home, and my relationship with my mother and stepfather has always been on shaky ground. There was no one I could talk to and those I should have talked to were clear they did not have time for me. That was part of the reason I choose to retreat into myself. I continued this path of self destruction until I was 22. At that point I was at the height of my depression. I was recently divorced, abusing pain pills, drinking heavily, smoking pot, and cutting myself regularly. One night I choose to end it all. I took my remaining sedatives and woke up sometime later in the ER. I was so confused, and scared. I spent some time in a crises house to ensure I was no longer a threat to myself.
A few months later I had been bouncing around between a few different friends houses and found myself feeling more lost than ever. I started asking my friend Julie questions about God, because she grew up a Pastor’s Kid so I assumed she would have every answer. What she told me was I needed to have faith. I had no idea what that meant but she just kept telling me I needed to believe in Jesus. I could not seem to wrap my head around this but I could also not let it go. One day while doing the dishes I caught my reflection in the window and found myself being very sorry. I prayed and told Jesus that I had ruined my life and if He could do better with it than it was His.
He took me up on my offer and took away my desire to cut and do drugs right away. Those desires have tried to creep over the years and I give all the credit to God for saving me and pushing them away. The past decade has been a whirlwind of change. God has done so many amazing things in our lives since then. We were active in the church in Maine with the Youth and Young Adults, and I was on rotation for Sunday service at the correctional facility in Windham, ME.
We firmly believe Jesus put a passion on our hearts for the hurting. Those who struggle with pain, rejection, and self injury. We find no greater joy than seeing people find rest in Christ. Seeing how he can and does transform lives gives us a fullness that we cannot find outside of Him.
For Julie it was as we started to see more and more teens struggle with these issues she saw how deeply it affected her. More and more teens would open up and share their hearts and struggles and as she listened and cried with and prayed for these young people God put a burden on her heart to just be there. Many times kids would pull her aside just to share and pray with her. Her heart was both broken by these teens for where they were but also realizing though what God has done in my life to know that there can be victory. That He can turn sorrow into joyfulness and brokenness into healing. We truly have a heart to minister to these young people anyway we can. We believe that God wants to do a great work through this generation and that once they get ahold of His truth and His love they will do great and mighty things.
Here is some information you may or may not know. 1 in 12 teenagers struggle with self injury, and roughly a tenth of those continue this into young adulthood. This means you probably have a teen in your church who either does or has struggled with this. You will probably never know who it is either. You would think it would be the kid who comes from a very broken home, or wears all black clothing, or listens to certain kinds of music but that is usually not the case. Typically they will look like every other kid, because this is not an issue of appearance it is one of pain. They are hurting and do not want anyone to know how much they are hurting so they keep it hidden. Self Injury is a coping mechanism and a very effective one at that. I am not saying it is a good coping mechanism but it works for those who do it, and because of that they do not talk about it.
So what is our point in all this? We would love the opportunity to come and share what God has done in our lives to hopefully bring this topic out for any who are hurting this way because it is easier to say I am struggling with that after someone else shares than to out of the blue and say I cut myself. Our hope and prayer is that the road to freedom could begin for those who currently feel alone and hopeless.