“Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ…having no hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:12
The following is a testimony of deliverance and hope after multiple attempts to commit suicide
I first heard about Jesus in Sunday School at 5 years old.
The teacher stood at a felt board with a cross and a heart. She shared the simple story of how God sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. If we asked him into our heart, he would come in and he would save us and forgive us, and we could be in heaven with him when we died. I remember feeling like I was different from the other children. I felt like I was dirty, and they all seemed so wholesome. It became real to me that morning that Jesus loved me. That was the first of many times I would ask Jesus to come into my heart and save me.
I was not a happy care free child, always sad and anxious. I spent many sleepless nights crying and full of anxiety, praying to the Jesus I’d heard about at my grandparents’ church. Please keep my mom safe, and send me to live with her one day. And I would ask him to come into my heart and save me over and over.
As a teenager, I started drinking and smoking pot very heavily. There was not a day that went by that I didn’t get high. I got high when I woke up, I got high on the way to school. I would walk out of school during the day to get high, I got high after school, and I got high into the evening. My friends started calling me Cannabis. Most of them partied on the weekend just for fun, but I got high to survive the sadness and anger over my childhood. Getting high was an escape from all the bad feelings inside of me.
My life was going downhill and becoming more reckless.
I was constantly in trouble at school, being called to the Vice Principal’s office several times a week. Punished with detention for not doing assignments, for being late, for disrupting class and for being a clown. Getting suspended for being a loud mouth and disrespecting authority. I said and did whatever I wanted. If my teachers crossed me, I would verbally assault them in front of the class. I absolutely hated authority and I loved creating conflict with them. I knew I wasn’t going to suffer any consequences or discipline at home. It was empowering. No one could control me, and I could do whatever I wanted. I thought I had nothing to lose, but I was failing school, I was caught smoking and kicked out of cheer leading, and I was deeply unhappy.
From the time I was 12 until I was 16, I would stay with them for 2 weeks every summer. There would be no smoking, drinking or getting high. I would go to church, read my Bible, read my devotional, and loved to listen to Christian music. There was such a peace during those weeks. I didn’t have inner peace, but I was surrounded by the peace that radiated from their home and their lives. I purposed that when I got home, I was going to be good. No drugs, alcohol, or partying. I was not going to have relations with my boyfriend, I was going to go to church and do my devotions every day. But every single time, within hours of getting home, I was back to my old lifestyle, and worse than I was before, powerless to do what I knew was right.
I spent a week in Intensive Care. It was there that I had my second encounter with Jesus. A girl from my grandparent’s church had come to see me. She had been praying for me at their request when they became concerned about my lascivious lifestyle. I remember when I opened my eyes and saw her face. She looked so peaceful. With love in her eyes and compassion in her voice, she took my hand and said “Candace, Jesus loves you.” I knew it was Jesus talking to me and reaching out to me through her.
I didn’t receive the Lord then. I continued partying and got involved with an older man. At 15 I became pregnant. He told me it was him or the baby. I didn’t want to abort my baby, I wanted to at least give it up for adoption, but he did not. I was young, and I didn’t want to lose the only person who had ever made me feel loved, he was my whole world. By the time I made the choice to abort my baby, I had convinced myself I was making the best choice for everyone including the baby, so I went through with it. Immediately after the abortion, I felt an incredible emptiness inside. I hated myself even more intensely than before. Anytime regret or grief came up I justified my choice with all the reasons why I did the right thing.
I also began to get high more and more to drown out my guilt and shame. I had dabbled with cocaine, mushrooms and LSD from time to time in the past, but I mostly smoked pot because that was the drug always available in my home town. Living in the city meant more types of drugs were available to me and I could get them in greater volume. My whole life was one big party. During this time my relationship with my mom was at its worst. I had so much anger and bitterness toward her. She started trying to do what was best for me and saying a word I was not used to, “No!” Well, I was not having that. I had gone my whole life doing what I wanted, and I wasn’t about to change. But I was 16 and living the fast life was getting old.
Again, I ended up in the hospital and it was one of the lowest points of my life. When I was released, I was sent to a juvenile psychiatric ward. I begged my mom to let me come home, but she did what she knew would be best for me. She left me there to be evaluated, and to ensure I wouldn’t be able to harm myself again.
I hated every minute of that place. It was very depressing. I had no way to do drugs or distract myself from my inner turmoil. It was also very disturbing. I shared a room with a girl who would wake up screaming and hallucinating.
I knew that unlike her, my depression was not a mental condition but a heart condition.
After a few weeks I was finally able to go home, but with some stipulations. I had to continue seeing a psychiatrist and stay on antidepressants, and I had to go back to school. I despised all the stipulations, but anything was better that being a prisoner in the psych ward. Emotionally fragile, and afraid of returning to public school, the psychiatrist recommended I attend a small tutoring center for teens who didn’t do well in social situations, or who had “emotional disabilities.”
I worked hard, and eventually applied and received acceptance to the Rochester School of the Arts alternative program. My Junior year of high school began with a new hope. But I still did not give up drugs altogether. Every day, as soon as I finished my homework I would get high. On the weekends I would party hard and try to recover on Sunday to get ready to go back to school on Monday. As time went on, it became harder and harder to not get high and party as much as I use to.
The emptiness in my heart was glaring and consuming.
The antidepressants were making me feel like a zombie, so I stopped taking them. My grades started slipping and I couldn’t wait for summer break to be free from the responsibility and discipline I had put myself under to do well at school. I returned to my home town to party with my old friends.
By Christmas, I moved out of my dad’s house and moved in with my friend and her boyfriend. I started using a lot of cocaine and dropped out of the School of the Arts. My friend’s boyfriend kicked me out because I couldn’t keep a job and wasn’t contributing in any way. It was the dead of winter in western New York and I spent a few miserable nights sleeping in my car. My dad had pity, and rented a small apartment for me above a store on Main Street. I didn’t have a job, but in exchange for doing dishes at a friend’s place of employment I would get a meal.
I was beat up by life and felt very alone, hard, and numb. No matter how much alcohol I would drink or pot I would smoke, I couldn’t get the high I was looking for. I was paranoid and anxious; an empty shell at 19. I had no tears, no passion, no vibrancy. I didn’t care about anything. I was without hope.
Read Part 2 of Candace’s testimony: From Suicide to Salvation: The Path of Hope
If you are struggling with thoughts about committing suicide, or feel hopeless with nowhere to turn, Jesus is the answer! He loves you more than you can even imagine. Reach out to him today and he will radically change your life and fill you with peace and joy. You are not alone. Read more about God’s love for you and the Hope you can have in Jesus here.
ABOUT CALVARY TEMPLE
Calvary Temple is an independent church which holds to all Assemblies of God tenets of faith. Calvary Temple ministries include Discipleship Training, adult Bible college, media ministry, and an aggressive missions program.
Pastor Star R. Scott is Senior Pastor of Calvary Temple in Sterling, Virginia, where he has ministered since 1973. In addition to the pastoral gift, Pastor Scott functions in the five-fold offices of apostle and prophet. He has planted churches, and currently oversees the pastors and ministries of numerous satellite churches.