JON'S STORY

I grew up Catholic throughout my childhood, and my view about religion and God were pretty basic, but it never felt real to me. I kind of “grew up in the Christian home,” but of course that never really kept me on guard for what the world threw at me throughout the course of my life.

Throughout my life I tried to figure out my purpose in everything, and to find the deepest meaning to be alive and to understand my existence. There have been many seasons of winters in my life where it was too tough to handle, and I had a bad habit of keeping everything to myself, and not speaking to anyone about my problems. Inside my mind I thought, “Why would anyone care?” I was stuck in a mentality that continued to ruin me. There was a voice telling me, “You’re worthless!” “You’re not good enough!” “You’re not going anywhere in life!” “You’re pathetic!” And with that I believed a lie. All of this was completely messing me up inside. I did feel worthless. I felt I was never good enough for anything. I felt I wasn’t going anywhere with my life, and I did feel pathetic. That was the reality that I was living in.

I felt worthless, hopeless, angry, bitter, selfish, alone, empty, numb, confused, and frustrated.

I started to fall into depression as a teenager, and it went on throughout college. I felt worthless, hopeless, angry, bitter, selfish, alone, empty, numb, confused, and frustrated. Even though I had many people in my life such as family and friends…something was missing. There was a huge void in my heart and of course most times I would fill that void by seeking out things that would only satisfy me temporarily. From drinking, partying, bad friendships, pornography, to hooking up…it all left me empty and broken. It would be anything to make me feel “alive” for a moment, but really everything was making me dead. I wanted an escape. I was dying inside. I was seriously mentally and emotionally isolated. I thought I could never be free from this. That’s when suicidal thoughts came into play from time to time.

But this is where God stepped in at my lowest low. He was relentless with me. I remember the first time I attended the college group at Eastside. I didn’t know what to expect. I remember being hesitant of going, but I went anyways. I remember meeting Ian, former college/young adult pastor, and really great people my age. But that night really changed my life. God showed up big that night and I was really moved by the experience I had that night with God. If He wasn’t in my life, I for sure would not be alive.

The past three years since that time have been quite a journey. There still have been struggles along the way, but going through them have been a lot easier than before. God has been with me through situation after situation and has guided me in experiences that I wouldn’t have imagined. I’ve seen Him work through people around me and through me. From working with a ministry that helps teens and young adults with depression and all sorts of issues to serving and leading in high school and college ministries at Eastside, it is something I am still speechless and in awe about because I never saw myself being in a place where I am. A lot has happened in a short amount of time with the past several years. I have learned a lot about life, people, myself, and God, and I am still learning ‘til this day. I’m definitely not the same person I was three years ago. This is my story so far and it isn’t over yet…

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4