ROCK BOTTOM || Written by Caitlin Schwab

 

caitlin schwab

Rock bottom. Y’all ever been there…because I have and lord am I happy for it. My rock bottom was my Senior year of college. I laid in my pitch-dark room and cried silent tears while cursing at God for making me unlovable and flawed in every way possible. I laid there and begged God to take me back to my sweet and innocent years where He was all I had and all I wanted. My testimony isn’t meant to be a pity party or a blog about how I had my “come to Jesus moment”, it’s just meant to help someone, somewhere, somehow. Btw, my testimony is also long….

 

My testimony starts in 5th grade. I was a lord loving girl who wore Kermit the frog shirts and sported glasses that had a strap to hold them on my face…did I mention I did karate! I wasn’t the most popular or the nicest child growing up but I was incredibly happy at home and everything was perfect in my eyes. At the end of my 5th grade year my mom got sick and this was the beginnings of the tragedies that I let control my life for almost a decade.

 

First stop: freshman year of high school; I was DETERMINED to find friends because things at home…they just weren’t going to great. I altered my personality, my looks, my style and most importantly my relationship with Jesus Christ. I focused on “redeeming my popularity” since I was a total loser in middle school (hence the Kermit the frog shirt). For two years I pretended to be someone I wasn’t and someone I hated. I still went to church, but the second I walked out of those church doors I didn’t give God another thought.

 

Next stop: junior year. This is where I thought rock bottom was…Lord was I wrong. For the most part I thought I had EVERYTHING going for me. I was going to start looking at colleges, I just got a new car, I was playing sports, I had friends, I felt beautiful and wanted and then the tragedy came. I started off junior strong by having to deal with my mother’s death. Most of the time I tell my testimony I leave out the hardship of dealing with my mother’s loss and just say “she passed away”. But what most people don’t know is that the hospital room my mom died in, yah, that’s the hospital room I gave up on God for a while. My mom died from a brain bleed and at 16 I had to watch my mom get rolled away on a stretcher as my dad cried over her body. The only life I had ever known rolled away with her. I had to hold her hand and say my last “I love you”. As I laid on her bed in the hospital room I gave up, I gave up on trying to “trust” God like she told. In my eyes, he took away my only happiness and I was done with him. My mom was always my resource to understand God and without her I saw no point in trying.  I turned numb my junior year. I felt so empty but had no idea what could fill that void. I would lay in bed every night and try to pray but when I prayed I just asked God for answers instead of healing.

 

Next stop: Senior year. Looking back, this was a good year for me. I got a new boyfriend who I was madly in love with, I was captain of my lacrosse team and God and I were “back on speaking terms.” This was also the year my dad got cancer, but to be honest I was still so numb back then that it didn’t even phase me.

 

Next stop: Sophomore year of college. My college transition was pretty easy for the most part. I joined a sorority, I had taken steps to renew my love for God, my boyfriend and I were doing amazing, I was following my dreams and I was getting right with God. This was also around the time I started attending my current church. I would go when it was convenient for me but just like in the past when I left those doors I never thought twice about Him.

 

Next stop: Junior year of college. Whoa man. Here it comes! That boyfriend that I was madly in love with, well he cheated on me (it’s beginning to sound like a soap opera isn’t it). I walked away that day feeling worthless to the world, to him, to myself, and to God. For MONTHS I would sleep in my closet so my roommates wouldn’t hear my cries. When I looked in the mirror I had to turn away because of how truly worthless I felt.  All I saw was a girl that would never be enough to any man in this world. When I drove my car, I would turn up the radio as high as I could so I couldn’t hear my negative thoughts running through my head. When I went to work I would take my lunch breaks in my car because I was so embarrassed from all of this. I checked my phone endlessly waiting for an apology text or a text that would give me hope it wasn’t over. This heartbreak was 10x worse than losing my mother or my dad being sick. I started to party endlessly and fill my voids with anything but the love of God. My anxiety had taken over my life so bad that one night I laid in bed and cried for 5 hours. I laid in the dark staring at the ceiling, while silent tears flowed. I cried because I hated myself, my body, my life and most importantly I hated who I was becoming. I prayed and prayed and prayed to God to just accept everything I had done in my past and take me back. I prayed for hours that night for acceptance. The next morning, I got up and stared at myself in the mirror while praying out loud. I felt a weird peace within me and just knew it was time to make some big changes in my life.

Since then, I’ve tried to become the “better version” of myself. It’s been a slow but miraculous process and something that I’m so proud of. As the weeks went on I started to remember how it felt to love yourself and how it felt to have hope. I started to look forward to praying and things honestly just started falling in place with me and God. I didn’t have an ahhh-haaa moment, I just let go and let God. The happiness that I currently have is something that is indescribable. This past year has been LIFE CHANGING. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle, I struggle a lot. But what I have this year that I didn’t last year… is God. To anyone reading this who has gone through anything similar just know that this does not DEFINE you it REFINES you. This WILL make you a better person because this is God’s plan not yours. “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20” That verse promises to us that our lives are so sacred and graceful. God is glorified through US, so be that outlet to all. Sometimes I struggle with the thought of being a hypocrite because of how I have acted in the past. I’m afraid to be an outlet to people because I’m afraid of letting God down…. But in the end, he gave us life so that we could save the 1 while leaving the 99.