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Amazing Grace: My Story (Part 1)

Life Story | Inspirational Stories | PTSD | Depression Stories | Suicidal Thoughts | Suicide Prevention Hotline | Hope for Sexually Abused Victim | Surviving Abuse | Overcoming Depression

The story I am about to share with you does not come without a lot of thought and prayer.  For quite some time I have felt God pressing on my heart to share my story.  I have, for the most part, resisted.  Oh I’ve shared a snippet here and there, but never really just laid it all out on the table.  To be honest, making myself that vulnerable has been far too scary.

I was recently challenged by another writer to write not just what I think my readers want to hear, but the things I have been too afraid to write.  It frankly scares me to death to know that sharing this story could change the way my friends look at me, or hurt the people that I love.  Even so, there is a part of me that knows it must be told.  Because for as difficult as it is to tell, it is ultimately a story of redemption and sweet, infallible, Amazing Grace, and if there is just one person who can find hope in the midst of great struggle, then it will be worth it.

I do feel the need to warn you that this story I am going to tell has a lot of ugliness.  It will be hard to write and perhaps even harder to read.  It is also too long to share it all at once, so I will be splitting it into multiple parts.  This is only the first part, so it doesn’t end well.  Please remember that it was a long time ago, and I am okay now!  Thanks for bearing with me.

Part 1: Falling

Eleven and a half years ago, I woke up in a panic, unable to breathe, with some unknown object blocking my airway.  The only thing that mattered was getting it out as quickly as possible.

I soon found out—as the alarms began sounding and my ICU hospital room instantly filled with a half-dozen stunned doctors–that the thing I had just pulled out of my throat was the ventilator keeping me alive.   I had just woken up from a coma that doctors had given me less than a 10 percent chance of surviving.

3 days earlier I had lined up 6 full bottles of prescription sleeping pills on my coffee table and downed them like shots, one after the other, washing them down with a bottle of Absolut vodka.

Against all odds, I survived.   But incredibly enough, that near-death experience was not a turning point for me.  In fact I felt nothing but disappointment that I was still alive.

I still had such a long way left to fall.

*   *   *

My descent into clinical depression started almost a year earlier, in the fall of 1999.   Hindsight is 20/20, and looking back it is easy to see the perfect storm that was brewing.  I was young—only 21 years old—married to a man I didn’t love, caring for my 14 year old adopted brother, and attending college as a full-time honors student.

The stress of those three things alone probably would’ve been enough to make most people crack, but it was little more than a casual conversation that put me over the edge:  My dad happened to mention in passing that a man we knew had recently passed away.

Perhaps I would’ve remembered anyway, perhaps I was destined for mental breakdown no matter what, but that one seemingly insignificant comment was the thread that began my unraveling.

This man who was now dead had been our babysitter.  He and his wife would stay with my brother and I while my parents travelled.  At the time, my parents owned a travel agency, so they travelled quite a bit.

This man was a monster who sexually abused me for 4 years, starting when I was 6 years old.  It finally ended when my 4th grade teacher noticed something was wrong—though I honestly don’t think he suspected to what extent—and recommended to my parents that they stop travelling for a while.

I never told anyone.   He warned me over and over not to tell, that if I did he would hurt my family and burn my house down.  So I never told.  Instead, like many victims, I found a way to block it out completely.  At least for a while.

As soon as I learned he was dead the memories started flooding back, in bits and pieces at first, then in vivid nightmares and flashbacks that terrified me during the day and kept me up at night.

I didn’t know what to do with it all, couldn’t fathom talking about it, and spent a lot of time doubting the memories were even real.  I thought I might be going crazy.  I stopped eating and barely slept, started staying out all night so that I wouldn’t have to face the demons inside.

Within just a few months I lost almost 30 pounds, developed permanent dark circles under my eyes, dressed in all black, and watched my grades slip from straight A’s to failing.   I couldn’t bring myself to care.

I ignored my textbooks and instead began reading nothing but existential philosophy—Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre,  just to name a few–and determined that God was nothing more than a figment of my imagination.

A God that was real wouldn’t have let those things happen to me.  I was too angry to even know I was angry so I reacted by rejecting my faith completely.   In the absence of God, however, life lost all meaning.  So I began planning to die.

It seems almost ridiculous now, but my then-husband was oblivious to it all. We were leading separate lives and barely speaking.  He had no idea anything was wrong.

My college advisor was more astute.  She encouraged me to see a counselor to talk about the depression she could see was eating me alive.  I refused.  She knew I was on the edge and attempted to intervene, but there was nothing she could do.

On March 9th, 2000 I tried to kill myself for the first time. I was involuntarily committed to Forest View Psychiatric Hospital in Grand Rapids.  After a month of refusing to talk to anyone about anything, I finally told my psychiatrist about the abuse.  By then she had already guessed.

Sexual abuse is sinister for so many reasons, but most of all for the deep sense of shame it creates in its victims.  We blame ourselves.  We are shamed or bullied or threatened into silence until we can’t tell for fear WE are the ones who are bad.   Then we don’t tell for so long that when we finally do, no one believes us.

I can tell you from personal experience that the worst thing you can ever say to someone who tells you they’ve been abused is “I don’t believe you.”  That deep sense of shame is compounded and becomes so overwhelming you will literally do anything to make it go away.  Even so, I don’t blame those closest to me for not wanting to believe it was true.  Even now I don’t want to believe it was true.

I spent several months at Forest View and then they let me out.  I wasn’t better but insurance—even good insurance—only lasts so long. I separated from my husband, got an apartment of my own, and attended “classes” at the hospital during the day.   I had gone from full-time college student to full time crazy person, and I was failing that too.  I hadn’t been on my own more than a few weeks when I lined up those pill bottles.  My first suicide attempt had been full of rookie mistakes; this time I was playing for keeps.

My therapist was the one who saved my life that night.  He called to check in and when I didn’t answer, he immediately called 911.  They made it just in the nick of time. The fire department broke down my door and found me barely breathing.  My heart stopped in the ambulance, and though they managed to revive me, my family was told to say good-bye, that even if I did survive, which was unlikely, I would most likely be permanently brain damaged.

But I didn’t die and I wasn’t brain damaged.  I had just experienced nothing short of a miracle and I was too depressed to see it.

Instead I got worse.  I began to self-harm, cutting my arms, burning my legs, and experimenting with any kind of risky behavior I could find. Physical pain took my mind off the despair, but the relief was only temporary. I spent another year in and out hospitals as the doctors tried one anti-depressant after another.  Nothing worked.

I spent 6 months at McLean Hospital in Boston in in their highly acclaimed Women’s Treatment Program.  I was not a model patient.  I continued to self-harm, which was against the rules, and ultimately they kicked me out of the program.

Finally, desperate and out of ideas, my doctors recommended electroshock therapy and for almost 3 months I was anesthetized three times a week so they could attach electrodes to my head and zap my brain.  Thankfully I don’t remember much of that.

Almost two years to the day after my first suicide attempt, they finally gave up and sent me home.  Of course by then I didn’t have a home anymore.  I was divorced, bankrupt, and completely alone.

I had finally hit rock bottom.

{Read Part 2: Clouds Lifting}

 If you are suffering from depression or PTSD, please know that you are not alone.  It is so hard to see the light when you are in the midst of the darkness, but it doesn’t mean the light isn’t there.  If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, there is help available.  Please talk to someone as soon as possible–a counselor, pastor, doctor, or friend, or call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

163 Comments

  1. Elizabeth
    February 29 at 12:26PM

    Tjank you for sharing the beginnings of your testimony of amazing grace <3

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 05:04AM

      Thank you Elizabeth

  2. Patricia s
    February 29 at 12:35PM

    Thanks for sharing your difficult moments, I know you will inspire and help others!

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 05:05AM

      Thanks Patricia

  3. Samantha
    February 29 at 12:35PM

    I am in awe of your courage for sharing!

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 05:05AM

      Thank you Samantha, that means a lot.

  4. February 29 at 12:43PM

    Thank you for sharing your story Ruth. You don’t realize how many people you will help with sharing this. So many people are hurting and scared and often times don’t know what to do. Praise God he brought you out of this situation and that you are sharing this so that others can be healed as well.

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 05:06AM

      Thank you so much Michele. My only hope and prayer is that it does help at least one person.

  5. February 29 at 12:46PM

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are beautiful person that shines with life. Your story of amazing grace will reach so many, giving them the hope of surviving depression.

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 05:07AM

      Thank you Emily

  6. elaine
    February 29 at 12:51PM

    Sending you big hugs! that took alot of strength and shows what a strong person and incredible mother you are. Your girls are very lucky 🙂

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 05:07AM

      Thanks for the hugs. 🙂

  7. Brandi
    February 29 at 12:56PM

    Thank you for beginning to share your story. I find you to be very inspiring, brave and courageous and I think your story will not only help so many but it will definitely change lives!

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 05:08AM

      Thank you Brandi

  8. Brenna
    February 29 at 01:07PM

    Ruth, I am a therapist in a women’s community corrections program. These women have horrid stories of abuse, subsequent trauma, and deep emtional wounds. Most are active drug addicts who have lost rights to their children and have criminal histories longer than a roll of toilet paper. After reading your story, I plan to print it each week and have them read. I believe it could be the inspiration they need to get their lives back on track as you so bravely did. Thank you so much for being courageous and selfless. You will help many I am sure!

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 04:47AM

      Brenna, thank you so much for sharing this with me. If there is anyone that can be helped by hearing my story, then it was worth sharing.

  9. I completely understand..
    February 29 at 01:21PM

    Your story is soooo much like mine. I still can’t tell anyone about it. No one that i am friends with here in FL at least. I fear that they will look at me like I am not the person they know. I am still the person they know, my past does not change who I am NOW. It is what made me how I am now. I so wish we could get together and talk. We live only a couple towns away. I just fear talking about stuff because it brings back the sadness I think I left behind. I am a born-again-Christian and Jesus saved me from so much and put joy into my life. A joy I never thought possible before. I took took bottles and bottles of pills. once in Bible college and 2 times before that. I was admitted to a hospital in CT and was there for awhile. The doctors say they have no idea how I survived the attempts. I know, but they wonder. When I had my first child I got PPD real bad BUT, having children is what stopped me from ever attempting suicide again. I had my 2nd child soon after and I loved them so much. i will do anything to protect them from monsters like my mother’s 3rd husband. I think it makes me paranoid and over protective but I don’t care. My mother didn’t anything about what happened to me and my sister and I will NOT allow that to happen to my kids. I will never try to kill myself again because if I leave them, I won’t be here to protect them from the monsters. I know God is here but I also know HE doesn’t want me to take my own life. he gave me these kids to care for and I woudl be not doing my job if I left them voluntarily.

    anyway, I feel your pain. I admire your courage to speak out. I am sorry this happened to you. We can try and try to put this stuff behind us but sometimes the memories creep back anyway. I have those days and I hate them. I am a stay-at-home mom and have a 2 yr old as well as an 11 and 12 yr old. I am home all day alone and it gets to me sometimes. I love church because I get to get out and see people. (as well as the great preaching!! 🙂 ) I do have friends but they don’t understand what i went through so I won’t share. I just try to put on a smile.

    I can private message you my phone number if you want it. it’s a 941 number.

    anyway, thanks again for sharing. I completely “get it!”

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 04:51AM

      I’m so sorry to hear your experience was so similar to mine. I can honestly say, though, after sharing my story this week and experiencing the amazing love and support of my friends–even the ones who were completely shocked–that you might be surprised. I definitely know how hard it can be to share. Thanks so much for sharing with me.

  10. jennifer w.
    February 29 at 01:28PM

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is always so encouraging to hear from women who have been through so much, yet find the strength and courage to find a path to happiness and comfort.

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 04:51AM

      Thank you Jennifer.

  11. Cassandra
    February 29 at 01:38PM

    I applaud you Ruth. For your triumph, faith, and willingness to share despite yourself. When you share yourself, I feel the WANT to share my own story. Although it is not entirely my own, it has effected me every day of my life. My mother has a story similar to yours, and I know without a doubt she would be proud of me for sharing that with you and your readers. MY envolvement in her story is who I AM because of her. She overcame the pain and the struggle and I was made to NEVER want for anything my entire childhood. Your girls are SO very blessed to have you for their mother. I can say that because if you are even an ounce similar to my mother, I KNOW they are so very fortunate. They will know this when they are old enough to understand this story, and I pray that YOU know this too. Have you ever seen the movie Spanglish? The last line in that movie sums my life to this day. “My identity rests firmly, and happily on one thing. I am my Mother’s daughter.” My mom taught me an amazing lesson; live for your children. They are the ones that matter the most. She lived for my sister and I. What more could I have asked of my childhood. Much love to you and your family Ruth. God has blessed us both with families to love unconditionally.

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 04:53AM

      Cassandra, this comment made me smile. Thank you so much for sharing this story!

  12. Angie Matthiessen
    February 29 at 01:41PM

    God Bless You Girl!!! I am in awe and thankful to call you friend!

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 05:09AM

      Angie, I too am so thankful for our friendship. Your prayers and support have meant the world to me & when I see Jesus shining through you I am reminded that God definitely has a plan.

  13. February 29 at 02:37PM

    This must be so hard for you to share, I can’t even imagine…although I can just a bit because I have stories and thoughts that I would like to post but am too afraid for my family and close friends to read. Thank you for doing this. I am sure you will inspire and encourage many people to share the stories or find help if needed.

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 04:55AM

      Thank you Jenny, I hope that is true. I wish you the best in finding the words & courage to write the things that are on your heart too. 🙂

  14. Kristi
    February 29 at 02:53PM

    Amazing grace and amazing courage from an amazing woman! God Bless you and your family!

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 05:09AM

      Thank you Kristi

  15. Alaina
    February 29 at 03:16PM

    Thanks so much for sharing. You are truley Gods Princess. One of my favorite verses is 2nd Corinthians 5:17 and Psalm 103 please read and be encouraged. Blessing to you.

    • Ruth
      March 12 at 07:54PM

      Thank you Alaina.

  16. February 29 at 05:42PM

    I’m so proud of you, for sharing your story, for being brave and courageous, for leading others to healing by your very own pain. I’m so thankful for you friend. You are beautiful and so generous. Your willingness to go those broken places make it okay for us to do the same.
    All my love,
    edie

    • Ruth
      March 12 at 07:55PM

      Oh Edie, my dear friend, thank you so much for your encouragement. I couldn’t have done it without you. xoxo

  17. Von L.
    February 29 at 07:39PM

    Wow, God gives great courage, doesn’t He?! This is my first time to your blog (came from Edie’s site) and what a story to read. Thank you for your vulnerability – I can’t imagine this was easy for you to share. God bless you! “… and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor ” Isaiah 61:3

    • Ruth
      March 12 at 07:56PM

      Thank you Von

  18. February 29 at 08:09PM

    I look at you and I see Christ. What a beautiful person you are and I can’t wait until a great cloud of witnesses can hold you in their arms with joy and say “well done”. Thank you for sharing, from someone who’s been in the valley (and still struggles at times).

    With great love, Amanda

    • Ruth
      March 12 at 07:57PM

      Thank you Amanda

  19. Kristen
    March 1 at 08:23AM

    Ruth,
    You are so courageous to share your story and also to let Christ in to transform your life and bring beauty from ashes. You have no idea the lives you will impact and the hope you will give by being willing to share. May the Lord bless and keep you.

    • Ruth
      March 12 at 07:58PM

      Thank you so much Kristen

  20. March 1 at 09:26AM

    Dear Ruth,
    In South Texas there is an expression in Spanish which is ‘muy brava’. Very brave.

    Stories of grace begin exactly as yours did. It is all in God’s perfect timing. His best servants – the servants who help us- as in you- all have hard stories to tell.

    Thank you.

    I wrote you an email about another matter before I read this post. Please forgive the shallowness of its content.

    Laura

    • Ruth
      March 2 at 05:11AM

      Laura, I didn’t receive an email from you. Do you know what email address you sent it to? Would you mind re-sending? My email address is ruth@livingwellspendingless.com.

      And thank you for your kind comment. 🙂

  21. Rachel
    March 1 at 10:17AM

    Ruth. 1st of all thank you for sharing your incredible story. I always look forward to all your blog and hot coupon tips. It’s the highlight of my day. I am so sorry you had to go through all that. But look despite all that I am so inspired about how much you have accomplished since then. I am so glad you pulled through.

    • Ruth
      March 12 at 07:57PM

      Thank you Rachel. I’m so honored that my little blog is the highlight of your day–that’s so nice! 🙂 Reading that was the highlight of MY day!

  22. Michelle
    March 1 at 12:45PM

    It is wonderful to be able to look back and see where the Lord has brought us from through His grace and mercy. I ask the Lord that He reminds me to pray for you this week as you tell your story.

    • Ruth
      March 12 at 07:58PM

      Thank you Michelle

  23. Barbara
    March 1 at 12:46PM

    How brave you are. May God bring light out of darkness for those who might need it through your story. Blessings on you for sharing!

    • Ruth
      March 12 at 07:58PM

      Thank you Barbara!

  24. SJ
    March 1 at 04:13PM

    Ruth, I’ve been reading your blogs over the past six months and I can tell you, you are an amazing, dynamic, and courageous woman. I hope you remember that anytime you are feeling down.

  25. josie
    March 1 at 04:13PM

    THank you for sharing your story, you are very brave like everybody has said. I am sure it will change a lot of lives, will inspires all of us…May God continue to bless you and all of your family!

  26. March 1 at 10:48PM

    I cried twice today. Once while reading the updates from Samaritan’s Purse ‘Operation Christmas Child’ and now as I read your story.

  27. Michelle
    March 1 at 11:08PM

    Thank you for being so open and honest with everything in your life! Your openness and honesty about the good, bad and the ugly will help bring healing and wholeness to so many broken people! You are helping to fulfill Christ’s mission to “preach good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, release from darkness for the prisoners…” Isaiah 61:1-3

    Well done, sister!

  28. Heather
    March 1 at 11:32PM

    Thanks for being transparent, you are an amazing woman! I am blessed to call you my friend <3

  29. March 1 at 11:42PM

    Ruth I have been following you for sometime. I understand about depression. I go through it from time to time myself. It is when things seem outside of my control. Right now my house is a complete mess, I am four weeks behind on cutting coupons and I feel like I am not the best mom right now either.

    However, I do know I have a wonderful husband and two great biological children and I know I will continue to get things in order and things will get better. I know now that I may get REALLY down, but things will get better.

    In my youth, I thought that was the end and it would never get better. Now I know to stick it out for a bit and all will turn out good. It is just a slump. I do have many more good days than bad days. So that keeps me going. Thanks for being so brutally honest with us readers, who are here for you whenever you need it.

  30. Melissa N
    March 2 at 12:05PM

    You know Ruth after my own story of amazing grace and reading and hearing so many testimonies (yours and others) no one will ever be able to convince me that there is no God. He is here, He is with us and He has truly has amazing grace and redeeming power! Thank you so much for sharing! This will be used to reach others!

  31. Lori
    March 2 at 12:27PM

    God bless you and your family. You are in my prayers.

  32. March 2 at 01:10PM

    Ruth,
    Thank you for sharing this story. I do know where you are coming from as I was sexually abused by a family member at the age of 5 and sexually abused regularly by any male who seemed to come my way; cousins, sons of baby sitters, ect. The abuse finally ended when I was 13. However when I was 16 I was raped by a boyfriend when I was on strong meds which made me sleep alot for an illness.

    A lot of bad things have happened in my life beyond the abuse and I honestly feel I could fill a book. When I was 23 and had been married for 2 years and had 3 children I went into a deep panic and anxiety filled depression. I became a hermit for 6 years. I did not leave my house! One year of those 6 was spent in my bedroom in my bed. I only got up to feed my children and to do bathroom things. My husband and kids had to live with a monster! I was mean, cruel, physically and verbally abusive. I wanted to die.

    Luckily, in 2008 I began to snap out of it and take my life back. I began going out of my home. I began going out of my town, I began going out of my state. I am calm, I am happy, I am now a good mom to my 4 children and a good wife to my husband of 12 years.

    Your story is going to be a ray of sunshine to many people, Ruth. I know you will help many find their way back!

  33. March 2 at 10:29PM

    I started reading this post on my phone at Sam’s Club the other day. My girl’s asked what was wrong, so I didn’t finish it then, and read the whole thing later. But the whole time I was shopping, I kept thinking about your story and the actual woman I met last week. By the time, I got in the car, all I thought was “Thank you, LORD!” I already know how this story ends! You are an amazing woman!! Thanks for sharing with us.
    Hugs,
    Angela

    • Ruth
      March 12 at 08:01PM

      Thank you Angela. Believe me when I say I am just an ordinary girl through whom God has done some extraordinary things. It was so nice meeting you last week! xoxo

  34. March 3 at 09:51PM

    Ruth, you amaze and inspire every one of us with your testimony. You definitely have a powerful testimony and I’m so glad God has used you to share it with others. God bless you!

    ~ Melanie

    • Ruth
      March 12 at 08:02PM

      Thank you Melanie!

  35. March 3 at 10:21PM

    I am a new follower of yours and I was led here for your “spending less and living well” (well, I got it backwards) and I want to thank you for sharing who you are with your readers. I know this is a tough thing to do – expose your deepest secrets and nightmares with total strangers but God has led you to do this now (even if He has been prompting you for a long time – it is still NOW) for a very good reason. You will not only be blessed but there are others (friends, family, followers, etc.) who really NEED to read your story. I will be praying for you and your family and God bless you.

    • Ruth
      March 12 at 08:03PM

      Steph, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I definitely love using coupons, but ultimately the “spending less” part is just a small piece of my puzzle. I’m so happy to have you here.

  36. Coupon Carla
    March 6 at 05:27PM

    Ruth, if you were my neighbor, I would come over and give you a great big hug right now. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can only imagine how hard this was for you to post on your website, but I am so grateful you had the courage to do so. I am positive your story will help others who have the same thoughts and experiences that you had. God Bless You always and keep you safe. After reading your blog for quite a while now, I know for a fact that you are one of the sweetest, caring persons I know. xoxoxo

  37. brooke
    March 9 at 07:04PM

    Wow Ruth, you are one strong woman. Thank you for posting, you should be proud to be you:) God Bless you and your family, forever.

    • Ruth
      March 12 at 07:36PM

      Thank you Brooke.

  38. Patty
    April 5 at 03:02PM

    {I love you.}

  39. September 19 at 07:30AM

    I’m so glad that you decided to share your testimony. God prompted me to share my story about depression and I can relate to your not wanting to tell this story. This is so encouraging because today my posts went live about a part of my testimony that I even prayed my mother had forgotten about and I was tempted several times to delete it. I’m just so thankful for God’s grace and exceptionally glad that more Christians are telling about their plight with depression. It’s not an easy thing for others to understand so I do feel you and I’m very encouraged. Thank you.

  40. Rebecca Rae
    October 3 at 03:45PM

    Dear Ruth,

    I was lead to this posting via a friends post of your post on taking away your kids toys, which I loved. I have not been blessed with any children as of yet… however, I have plenty of family and friends who do and I will be sharing that post with them. I wanted to thank you for sharing your story. We all have one. We all have demons. But it’s folks like you with the courage to share that help so many more than you may ever know. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Jenny Lawson and her blog, The Bloggess? She’s helping bring voice to depression and self harm, just like you. The more light shed on the subject the harder it is for folks to live in the dark. Thank you.

  41. Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog based on the same subjects you discuss and would really
    like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my readers would appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  42. April 5 at 12:02AM

    This is a really amazing testimony from the heart. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing – thank you.
    ~Barb

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  46. sharon Jolly
    May 18 at 11:22PM

    I feel you are telling my story. Exactly my story. I am still in that dark hole. Can’t manage to see any light. It’s so long, I feel all alone even surrounded by family and friends. I don’t trust anyone. And yes, I do have a therapist. Thanks for sharing. Its like knowing someone out there understands what the world don’t.

  47. BB
    June 17 at 09:49AM

    I believe you. When my PTSD flared, last year, I remember sitting there for hours, staring emptily at the backyard. I wondered for hours if I should check into a mental hospital or if the entire slew of memories that left me so hurt was even real. I had to have imagined it. No one could be that cruel to a little girl. Surely, as I grew older and was abused by more men, I had made some choice to make it happen…? Even more frighteningly, how could I have nigh forgotten for years? And why were the memories still so cloudy? But I remember the steps I took slowly healing and walking away, and I remembered silently facing the fear, still keeping it a secret, even from my loving husband. I believe you, because I know how hard it is to face the truth.

  48. July 10 at 10:16AM

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the finest sites on the internet. I am going to recomm

  49. Bonnie Edenfield
    August 12 at 12:59PM

    Thank you for sharing this difficult story. I went through some abuse as a child, but nothing to the extent that you did. It damaged me for years & caused me to make many bad choices. It was only because of God’s grace & love in a women’s conference that I was set free of the pain. After that, it was a continual growth process to discover who I was (and am) in Christ. I believe God is using your story to give many women hope. God bless you!

  50. Melissa C.
    August 19 at 05:23PM

    I am currently going thru a very difficult situation and have gone thru treatment this past year for PTSD. I feel as others do such gratitude to you for sharing your story. There is light at the end of these dark tunnels.

  51. Mara
    August 23 at 12:10PM

    I feel like I’m reading an autobiography in some ways. You are incredibly brave and are truly a vessel of God’s Grace shining down. Be very proud of what you’ve created and what you’ve done with your life. I know you haven’t done it alone, and I know that you know that too- that God chose you to be a blessing to others. Keep it up!!

  52. Allison
    August 30 at 10:07PM

    Thank you so much for writing this! I Know that pain not as severe of a depression as yours but none the less the pain. Could have written this myself babysitters husband had done the same to me and my sisters although his wife and our parents knew which seems to be harder but have gotten through it just watch my daughter like a hawk.

  53. paulaj84511
    September 10 at 10:43PM

    thank you for sharing. There are many, many of us who need to be reminded we are not alone, and we WILL get through this.

  54. September 15 at 11:46AM

    Your amazing grace is amazingly beautiful. As a nurse I fear that I will not have enough empathy for my patients with depression. Although there is only so much I can do for work within 8 hours. I am always thinking of my patient’s and hoping and praying that they will find peace within themselves. I am proud to have read your story and will bring it to the bedside with me. You are helping me understand a little more. Continue your journey of amazing grace…

  55. Alicia
    September 26 at 04:28PM

    Ruth,
    By now you must realize how unalone you really are. There are so many of your sisters out here in the world who have experienced the shame, guilt, torment and depression of childhood sexual abuse, reaching far into our adulthoods, yet who have been showered by His amazing Grace and able to look up, and see light through the darkness.
    I was 8 or 9, possibly 10. I don’t remember, specifically. But I do know that upon hearing of my brother’s death, I felt like he had been given a ‘free pass’–death instead of confrontation for what he had done–the downward spiral began. I didn’t tell, really tell—and heal—for fourty years.
    But the beautiful thing is that today, I am healed. Healed of the guilt, the shame, the torment, the secret, the PTSD. Healed by the grace of a God who adores me. And oddly enough, that ‘little thing’ of me getting molested as a child was the final piece in a bigger puzzle, and became the catalyst for my husband of 21 years, upon finally understanding why I was me, accepting Christ.
    Your story? It’s not a little thing. It’s a piece of the puzzle that makes you YOU. And someone out here will read it, and it will stike them as familiar…and they will find comfort in that.
    And, perhaps, who know? Even find the meaning of Grace.

  56. October 24 at 05:11PM

    BRAVE- that’s what you are! What a noble, vulnerable way to step into the uncomfortable and share your story. No doubt it will bless many. Praying for you as you seek Him for strength and the words to encourage others. xo Bekah

  57. Rebecca
    November 8 at 11:40PM

    I was just happy to read your ideas. But sharing your story blesses me. I still feel so close to the edge sometimes. I’m trying and I’m grateful. A person must have love and they must have support.
    Thanks

  58. November 12 at 02:29PM

    I am sitting here in work and in tears. I stumbled across your blog today looking for tips to declutter my life and then saw your story. I feel in someway a higher power brought me here and I wanted to thank you. I have been struggling silently with depression and seriously contemplated ending my own life or atleast taking self harm further then simply some cutes, and this is just a beacon of hope. Thank you.

    • Ruth Soukup
      November 13 at 10:52AM

      Mel, I’m so glad you found my blog. I’ll be praying….hope IS possible.

  59. November 15 at 03:36PM

    Just wanted to say thanks for your story and I am glad that you are okay and that you have a brave spirit to reveal the information to everyone. God will Bless you for your words of encouragement.

  60. January 20 at 10:04AM

    Thank you. I just found your blog and I honestly am so proud and amazed at people that share their stories without holding back. You give the rest of us courage. I’m glad your life has turned out for the best and I hope you never have a reason to cry anymore. God bless you. Xo

  61. Terri
    February 18 at 10:51AM

    Ruth: What a powerful story of God’s amazing grace and love for us all! No matter what we’ve done or how far away from God we try to stay – HIS amazing love is always there…..waiting for us. Thank you for sharing your story of love.

  62. March 1 at 12:34PM

    I, too, embrace you for your courage in writing about these painful events and I am so happy to hear how far you have come from those stormy days. I, too, was sexually abused as a child. My offender was my brother. I’ve posted two stories on my blog about parts of my journey. I felt I hit rock bottom when suicide actually started to make sense, but I didn’t actually go through with it – in my mind I didn’t have the courage to. I’m still struggling through PTSD therapy with a very good therapist – and yes, he says I suffer from excessive shame.
    It seems my body wants to give out at the same time as dealing with this (and other stressors). I’m doctoring now to try to find out why it’s doing the things it’s doing (heart, hearing, off balance, shortness of breathe, muscle weakness, blah, blah, blah).
    Anyway, I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your strength and honesty. If you’d like to read my stories, just visit my website, look in the category ‘Challenges’ and find “One Cha-Cha Step at a Time” and then “I Thank God for You”. I may add more as time passes, we’ll see. I try to keep my blog light with funny stories, but I do get serious when I feel God’s calling me to write it.
    Thank you – you truly are a gift from God.
    Patty O

  63. annemarie
    March 6 at 03:54AM

    thankyou for sharing your story i also had a breakdown about 10years ago caused by traumas ect also miscarring 4 babies after that and also bevearment through loosing my nearest and dearest, but i praise God every day for his love and strenghth because i would not have got through with what i went through without him even though at time i let my faith slip. i still suffer with G.A.D and depression but its maintained through a lot of hard work and making sure also to get rest when needed ect and gods help and love x x x x x

  64. Loonita
    April 6 at 01:40AM

    Ruth, this morning before starting work, i was flipping though pintrest when i found one of the pins you posted about children, and link after link, got to your story, COULDNT STOP, i read all 4 parts in tears and in hope of God’s work.
    I really thank you for answering God’s call to post your story, and i Thank God of his work in your life and ask him to use all the pain you went through to redeem others.

    Can i ask you, as you have 2 daughters, how do you protect them, or make them aware of sexual abuse. i come from a society that doesnt talk about this and will never admit it.

    • Ruth Soukup
      April 9 at 05:16PM

      Hi Loonita,
      Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words.
      My husband and I are very vigilant about who our girls come in contact with. We also talk with them in an age appropriate way regarding their bodies and what is acceptable and what is not (good touching/bad touching etc.) We have tried to create an open line of communication that encourages honesty and assured them that they can always come to us not matter what the topic. I hope this helps.

  65. annaj
    May 22 at 10:34AM

    I, too, found this post after reading about the kid’s toys after reading about living simply like our grand parents. I am awestruck that I would come upon your story and read the death of the abuser is what triggered the memories. Thank you for being courageous enough to write this post. When I remembered after the death of the man who violated me – and confronted my mother – I lost my entire extended family and my mother for the umpteenth time. Im sorry for you pain, so sorry, but so helped to have a sister who believes me.

  66. July 5 at 10:43PM

    Hi
    Wondering if I can share this on my web show? Also in my meetings with women whom have similar stories to bring comfort and healing???
    Kathleen

  67. July 25 at 05:59PM

    Wow, Ruth…wow. That one person could experience so much pain and share everything that I’ve seen you share over the past few years. God really is our redeemer!

    ~Sarah

  68. Anonymous
    July 28 at 10:47PM

    I thank you for sharing your story it truly touched my heart. I too was abused as a young child and so was my older sister by our neighbor and praise GOD that he guided us thru the pain, shame and humiliation. The doctors did what they could do and so did the counselors but it was the power of GOD and the strength of our parents that raised us up and helped us.

  69. Stephanie
    February 23 at 08:36PM

    Are you still married to your husband? I can relate to your story in a way and I have found someone who is 20 years older than me as well.

  70. Pat Schaeffer
    April 13 at 02:30AM

    I am appreciating this because I’ve gone through depression very much and feel my past has been a huge part of it and the chronic health part of it.

  71. May 22 at 06:30PM

    Thank you so much for sharing and your courage to do that. You’ve inspired me (and I’m sure others) to get back to writing my book. I too suffer from major depression but also alcoholism. Lovely combo, don’t ya think? In my book I’d like to tell people how I over came my alcoholism, with out AA (because that didn’t work for me) and how I manage my depression. I was nervous too, about putting that out there, hurt family members and such. But you gave me a little boost I need and I thank you! Have a wonderful and safe weekend!
    Kristine 😉

  72. May 25 at 12:40PM

    Have you ever gotten mad
    @God for the cruelties He allows. I mean He could stop it you know. Why doesnT He??? I am a very old woman and have been where you are God is love? For who,the victim or the monster????

  73. May 30 at 09:24AM

    Hi Ruth. After weeks of watching your beautifully crafted videos as a student of Elite Blog Academy, I was dumbfounded to read this post. I was clicking through your blog and marveling, as usual, at its impeccable design and ultra-useful content, when I came upon Amazing Grace. I would never have suspected that you’d overcome so much pain–because you radiate positivity. Thanks for being so generous with your readers and students. You have given me motivation, inspiration and know-how!
    Sincerely,
    Sandra

  74. Judy Donaldson
    September 14 at 04:15PM

    Wow what a story your has been,and did your husband turn his life to God? I am new to your site ,great ideas.

  75. Robin
    October 16 at 02:25PM

    Thrilled by your story. Have only read the first part but am very thankful for you! God has obviously turned your life around to inspire others! You are very talented in your writing skills and communication. Your creativity is amazing. I look forward to your emails every day!

    Thank you so much!

    Robin

  76. Joy
    December 29 at 09:35PM

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is truly inspirational.

  77. February 1 at 11:44PM

    Wow… I found you because I was looking for some blogging tips because I want to attempt to turn my blog into a source of income for our family and found this… I have suffered with depression almost all my life. Not for the same reason, but depression comes from many sources and I have been in the process of telling my story too. Thank you for sharing. Obviously, God had plans for you. I’m thankful you’re fulfilling them! 🙂

  78. February 25 at 05:10PM

    I just found your website and LOVE it! I also am amazed at your courage in sharing this very important story. And I know you have given many people “the comfort wherewith you yourself were comforted” as God says in II Corinthians.

    I struggled with clinical depression for most of my life (I’m now 63) until God finally got to the root through attachment therapy.

    May God continue to richly bless you and all your loved ones! You go girl!

  79. Joanie
    February 25 at 11:51PM

    Your story is bringing tears to my eyes. I have been abused verbally and emotionally. I am in the middle of going thru a divorce. Today, I was blaming myself for not being the pretty perfect wife, organized at all times, house spotless, makeup on on my off days.
    Forget the fact that I worked hard, have a grad degree, am in medicine. None of that counts when I think that I was perfect enough for him so he cheated on me the entire length of our marriage.

    • Joanie
      February 25 at 11:52PM

      Correction: NOT perfect enough for him

  80. Regina
    March 6 at 07:45AM

    Thank you for having the courage to bare your soul and in the process, helping countless others. Many blessings to you!

  81. Kathy Russell
    April 18 at 12:17AM

    Thank you. I would like to read part 2.
    Kathy

  82. Mariebel Martin
    April 20 at 08:00AM

    You’re not meant to die yet because God has a better purpose in your life.
    Thank you for sharing…

  83. Audrey Spickler
    September 5 at 11:39AM

    Wow…..You are one AMAZING woman Ruth!!!! You inspire me so much! I actually came across you and your website by accident and I am so glad I did. I suffer from bipolar/depression….and I have such a hard time most days. That’s why I ordered your planner….to not only organize my house but to organize my LIFE. So I am very thankful for YOU!!! Keep doing what your doing…..blogging, telling your story, being a mother, wife, author….etc. Just so you can inspire so many others, like you do for me. I will keep following you, visiting your sites and purchasing your books because from day one when I came across you…there was just something that clicked for me with you. It made me want to get my old life back of wanting to leave my house, doing stuff with my family, getting my house in order, but most of all doing things for me and LOVING myself again. Thank you so much for what you do!!!!

  84. Courtney
    October 5 at 03:19PM

    I’m crying over here! This is my story minus the suicide attempts. I have never been suicidal but it is a definite struggle everyday to deal with the demons. I just don’t know how to shake this depression! Thank you for sharing your story. I’m now on to Part 2!

  85. Becky Bos
    November 2 at 12:43PM

    Oh my word Ruth, I about have tears coming down my face. First of all this is so incredibly brave of you to share! Thank you! Knowing that people like me, a classmate during your time of abuse, were clueless. My mind is spinning trying to think back during those years….Could I have noticed? What grades were we in the same class? Did I know that man? I had been to your house more than a handful of times. I can’t help but think and wonder who could have seen the signs, before 4th grade. I’m so sorry you were going through that! Second, I’m thankful for the Christian School, families and environment you were living in. Why? Because even though you were hiding all this, (and very good at it) you were still surrounded by faith and love. It gave you the foundation to get through what later in life, seemed like a living hell. You found God again and he held you in his hands for so long. Never letting go. Third, I’m so glad for the person who called 911 and that you are alive! It’s not easy going through such dark times and feeling alone, shame, hurt, to name only a few! But, that after all those terrible, sad years you made it out! And in FULL COLORS! What a story you have to share! I’m sure you had many years of struggles and it took lots of time but wow, how amazing! God had a plan for your life. Who knew back then, you would be all over the world in social media, etc getting to be a positive light! A SUCCESS story on so many levels!! Thanks again for sharing! I run our Jr High Youth Group and am going to share bits and pieces…..Why is it so important that we build our Christian foundation? God sticks with us! – Hugs!

  86. December 2 at 07:25PM

    Ruth – you are strong for speaking out and we are all stronger for being given the opportunity to experience the healing that you have had. So many suffer but the stories of bravery are what get us out of the pit and back into the life we should be living. I wish you all the best things – thanks again!

  87. Carlie
    December 11 at 12:14AM

    Dear Ruth, I am not sure that I know exactly where to start. I will try to keep this short and sweet but i really have so much I want to say. I am reading your story and my eyes are welling up with tears.
    I have been reading How To Blog For a profit for a few days now and I am almost done. I have to tell you first off, this is the first book I have successfully (almost) read through in YEARS.
    I am 23 years old and a mom of 2 beautiful babies (girl;4 1/2 boy:9 months)I have been searching for quite sometime for something I could really put my heart into and always felt that blogging was for me. With much prayer and consideration my fiance and I got me a computer 2 weeks ago as an early Christmas present so i could start my journey.
    I stumbled across your blog and ordered your e book and the blog planner and a few other things and immediately began reading the book.
    I have felt so inspired. I live in Louisiana and we had a pretty horrible flood where i live a few months back and we all lost a lot. I am just now winning a battle over a 7 year depression that i went to a hospital for while i was 13 weeks pregnant with my son and also recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and it has really changed my life. it has been extremely hard to continue to fight the depression being so limited in my own physical body. Suicidal ideation is a demon that I wouldnt wish on anyone. But thankfully God has steered me in the right direction and I am here today so grateful and happy and it feels great I am so glad I pushed myself through. I have made the mental agreement with myself that I WILL overcome all of these sicknesses and be the BEST me i can be. For myself, and for my family. I have been searching and searching for something I could do with my physical and mental health in mind. That being said, I am a creative, I love to write, great with business, and i crave to learn more knowledge on marketing and small business as a whole. I have been working so hard every chance I get on my computer learning whatever I can (reading your book!) There is so so much I have to learn. I want to do this right.
    I was actually coming to your blog to see some of your first post and just tonight I had sort of a melt down.. then I came across this post. I was speechless. I have been reading this book you wrote for days having no clue you literally know exactly how I feel. Thank you so much for sharing you have truly touched my heart!
    I dont have a domain name yet to put my website down but I am having it set up on Monday.

  88. Victoria
    December 18 at 06:09PM

    In a frantic attempt to reorganize my life…a constant endeavor that never seems to work out, I stumbled across your generously free downloadable worksheets which are wonderful, since I barely have a penny to my name. Luckily, I also stumbled across this first installment of your story and I can suddenly take a deep breath and remember that there are other beautiful souls out there who have endured many of the same thoughts and feelings I have experienced off and on throughout my twenties. I feel like I have hit rock bottom, but I refuse to give up hope. And it is a miracle that people like you are brave enough to share the hard parts of their life story in an effort to reach out to others, like me, who are desperately longing for some sort of companionship and recognition…even if we’ve never met and I have no idea about your life other than what you have shared above and your beautiful website full of inspiring lessons on living a happy and fruitful life. I look forward to reading the next chapter and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for revealing yourself to an anonymous internet following. You have certainly left a positive mark on me and I’ve only just discovered your website for the first time today! There is hope…there is always hope as long as we remember we are not alone. Because I feel so lost and alone these days, I will jump the gun and claim you as my friend despite having never met you. I have signed up for your newsletter and am anxious to put your tools for cultivating a more positive and productive life into practice. Many thanks and much love to you…. -Victoria

  89. January 6 at 05:17PM

    your truly amazing! I applaude you for sharing this on social media..the idea of talking to anyone is beyond thought to most of us let alone to thousands! However, I am glad you did.your story will help so many in a similar position to know they arent alone! I went through most of this myself at the same age and younger. So did my sibling..its been a battle fr most of my life in one way or another and still continues t be even though I have gotten though it and move don..it still comes up one way or another and probably always will, whether its a dream , recalling something I blacked out, a death, or someone contacting me on fbook to talk to me ..yes this has happened twice in the last year and my mother whom ive not talked to in ears recently almost put me over the edge again after all these years whe she contacted me on my birthday just to tell me that my own father had messed with me during my childhood..back in a depression for a week! We are survivors and we are strong because of what we have gone through! Sharing this story shows how strong you are! Thank you!

  90. September 5 at 07:29AM

    Thank you! If only MORE friends would share the truths of their lives with each other. If we would all be just a bit, or a lot, more transparent, maybe the worst of the pain could be squelched!
    Thank you! Thank you!

  91. Eve
    September 22 at 05:47PM

    I’m so grateful for your sharing. Although I haven’t experienced the same abuse, I have experienced other types of abuse and pain through out much of my life resulting in a complete breakdown in 1996. I too have felt the need to share my story. Your courage inspires me. One note: I have survived the pain, and since I met the Lord, my life has been filled with love from my husband, children, and friends. Thank you again.

  92. Char
    October 6 at 01:41PM

    I just found your blog. So inspiring to hear your story.
    Thank You.

  93. tee
    November 2 at 12:40PM

    I read your story in 2015 and it is a brave thing to do to tell all of your truth publicly. For one thing, it demonstrates that “IT” doesn’t have a chokehold on your life and that’s an important thing. Shame is so often another reason, stories aren’t told publicly too.
    I wanted to leave a note to thank you for taking the big step to make this part of your history public. It was bookmarked and I returned to it today – I KNOW it’s another sign that it’s time for me to tell mine… I have definitely been dragging my feet. Perhaps since I don’t feel that ALL the kinks have been worked out and that to go public is in some way declaring that I’m free from all of it. I still have secrets… I do know there’s a bigger plan for my life and I have fought a long time playing small, but time doesn’t last forever and at some point you have to just jump in, right?

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