Week 13 of our Finding Who We Are series comes to us today from Sophia Barnes. She is a wonderful friend, a lovely young woman, and who’s heart is still learning valuable lessons.
One of those valuable lessons is that of letting yourself heal. Her story is one of the more unique that I’ve read, simply because of where she has been, and what she has seen. We hope that you are encouraged by her testimony and her wisdom!
All my life I have had the love of Jesus poured into me. My parents are Christians, and almost all of my distant family are Christians. Not long after I was born my family moved to Europe and answered the call of being missionaries. We lived in Europe for most of my life and moved back to the states when I was around eleven years old. I had an awesome childhood. I’ve traveled to over thirty countries, seen places and done things that most people dream of. However, with many blessings, comes many challenges and struggles.
Yes, it is true that I didn’t have the most “normal” of lives. I never went to any kind of Middle School or High school. I never won any medals or trophies from sports events or any kind of competitions. I was never in any kind of theater productions or talent shows. I never got to celebrate holidays or birthdays regularly with my family and distant family all together. I was just a little awkward homeschooler, who had lived in Europe her entire life and was made up of probably 10% social skills.
You see, in Czech (where I had lived for 5 years prior to moving to the states), I had no friends. I barely spoke Czech so I couldn’t speak to any of the children on my street or in my neighborhood. It also didn’t help that there were absolutely no Americans with children even close to where I lived.
So, my childhood was lonely. My brother and sister would hang out with me from time to time, but besides that, I was alone. I longed for friendship. I longed to be like everyone else and to have a “normal” life. I believe that the mindset that I had during this time played a huge role in why I became the way I was.
When we moved to America I knew right off the bat that if I wanted to make friends and be normal, I needed to forget my past and work on who I was going to be in that new stage of life. I subconsciously decided that who my parents were, and their title as missionaries didn’t have to be my title. I could start my life in the states how I wanted to live my life. Not caring about what my parents wanted for me or what God wanted for me, I decided to live how I and my flesh wanted to live.
This led to incredible unhappiness. These things could have easily been changed if I listened to my parents and listened to what God was desperately trying to tell me.
When I was in middle school, I was bullied, which pushed me into what I would consider (for my age) a deep state of depression. I just wanted friends, and for that to be happening, I lost all clue as to what to feel. I was at a point in my life where I was just angry that God was letting it happen to me.
At the same time, I was questioning if there really even was a God.
Over the next several years I completely fell away from my Faith, what little “faith” I actually had. I got into things I shouldn’t have. I was hanging out with people who would constantly tear me down and would make me feel as if I had to earn their friendship.
Since I didn’t know any better, I believed them.
I tried fulfilling the desires of my flesh by doing what I wanted, and what my “friends” wanted me to do.
I experimented with things that only left my heart empty. Even my flesh was weary, I longed to find happiness in every part of the world that I could, but continued disappointment left me empty.
I had officially reached rock bottom.
I was hurt, broken, depressed, and suicidal. I felt unlovable, and like no one actually cared for me.
I could not recognize myself. Who had I become? This person was not me and was definitely not who I wanted to be. I tried going every route I could until all roads were closed and the only way to turn, was to God.
I am not saying that as soon as someone turns to God, their life suddenly becomes okay, and all their previous pains go away. That would be super cool, but that’s just not how it works.
Even though I turned to God, I felt like He couldn’t hear my desperate pleas to bring me out of the pain I was in. No matter how many times I would scream to God and ask for His help, he would leave me with nothing.
Well, one day when I decided to read my Bible, let’s just say John 9:31 hit me like an RKO from Randy Orton. I realized that I may have known that all of the things that I had done were wrong and that the person whom I was, was not who I wanted to be, but what had I done to make things right?
I never once asked for forgiveness from anyone that I wronged nor did I ask for forgiveness from the one person that shed His blood to cover all of my sins. Once I finally made things right with my family and the people in my life, I poured out my heart of sorrow and repentance to God. Like I said, my life did not automatically get better. I still struggle with things on and off, but over time God radically changed my life.
Can I just say what an amazing Savior we have? That He would take on all of my shame and hurt and sins that I committed in spite of Him and His kingdom, and bear them on His shoulders! I am so undeserving of His love, but for some reason, Christ found worth in me.
I know this is long and I thank you if you took the time to read it. I want to end by saying this: You don’t need to care what other people think of you, you do not need to strive to make other people happy, all that does is leave an empty space in your heart and leads to an unhappy life. You are an amazing person who is so incredibly loved. Don’t take my word for it, though. Take Jesus’ word for it and read the Bible to find out for yourself about our amazing God in whom our worth is found.
Sophie, you are lovely and I’m glad that you took the time to share your story!
I would love to meet you and hear your story. Feel free to like the post and comment down below! Make sure to subscribe, as well.
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