In one of my classes – Teaching the Faith – we have to write about our personal faith journey, the moment we knew our faith started, and how it has grown. So I thought I would share it with all of you too. My faith is a very important part of my life, and I would love to take this opportunity to share this with the world.
Similarly to the author of Building Faith One Child at a Time, I have always been a Lutheran and was baptized as an infant. Especially with growing up as a pastor’s daughter, it is hard to recall a specific moment that my faith started. Thinking back in more detail, I suppose that the first time I really identified my faith as mine was after my family moved from La Crescent, MN to Green Bay, WI.
This was a really difficult transition for me and I did not handle it in a recommended way. My family had moved a few times before, but at an age where I still felt comfortable reaching out to new friends. This was a primarily challenging area in my new life in Green Bay. My parents made the decision to send me to the LCMS High School in Green Bay, which I was excited to be a part of. I dealt with a hard time making friends, being bullied by people I trusted too quickly. The bullying, in addition to the move itself, led me into a period of depression and heightened anxiety. I began self-harming.
I eventually stopped self-harming when I opened up to a friend at church who also had scars and stories to tell. She was later hospitalized for her self-harm and bipolar disorder, we sadly lost touch. Since I was involved in a lot of sports, I went to great lengths to hide my scars. Eventually I slowed my self-harm and was able to stop. This was primarily due to increased involvement in music at my school. I developed a close bond with my music teacher and with another girl in my class.
My favorite part about being involved in the music scene at my school was the incorporation of God’s Word into nearly all of our pieces and concerts. I felt a true connection to my Savior through the means of music. It was an obvious way of praise for me.
Unfortunately, later in my high school career I did begin to self-harm again – and worse than ever before. I became much less involved in all areas of school and even quit my job because of it. It seemed like there was no right answer to how to recover. I eventually turned to Pandora and was listening to sad, sappy love songs every night as I sunk into depression. You Are More by Tenth Avenue North popped up. I bawled my eyes out. I knew this was God speaking to me. Once again, He pulled me back in with the power of music once again.
While I have always identified as a Christian, and more specifically a Lutheran, nothing has been more impactful on my faith than music. To boil it down, my faith started to be mine in that choir classroom in Green Bay. It wavered, and fell dramatically as I struggled with depression and anxiety. As I have gone through college, it has been on a steady path up. I have never felt more spiritually rich than I do now. This amazes me because I am not actively involved in any music right now. The most Christian music I encounter is from a few CDs Trevor and I have in our car and by attending church. Still, this is enough to keep me focused on nurturing my faith.
I hope my story can be a source of hope for those of you struggling with depression, anxiety, and self-harm. God’s love amazes me. He saved me when I was at below my worst. He’s still saving me now.