ONCE UPON A TIME there was a young girl. Her name was Mel Jo. Her life was great and she was always so full of happiness! She had everything a little girl could ever want, right? No. Her parents got divorced. She felt broken. Living in a broken home. Was this good? Not at the time. Was it bad? Not necessarily. The happiness never disappeared, not on the outside. But in reality, the little girl felt sad and anxious inside. Maybe she didn’t realize it though. Maybe she thought she was happy, but was actually not doing well at all.
Things started to happen. Mel Jo found a friend. He was her Savior. That’s right, not savior, it is Savior. He saved her from despair and condemnation. Her mom got married and had a baby. Mel grew up going to her grandparents a lot and they became her best friends. Suddenly, out of nowhere, her grandma was diagnosed with cancer. Lung cancer.
Of course, Mel Jo did not take this well. Her best friend had cancer! Little did she know that this would drastically change her life. For better or for worse? Yes, both. She fell into a pit. It was dark and scary. It consumed and swallowed her up. She was sinking and felt nothing to grab onto that could save her. It pulled her and refused to give in and let her leave. It held her captive. Depression. That is what it was, depression. She felt hopeless.
Along with her grandma having cancer, she decided to support her by shaving all of her hair off. She was only going into seventh grade at the time. That’s right, it made her a target for the bullies. She started to hate herself and felt worthless. Mel Jo started to get anxious to do anything, scared she would mess up. The anxiety and the depression started to rip her apart inside while her best friend was slowly dying. She knew that her best friend wouldn’t make it. She had a weight on her and sickening feeling in her stomach everyday because she saw no way of her grandma making it out alive.
During the summer, Mel Jo was staying with her grandparents for a week, since she was helping take care of them. One night, she went to sleep with her depression and anxiety still having a hold on her. When she woke up the next morning, she saw her grandma on the floor in the living room and her grandpa was trying to get her grandma to open her eyes or talk to her. Mel thought that her best friend had died and froze. Her grandpa sent her to her room, but changed his mind and had her call her uncle. She was panicking the whole time. When her uncle arrived, he called the ambulance right away. The sheriff and other police officers showed up fairly quickly and Mel stayed outside waiting for the ambulance to show them where her grandma was. Mel Jo still thought that this had to be a dream and that it wasn’t happening. That was until the ambulance pulled up the driveway. It was real. This was happening. Her grandma was taken away from her to the hospital. Her family immediately rushed to the hospital. Her grandma was alive and turned out to have an unknown reason for her collapse and confusion.
Ever since that day, Mel Jo relived that event often. She got nightmares of her grandma, her best friend, dying. She developed PTSD. The depression and anxiety mixed with her PTSD made her fall apart.
The next year went by and things stayed the same. Then, Mel Jo started having her shoulder dislocate, something that caused her more physical pain than she ever felt. Both of her shoulders began to dislocate after some time. It caused more bullying and more trouble and stress than she needed.
October 6th, 2015 came along. Mel Jo was about to head out to the car to go to school when her mom told her to stay inside. Her stomach dropped. She didn’t know what was happening and started to freak out. Mel Jo’s mom came upstairs crying and said the words she never wanted to hear, “Grandma passed away this morning.” Mel Jo sat for a minute, waiting for her brain to process. Once her brain understood, she began to sob and say, “No, no, no. She didn’t. No!” She fell apart and sobbed for a long time. Her mom brought her and her siblings to their grandparents’ to go say goodbye to her grandma. Turned out she had passed away in her sleep. On the way to their house, Mel continued to sob the whole way there. When they got to the house, Mel went into her grandparents’ room to see her grandma. Once she was in the room, she saw someone. It wasn’t her grandma. It couldn’t be. Her grandma wasn’t ever cold and lifeless. Her grandma wasn’t pale and strangely colored. No. Her grandma wasn’t that body on the bed. Her grandma was the jokes and love she got. The rest of the day, Mel just slept to try to get the pain away.
Mel lost hope. She didn’t want to live. She wanted to be numb to the pain. Mel Jo began to drag a razor across her arms and legs to feel the pain outside and not inside. It didn’t work, but she continued for months and months. She didn’t want the pain and suffering, so she tried to kill herself. It didn’t work. When she continued to want to die, she told her mom she didn’t feel safe with herself and needed to leave. Mel ended up in the teen psychiatric ward. She was there for 16 days getting therapies that barely helped. One night while at the hospital, she had a dream that Jesus was with her in her grandparents’ woods and saw a cardinal, which was her grandma’s favorite bird. The next morning, she didn’t feel suicidal. She had hope. After a few days, she went home and continued to get therapy and learned to cope with the grief.
A few months after that, Mel got surgery on her shoulder. The months after the surgery, she continued to heal emotionally and physically. Five months after the surgery, Mel Jo woke up and her surgery shoulder was dislocated. That meant that the surgery had failed. The pain of dislocation was about a thousand times more difficult after surgery compared to dislocation before the surgery. She didn’t understand why all of this was happening to her. Had she done something wrong? Was God punishing her for sinning? No.
Mel Jo noticed something. God was using her circumstances to change her. She started to lean on Him because of what was happening. She was stronger and more on fire for Him. She found hope in the place she never looked, to God. She found worth in who she was, a daughter of the KING OF KINGS! She realized that she is loved and adored by the Creator of all things, for the glory of Him who is greater than all things, and that she is awesome!
I am Mel Jo, I’m Amelia Jo. I love my Savior and I would never erase the pain and suffering I’ve been through because I wouldn’t be me without those things. I praise God for the work He has done and is doing in me. The moral of the story: pain and suffering don’t make God not all knowing or all powerful or all good, they make Him more of all those things because He is a good Father who knows what is best for His children. He loves me. He loves you. And He is faithful, was faithful and always will be faithful.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me and loved me during all that has happened. I love you all so much and I hope that my story has helped you.