Stories of Hope: Jeff

by: Jeff Wolsleger

@jeff.wols

I’ve always been known for a guy who has strong faith, hope and love, but it isn't always easy keeping those three alive in times of darkness. When depression hit me, it hit me like a brick wall, I remember times when holding my gun on my bed ready to end my life. Believing this was for the best, I was tricked into the biggest lie of all time, that I was a worthless and I was a burden on others. I never did pull the trigger but I have wound up in the hospital trying to take my own life. The single most selfish act on earth is to take your own life, it takes the pain inside of you and puts it on everyone else. Thats something I am not willing to do because I am not selfish. I guess I never did give up hope because I'm still alive sharing this with you. Hope is the last line of defense against suicide and beating depression. I put everything I had back into God, I turned my life back around and said, “Here I am. Here is everything. I am yours Lord. I surrender to your will.” Hope in things get better, and they do get better!

There is this void inside my heart. I used to have God there, and life was good. Then in life I pushed God aside and started filling the void in my heart with my own desires thinking I knew what was best. Oh boy was I ever wrong! Addicted to pornography and alcohol for over 15 years, nicotine for 10 years. I remember at some of my darkest times in school I was sleeping with prostitutes and cheating on my girlfriend. I wanted to kill myself after every time. I became exactly who I hated! The void was still not being filled. Suicide sure didn’t do it either. Relationships, nope! Money felt good for a while until you realize all you have is money but you still have that void. I tried everything to fill this void almost… but I never thought God would be able to fill it. It wasn’t until a break-up that nearly killed me that got me crawling back to Him. He picked me up and filled the void instantly. Life was restored in me. I was no longer the person I was who walked this earth for the past 15 years. I was reborn and now I know that God is the only one who can fill that void inside of us.

Christmas is one of the hardest times for people because while some people have it all, some people have nothing. Someone could be getting married while someone else is getting a divorce. Someone might be having a child while someone else is burying their loved one. Someone might be getting everything while someone is getting nothing. It's not a fair time of year that's for sure, but guess what, we aren't alone! Don’t give up this holiday season. Cling to what is good. I can’t stress enough that you are not alone! You are loved! You are important! I don’t know what you are going through and I may not understand, but I understand this, I understand pain. Seeking help is not a weakness, it's a strength! Please keep hope alive this Christmas season. It does get better.

I used to be full of shame because of who I was, but thats just it, it's who I was. It's not who I am anymore. My old friends and ex’s know the old me, the shameful me, they haven't made time for the new person, the shameless person. Shame kept me down, and that's what it wants to do, keep you down and guilty. Keep you quiet and shut up. We have a loving Father who frees us from that shame. Maybe it's pride we have to admit we were wrong or need help. Let it go! Get rid of that shame and pride. You are forgiven! You will never fully be able to live if you carry that shame on you.

Your story is important as TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms) would say and I completely agree with them. It's scary as anything to share your story. It's your story, it's the private things no one knows about you. It's your secrets. Tell your story, stand up tall and stand it. You have the obligation to tell your story. For one, you need to share it to free yourself from the guilt and shame. And for two, others need to hear it. You maybe never know the full impact of your story on someone else, but I can assure you right now, it will impact and help someone. I have numerous random strangers tell me I need to share my story and they didn’t even know my story. Since I put aside my shame, my pride, my guilt, oh has it ever been freeing. Sure I have gotten grief from it and people saying it's for the likes, it's just a show, it's for sympathy. I have ten times more positive reactions coming in though. People just adding me on FB and other messaging me and emailing me about how they can relate and its helped them to read it. Replies to posts and direct messages, random interactions with strangers. It's beautiful! I will never stop sharing my story because I know the power in a story, in your story. So go share your story. Go free yourself. Go help someone else. Your story matters.

Jeff