A valuable lesson I have learned—and continue to learn—is to trust God. When my life goes in an unplanned direction, my first instinct is to fix it by myself. How can I make things better? What did I do to get into this situation? How do I change it? While we do choose our own actions, and we should be intentional about those actions, there are things that we cannot do without God. There have been times where more God-reliance than self-reliance would have saved me a world of hurt.

When I was twelve, I had to trust God in a different way than I had before. From kindergarten through grade six, I attended a private Christian school. Beginning with seventh grade, I was homeschooled. My three brothers and I, along with my mother, were inside our house from sunup to sundown some days. My mother had a lot on her plate (two teenagers and two small children), and I was not very compliant. “Rebellious” was my middle name, and I wore it as a badge of honor.

Church wasn’t a desirable place for me, either. I believed there was a God, but I didn’t care to know Him. I was insecure, awkward, and never felt like I had a place in the youth group. To me, Sundays and Wednesday nights seemed a waste of time. I resented my parents for homeschooling me, blaming my lonely and insecure feelings on them—and that didn’t vouch for God in my eyes. If God was good, why did I cry myself to sleep all the time? If God loved and cared for me as much as my parents said He did, then why wouldn’t He change their minds about homeschooling? In my mind, homeschooling seemed to be the root of my problems, causing the lonely and angry feelings in my heart. I couldn’t handle my emotions, and everything that seemed negative equaled “wrong.” So, for years I tried to keep what I was thinking and feeling to myself. My parents could make me stay in the house until I graduated, but it wouldn’t make me like it—or them.

These thoughts grew and grew until I couldn’t understand what I was feeling anymore. They festered in my mind like rotting flesh until it started to make every part of me sick. I became depressed, hopeless that I would never feel anything but despair again. I thought maybe I was made to feel this way, or my life wasn’t worth living. Day after day from the time I was twelve until sixteen, I was in a personal hell of my own mind, unknowing how to get out and unwilling to ask for help. I could put it on the back burner for a while when youth camps came along, or if someone was visiting—yet every night it would still be there.

I was fighting this battle in my mind and losing, dying a little every day. This continued to the point where I began planning to commit suicide. When I look back on it all, it seems so trivial, but at the time I could think of nothing but being without the pain. One Sunday morning during a church service, I remember thinking over and over, “God, please help me!” But my resolve hardened, and I wrote this entry in my journal: “This week I am going to kill myself.”

The thing is, even when I decided I was done fighting, God wasn’t.

The thing is, even when I decided I was done fighting, God wasn’t. He heard my prayers and gave me a few moments of clarity, just enough to tell my mother what I was planning to do. In that moment, at that point of desperation where I finally asked God to step in, is when I felt like living again.

Looking back over my teenage years, I realize that when I first started feeling lonely or angry, I should have brought it to God. I didn’t know how I was going to make it out of that time of my life. I was overwhelmed and unhappy, and those feelings weren’t something I should have tried to handle on my own.

What I thought was the problem—homeschooling—ended up being my salvation. The friends I’d had at the private school started experimenting with drugs; I wanted nothing to do with church; and I defied my parents in any way I could. Those three things together could have pulled me away from God to the point where I would never have turned back. The pain I went through quite possibly saved my soul, even if it seemed like the worst thing in my life.

The pain I went through quite possibly saved my soul, even if it seemed like the worst thing in my life.

I could never have imagined how happy I am now. The relationship with my parents has mended, I have wonderful friends, and most importantly, I have a strong relationship with Jesus Christ.

God created us with souls in need of Him; there is no shame in admitting we need His help. As much as it stirs up my pride to say, I cannot handle everything on my own. We are not made to handle everything that comes into our lives—we are created to rely on God. He knows our needs, and if we trust Him to take care of us, He will.


Regan Coltharp was born and raised in Aurora, Illinois, a metro suburb of Chicago. This article was reposted from Reflections magazine UPCI.



    You were so blessed to have been raised by Christian parents and to go to a Christian school and then be homeschooled. I know you see that now and I am so glad for you. I know that I would have felt similar emotions if I’d been in your shoes.
    God finds us somewhere and some how even if we’re not sure which way is up.
    Thank you for sharing your story. God bless you abundantly.