I Was Blind...

A 17 year old girl was tragically institutionalized for severe depression, severe mental illness, and repeated suicide attempts. A true story of amazing victory!

The circumstances of life, the events of life, and the people around me in life, do not make me the way I am, but reveal the way I am. 


     Starting from my teenage years, my life and my reason for living centered around people. Only people, and my caring for them, gave my life meaning and purpose. I tried to be perfect at everything I did, while I actually felt inferior, not worth much of anything. I really did believe I was a big mistake. All that was important to me was that I was loved, yet at the same time I believed no one loved me. I worked hard to do right, to be a great friend to others, and to be a good person, so that I would feel good about myself and people would love me, and some rejected me. This made me feel more inferior, less important, and very depressed. I have since learned, as did the Psalmist, "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him." (Psalm 62:5) But my ears were closed to what God had to say.


     I did not know about God's love at that point, because I was too busy thinking about people and myself. I have learned that the Bible teaches us not to be men pleasers, and "Ye are bought with a price; be not ye servants of men." (I Corinthians 7:23) "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help." (Psalm 146:3) I did the opposite of almost everything God said to do in His Word. "The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." (Psalm 119:130) Solomon said in Proverbs, "Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded." (Proverbs 13:13) One of my favorite verses is, "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." (Joshua 1:8) I was very successful at failing because I rejected HIS WORD! I would not listen to what God had to say.

The Result

      At age 17, most teenage girls are thinking about a special someone, or graduation day, college, and career. They are excited about dating, and perhaps, contemplating marriage someday. At age 17, I was withdrawn, very depressed, and had given up. Although I had previously been an "A/B" student, I flunked school. A month after I should have graduated, I was admitted to a mental hospital where I would spend the next several months. I only went out once, and much of the time I was allowed no visitors because of my behavior. There was no special someone, no dating, no excitement, no planning and looking forward to a bright future, I understand now what God meant when He said to Jeremiah, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (Jeremiah 33:3) Even then, I was not ready to listen to what God had planned for me.

     In the mental hospital, it was dark, with iron gates and bars on the doors and windows. Some of the attendants and nurses beat and abused the patients, and they frequently left them unattended. One day, a lady in the ward where I was hung herself while an attendant watched television. There were large rats. The state later found 13 counts against the place where I was. I spent much of my time in a straitjacket and in seclusion. I was locked in a room with only a twin bed and was strapped onto it. I also lived with other patients in a ward where they lay on the floor and in corners. Many would scream and make animal sounds. They were strong and dangerous. If one turned his back on them, he would be attacked by them. These patients were there for the rest of their lives. Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) At this point in my life, I would not take the time to listen to what God had to say.

     I had a triple series of shock treatments for depression. I took about 30 pills a day, most of which were tranquilizers. I would sometimes sleep standing up. The doctors said I was mentally ill and would never recover, and I should be locked up and the key thrown away. 

     God's Word states, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 16:25) I had done horrible things to myself and was a danger to my own self. Once, I ate some poison and got deathly ill. The doctors said if I did not die, I could expect severe liver damage or blindness. I was broken, torn, twisted, and on the very edge of hell. But, you know, my heart still would not listen to what God had to say. 

     My diagnosis was suicidal, schizoid, manic-depressive, and schizophrenic. I begged God to take me. I will never be able to tell what gratitude I have that He chose to save me instead.

     After spending my 18th birthday in the hospital, I was released. I was still not much different. I was an outpatient for psychiatric care and went into another institution a few months later. I was too depressed to hold a job and went on social security disability, I could not stop crying long enough to hold a job. I never realized then that the Bible teaches, "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19) But I still refused to listen to what God had to say.

     Things got much worse. I took overdoses of pills and slept for long periods of time. I felt totally alone. I had a wicked temper. I drank to get drunk. I was a chain smoker. I worried all the time. I did not trust anyone.. Fear, anger, confusion filled me. I became so desperate that I shot myself with a 20-guage shotgun. I felt no one wanted me, loved me, or understood me. People did love me and wanted to help me, but I would not let them. I sank deeper and deeper into despair and became involved in all sorts of deep evil. The Bible does say, "Many sorrows shall be to the wicked," (Psalm 32:10) to those who refuse to turn to Him. There is a bright side. The Lord also said, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." (I Peter 5:6)

Now I See

     May I tell you what a difference Christ can make?  I understand now what God meant when He said to Isaiah, "I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight:..."       (Isaiah 45:2) He was there all the time with me. He made us. He gives us the freedom to chose. He never forces Himself on us. He only enters our lives when we want Him to enter, when we ask Him to enter. Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20) I had shut Him out! Now, finally, I was ready to listen to what God had to say.

green light

     God had heard the prayers of godly people who had refused to stop praying for me. Many people who knew me then and see me now cannot believe I am the same person. Indeed, it did look hopeless. If you are praying for someone who looks hopelessly lost and seemingly will never change, do not give up! Because Jesus Christ (The Messiah) is alive, there is hope! The Bible teaches, "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." (I Peter 3:12) If we want our prayers answered, we must obey. I have learned it is most important to obey God. Freedom and peace come when we obey.

     Throughout all of this, I knew God was there, but I had not allowed Him to be my God. Self was on the the throne of my heart, not Christ. I blamed circumstances, people, and myself. 

green light

     I was now eager to listen to what God had to say. He promises to share our load and carry our burdens, as we cannot carry them alone. We must decide to let Him take them. Too often we refuse to allow God who made us to carry us. Do not let the affairs of this life or anything in this life come between you and God. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31) 

     The Lord, through His Holy Spirit, showed me my sin soon after this rock bottom time. I began to feel crushed with guilt and sorrow for the things I did that displeased God. I began to see the way I was living and hated it. I had rejected God over and over again. It was as if a light went on; I saw how my sin separated me from God. Now I wanted to follow Him. I prayed and asked His forgiveness. I invited Jesus to be my Savior, my Lord, my God, and my Friend.

green light

     I would not trade knowing Him for anything this world has to offer. I spent a lot of time in His Word. I wanted to be with God's people. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (II Corinthians 5:17)

     I belong to the living God, and I want everyone else to belong to Him also. He is perfect, yet so many go throughout life and on to eternity without Him. 

     If what I went through was what it took to turn me to God, then it was worth it all. The peace my heart knows is worth it all. I am not anywhere near perfect; however, I am forgiven and I am converted, which means going in the opposite direction. I am going in God's direction. I face trials and temptations, but never alone. The Lord is with me, guiding me. In Proverbs it says, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:6) I feel just like the blind man that Jesus healed in the book of John, "...I was blind, but now I see." (John 9:25) James 2:10 says if we have broken one law we are as guilty as if we have broken them all. I have talked with many people who think that because they have never done anything very bad, they are not really sinners. They think they are okay in God's sight and that He will even allow them into heaven someday. This is a lie from the devil. God said in His Word, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

     Satan is alive! He is real and very dangerous. The Bible says he is "...as a roaring lion."  (I Peter 5:8) He wants to destroy all of us. He wants us in hell with him. I almost allowed him to destroy me. Satan blinds, troubles, and afflicts. He is the author of confusion, a murderer from the beginning, and the father of lies, the Bible teaches. He does not want us to come to God. He tempts us, torments us, and tricks us into thinking we do not need God. He wants us to think we are good enough the way we are: a good friend, a good neighbor, christened or baptized, a payer of our bills, a good student, a good parent, religious, or successful. The Bible teaches, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."         (Ephesians 2:8-9) I have accepted God's free gift of life. I have a relationship with Him. My sins are forgiven, and I'm on my way to heaven. Are you?

     If I had died back then, I would be in hell today. Not for all the wrong things I did, but for the sin of refusing to believe, refusing to put my hope, my trust, in God's Son, Jesus Christ. The disciples asked Jesus what they must do to do the works of God. Jesus answered in John 6:29, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom He hath sent." Believing in your mind only is not enough to save you or get you to heaven. James 2:19 says, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." If we believe, we will obey. If there is no proof, no action, no fruit to show that you really believe, then most likely you do not really believe, because the Bible teaches, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."   (James 2:26) 

     "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:17) He came to suffer, to take my place, your place, to die a terrible death. He rose from the dead and is alive today. We can someday be with Him in heaven and right now experience real life with peace, joy, purpose, blessings, and victory over problems and burdens. The Psalmist said, "Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am." (Psalm 39:4) The reason we are here is not to live for ourselves, but to live for Him. He has special plans for us, but many times we are too busy with ourselves and the things of this life, like time and talents that He has given to us, to listen to what He has to say.  

     No matter who you are or what you have done, if you have not decided to follow Christ, to receive Him as you Savior, then you are lost! When we face God someday, we will not care about what other people think. There will be no turning back, no excuses. 

     God's Word says, "...for all have sinned," (Romans 3:23) or displeased God. The price we will pay for sin is death and eternal separation from God. (Romans 6:23) Jesus Christ, the Messiah, died on the cross to take the punishment for our sin, for all we have done wrong. If you accept Him, you will not be punished. He wants you to come to God and have a home in heaven someday and a new life now. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9) To God, all wrong we have done will be blotted out as if it never happened. We will not be punished because Christ was punished for us. That is how we become a child of God, a Christian, a new person with peace and joy filling our souls. He who believes in Him will never be disappointed.

     I challenge you and offer you an opportunity to pray and receive Christ as your own Savior, now, if you have never done that before. You only need to ask Him once, and if you really mean it, you will belong to Him. Christ promises to come in and never leave you or forsake you.

     Pray quietly, in your heart, to God, these words:

Dear Lord, I realize now that I have sinned against you. Please forgive me for all I have done to displease you. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. Please come into my heart now, Lord Jesus. I want to follow you. I want to live for you. Help me to obey. Thank you. In Jesus' name, Amen!

     We all make decisions. We make many good decisions, but some decisions we will sorrow over for the rest of our lives. A disciple is a follower and a learner. Discipleship is a matter of choice - obey the flesh of the Holy Spirit. Follow Christ or follow yourself! A disciple always! Would you be a disciple? Jesus said, "He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings..." (John 14:24) Ask yourself, "Is there something I am refusing to give up for God? Am I following people, friends, or family; are they taking God's place in my life?" Are you saying, "I cannot live for God? What will people say? What will my friends think?" Jesus said, "Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 10:33) There is no pick-and-chose discipleship. We cannot serve two masters. Will you go where He asks you to go? Will you do what He asks you to do?

 May the Lord direct you in your decision. green light Jo Ann Hollway 2008


        In His love,

    Jo Ann          

               ...But Now I See

©1988 Jo Ann Hollway, revised 1995

Editor's note: Jo Ann Hollway has served the Lord for many years. Over 20 years ago she started RAMIAH MINISTRIES, INC./ West Berlin, NJ, USA     www.ramiah.org.

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