The problems began when I was in grade school. I remember the overwhelming anxiety that would greet me every morning the moment I opened my eyes. Dread filled my body as I lay in bed staring at the ceiling. My stomach would be tied in knots as I sat at the breakfast table unable to eat my food. I was terrified to go to school. The anxiety came from fear that the teacher would call on me to read aloud in class, answer a question, or worse yet, have me come to the board and solve a math equation in front of everyone. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy being in front of people. I loved being the center of attention and had many friends. I was by no means a shy girl. Only in the classroom did I struggle with being in front of a crowd.
Words seemed to scramble on the page before my eyes as the anxiety would mount. I feared the embarrassment that would come from not being able to read a word correctly, and I felt the greatest frustration when I would read a paragraph and not be able to comprehend what I had just read. The worst days of all were test days. No matter how hard I studied the material I couldn’t seem to choose the right answer on multiple choice question tests. As soon as the test would be handed out, the nerves would mount, and the sweat would come. As I looked down at the questions, my memory would vanish, and I couldn’t recall anything I had studied. My parents and teachers were puzzled and became frustrated because they knew that I knew the test material, but no one felt nearly the amount of frustration I had toward myself.
I began to see counselors, and eventually my parents took me to Texas Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital hoping to find some answers. All day I looked at pictures and told the doctors what I saw, read sentences aloud, and put pictures in the order in which they happened. I was shown a sequence of pictures and then they would take them away and ask me to recall the order, but I couldn’t seem to remember.
The doctors discovered that I had an overanxious disorder. There was also concern that I had ADHD so they first prescribed a medication called Adderall and eventually Ritalin. After both of these medications caused me to become more anxious than calm, they concluded that I did not have any form of ADHD but only overanxious disorder.
The problems continued and the amount of frustration I felt toward myself became overwhelming. I was angry with myself. I started hearing phrases in my head such as, “You are stupid!” and “You’re worthless, why can’t you be normal like everyone else!” I began to hate myself and this was when the suicidal thoughts began.
I would think about different ways to kill myself. I thought about the quickest way to do it and what would cause the least amount of pain. One night the thoughts were so overwhelming and powerful it terrified me. I wanted to go downstairs to wake my mother, but I was frozen with fear in my bed. The anxiety I felt everyday was becoming unbearable. I was almost always nauseated. The thought of living with anxiety, nausea, and self-loathing thoughts for the rest of my life was too much for me to think about. To end it all by taking my life seemed like the easiest way out.
This continued up until I left for college. My parents and I both agreed that a small school would suit me better than a large university. My parents were concerned about my learning disabilities and how I would handle being in a large classroom. When Howard Payne University came into the conversation it was definitely not my first choice. I loved to dance and had been the captain of my dance team in high school. I was hoping to study dance in college. The idea of going to a small Baptist university was not what I had in mind, but it was definitely what the Lord had in mind!
It seemed as if God worked everything out and made the path to Howard Payne clear and easy. One of my best friends from high school was also planning on attending Howard Payne, and we decided to become roommates. Having a familiar face accompany me along an unfamiliar road was comforting and ultimately helped me make my decision to choose Howard Payne University.
Mid-way through my first year at Howard Payne, a friend told me about a Bible study on campus led by Angie. From the first time I attended I was intrigued by the excitement and depth in which Angie taught and ministered. I began to feel a hunger like never before to learn more about God’s Word. I became addicted to reading the Bible. As I read the New Testament I discovered that Jesus spent a lot of time healing all those who were sick and casting out demons. As I discovered new scriptures, I would take them to Angie for discussion. For the first time I realized that I did not have to struggle with depression, suicidal thoughts, or even anxiety which caused my learning disabilities. Jesus was my answer. For the first time I was beginning to see that He not only died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins but also that I could live a whole and full life here on earth. Free from all the oppression I was feeling every day when I woke up. After feeling such heaviness for so long it was an amazing feeling just to know that Jesus could and would take my burden, my yoke, and in return I could take His, for the Scripture said His burden was easy and it was light!
Sitting in Angie's living room they began to pray with me. We bound every oppressive evil spirit in the name of Jesus and commanded them to leave my mind. We said out loud that every suicidal and anxious thought must leave my mind in the name of Jesus. Immediately my body began to loosen and relax. As every minute went by I began to feel freer and freer. After we prayed together, I went home that night full of excitement and hope. The voice in my head that continually called me stupid was no longer there. I slept in total peace that night.
From that day on, things began to change. I no longer felt anxious at the thought of going to class. I actually looked forward to it! One of my greatest achievements was my last year in college. The final exam for my Greek class asked that I recite the entire Lord’s prayer in Greek. Before, my biggest area of struggle and frustration was my memory and comprehension of what I read. I had previously had a difficult time remembering things in English let alone Greek! I passed the exam with flying colors! It was a breeze, and I remembered every word! I remember that day as one of my greatest victories!
After I graduated from Howard Payne I was hired to work at a Christian university in Virginia Beach. I served as an event coordinator which takes great attention to detail, excellent analytical skills, strong strategic and tactical skills, organization, ability to multi-task, reading and oral comprehension, an excellent memory, and much, much more. All of these areas were areas that I had struggled with as a result of the overanxious disorder, but not anymore! The job came naturally to me, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The largest event I coordinated for the university was the National Christian Forensics and Communications Association’s 2008 Virginia National Open Tournament. I coordinated meeting space, volunteers and equipment for the event involving over 2,000 people. This particular event was the largest event the university had ever hosted. Before leaving this position to marry a wonderful man of God and start a new life with him, I was given an award for the work I did there and was later asked to return to help with another event.
I want to add that it was not just one prayer that caused deliverance and freedom to consistently be displayed in my life. I am living a life of victory, but there were areas and times of struggle. I have to remain in God’s Word everyday and continually go back to my leaders for prayer and encouragement to continue.
Everyday is an exciting new day with the Lord! I am grateful to Him for offering freedom through deliverance. I cannot imagine where I would be today without Him!