I remember sitting in the lounge in Tutwiler Hall, I was on call as a Resident Advisor, when my cell phone rang. It was my dad’s friend, I could tell by his voice something was wrong…
I started my on-call shift that night and thought it would be a normal night: finishing homework, talking my residents and co-workers until I was ready to turn in, but that would not be the case. When my dad’s friend called, the next words that came out of his mouth verified my concern. I remember him calmly telling me “Joy, the federal marshals have come to pick up your parents, so your sisters are coming home with us, but don’t worry we will get this figured out.” I remember crying uncontrollably and thinking the past had finally caught up to us. My senior year of high school my parents were found guilty on charges of bribery and money laundering. This was the most humiliating thing to go through as a senior in high school, not because my parents were in local and government newspapers, but because I couldn’t imagine the life I knew without them. My mom is my best friend in the entire world and my dad is everything a girl could want. I didn’t know how I would be able to navigate life and the experiences of life without them.
I kept this secret of mine from everybody around me, except for my immediate family and a few childhood friends who were close to my parents. I was too ashamed to let anyone else in…this was a secret I had to hold onto. Thanksgiving and Christmas that year were the most depressing and emotionally frustrating ones I’ve experienced. More than anything I wanted my mama. She made every holiday memorable and this was the first time we had been apart without constant communication. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse…it did. I returned to school after Christmas, feeling broken, angry, and depressed. I started to believe that God didn’t love me and I questioned why he chose this burden for me. I thought God wasn’t hearing my cries anymore or answering my prayers to restore my family, so I let the enemy take over. I remember buying at least 3 bottles of wine a week and going through them like water. When the wine wasn’t doing it for me anymore, I turned to mixing alcohol and pills.I just wanted to numb the pain. I remember one Friday night I took 3 Benadryl’s and drank a bottle of wine and went to bed. That next morning, I was groggy and my limbs were numb. I heard my residents knocking on my door, telling each other they hoped I was ok. Minutes later my phone rang and it was my friend texting me saying “are you ok? I’m coming up because your residents are scared something is wrong with you.” I replied back “No I’m fine, I took some sleeping pills and couldn’t get up.” I couldn’t let anybody know the pain I was experiencing or see me in my mess. I looked around my room and was disgusted by the sight of empty wine bottles and a dresser full of pills. That was the moment I knew I had more to live for and that God had more for me than this broken place.
Things started to change after that, but I still wasn’t truly happy and the enemy did not stop attacking me. I gained 30 pounds, went through a horrible break up, experienced a miscarriage, a death (RIH Austin), and was rejected from medical school the first time I applied. Those attacks from the enemy had me wishing that I could go home and see my parents. Drink coffee with my dad, hug my mom, and be at home with our little family. Things didn’t start to turn around until I listened to God’s pull on my heart; he told me to go all in with him. I mean truly immerse myself in him and he would show me things I couldn’t imagine because I was so blinded by the obstacles I had experienced.
Going all in with HIM was the best thing I could’ve done. Since then I’ve been able to find my happy again, learn who I am, achieve goals I’ve set, make new goals, strengthen my relationship with God, love myself, enjoy life, seize amazing opportunities, graduate college with honors, pursue my master’s, and get accepted to medical school. I’m living proof that when you say to God “Why me?” he says, “Why not you”. God has a purpose for all of us, it is up to us to let him use us, even when we are asking WHY. Every high and low in life has ultimately made me the young woman, I use to dream I would be. Everybody has a journey and I’m ready to share mine with you.