Biographies are usually more information about someones life than anyone really wants to know. Well, grab your pants folks. You came to the wrong page if that’s you.
MISSIONARY KID: I was born four generations deep into a family of ministers and missionaries. Faith is pretty much in my DNA. I’ve lived across the globe: Israel, Thailand, the US, and Malaysia. I spent much of my childhood at a boarding school on the tiny and incredible island of Penang, in the Straits of Malacca. To say I have trouble identifying with a particular country or culture would be an understatement.
MENTAL ILLNESS: I have a mental illness. Most of my life I just thought I was seriously broken and I blamed myself. I don’t remember not being sad. By elementary school, crying was a daily occurrence. I was 13 when I first attempted to take my own life, and then again at 20. My first stay in a psychiatric unit was my senior year in high school. With each of these events there was little to no constructive follow up help. No diagnosis. No medication. No therapy. Someone to understand. Just a lot of shame. Hiding. Internalizing. I grieve for that little girl. Still. My most recent psychotic break and suicide attempt (August 2018) has changed me. I am so blessed just to be alive. And I am more determined to fight this disease. And to do it in public for all to see. To see vulnerability beat shame and stigma. To save lives.
FAMILY: I love my family. Unconditionally. I have learned that life is not about what others do to you. It's about what You choose to do with that pain. I have chosen forgiveness. I have also chosen accountability because pain is a two way street. I am responsible for the things I do. The decisions I make. And I have made a lot of bad ones that have hurt the people I love. Part of my healing process has been facing my past with brutal honesty. I have suffered physical/emotional abuse and neglect but I have also been the sinner. So I choose understanding and forgiveness, not bitterness and stagnancy. It’s an absolute must. Otherwise the dark wins.
THE ASSAULT: In 1997, at just 19, I was attacked in a sexual assault by a masked man I did not know. The kind of day that changes everything. Fire trucks, police cars, search dogs, questions, physical pain, newspaper stories, television reporters. An indelible mark. The kind of day that most women do not survive. But I did. Somehow. And for years I wished I had not. I felt unworthy of the breath in my lungs.
DRUG/ALCOHOL ABUSE: By 18 I had an ulcer for which I was given narcotic pain medication. And so began my long and secret relationship with pills that lasted until 2009 when I married my husband. Getting clean, sober and healthy is like having been blinded by a wet, heavy blanket. The real work starts when it is taken away. You are left to see the the wreck you have made of your life. But then, like the sun rising in the morning, you see the hope of healing.
MUSIC: Singing has been a constant in my life, from massive crusades in front of thousands of Thai villagers as a child, to writing and recording in studio with some of the most amazing musicians. It has been a lifeline. My creative outlet.
WRITING: After a scary day in the Spring of 2015 I experienced a close suicidal call. I sat down and started writing about my mental illness for the first time in a raw, transparent and life changing blog. That blog had over 10,000 readers on the first day, so I knew I was on to something. There is a void in the public where open dialogue about mental illness needs to be happening. And I have, with much anxiety, stepped in to that space. Since then I have fully embraced this life and I write about my journey in the most free and honest way that I know how. With no regret. I refuse to feel bad about something I never asked for. I write for the voiceless.
FAITH: I love Jesus. But I cuss a little. A little lot. I believe that faith is fluid and we are all in process. Experiencing our own unique stage of belief and change. Everything is a process. I have found that at times I feel so behind in my walk and at other times I can see clearly that this foul mouthed former addict has a better handle on God than some folks in the highest echelons of the church. I am learning to balance just being myself, my messy, extremely rough around the edges, far from saint like self with the picture of the ideal church going righteous believer. My one certainty is that I have a beautiful relationship. Jesus is a part of every aspect of my life. I know, beyond anything else I have learned, without that, I would be dead.
NOW: I am a seeker of truth. I am clean. I am sober. I am in therapy. I am on medication. I sing. I write. I blog. I am a wife. A mother to twin boys. A mental illness fighter. Assault survivor. I am a beautiful mess. And more importantly I try to live every day loving the way Jesus did.