It's the truth.
For too long, I believed the lies that were fed into my mind by both advertisements and people who had no place in my life. The lies were planted, and I watered them. I let them grow. I allowed them to consume my mind like kudzu. This killed my confidence. And, in a way, it killed me. [if you're interested, this post relays basically my entire story. I have numerous other posts pertaining to my story hiding in my archives. If you have an hour or five to kill and want to sift through the deep recesses of my blog, be my guest. But I don't expect it. This blog's been up for over two years now. There's a lot on it. But, I digress.]
What do I mean... killed me?
What I mean is, it killed my spirit. The creative, happy, confident person God created me to be. In a very real sense, I gave up. At age 14, I considered myself largely a failure. My freshman year of high school was riddled with examples of my apathy towards life and success. It's a true miracle that my mother only made me repeat one or two classes. And the classes I had to repeat I wasn't required to have four years worth of in order to graduate from high school. That meant I still graduated right on time. God's grace is so evident even in that. He could have made me stay back an extra year. But he used my brokenness, apathy, and sinfulness to teach me and bring glory to Himself. Approaching my sophomore year of college, I look back on this time and am in awe of how magnificent my Savior is and how much He loves me.
But even four years later, I am still picking up the pieces. In one year of apathy, I lost nearly everything about myself that made me me. I replaced my love of reading with an internet addiction. I merely went through the motions with my art and music. Things I absolutely loved and was created with the ability to excel in (things that would last) were cast aside for the immediate. I discovered the "magic" of logging onto any internet site and getting immediate satisfaction. I found numerous pictures and comics all containing funny quips, quotes, and observations that I could spend my time laughing at and relating to without having to do any real work. I created a new world for myself in an online game that became more important to me than my real life. I neglected what I loved because I had to work for the satisfaction. I thought immediate satisfaction would be better.
As I'm sure you can deduce, it wasn't.
And in abandoning my earthly hobbies and past times, I ended up turning from my Savior. Yes, I believe that when I accepted Christ at the age of 11 that was the real thing. In that time, I did grow some and did learn more about my Savior. But I kept one part of my heart "off-limits." Obviously there is no place that is off-limits to God. But I resisted Him working in that part of my heart. And that part I wouldn't give up was everything I just relayed to you.
I need to pause and say something. As one who has been there, if you're reading this and you are there, do not give up. Please, do not believe the lie that says that fighting isn't worth it. It is. It takes work, but that's why it's worth it. Please, trust what I am telling you. Because what I am saying is coming from someone who has been through this. And I can tell you it gets better. Read on.
Through several different circumstances that opened my eyes and heart, I began giving God back every bit of my heart. I would be lying if I told you it is not a near-daily struggle to leave everything in God's hands. As far as I've come, as confident as I am again, there are some days I look in the mirror and wonder if anyone cares. I know people do. But I am also very much aware of how small I am compared to the rest of the universe. The fact that Someone so great as God loves me enough to know the exact number of hairs on my head, gather every tear I cry and call them precious, and listen to and answer every prayer I pray is astounding. Every time I think about it, I become awe-struck. And it is then that I remember that no matter how few people there are on earth who think I matter (or how few people I tell myself there are) nothing compares to mattering to God. The love of man dims in the light of being loved by God. If I had no one on earth, I would still have God. And He is enough.
He created me with a specific plan for my life. He knew exactly what my name would be, what I would look like, who I would marry, what my job would be, and who and what I would love before time even began. Every second of my life was already made known to Him. Incredible, isn't it?
There is no one else on earth exactly like me. There may those who share my name (with the unusualness of mine, this probability is lower for me than others, but it's still very real) but there is no one out there who looks exactly like me, is just as tall as me, has all the same quirks, hobbies, experiences, likes, dislikes, friends, family and so much more all put together. I may share bits and pieces with others, and that is often what makes them my friends. But there is no one else like me in the entire world.
There is only one Autumn Rose Johnson, born October 16, 1993.
Her eyes are colored a mix of her mother's and father's eyes... blue from her mother and speckles of green from her father.
Her hair is mostly brown mixed with black, blond, and red.
She is near-sighted. Her left eye is the weaker eye.
She is completely left-side dominant (save her left eye).
When she smiles, you can see her slightly crooked, lopsided teeth. One of the front ones has a natural chip.
She loves music. She took piano lessons for over ten years, violin for a year and a half, and wants to teach herself guitar. She can often be seen with her headphones in, music flowing through her mind.
She loves art. She took oil painting for over six years and owns an extensive collection of colored pencils as well as a sketchbook waiting to be filled.
She loves to be active. Every time she goes out and swims, runs, or bikes she returns with the satisfaction of having completed a good workout.
She is a health nut. Vegetables are her favorite food and she could probably subsist on purely those if it weren't for steak, bacon, grilled chicken, chocolate, cantaloupe, and frozen yogurt.
She loves books. She can consume an average-sized book in one day.
She loves to learn. She looks forward to school so she can glean knowledge from teachers she looks up to and admires.
She has odd little quirks about her that make her awkward, nerdy, and (she hopes) lovable.
She is known by multiple funny nicknames, her favorites being Otto and Leprechaun.
She is a happy girl with an unbreakable spirit.
But most importantly, she is a child of God. She was created to fulfill a specific purpose to further the cause of Christ. She is completely in love with her Savior and wants to live to serve Him.
That is the me that almost completely disappeared. Some of it (the music, the art, the activeness, the heath nut, the reader, the learner) has not yet completely come back yet. The habits I had formed as a child (besides the exercise and health nut. That's relatively new. But much needed) were broken one by one in my year of apathy. But with God's help, I'm bringing them back. I have consumed many books this summer and look forward to consuming many more before summer ends. I pick up my sketch book on occasion, and often (okay, always) doodle in the margins of my hand-written class notes. I have begun listening to music again although I am still working towards sitting in front of the piano and picking up my guitar again. I am eating healthier than I have ever eaten in my entire life. I have an exercise plan ready once my needed resources are before me (and they will be in a month or less. I can't wait). Slowly but surely, bit by bit, God is giving me the strength to reconstruct me.
So if you're still reading this, if you made it to the end:
Please realize I didn't write this to tell you how cool I am
Or why you should think I'm awesome
I wrote this because I believe this something God does not want me to keep to myself.
My battle is one that thousands of young women fight every day.
If you're reading this, and you are one of those who is fighting this battle:
You are not alone.
I have been through this--I understand how it feels.
But I also know that it can be overcome.
But it's not something you can do on your own.
You need strength that can only come from God in order to overcome.
You need strength that can only come from God in order to overcome.
God is empowering me to be the best Autumn Rose I can be. And it's all for Him.
He wants to empower you too. Run to Him. His arms are wide open. Waiting.
To God be the glory, for He has done, is doing, and will continue to do great things.
I will extol thee, O Lord;
for thou hast lifted me up,
and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried unto thee,
and thou hast healed me.
O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave:
thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his,
and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life:
weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong:
thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.
I cried to thee, O Lord; and unto the Lord I made supplication.
What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit?
Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?
Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing:
thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.
To be nobody but yourself in a world
which is doing its best, night and day,
to make you everybody else
means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight;
and never stop fighting.
e. e. cummings