IMG_5102Hi, My name is Lydia and I am 18. I have gone through a lot in such a short period of time. I tell this story to show how great God is and what He can do through broken people. This also is a reminder to myself that God can do extraordinary things in broken times but also in good times. God is not a Doctor, who you only see when your sick or when something’s wrong. God wants to be your best friend who helps you through the tough times but also laughs with you through the good times.

To start off I was born and lived in Costa Rica as a Missionary Kid until I was 3. I am in the middle of 6 siblings and with so many of them, I was usually behind the spotlight. I was never the smartest or the most athletic in my family and I didn’t even find my true talent until high school, art.

8th grade is when I officially became a follower of Christ at a church camp in Roach Missouri. With that important event I never actually start living for Christ for a few years. On October 11th 2014 I received a severe concussion. The next day I went to a neurologist and would return to see him every six weeks. Every visit was so frustrating to me because the neurologist said my migraines would go away after a week, but that never happened.  My parents hated the fact that the doctor would give me high intensity drugs just to see if maybe that would fix the problem.

Because of my migraines, my grades dropped dramatically. I never felt like I could keep up with my straight-A brothers and sisters. With all of the stress I was in and because I couldn’t change my situation, I became very depressed. It first started by locking myself in my room, quitting cross-country, and never really conversing with many people at school. With my clouded mindset, it was easy to feel alone. I hid it from my family and friends and cutting became my outlet of my stress. I blamed myself for anything that didn’t go perfectly. I learned a lot of dark habits with cutting, lying was one of them. After all I was a missionary kid who I thought was supposed to be super spiritual and perfect.

I’ve learned that being depressed and so close to giving up gives you tunnel vision. I could only see all the imperfections and all of the fear I had, I never once saw the love that my family and friends gave me. As the cutting got worse so did my depression. I attempted suicide twice and almost a third time. Being that close to death is such a scary thing, especially when it’s by your own hand.

freedomThrough my dark encounters with death, I am learning to Love God to becoming obedient to the point of death. To think, Jesus emptied himself to become a servant. “ He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death”(Philippians 2:8). I struggle with being humble or even being obedient to God, but Jesus did not only because he was told to, but also because he loves me. To think how many people who would die to save someone else? Death is a scary thing but Jesus died not because it was His only choice, He chose to die so I didn’t have to. Following Jesus is not about being a good person it’s about trusting Him.

My healing started when Christie Love, the coordinator of the Local LeadHer chapter at the time invited me to coffee. Our relationship quickly grew into a mentorship and God used her to challenge me and to help me overcome my depression and me fears. She invited to become a part of LeadHer, which gave me a place to connect with others, to find my voice and share my story.
Healing from injuries take a while to fully be back to normal, Healing from sin is the same way. God shows us one step at a time how to follow him out of the scars. My next big step after facing my fears was looking toward the future. I had hard decisions to make about where I was going to school or even what is my purpose in life. The funny part is even when you look towards the future it never turns out exactly how you thought. In high school they tell you go to college and then you’ll have a future. With that said I made the typical plan to go to a four-year university and pursue a double major in Fashion Design and International business. As a Christian I connected fashion with modesty and maybe that will help the world. I later realized that God has a bigger plan and purpose for my life than I do.

I’ve been reading Philippians and while Paul was inLydia (SGF N) prison he wrote to the Philippians saying “What has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12). So with looking back at all the darkness of my past, I can do what Paul did and say that my story will shine a light to people who are ashamed of their story like I used to be.

Today I am living in Des Moines Iowa working to get my residency for school the next fall.  I believe I’m here to start a LeadHer chapter and show that women as young as I am can make a difference in the world. This will be my second year of having migraines; I look at it as just another challenge God has put for me. Through everything I have learned I hope my story has inspired you to go and do what God has called you to do.