Great is Thy Faithfulness

I shared this story over at thirty one: 10 on Tuesday but I wanted to make sure I shared it here too. It has been on my heart lately that I need to share this part of story more. 

Also I know that this is a long, emotional pictureless post so later today I'm linking up to InstaFriday!

I have always said that I have a boring testimony. I used to wish that I had a more interesting story to share, but in reality my ‘boring’ testimony is a blessing and a tribute to God’s faithfulness. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home, I went to a Christian school for 9 years and was active in my youth group throughout high school. I was a straight-A student who cared more about school than partying and didn’t really think I needed much help from anyone. God had gifted me with leadership abilities & a good brain and I was pretty certain I could handle everything on my plate all by myself 
{I know…I was that girl. But I was fun too I promise}.

I got to college and continued to handle things all by myself. I went to a Christian college and was surrounded by other Christians for the first time in my life. For the first year of school, that was wonderful; I was spurred on in my faith and I grew in new and exciting ways. By sophomore year things took a different turn. I was surrounded by ministry opportunities, Christian peers, Christian professors; I was going to chapel, leading a small group and taking theology classes, but my heart started to harden. I was so focused on having it all together and doing the right things that I stopped focusing on what really mattered, my relationship with God. I had big plans for my future; I was planning to graduate early and go to grad school. By 23 I would have my masters in counseling and be set on my path to success.

But that’s not quite how it went.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Junior year was difficult. For the first time in my life school got hard, and I didn’t really know what to do. Two friends from my high school youth group, strong Christians, passed away within one week of each other. One of them committed suicide. My best friend and I stopped speaking because I wanted to try dating and he didn’t. But I kept going. I kept being the girl who could handle everything on her plate and didn’t need help from anyone.  I was wrong.

Senior year came and I decided not to graduate early. I was on track to be done with everything important first semester and was going to spend my last semester taking fun classes and hanging out with friends. I start the semester like I always did, organizing my color-coded class binders and writing all the important dates in my calendar, but something was off. I pressed on. A few weeks into my classes I started realizing that for the first time in my life I couldn’t do school. For no explicable reason I was unable to keep up; I couldn’t focus on my reading and I was having trouble getting up in the morning to go to class. {Side note: I was a psych major. I knew what was going on. In the back of my head a little voice said, Jacqui you’re depressed, but I ignored it thinking that surely I didn’t struggle like that.}

By the end of September I was falling behind faster than I could catch up and had been informed that I was failing multiple classes. The idea of failure completely overwhelmed me and drove me further into my pit. When I would wake up realizing I had missed my first class, I would be so upset with myself that I didn’t see a point in going to my next class. This led to sleeping in my dark basement bedroom until 3:00 or 4:00pm. I was a wreck. I had lost myself, my identity. My closest friends were all out of the country for the semester and my roommates couldn’t be bothered to help. I was completely alone and could not face the fact that I needed help.

Then God did something funny. He gave me Brandon. When we told our story a few weeks ago to the junior high ministry we stressed that God does not solve your problems by bring you a boyfriend/girlfriend. I will stress that again today :) Brandon and I met at a time when I was far from a fun and attractive possible mate, but he saw something in me that was worth fighting for. I asked him today why he stuck around and he said that I deserved someone to fight for me and to help me and he knew that I was better than the person I was in that moment. I’m so glad he did. Brandon gave me a reason to get help and to get better. I started going to counseling with a wonderful counselor, I spoke with our fantastic dean of women who helped arrange incompletes with my professors so that I would not fail every class, and I finally, finally admitted that I couldn’t do it on my own.

Through counseling, much prayer, the support of my family and the presence of Brandon, who showed up at my house and woke me up for class almost every day of second semester, I finished college on time. I did not graduate early. I did not get an easy last semester full of fun classes and time with friends. My grade point average, which I had prided myself on for so long, plummeted. I did not go straight to grad school. I am 26 and do not have my masters. None of this is the path I would have chosen. None of this is the plan I had for myself, but God had a better plan. In the midst of the darkness of depression it didn’t seem like that plan was full of hope or prosperity, but it was. God is faithful and He used that dark time to teach me that I couldn’t do it on my own, I needed a support system. We are designed to live in community. He also gave me my very best friend and sweet husband at what seems like the most illogical time. {I learned a little bit later that Brandon was also going through a huge struggle & loss of identity in those months. God gave us to each other. Two are better than one.} More importantly, my life is so much better when I draw close to my Savior. When I am reliant on Christ for my strength, I am able to do more than I could have ever done on my own. God is faithful and gives us exactly what we need, always. 

Life is not perfect. I am not 100% past this. There are times when this struggle rears its ugly head; when the smallest of failures threatens to send me back to my pit. But I am now able to see it coming and defend against it. I turn to Christ, I turn to the Word, I turn to Brandon, I turn to trusted friends and yes I turn to chocolate! I no longer allow the depression to rule my life. God is faithful. 

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Footnote: I spent a long time believing that because I was a Christian I shouldn’t have been struggling with depression and it took me a long time to get past the shame I felt. I thought that I should have been able to pray it away or with enough faith it would go away. There is no shame in being depressed. There is no shame in going to counseling. There is no shame in medication to help adjust the chemical imbalance in your brain. God has given us these means, along with prayer and His Word, to be healed. If you are facing this struggle, do not face it alone. Do not stay in your dark basement like I did! Seek help in your community, with those you trust. Or, please, email me: jacqui@crafteemcgee.com

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  1. came from casey's...loved hearing your story and your heart. new follower :) i love new blog friends!

  2. wow thank u so so so much for sharing this!!!

  3. LOVE this! Everyones testimony is their for a reason and may touch someone you dont even know! Thank you for sharing it!

  4. This is truly beautiful writing....love your honesty and heartfelt vulnerability. Love that God meets us in our darkest hours.....that when the weight of the world is pressing in ...He is there...with us in the darkness....embracing all that we are and holding near all that we will be.

  5. Your testimony is beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

  6. What a honest look at your life. I think we all think that because we are christians, we shouldn't have any problems. I love your story.
    xo jana

    I'm going to forward this to my son and his girl.

  7. truly a beautiful and gorgeous post. thank you for sharing your story.


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