This past Sunday, we had the privilege of hearing Lee Ann's story in our All-Congregational Gathering. Lee Ann was baptized in late 2015, and - as we're hoping to see for everyone we baptize - she was willing to share her story on our blog.
Roughly a year ago, I hit rock bottom; I was sitting in my bedroom, counting pills, attempting to determine the right number I would need to overdose. Coming off of over a year as a functional alcoholic and a number of abusive relationships, my life was chaos. I’ve battled mental illness since I was 17 years old, and the last eight years were filled with substance use and abuse, empty and volatile relationships, and overall self-destruction.
With little direction or purpose, I threw myself into a setting I knew well – school. Within a week of deciding to move, to Indy, I had enrolled in Butler’s graduate counseling program and accepted a new job as a social worker in Marion County. I was ready for a fresh start, but old habits continued to follow me: I found myself once again turning to drugs, alcohol and sexual “intimacy,” always looking for my next fix. Memorial Day weekend I woke up, hung over and exhausted, and finally admitted that I couldn’t continue to sustain this lifestyle. I realized the problem in my life was me, and no matter where I ran, I always took myself along for the ride.
I had been pointed to Soma by a woman that had helped lead my Bible study in college and quickly found a familiar face on the first Sunday I attended in June; I began to dig into Scripture and community, though I still wasn't if they were for me. The people seemed nice and the words sounded great, but I wasn’t all in. From the outside, it looked like everyone had it all together with perfect, neat, joy-filled lives ... and then there was me, still twisted as ever, the proverbial black sheep.
After attending for a couple of weeks, I took a weekend off to return to my college town with a few friends and I was raped. The worst part wasn’t the assault, though; it was the feeling that this was it: that I would always be this person, dirty and disposable. I came back to Indy and tried my best to forget about it, until one night I disclosed the assault to a friend I had met at Soma. Their reaction was the first one I had felt of genuine compassion and support, rather than judgment and questions I didn’t have the answers to. My relationships at Soma, in many ways, saved my life. For the first time I felt people coming around and caring for me in a way that I not only began to enjoy life, but to wholeheartedly want to live it.
As I began to commit myself more to my relationship with Christ, I felt the Spirit move in my life and could see how God was redeeming my story. I recognized how long the Lord had been pursuing me – from the tattoo I got when I was 19, a permanent reminder of the first time I heard the Gospel; or the songs that have gotten stuck in my head over the years; to the relationships carefully placed in my path. The Lord was making His presence known even when I refused to acknowledge His existence.
I felt the call to be baptized and become a member at Soma to celebrate and honor the incredible work the Lord has begun in my heart and world through this community. While my natural reaction is to push people and pain away, I have found brothers and sisters that not only seek to fully know me, but consistently point me towards Christ and who I am in Him.