It was Christmas Day 1992. A seventeen-year-old girl sat alone in a small apartment, located in the dismal industrial suburb of Berlin, Germany. Motionless she stared at her exposed wrist, agonizing over one thought - consumed by the desire to end it all. Giving way to emotional pain blurred the clarity of her perception, causing her to believe, "there is no hope", and "it will never get better."
Only 2 1/2 years earlier, her life had been transformed, when she committed herself to Christ. Immediately the joy of a soul set free was mixed with the repercussions she felt, as her step-father revealed his hatred for God. Living under the same roof, she would hear his endless salve of curses from the neighboring room, when she invited friends over for a Bible-study. He would scream and yell, should she have the audacity to pray out loud before a meal. Finally she decided to leave this verbally abusive situation by flying to Australia.
Here she hoped for a new start, living with her father and his new wife. These dreams were short-lived, when, after a matter of days, she heard her step-mother utter the words, "I wish you were dead!" Ten days after her arrival, she found herself in the passenger seat of her dad's van. "Where shall I drop you off?" he demanded, refusing contact for the next fifteen years.
Turning to the church for help, she found refuge in the home of a local elder. In him she experienced the father-figure she had always longed for. Mistaking this for a romantic relationship, her host-mother revealed her antagonism to her, saying, "I wish you had never been born!", and insisting that her husband send this girl away.
Broken and humiliated by her perceived failure, she returned to Berlin, thinking that she might be received back into her stepfather's home. When he offered to pay for a one way ticket back to Australia, with the expressed desire, never to see her again, an acquaintance gave her the use of his one-room apartment for the duration of his three month business trip.
So here she sat, abandoned and depressed, mulling over the hurtful words, which cut into her being to such an extent, that the destructive thought of a physical cut to end all pain, seemed like a soothing promise. "No-one wants me to live" was the demonic mantra in her head, when suddenly a different voice broke through the darkness: "Even if no-one else wants you to live, I do. I have made you, my plans for you are to prosper you, and I will never forget you."
God, who had pierced the darkness of the world, by sending his son 2000 years before, pierced the darkness of my own life that Christmas. Yes, if you had not guessed it before, this is my own story. Just like after my conversion, life did not immediately get easier. Two weeks later, when the apartment was re-claimed, I checked myself into an orphanage, in order to have the financial support to graduate from high-school. Still. God's truth instantly changed everything. No matter what lay ahead, I knew, "He loves me, he desires me, I want to live for him alone." Suddenly, nothing else mattered.
Isaiah 60:2 "See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you."
For further thought:
Christmas is a terrible time to be alone. Is there anyone among your acquaintances who might be without family? Consider including them in your Christmas festivities.