devozine

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Turning Your Life Around

Ashton Stevenson, 18

Since I was young, I have never fit in. During fifth grade, some girls in my class started awful rumors about me. The rumors spread quickly. Soon I had no one to talk to, and I was alone. By the end of sixth grade, I hated myself. I thought I was a mistake and that no one wanted me. I felt that I had let God down and didn’t deserve to live. I cut my wrists often and didn’t get much sleep. In seventh grade, I entered the confirmation class at church. I desperately wanted to change my life; and yet, I began to slide farther and farther away from God. Soon, I believed I deserved death and hell for all my wrongs. I felt that I couldn’t do anything right and that God was ashamed of me. I decided to commit suicide, but for some reason I didn’t go through with it.

After talking with several people, I started getting better. I no longer cut, and I thought I was happy—until my junior year. I began to get into arguments with my parents, and I slipped back into depression. I started cutting again; and three months later, I attempted suicide again. This time, I came very close to death. What stopped me? A senior texted me. He went to my church, but we weren’t good friends. He texted, “I know we don’t hang out, but I’m here for you.” Shocked, I asked why he had texted me. He said he felt something telling him to talk to me. I think that “something” was God.

The next day, I had bruising around my neck from the rope and purple and red splotches from lack of oxygen. No one noticed, not even my parents. I felt invisible, as if no one cared, that I wouldn’t be missed. So about a week later, I tried suicide again. As my life drained out of me, my phone lit up. A girl from church camp was texting me. I cried as I read the long message saying that she missed me and that God loved me. I decided to stop what I was doing. I took off the rope and breathed deep breaths, trying to get air back into my lungs.

Throughout these tough years, I had kept praying to God. We had a relationship but not a good one. I decided to change that. I also made a promise to God not to cut or to hurt myself again. I keep in touch with my friend from church camp. The boy from church is there for me too. We talk occasionally, and we always smile when we see each other. I give thanks every day for the people God has brought into my life, who are there for me day or night, who show me God’s love and forgiveness, who remind me that I am on the right path. Without them, my life would be completely different.

 

DIG DEEPER

Accepting Christ and putting my hope and trust in him has turned my life around. Now I try to find good in every day and to thank God even when life isn’t going my way. God has saved me so many times, and all I want to do is to live my life for the Lord. How have you seen God at work in your life—through a friend, a text, a feeling that seemed to guide you down the right path? Give thanks for the big and little ways that God helps you turn your life around.

Ashton Stevenson, 18 , from Dunkirk, Ohio, accepted Christ the summer before her senior year and is now active in three churches: Saint Johns Lutheran, Walnut Grove UMC, and Arlington UMC. She enjoys music, sports, FFA, youth group, reading, hanging out with friends, and praising and worshiping God.

—from devozine (January/February 2016). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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