Tag Archives: Self-Harm

The Cutting

The Cutting

Can she find another space
To make another cut
Can she find another moment
Just to feel okay
Just a fleeting glimpse
Of how it is to feel
To release all the emptiness
Even if for just a second
For nobody is listening
Nobody can understand
What it takes to break the skin
Where a mind is that takes it there
She’s just searching for a feeling
One just to feel okay
For the world has turned it face
Without ever understanding
Just a silly girl they say
Is she crying out of attention
Or just crying for it’s all she feels
All the pictures of this world
Of how she should look
Just twists the mind further
Driving a blade only deeper
Don’t she know she’s beautiful
In the eyes of her Maker
Loved within a Father’s arms
He who cries with every cut
If she just could see His face
Maybe the blade would slowly fall
And those moments pass by
Without a cut at all

Hold Back The Tears

Hold Back The Tears

Hold back the tears
Just for a while
Let me see the beauty
That lies within your face
Before the tracks of tears
Lay a mask of vulnerability

I hear your heart beat
Each beat lost in time
Fear becomes the echo
Emitting from within
I feel you growing cold
With each second the beat fades

Don’t let your tears fall
Into those shaking hands
Hands that seek to scar the skin
Scars that once ran crimson
I tell you this I bled for you
Upon the the cross I took your shame

So hold back the tears
Let me see your naked face smile
There will be a time to share your pain
Yet for now just know I am here
Holding your hand
Whispering sweet lullabies

So hold back the tears
For I am here tonight

The Story So Far – Chapter 12 – What Just Happened?

CHAPTER 12 – WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

Sometime during September 2012 I came across a fan website for the band Tenth Avenue North and came across a story I had read before, the story that had inspired my actions back on the 18th March 2012, when I gave up the penknife that had tortured me in my lowest moments.

The story was about a girl in America that had suffered from self harm, but after listening to one of Tenth Avenue North’s songs was inspired to fight back.  She had stopped cutting herself and at festival had approached the lead singer of the band, she handed him a razor blade, on the wrapper was the number of days since she had last used it.  I had seen this story on the band’s Facebook page a year or so before and remembered being moved by the story then.  On that day when the demons where trying to destroy me, I thought of that story when I had seemingly defeated them, that story inspired me to give away that blade, I didn’t need it anymore after that day, because I wasn’t going to let those demons try to destroy me anymore.

From that website I found my way onto this girl’s blog and was amazed by the way she shared her story and used it to help inspire others, I was intrigued by how she shared all the good times and the bad.  Over the next week or so I began to feel that I could do something like that, the idea interested me, but I didn’t know where to start.  After a week I looked at a couple of blogging websites and researched how to get going, but I did nothing about it.

Then I went as far as planning what I was intending to write in my head as I walked, all that walking was brilliant thinking time, I came up with a number of ideas, but again I did nothing with them.  A week or so later I actually started typing some of those ideas into my computer, I prepared a number of different potential posts, then I left them, I had this fear of sharing something so intimate.  I had shared my story in the quiet one on ones with people, I had stood on stage in a moment of spontaneity, a moment that was really nothing like my normal self, back on the day I was baptised, but suddenly a fear of exposing feelings I wanted to remain buried rose to the surface, so I left them as they were.

Then early on the morning of Saturday 6th October 2012, I was walking my normal route before work, as usual I had my iPod on as I walked.  As I returned home, a song came on that I had only recently purchased, I remember hearing it when I brought it and liking it, but I hadn’t heard it since, but all of a sudden, it had me in tears.

I still to this day cannot explain why these lyrics reduced me to tears….

Whatever the cost
Whether it works out or not
Whatever the cost
Whether it works out or not
I’ll follow you with my heart

But I knew that I was being asked to step out of my fear, I knew I was holding onto something out of fear, but now whatever the cost to my own self consciousness I felt I was being told to stop holding on, to let go and share my story, let God use it for the help of others.  The tears that morning came with that same feeling inside that I had back on that baptism day, the freezing feeling inside, when I got that I knew I had to listen, the Father was speaking and I was to step outside of myself and share my experiences of Him.

So later that day after work and karate, I registered for a site on the blogging site WordPress and started The Bottom of A Bottle, I wrote a post called the Precipice, after the song that had awoke my spirit that morning and pushed me to stop hiding and share my story.  Over the coming weeks I began sharing the articles that I had already prepared, together with planning and writing about my other experiences and feelings that had brought me to where I was at that point in my life.

I had really not written anything since I was back at school, apart from the odd letter at my various jobs, but never something where I had to be so open and write in a way that made my complex thoughts easy to identify with.  I had started journaling back in March and actually when I read back some of those pages I had written back then, I was actually surprised by what had been written and not necessarily the content, but the way and the style in which I had written it, I didn’t believe I was capable of writing in that way.  Back in school I had written stories for English classes, but never really enjoyed it, I wrote them out of necessity rather than enjoying or connecting with what I was writing, all of a sudden I was doing both, I was thoroughly enjoying writing for the first time in my life.

The blog took a while to take off and gather followers, over the coming weeks it started slowly, but steadily grew and continues to grow.  As time went by I began trying new things to, even beginning to write and appreciate poetry.

Then one Saturday morning later in October, I remember being out walking before work and as I walked I began running through a scenario in my mind, a conversation I was having with someone, I don’t know how it started or what I was thinking of before, but this scene starting playing out in my mind as I walked.

I began picturing a scene where I was in Church and started having a conversation with one of the teenage girls, in the course of the conversation she proceeded to confide in me that she had been struggling with self harm and been cutting herself.  Then following on from the initial conversation I had managed to convince her to stop and hand over her razor blade to me at a later date.

I didn’t really know what this had to do with me, I knew who the girl was that I was having the conversation with, but I would never have suspected that this might be happening to her or how I could help in this situation, I put it down to a rather weird daydream and left it at that.

Then the next Saturday morning, the same thing happened again, while walking I began imagining having a similar conversation, in the exact same position in our Church, but with a different teenage girl this time around.  Once again I knew the girl, but once more couldn’t get my head round that this maybe happening to them, once more I put it down to another weird daydream and that was that.

But this happened one more time the next week, as before at the same point of my walk, always on a Saturday morning, always taking place in the same part of Church and always a similar conversation and outcome, but each time a different girl.  What it all meant, I didn’t know and if I’m honest I didn’t question it, it made me a little conscious of the situation in Church each Sunday, but in the end I put it to the back of my mind as a silly reoccurring daydream, in a mind that was playing tricks on me.

At the end of October I signed up to go away on a weekend retreat with some of the other guys from our Church Campuses, a week or so before I got a message from James asking if I minded taking part in an interview to discuss my testimony, which would take place before the other guys, of course I agreed.  It took place as part of the first session of the weekend and I really enjoyed every part of it.  I got to talk about things that I maybe hadn’t discussed in other situations, I didn’t fear speaking in front of all these people, there were about seventy guys there, many I knew, but also many from the other campuses that I had never met, but over the course of the two days I got to know so many and found each and every one of them to be so supportive and encouraging.  I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and in sharing my story I felt a kind of freedom that I hadn’t felt before, being able to release a few things that I had been holding in, even being in such an intimate setting was such a help, I left that place feeling so encouraged by everything.  I remember in the last meeting of the weekend, Justin one of our Pastors, encouraging us to go away from there and ask God what it was we could do for Him, to ask Him to use us to build His kingdom, I remember that night when I was at home making that prayer, asking God to use me for His purposes.

The next morning at Church, something happened though which shook me, big time.  After a very encouraging service, the leader of our A.V. Team asked me to join them, which I immediately agreed to, I remember feeling really pleased and excited to be asked.  I then set about helping put the chairs away after the service.

I found myself in a particular part of the Church which I had seen in my weird daydreams, that I had been experiencing over the previous few weeks and then it happened, not that I realised what was happening at the time.

I was approached by a young girl, a girl I had known since she was young, I was a friend of her parents, although they didn’t actually attend Church, but I had been a family friend for a long time.  We started a conversation, I knew her parents had recently split and that she had been struggling with the changes, as many young kids do when families split.  But during the conversation she began to tell me how she had been self harming, how when she was really low she would cut herself.  At this point I didn’t really think about what I had been seeing in my mind over the previous month, but I approached the conversation calmly and tried to be as helpful as I could.  We talked for a while, I tried to make some suggestions that I thought may help, including telling her of the story of the girl who handed over her razorblade after hearing a song by Tenth Avenue North, I told her which song and suggested maybe she should check it out.

I remember walking home really upset, primarily because I had known this girl for so long, I knew what was happening in the family and I knew there were problems there, problems common to any family breakup, but although I had tried to help, I felt a little helpless, I didn’t know what to do.

But it wasn’t until I went for my walk the next morning when the reality of the situation actually hit me, that this had been what I been experiencing, this conversation, almost exactly like what I had been seeing, in the exact same place in Church, this girl I hadn’t seen in my visions, each time it had been a different girl, but never this one, the only thing I wasn’t prepared for was how close I was to the situation, but everything else I had seen in my mind, not just once, it wasn’t a case of Déjà vu as they call it, it was more than that and it was freaking me out.

I had so many mixed emotions that I didn’t know what to do, I had two big issues which were really getting to me, firstly what could I do with this situation to help the girl and her family understand each other and put an end to her self-harm, then secondly why had I seen all this, what were all these vision I had been having about, why were they so vivid and why were they so accurate, more importantly why me!

I cried and I prayed as I walked, I asked  for some kind of prompting as to what was going on and what it was I could do about it, I was in a state of shock as to what had happened, I was basically freaked out.

When I got home, I went to Victoria, I explained what had happened and said I didn’t know what to do about it.  She said I had a duty to report it to one of the Child Protection Officers for the Church, as she was minor and the conversation had taken place on Church property, she told me who they were.  I had actually been attending a course at Church with one of the ladies that Victoria mentioned, so I asked for her number and said I would call her later that evening.

The course I had been attending with Sarah had recently covered the fruits of the spirit, I didn’t at that point have a clue what was going on, why I was seeing what I had seen and how all this had come together in the way that it had, as I said I was well and truly freaked out by it all!

That night I explained everything to Sarah, she was immensely calming, about both the situation with the girl and the visions that I had been happening.  I came to understand that I had been prepared for that moment, prepared for that discussion, I had been chosen to help, I may not have felt ready for that, but what did that matter, if the Lord felt I was, then who was I to argue!

Over the coming weeks I tried to be as supportive to the girl as possible, mediate a little between her and the family, trying to help both sides understand the other’s feelings.  I then sat in Church and watched as this young girl was baptised a few weeks later.

Then on the last evening of the course I had been attending at Church, this girl showed up, she asked for a quiet word and the proceeded to hand me a small tin.  Contained within the tin were all the implements that she had used to cut herself, I knew what it was as soon as she handed it to me, I didn’t need to ask, I didn’t need to look inside to know what was in there, I knew from that very moment that everything now that had been within my visions had now come to pass, I finally knew exactly what I had been needed to do and that I had achieved it.  I informed Sarah after the class what had happened, but she already knew, the girl had told her all about it too.

The way that whole situation came about is still one of mystery to me, even though I understand it, I am still amazed by the way God worked within that situation, how it all came to pass.  At the time I was seeing these conversations, always pretty much the same, always on a Saturday, always at roughly the same place in my walk, then for it all to play out in reality, for it all come together and the outcome to match the vision, it was just amazing, I really felt the power of God and the Holy Spirit in my life at that time, I had never understood these powers ever before.

Although we had been discussing the gifts of the spirit, in the course with Nick and Sarah, right in the middle of me having these visions, I never attributed them to the Holy Spirit, just my crazy mind running away with itself, as it is prone to do, I have a weird and wonderful imagination at times, I can be a daydreamer, I just put it down to that, never for a moment thinking it had anything to do with God or what I was being called to do.  It wasn’t until I spoke with Sarah, the night after it all started to come together, that she made me see that it wasn’t just coincidence or my mind or my imagination, it was a calling, a gift, the Holy Spirit working through me.

That morning of the actual conversation, would I have remained that calm and composed, had I not seen it all before, definitely not, I would never have known what to say or do.  But even going way back beyond these visions, the way the story about the Girl with the razorblade kept coming back to me, the way it wound itself into my story, to help me and then to help others, I began to understand that all of this was for a purpose, I may not have know it at the time, but it wasn’t by chance I had come across this story or remembered it in my lowest spot and stumbled across it just a matter of days before I started seeing all of this, none of it was coincidence, but by design, the Lord’s design, His plan.

YOU ARE MORE by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
There’s a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she’s wandered
And the shame she can’t hide

She says, “How did I get here?
I’m not who I once was.
And I’m crippled by the fear
That I’ve fallen too far to love”

But don’t you know who you are,
What’s been done for you?
Yeah don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

Well she tries to believe it
That she’s been given new life
But she can’t shake the feeling
That it’s not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she’s rehearsed all the lines
And so she’ll try to do better
But then she’s too weak to try

But don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You’ve been remade
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.

A Cry For Help From Across The Ocean

I’m not really sure where to start with this one, do I start at 5am this morning, go back to around 11.45am last Sunday morning, drift all the way back to November 2012, maybe back to Sunday 18th March 2012 or really I should go all the way back to the summer of 2011, when I read the story of a young girl on the Tenth Avenue North Facebook page, a girl who had overcome self harm.

I remember reading that story of a young girl, who after hearing one of their songs found the inspiration to stop self harming and hand over her razor blade to the lead singer of the band at a festival.

When things had come to a head here at home and I found myself in the depths of self doubt, with the life being drained from me by my alcohol problem, I found myself looking into the mirror with a penknife in one hand and my other arm with my wrist held out, with every dark thought running through my head about how I wasn’t worthy of living.  Luckily that day I heard a voice that gave me reason to live.  I put the knife down and turned away.

Then remembered this story I had read a year before, I took the penknife, wrote out a note saying “I didn’t need this anymore” and put it on Victoria’s bedside table, I’ve never seen that knife since then.   The next day I rang my now Pastor, spilled out my heart and all my sins and started a journey which has been just amazing ever since.

So fast forward a little on to November that year, whilst out walking I started seeing a conversation taking place, I witnessed this conversation in my mind over a number of weeks, until one Sunday I had that very conversation with a young girl in Church who, just as in my vision, told me she was struggling with self harm, needless to say this story that I had read and been inspired by popped back into my head, I told this story to the young girl in Church and a few nights later she presented me with a small box, which contained all of her blades.

This story of a young girl, over four thousand miles away across the Atlantic Ocean had helped to turn two lives around.  I found this girl’s Facebook profile and sent her a message saying what her story had achieved here in the UK, from there we became friends over Facebook.

So fast forward now to last weekend.  Since those visions back in November 2012, the only visions I have had have been in answer to my own prayers, until last Sunday that is.  During prayer and praise segment of our Church service, where we pray for those that are in need and praise God for those who had their prayers answered, I saw a vision of somebody in a fairly distinctive blouse or shirt, I couldn’t make out the face, but this person gradually got closer and closer to me, even though I still couldn’t see who it was.

Since then I’ve been praying over it for guidance, I’ve been looking out for anyone wearing a blouse of that type, I say it was a blouse because the lapels where distinctively rounded rather than pointed like a shirt.  But I hadn’t really had any breakthrough on it, I kept praying each morning and evening, hoping for further visions which may explain what it was I was seeing.

Then this morning, my alarm went off at 5am, I woke and felt ready to get out for a walk, these was no internal struggle, I just wanted to get out.  On my phone there were a number of notifications from this blog, so I quickly checked them, then Twitter, then I don’t know why, because I rarely go on Facebook anymore, I check once a week or even less these days, just to see if I have had any messages, I checked last night, so there was absolutely no reason to check this morning, but for some reason I felt compelled to to take a look.

I couldn’t have been on there for more than a few moments, when I notification of a message popped up, a message from this young girl over in America, she must have seen me come on line and sent a message almost instantly, first saying hello, then another message asking for my help.

Intrigued I replied, but I never expected what came next.  She asked me how to stop drinking.  She said she was suffering from what I had beaten already, she explained a few feelings which I identified with and how she was scared.

I messaged back quickly, briefly explaining the process I took, but urging her to speak with her friends at her Church, to get support and get help.  I told her I would stay in touch and even though I don’t really go on Facebook anymore, I would keep checking for any messages from her, I said I would help her through this in any way I could.

So when I went out walking this morning, this was obviously the main point of my thinking, then I realised something about that vision I had seen the weekend before, that I was sure that I had seen a picture of this girl wearing something similar, was this what it all meant, this girl would come to me for help.

It’s funny how the Holy Spirit works, this girl who has been such an inspiration to me at key points in my journey, now has called on me for help and inspiration from my journey.  I’ve never met this girl and probably never will, but I feel I have been called on by the Holy Spirit to help.

I will keep praying for this girl and also for guidance for how best to help in this situation, I’m sure your prayers would be welcome too.

As for a song to go with this post, I guess it has to be the one which started this whole cycle, the song she heard to inspire her to beat self harming, You Are More.

YOU ARE MORE by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
There’s a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she’s wandered
And the shame she can’t hide

She says, “How did I get here?
I’m not who I once was.
And I’m crippled by the fear
That I’ve fallen too far to love”

But don’t you know who you are,
What’s been done for you?
Yeah don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

Well she tries to believe it
That she’s been given new life
But she can’t shake the feeling
That it’s not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she’s rehearsed all the lines
And so she’ll try to do better
But then she’s too weak to try

But don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You’ve been remade
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.

Falling In The Dark Hours

Everything seemed to be going really well until this evening, a few things just started to go wrong, slowly I found myself getting more and more agitated and eventually becoming very angry.  By the time I got home I just wanted to be alone in the dark, I went straight upstairs out of the way without speaking with anyone, I think Victoria could tell something wasn’t right, but she never said anything.

After I while I came back downstairs, had something to eat and laid down on the settee, but I just began to get further and further wound up.  My breathing was heavy and I sank back into a dark place.

I began to get similar feelings to those that kept coming to me before Christmas, they came back again tonight, I’ve never mentioned them to anyone before, they went away when Christmas passed quietly, but as I say I had them again tonight.  All I wanted to do was to cut something into my left arm, before Christmas I kept wanting to carve “I’ll Never Be Enough”, but tonight it was “I Hate Myself”!  I’ve never self harmed and before the end of last year, never contemplated it.  At Christmas I kept imagining that I would just find myself in a daze on Christmas day with these words cut into my arms, this evening was very similar.

But then something changed, as I laid there I could feel my heart beating hard and then I remembered the words that kept coming to me on Sunday, the words I posted Sunday evening:

Even though I go through all the anxiety, the worry, the stress, the emptiness, the desolation and despair, I’m never alone, but I should believe that when I go through this and my heart beats in double time, it’s not just my heart that’s beating, but the heart of Christ beating alongside mine.

As soon as I began to think about that everything changed, the emptiness and the dark urges ceased almost immediately and I slowly began to pick up.  So less than an hour later I feel much calmer, not as calm and content as last evening, but nowhere near how empty and low I felt earlier this evening.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’
Joshua 1:9

WHILE WE SING by LEELAND
I’ve sat by far too long
And I’ve watched the hurting suffer on their own
I have chances everyday
To live like You, die to myself
Give Your love away
And I wonder why I feel so empty inside

While I sing la la la la la la la la la
As the hungry roam the streets
La la la la la la la la la
As the broken are on their knees
La la la la la la la la la
I keep singing

We are frozen, we are still
But we’re called to be a city on a hill
And as our melodies resound
We cannot hear the silent cry
This world is screaming out
And we wonder why we feel so empty inside

While we sing la la la la la la la la la
As the hungry roam the streets
La la la la la la la la la
As the broken are on their knees
La la la la la la la la la
We keep singing

Remember salvation’s day
When Jesus washed our sins away
The lost are crying out to be saved

While we sing la la la la la la la la la
As the hungry roam the streets
La la la la la la la la la
As the broken are on their knees
La la la la la la la la la
We keep singing
But just a song won’t heal
The bleeding wound
Church wake up
We’re sleeping in an empty tomb

Church arise, arise and shine
Shake yourself from the dust
God is calling us to go

Share Your Story

Sometime my evenings don’t pan out the way I would like them, yesterday evening was no different.  I set out to reply to comments, I got to only the second comment from Lori Lara on my last post and was viewing her Blog when I came across this post: 39 Minutes That Will Change Your Life. A note in her post said to skip to 25 minutes in if you don’t have time to watch the whole message, so I did.

Watch – Share Your Story, Shawn Johnson, Red Rocks Church

The message was such that after it had finished playing, I went back and played it again from the start.  If you not seen it, it is well worth watching, you won’t be disappointed.

I know I have a strong testimony for what God has done in my life.  I know on here, hidden behind my keyboard and an IP address I can’t write about my story in detail, no problem there, in Church and in our Connect Group I have spoken at length about my story, but outside of that, I guess I keep hiding, that’s where I have to start making changes.

My story and experience has helped a troubled youngster before, the circumstances then were such that I experienced both great elation that I could help, but I was scared at the way it all unfolded, the experience took me by surprise.

That experience all started around the time I started this blog, back in September/October last year I had started walking every morning, when I walk and especially on the long walks of 13 miles or so, I go through a lot of things in my mind, sometimes daydreaming, sometimes working things out and sometimes praying.  One Saturday morning whilst walking in my head I went through a conversation with a member of our youth, the conversation took place in our Church, in the main hall after a service on Sunday morning, the long and the short of it was that this youngster told me they had been struggling with things and indeed self harming, in the vision I had been able to help through me experience of addiction and moments of deep despair and suicide, then that was it, I moved on to thinking about something else.

That was until the following Saturday, whilst walking again, I went through the same conversation in my head, this time a different youngster, but essentially the same conversation, same place, same time, just different person.  This happened again the next week, as far as I can remember it happened three times, same conversation, just a different person each time.

Then in November, on a Sunday morning after service, I began a conversation with a young girl I’ve known since she was very young, I know her family and knew that her parents had recently split, in the course of the conversation she told me that she indeed had been struggling with that and had been self harming for sometime.  We talked for sometime and I tried to help as best I could.

The next morning whilst walking it hit me what had happened, that I had been seeing this vision of the conversation the day before for sometime, I had been prepared for it, even though I was complete unprepared for who this youngster was, that moment of realisation hit me hard and I was shell shocked, I was in tears, firstly for this young girl and secondly because I didn’t know what was happening to me.

I spoke with Sarah at out Church, firstly she is one of the Child Protection Officers at the Church, so I had to report the conversation and secondly she was one of the leaders of the course I was attending at Church, she helped me realise that I was given these visions through the holy spirit and that I had been prepared to help this girl. It took a number of phone calls and discussions with Sarah and also James to understand what was happening and why, I can honestly say I was “Freaked Out” at first, but when I got my head around it all, as it all unfolded, those feelings changed.

Over the coming weeks I had a number of conversations with this girl, I encouraged her to pray when she had the urge to cut, told her how it had helped me when I was struggling with the urges to drink and indulge in other vices that I had suffered from in my dark years.  I told her about my suicide moments and how to remove that temptation, I had handed over my penknife to Victoria, removed the urge by removing the implement, I encouraged her to hand over her blade to her Youth Group leader and to speak with her leader further about her problems.

I was trying to help as much as I could, I hoped I was doing the right thing and not making the situation worse.  Then a few weeks after the initial conversation, I attended my midweek course at Church, this week the young girl attended as well, it was here she said she wanted to give me something, I thought I had a good idea what it was too.

I was right, she handed me a small tin, within this tin was a number of items, including a blade from a pencil sharpener, various broken bits of plastic and other items, it was quite obvious she had used these to cut herself with, some of the bits still had blood on them.

It was an amazing feeling that I had actually helped, that I had made a difference in this young girls life, when many around her just didn’t understand her need or her urge to cut, to self harm, that through my experience, although different, I was help to reach out to her to help her.

But not only that, but that God had used me and the darkness within which I had walked to help someone else.

As Shawn says in his preach, we may not have all the answers, but we know what God has done for us, like the verse in the Bible he used to illustrate this, people were saved because she believed.  So after this episode of my life and journey, then seeing this video last night, I began to question myself, why am I hiding again and how can I use my story in a way in which I can help others. 

Now I’ve just got to work that out for myself, do I just wait to be pointed in the right direction or just go out there and do it, stay comfortable or take a leap out of my comfort zone?

During our conversations I told this girl how a song had helped me in my early days, I suggested she listen to a song, this one, when things were hard to put this on, which she did.

YOU ARE MORE by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
There’s a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she’s wandered
And the shame she can’t hide
She says how did I get here
I’m not who I once was
And I’m crippled by the fear
That I’ve fallen too far to love

But don’t you know who you are
What has been done for you
Yeah don’t you know who you are
You are more than the choices that you’ve made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems you create
You’ve been remade

Well she tries to believe it 
That she’s been given new life
But she can’t shake the feeling
That it’s not true tonight
She knows all the answers
And she’s rehearsed all the lines
And so she’ll try to do better
But then she’s to weak to try

But don’t you know who you are
You are more than the choices that you’ve made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems you create
You’ve been remade

Cause this is not about what you’ve done
But what’s been done for you
This is not about where you’ve been
But where your brokenness brings you too
This is not about what you build
But what He built to forgive you
And what He built to make you know

You are more than the choices that you’ve made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems you create
You’ve been remade

Unexpected Gifts

Last night I received an unexpected gift, it’s a gift I will never display, a gift I will never use, in fact it’s a gift no one will ever use again, but a gift that I was overwhelmed to receive, a gift I will never forget.

In a way it doesn’t seem right to call it a gift, I guess you can call it a gesture, both a token of thanks and a goodbye to the giver’s old world, banishing part of a painful temptation from within their life, releasing them from a dangerous burden.

It’s only a small box with an assortment of items and a note of thanks, a box of everyday items that tortured a young soul, but no longer, their previous owner has learnt to pray for help, learnt to admit their weakness and ask God to help them rise above it, their old habit is still haunting them, but they are fighting and it will get better.

So this random assortment of items, which were the source of so much pain and temptation have been handed over, given up, no longer needed and can cause no more harm.

You can come as you are
With all your broken pieces
And all your shameful scars
(Come As You Are by Pocket Full Of Rocks)

Our God is great, we can come as we are, with all our broken pieces and all our shameful scars, he will still love us, no matter what.

Banishing The Blade

The 18th March 2012 was a make or break day in my life, a day in which I made a choice, there were two roads to take End It or Change It, I chose change it, but not before I struggled with the concept of life or death, at this point I was broken, I felt dead inside with hope disappearing fast, I tried, I wanted to, I had had enough of life I wanted it to end there, but I couldn’t, something wouldn’t let me, as I held the pen knife with the blade exposed close to my wrist something stop me, not for the first time either, this was the umpteenth time I sat here in my bathroom, going through the same routine.

Over the previous year or so I had sat on the edge of my bath in despair, I was always in the house alone, the rest of the family out, alone, usually Sunday lunch times, sometimes Thursday evenings, but nonetheless I was alone and desperate.  Always going through my mind were feelings that I had no purpose anymore, I could no longer provide for my family, I was earning very little, I couldn’t pay my bills, but I could keep up a £100 a week plus alcohol addiction, I believed they would be better off without me, with me gone the state would provide, I cried into the sink with the knife in my hand.

Then the thought, the one thought which changed everything, the same thought every single time:

the first person to find me in that bathroom, dead in a pool of my own blood,would be one of my kids, no kid should have to live with that, it would be better to live with me how I was, than live with the memory of finding me dead”

I put the blade down once again, once again I was angry with myself, just as I was all the other times, I was always angry because I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t go through with it, mad with myself because I didn’t have the courage to live or the courage die, sad thoughts, but at that time that was my life, descending into the abyss.

I know now of course that I wasn’t meant to do it, on all of those occasions I now believe this happened:

“God placed his hands on my left wrist, covering it, protecting it,
then place a hand on my right wrist, gently moving the blade away
and then he whispered in my ear, 
the only words that really mattered.”

Then I remembered something, I remembered being moved by a post on Facebook from July 2011.  I was a fan of the band Tenth Avenue North and followed them on Facebook, when the lead singer posted a picture, a picture that would flash into my mind that day.  This picture contained two images of him holding out a razor blade in it’s packaging, the first picture the number 571 was written on the packaging, the second picture showed the reverse with the letters “I AM >”.

Tenth Avenue North fans's razor blade

Tenth Avenue North fan’s razor blade

The blade had been handed to the singer at a Christian Music Festival by a fan, this young girl had suffered from self-harm, the number 571 related to the number of times she had listened to the band’s song “You Are More” since she had heard this song five weeks previously, on hearing it that first time she had stopped cutting, stopped self-harming, she was now handing her blade over as a gesture to say I don’t need it anymore.

But don’t you know who you are
You are more than the choices that you’ve made
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes
You are more than the problems you create
You’ve been remade
(You Are More by Tenth Avenue North)

I remembered reading this post and being moved by it, this day it flashed through my mind, I needed to sort this out and couldn’t go on like this, I needed to take away the temptation, so I took the pen knife and placed it on my partners bedside table with a note saying “Look after this for me, Love Wayne”.  I knew she would never let me have it back and would put it where I would never find it, that was the way I wanted it, it had to go, I had to remove the temptation, if I was to move forward and make a change in my life, I had to leave that behind.  That day was the day to leave it behind!

My partner returned from Church that Sunday afternoon with the telephone number for her Pastor, I had asked her if I could speak with him as I was really struggling, I knew I had to talk to someone, when I got this number I knew I couldn’t ignore it, so the next morning I made the hardest phone call of life, but a phone call that started the process of rebuilding my life and recovering myself.

A couple of months ago I happened on a fan website for Tenth Avenue North, on that site were a number of testimonies from fans of how the band’s music had help in their lives, on the top of this list was a post from the very girl who handed over her razor blade, I joined the website and sent her a message, telling how her story had help me, I got a very touching message back.

It’s amazing how the action of a young girl over 4000 miles away can inspire a moment in one persons life, not only that I have retold her story to others and this very weekend that story has helped inspire another to turn her life over to God and ask him to take away the pain of self-harm and I am glad to say she is winning the fight.

This girl had a blog, which I started to read, it was then that I decided to start this blog.  It was once again her inspiration, her openness on her blog and her willingness to post what she was going through, that inspired my to do this for my story.

I am sure this young girl didn’t think she was a hero, the day she handed over her razor blade, but to me she most certainly is.