The summer of 2002 I hit rock bottom. I had messed up my life, my husband had just left me and I was suffering with fibromyalgia. The fibromyalgia was so painful, I could barely get out of bed. I would tremble in the middle of the night. I would have to crawl around before I could walk. The muscles had to be massaged out every morning before I could think about going to work.
I thought about ending my life. I was wondering if I killed myself, would my body just sit in a grave or is there really life after death?
One day on the way to the doctor, I had an out of body experience. I found myself floating above my car. I could see the top of my head, the steering wheel and the trees and telephone wires going by. When I arrived at the doctors office, I shut the door and I entered back into my body. God used this experience to answer the questions in my heart and show me that I had a spirit that would live on after death.
God didn''t abandon me. True character was being developed in the dark rooms of my life. He showed me that there''s something beyond this world that is worth it. Although I was suffering, I was surrounded by beauty. But there seemed to be an invisible barrier keeping me separated from it.
The only thing keeping me alive was the glimmer of hope that I experienced while photographing children.
I was raised in a Christian home, but by the time I was married, I abandoned my faith. It wasn''t long before I gave into deception and found myself on a path of destruction. I focused intensely on building my career as a professional photographer. I denied my faith in God and relied on myself -- my own efforts to get me through life.
As my husband and I grew further apart, we turned to drinking and avoided issues instead of confronting them. He would party all night with his buddies and I would return the favor. This went on for quite some time. One night I rolled over and bumped into him, realizing I hadn''t seen him for over two weeks. I was filled with rage. I went out and had an affair out of revenge.
The weight of guilt and shame was unbearable. I cried every day and sank deep into depression. I developed severe anxiety, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia and a host of other problems which made it almost impossible to function. I wasn''t able to sleep more than a couple hours at a time. I couldn''t hold down my food. I could feel my blood moving in all my veins.
The emotional, mental and physical pain I was in brought me inward. I couldn''t express what was happening to me. I just knew the life as I have known it was about to end. It didn''t seem like there was any reason to live.
My friend got married and on the way back from her wedding, I pulled the car over because it was unsafe for me and others if I continued driving. I felt my kidney and liver and bodily functions starting to shut down. I noticed that I was in front of a resort. I knew I needed help, but I also had a death wish, so I pulled out my note pad and started to write a note to leave behind. I decided to finally end my life.
I wondered who I should leave the letter for. I decided to address the suicide letter to God. To my amazement, I found myself pouring out my heart. The words reflected repentance and a desperate cry for help. I said, "I''m sorry for what I''ve done in my life and I''m sorry for what I''m about to do."
As I wrote … as I started to weep ... then suddenly ... it seemed like time stood still. I began noticing every little detail. The wind stopped blowing; the birds stopped chirping; the clouds stopped rolling and the water stopped flowing.
Then like a movie reel, everything went back into motion. It was like a brand new life started. Slowly at first, then faster and faster. Everything seemed surreal, like I had just entered into another dimension. My eyes were opened like I was seeing for the very first time. Everything was amazing. The world was so beautiful.
A cool breeze came by and when it touched me it got warm. Something like electricity entered my chest. There was a thick radiant presence all around me.
A sense of peace overwhelmed me, and I was filled with amazing love. Love for life, love for the world and it''s beauty and even love for those who had wronged me. I had true love for my enemies, the same kind of love that held Christ to the cross. He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they''re doing.” I knew for sure that Jesus is alive. If He wasn''t, there''s no way I could feel this way.
As time went on, I wanted to show the world what happened to me that day and illustrate it in my own language, through the gift of photography.
Children gave me new eyes with which to see the world. It became my creative outlet of communication. Their joy was pure water, their laughter became a beam of hope. They taught me about rediscovery - putting my mind back into perspective.
The beauty of this story is I wanted to die, and I did. To my old life that is. Through faith in Christ, He gave me a new heart and a new beginning. Because of His amazing love, I can show others just how important even just One Life is to this world.
I tell you the truth, unless you humble yourself and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. (Matt 18:3)