Today marks 18 years of life for me. Today is a day of lots of reflection on this past year. It has been tough. There has been so much darkness… there were times where I didn’t think I would see 18, and, quite frankly, didn’t care if I saw 18. But I’m oh so glad I made it this far. Oh, how my heart is full.

It has been a year of bitterness but also a year of so much sweetness. The Lord’s light has lit up so many places. When I was in treatment, a place of so much darkness and pain, the Lord’s love, grace, and light was so consistent. It shone through the cracks and lit up the rooms. During times of struggle, He brought me my people that radiated His goodness. When I got on my knees in utter defeat, He held me through it. His presence was everywhere. And it still is.

For those of you struggling to make it one more year, hold on. Fight, baby, fight. I know it’s exhausting. I know it’s painful and breath-taking. I know it doesn’t feel worth it at times. But when you come out on the other side of the pitch black pain and begin to bask in the sunlight of life… it is SO worth it.

For those of you struggling to make it one more year, hold on. Even though the pain feels never ending and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, there IS light at the end of the tunnel. You WILL get there. There will be glimpses of goodness and then the darkness will take over again. But hear me when I say this… the darkness has no control over you. Our God is light and He is a lamp for our feet (Psalm 119:105).

For those of you struggling to make it one more year, hold on. I get it, I really do. There were times I truly didn’t want to take another breath. There were times where I was under a single sheet on the cold floor of the hospital and I just laid there, shivering, crying, begging the Lord to take me. I couldn’t breathe. My chest was tight as could be. But I prayed… I prayed for the strength to take the next breath. That’s all I could ask for in that moment. I just needed the strength to breathe.

And I did… I continued to breathe. So here I am, 18 years old, writing to you about my journey through the trenches. I’m on the other side of that pitch dark pain… I am basking in the sunlight of life. Yes, there are still days where I feel trapped in the dark. But I am able to get myself out with the strength the Lord pours within me. And life is worth living.

Fight, baby, fight. There will be a day where you too are basking in the light. Trust the Lord. He’s got you in His hands. He has a plan for your good. Lean on Him. He loves you. So do I. Reach out if you need help. I want to see you make it another year.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

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