You've found yourself in a hard place. You are looking for a way out, a purpose, hope through this experience. You are not alone. Others are in hard places too. Others have been in your shoes and have come out the other side. Here are their stories of how they found The Rock in their hard place.
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When You Feel Alone in the Rain
By JJ Landis
been an accident. Mom fell asleep in the garage. She’s dead.” When I heard my
father say those words, I stood motionless beneath his hand that rested on my
head, wondering if he was truly talking about my mom. The reality soon set in,
but the grief and healing were years off.
twelve when my mom killed herself. My parents were divorced. My dad was
remarried and lived nearby. My older brother lived in his own apartment, so it
was just me and my mom making our way.
sometimes left me home alone when she went out drinking. I begged her to stay
home, but she would only promise to be home by a certain time. My neediness was
useless to change anything.
at my dad’s house the night my mom died. More accurately, I moved in. A few
blocks were all that separated the houses—a slight but infinite distance. This
time the sleepover wouldn’t end. When the sun rose I wouldn’t have a home to
return to. Home as I knew it had vanished.
morning broke, I pretended to sleep. I knew if I got up, my mom would still be
gone. I covered my head with the comforter and wanted to die, to sleep forever.
A few days
later, after the initial shock of the death wore off, the afternoon clouds
spilled rain. And heaviness clouded me. Moving and talking were hard. My skin
crawled. I felt like I didn’t belong.
for escape gnawed at me. I grabbed an umbrella and headed out for a walk. I
ambled aimlessly, splashing in puddles, all the time knowing that I was acting
like a little kid romping in the water. But I wasn’t a carefree child anymore.
You don’t get to be carefree when your mom commits suicide.
the rain deep within me. I was cold and wet all through my insides, as well as
on the outside.
dreary stroll I came to realize that my new life would be one of isolation. No
one was ever going to understand what I had been through. This was it—my life.
I resolved to be tough. To protect myself.
remained intact for years. I decided I wanted out of my shell but was unable to
escape. When the time came in middle school that I wanted to cry, I couldn’t. I
poked myself in the eyes hoping to get enough tears so someone would notice my
How did I
go from that empty, sad, guilty, depression-prone child to a healthy and
joy-filled (usually) adult?
I took a
magic Christianity pill and everything was fine! Oh wait. Nothing is ever that
easy—you know that.
As a kid
who didn’t feel secure, I started drinking alcohol, which progressed into drug
stealing, excessive dating, and casual sex followed. Then a pregnancy when I
was 20. And an abortion.
I knew I
needed help. For years, I knew I needed help.
But I was
stuck inside myself, wallowing in muck and mire. Beating myself up for so many
things. I assumed I had to clean myself up before I could ask Jesus to help me.
I knew the truth about God; I had attended church off and on since my dad and
stepmom had begun going when I was in fifth grade.
though I knew the path to freedom began with a prayer of submission to the
Lord, I still thought He wouldn’t want me unless I was clean. There was nothing
in me that comprehended that God could love me unconditionally.
when I was failing at life so badly I had no choice but to die or try God, I
prayed out of desperation. I reached out to Jesus and asked Him to rule my
picture developed in my mind’s eye of years earlier when I was at the pit of
depression and misery, crying and wondering how I could ever move forward. I
saw Jesus there, sitting next to me on the side of my bed. He held my head,
wiped my brow, and dried my tears as a parent might do for a sick child. I
realized at that moment that He had been with me and had wanted me all
along—just the way I was, broken and damaged.
you too. He’s been by your side all along.
JJ Landis has published a memoir about growing up
after the suicide of her mom and three children’s picture books. She is a
library director in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband
and three kids, an occasional foreign exchange student, the calmest dog in the
world, and an irrational cat. Visit her at www.jjlandis.com.
This site is a collection of real stories by real people about The Rock in their hard places.
It is curated and edited by Kara Ranck, who is a wife and mother of two children living in Pennsylvania. Kara herself has traveled some hard places in life and knows there is hope and power when we tell our personal stories about The Rock, which brings us through. Thank you for joining us here!
By Tiffany Miller I wish I could say I remember the exact song that was playing, what I was wearing, or even the date. Sadly I don’t remember any of those details about the day I heard God speak. I couldn’t hear audible words in my ears, but there was no denying what God was saying to my heart on that Sunday while worship music played around me. “I have adopted you as my own, and you are to do likewise for your next child.” My husband and I were blessed early in our marriage with two beautiful sons. I loved my pregnancies and adored seeing them grow from tiny newborns into personality-filled toddlers. Our boys were ages 4 and 2 at the time, and we had been discussing “when” we’d like to have a third baby, but that was the extent of the conversation. So when I told my husband what God firmly pressed on my heart later that night, he was clearly surprised. None of our families or close friends had adopted before, and we were (wrongly!) under the impression that adopting a c
By Clint Watkins My wife’s words stifled me. “ I’m pregnant .” The weight of Jillian’s news brought me to the floor with a deep reverence for what was before me: I was now a dad. It filled me with both duty and delight as I began to dream about the future with our baby. But three months later, these dreams were destroyed. The day we found out we were having a boy was the same day we learned he had a fatal condition, anencephaly. If he survived delivery, he would not live long enough to come home with us. Our first child’s birth and death would occur in the same room. We had just started falling in love with our son and he was already being ripped away. I didn’t know it was possible to feel such agony. My son’s death sentence suffocated my soul and plunged me into a darkness I thought I would never come out from. My misery was multiplied by the fact that I had been rendered useless as a husband and father. I could do nothing to save my son’s life or protect my wife
By Wendy Van Wingerden Unsplash “I surrender all … I surrender all.” Do I? Do I really surrender ALL? I wondered this as I stood singing a favorite hymn in church one Sunday. It was easy for me to consider the things in life that I could do without. My home, my possessions, my status, my talents, BUT…Oh! not my children or my husband. Those things, I could not, would not surrender. I could not imagine surviving without them. Fear of losing them strangled my inmost being, it consumed my deepest thoughts. If I surrendered them, He might take. My relationship with the Lord was growing deeper, yet something held me back. Something kept me from knowing Him fully. With each word of each song I sang, he beckoned me to him. “Blessed be your name in the land that is plentiful, where the streams of abundance flow, blessed be your name.” God, you have bountifully provided for me, I know how to praise you in abundance. “Blessed be your name on the road marked with suffering, though