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!
The crime November 3,
1991, was a beautiful fall day—cool, clear, and crisp. After church my brother,
Jeff, and I shoveled down dinner and rushed out the door to play football with
our youth group. Along the way to the game, we picked up some friends. Though
only 17, I thought I was the best driver in the nation as I steered our car on
to a local country road. We crested a
small hill and saw an Amish horse and buggy ahead of us (a common sight in Lancaster,
PA.). I thought to myself, “I’m going to blow by these guys!” I stomped on
the gas, accelerating to 70-75 mph, steering the car into the left lane to pass
the buggy. As we raced closer to the buggy, I will never, ever forget seeing
the nose of the horse turning towards me, and I instantly knew they were trying
to turn. I wasn’t even watching for their turn signal, nor did I see the small
country road they were attempting to turn into. Instinct took
over as I slammed my foot down on the brake pedal. The brakes locked and…
By Amanda Miller One of my husband’s characteristic
sayings is, “What’s the worst that can happen?” It’s meant to dissuade anxiety or
unrealistic worries, and it used to help a little. Until one day, the worst did
happen. Brian was ran over by a
tractor. Actually, he was run over by the
farming implement the tractor was pulling — a 20-thousand-pound no-till drill,
a heavy beast fitted with rows of sharp discs meant to plow through hard-packed
Kansas soil. The tractor kept going, until it
lodged itself in a grove of trees in the middle of the section, a quarter mile
from the dirt road. So by the time anyone started to be concerned at Brian’s
absence, it was already getting dark. I was at work, and normally I would
have tried to be in contact with Brian several times throughout the afternoon
and evening, but I was in the throes of prepping for and teaching a cooking
class and didn’t notice that there was no response to my single text. I had no
idea it had already been almost five hours by…
Alone I stumbled back to IMU to frantically pack up our things; alone I crumpled, sobbing, into a corner in the much-too-familiar ICU waiting room; alone I pleaded for updates while they still wouldn’t let me see Brian.
This was one of the only days I was alone. It feels a little cruel that this of all times was when no one was there with me, but (especially after the fact) I can see the grace in it. In all reality, I was only by myself for a couple hours — the hours of crisis when I had no idea what was happening with Brian or if it was all over. There was no one to distract me, comfort me, strengthen me—no one to lean on but my God. The other crises I always had people to bolster me, but this time I only had God...and he was enough.
Brian made it through the day, and over the next day or two showed small signs of progress — before he started tanking again. His lungs started shutting down, and in a horrible progression he went from room air to a bi-pap mask to the venti…