Written by Barbara Alpert

I lost my dad to suicide at the age of five. Shortly after that a family member started sexually abusing me. Several years later I lost my step dad to a horrible fire that destroyed our home. We were left with nothing except for haunting memories.  Later, I turned to drinking to ease the pain that tormented me day in and day out and also developed a disorder called BDD – Body Dysmorphic Disorder . The abuse and scars from my past made me think I was the ugliest person alive. All I desired was to take my life just like my dad had.

No matter how much I tried to get better, I kept falling flat on my face. The unbearable anxiety and suicidal thoughts occupied my soul. The ugly reflection from my mirror flooded my mind with atrocious lies. You are never going to get well! You will remain living with this hell! You will never escape and be free! I picked up drinking again, hoping to find relief. Escaping from the monster in the mirror forced me to run towards things even more gruesome.

I needed a way out

Then one night my turbulent way of living caught up with me. I couldn’t handle my extreme highs, lows, and the stack of baffling conditions I juggled. I didn’t want to continue on the wild roller coaster ride any longer. I couldn’t handle the disabling hours in the bathroom, nor tolerate the self-destructive behavior in the bars. I felt ashamed of my life and needed the madness to end. Out of dire desperation, I prayed to God.

“God, I don’t want to wake up to see another day. I’d rather be dead! If you must keep me alive, then you have to help me get better. Please rescue me from this misery! God, let me die!”

To my surprise, when I awoke the following morning, I prayed to God to guide me into a church. It was Sunday morning and for some odd reason I longed to be in his presence. I fought a dreadful conflict in the bathroom as I prepared myself to get ready. The tormenting obsessions nearly destroyed me but I survived the onslaught, the hideous grooming ritual.

As I got into my car, a strange feeling encompassed me. I had no idea which church I was heading to. As I drove down the street, it felt as though a gentle hand was chauffeuring me. I pulled up along the side of an unfamiliar church. I hesitated for a moment, deciding whether to park my car or not. Is this the one? Look at all the people. Will they stare at me because I’m ugly? Should I go in or not? Within a few seconds, an incredible sensation empowered me, urging me inside.

Finding relief in a church

As I walked towards the entrance, several parishioners greeted me with open arms. This made me feel welcomed, so relieved. I found a seat and immediately participated in the singing taking place. I’d never done this before, but my heart longed to connect. The songs were uplifting and joyous.  I cried as I joined in. I don’t recall the exact message spoken, but it infiltrated my heart. As service was about to end, the pastor asked everyone to close their eyes and bow their heads for prayer. After a minute or two of prayer, he announced an altar call, something unfamiliar to me.

He asked, “Is there anyone who would like to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior? Please raise your hand.”

Without hesitation, I raised my hand.  I knew in my heart, right there and then, that I needed Jesus Christ in my life. I had no idea the pastor was going to ask all of us, who raised their hands, to go up for additional prayer. Right away, I walked up to the front. The pastor had me recite a special prayer, accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord.

Shortly after, elders of the church prayed over me. Tears poured down my face as we prayed together. Later, as I walked towards my car, I felt different. I didn’t feel dirty and ugly. I wasn’t troubled! I feel like I was finally alive!

Everything changed

Something inside me vanished. I felt all cleaned up inside. The obsessions and anxiety disappeared. For the first time in years, I felt good about myself in a healthy way, not in a self-destructive manner. I attended church on a weekly basis. I began to break out of the shell I was locked up in. The greatest feeling anyone could ever experience—imagine a prisoner, set free after being wrongfully locked up for over thirty years.

If you feel lost there is hope for you. There is hope for the aching heart that can not love. There is hope to the one that might be thinking about taking their life. Cry out to God and He will send you help.

For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

God is ready to help you right now. Today is the day of salvation.

Do you want to accept Jesus just as Barbara did? All you need to do is pray. Prayer is just talking to God. There is no right or wrong way to do it. God is not concerned about the words that you choose, he cares about the state of your heart. He hears you, the words aren’t that important. You can pray a prayer something like this:

Jesus, I want to know you personally. I know that I am a sinner and that nothing I could do can make up for that. Thank you for dying in my place and paying the price for my sin. I know that my sin doesn’t separate me from God anymore. Thank you for forgiving me. I know that you love me and that I will spend eternity with you. I want you to be my Savior. Come into my life and take control, make me the person you want me to be.

God invites us into relationship with him. He’s not here to condemn, although our sin makes us guilty. God is inviting us back, ready to welcome us home.



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