This post was written on the 21 October, 2015.
On this day, I had decided to schedule this post for publication one year from now, to be able to look back and remind myself of God’s everlasting grace and mercy, through thick and thin.
Dear Future Rachel, here’s what happened a year ago.
Exactly one week before you were going to turn 20. You experienced the lower point of your life up till then, all the sprained ankles, angry arguments, and relationship heartbreaks would never prepare you for the type of pain you experienced on that day. The 6th of October.
If between now and then, you still have not yet been brave enough to publish the private post you had written about the details of that evening, maybe now’s the chance to take the leap of faith and really let them know what happened.
Up till now, you have told several friends that you ‘getting better’, but there was only 3 people whom you had told the details of that evening. The evening you realised that nothing can be scarier than the monsters in your head, not even those that hide under the bed. Trust me. I’ve checked. Because in case you don’t remember, you crawled under the bed, fitting yourself just in between the planks underneath your mattress and the carpeted floor. Breathing shallowly. Trying to contain the spiralling thoughts and voices that filled the air around you.
You are getting better.
Today. Wednesday. 21st October. Today was a good day.
You struggled to get out of bed, fighting with the voices in your head that today is a horrible day, and getting out of bed served no purpose, that it would be easier to reach for your laptop and email to ‘apologise for the inconvenience’ and explain how you are feeling ’emotionally unwell’. The rain was pitter-pattering outside your window. You can feel the gloom surrounding you like a dark cloud.
‘Today will be better.’ You tell yourself.
It ended up being a day where you got to observe a lab that used mice to explore the transporter expression in the blood brain barrier, in awe of the complexity of something as disgusting and insignificant as a mouse. It ended up being the day when you truly let go of the need for control in everything in your life. It ended up being the day when you understood why you had to go through that horrid evening, knowing that you can only empathise when you’ve fallen that far.
Today. You are grateful.
You are grateful for the people that God has so perfectly placed in your life, people you help and people you get help from. People who don’t stop at ‘how are you’ but rather, prod a little further. ‘No really though. How ARE you.’ People who may not first seem to have been the perfect candidate for a best friend, but someone whom you’ve shared more with than you’d dare to say. People who don’t just say ‘it’s just a phase’ or ‘you’ve just got to change your attitude’. Because it was so much more than that.
You are grateful for the opportunities that God has provided you with in your life. Opportunities to serve, and opportunities to do His will through the gifts that He had blessed you with. But gifts that you had been taking credit for. You were impatient when you weren’t appreciated, but you are grateful that you are reminded that servanthood isn’t about getting credit for what you do. More so, it’s for all the things you do behind the scenes without any recognition that should bring true joy.
You are grateful for family. A family that searches for every opportunity to remind you of their support. A mother who not only is a master of flight tickets, but someone who will lose sleep over worrying. A father who understands even though he is silent. A brother who works hard and is a source of strength in all his awkwardness. and a sister who is a never-ending inspiration of pure love and faith in God.
You are grateful for hardship. It’s hard to be grateful for things that don’t seem to fit into the ‘plan’. The plan that is meant for good and not for harm. The plan that reveals itself as thoughts of self-harm simply by stepping into the shower. The plan that puts you to bed with tears every night for two weeks straight. The plan that robs you of all joy, that even on the brightest of days, life is still as dark as the night. But it is also the plan that brings you closer to someone sharing the same experience. The plan that brings you to understand what it means to give. The plan that reminds you that giving should always be an overflow of God’s love pouring into you. The plan that is God-made.
Future Rachel, you know who created the heavens and the earth, you know who placed you in the place you are in, and you know that He is always there. Stay strong and battle those voices in your head. They are never as strong as the power of the Holy Spirit within your heart.
Rachel of the 21st of October.