KENNEDY MARTINEZ

“My story is not the story I chose, it is the one I was given. If I were the narrator, it would be nowhere near as beautiful, nor would it likely glorify the Lord.”

I was raised in a home with two wonderful parents who loved God and desired for me to know him personally. The example of their faith helped me to see the love of Christ and recognize all the ways he would pursue me. What I didn’t anticipate, however, is that I would not be a stranger to trials or hardships in this life.

While living a perfectly controlled life and being involved in our church along with my parents, things suddenly started to unravel. My mom had multiple sclerosis – a terminal illness – and I started having health issues including anxiety and depression. At age 12, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. We also experienced several deaths in the family, and I struggled with self harm and suicidal tendencies. Meanwhile, I was outcast by my youth group and was essentially abandoned by most of my church family. I was suffering.

I tried to fix a lot of things on my own. I still loved Jesus, but I didn’t fully understand why I was given these circumstances. I began going through the motions at church, all the while, becoming angry towards the people who were supposed to love me well, and numb to God, whom I had continued to push away. I felt hopeless and worn down. Then, during a worship night at a conference, the Lord reminded me how he had been there the whole time, just waiting for me to fall back into his arms. He let me see my hardships as suffering, and that he might be asking me to rest in him and be satisfied. After all, Jesus humbled himself as a servant, lived a sinless life, and suffered a death on a criminal’s cross on my behalf. And why did he do that? For the joy set before him. I was loved, and I did have a Savior. Suffering was part of this whole thing, and I had hope in Christ.

Things changed from that day on. I finally trusted that the Lord purposely gives all things for his glory and that I am a vessel in which his Holy Spirit dwells. I trust I have a great purpose on this earth, and despite my vulnerability and hardship, I can enjoy him here and now. There is good in the midst of suffering.

I still struggle with depression and a lot of people often ask, “Do you believe he will heal you from this?” or, “Do you believe he will take this away?” The truth is, I fully know my God is capable of doing anything or healing any ailment, but I also fully believe what Paul reminds us of in Philippians 1. Though I am most eager to join God in heaven and be home in his arms, I also know God is not done with me here, and the same goes for my depression.

I know there will be days where I just want peace and comfort and to finally be whole, but I know God is doing his good in this and he is not yet done with my life. I find such hope in this because even though some days are harder than others, I know God is my rock and he loves me. I hold fast to the truth that the Lord is sufficient for me and he will always have me. He is giving me good gifts, and by suffering, I am being formed into the image of Christ, my Savior.