She had been saved from physical death, but her journey to sobriety and spiritual salvation was only beginning. In the middle of her darkest night, drunk and deep in despair, Becca slammed the gear shift into drive, floored the gas pedal and drove her car into a pond to extinguish 19 years of pain. It was not her first suicide attempt, but this time she intended to succeed. MercyMe’s “Greater” was playing on the stereo, and while she didn’t grasp its message until much later when God helped her process the events of the night she nearly died, she knows now that it was a sign of his love (“I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed…”). His greatest mercy that night three years ago, of course, was her miraculous survival. At age 26, she had been seeking an end to torment that began with sexual abuse when she was in grade school, followed by addictions to cutting, alcohol and drugs, but God had other plans for her. As the water level rose in the car, her sense of panic rising with it, Becca seemingly was down to her final breaths. She braced herself against the driver’s seat with one foot on the steering wheel and used her other foot to kick the windshield with all the energy she had left. Miraculously a jagged nine-inch hole opened. It should have been way too small for her to wriggle through, except it wasn’t. As she fought her way out, one of her feet caught on a piece of broken glass. Nearly out of breath, she managed to break free and swam to shore where an ambulance and police with handcuffs were waiting. The police gave her a choice: she could go to jail charged with DUI, reckless endangerment and other charges, or she could seek help. She wanted no part of jail, so she took the deal, still not convinced she had a problem with alcohol.
She had been saved from physical death, but her journey to sobriety and spiritual salvation was only beginning.
“God literally pulled me out of the bottom of the lake and set me where I could learn to trust,” Becca says. “I could push myself through a nine-inch hole. I should not be sitting here, so I know it was him. I heard the song ‘Greater,’ and it triggered me. It was like, ‘He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.’ ” It put her on the path to trust, something she had gone two decades without. For five years beginning at age seven, she had been repeatedly abused by an adult (not a member of her immediate family). She kept the horrifying trauma a secret because her victimizer threatened her if she told anyone what he was doing to her. “I learned at a really young age what it was to hold a secret,” Becca says. “It turned into a lot of self-hatred. I started not being able to look into a mirror because I didn’t like what I saw.”
She doesn’t blame her parents, insisting they were great to her. Had she shared her pain with them, she’s sure now that they would have supported her, but she didn’t know how to express it. Her abuser had left her without a voice. “I learned how to become a chameleon. In any situation, I had a mask. I was living a life of secrets and slowly self-destructing.” First she coped by starving herself. Then she began cutting to release the pain. “There was something very freeing about cutting. It started out to be every once in a while when I would be really angry. Then it became an addiction. I was cutting for every emotion. It got to the point where I didn’t need a razor blade, I would use anything sharp.” Sometimes she would rub her skin with an eraser until it burned her skin. She would burn herself with cigarette lighters. She would bang her head on hard objects. One would think her self-abuse was painful, but Becca says it left her almost euphoric.
“It was, ‘I can’t control the world and what’s going on, but I can control how bad I hurt myself,’ ” Becca says. “It was a way for me to escape every feeling and every pain and everything I was feeling because I had no voice. I didn’t know how to voice what I felt, so my release became trying to harm myself.” She began drinking at age 16, smoking pot at 17. On the night of her high school graduation she tried cocaine and was hooked. “I was already addicted to eating disorders and self harm, then drinking and pot and doing prescription pills when I could get my hands on them because it was an escape. I didn’t have to deal with the world.” When she was 21, she was hospitalized on a 72-hour psych hold because she weighed 90 pounds and had 300 cuts on her body. Today she has a tattoo on her left arm of a mountain scene with a forest of trees obscuring dozens of scars. The trees, she says, symbolize growth. Below them is a Bible citation, 2 Corinthians 5:17, a verse that says “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!” It took a year in a Christian recovery program to replace the old Becca with the new, though. She went to Teen Challenge in Oklahoma to avoid jail but didn’t buy into the program at first. The turning point came when they went on a “life-changing” mission trip to the Dominican Republic. “It showed me that I truly needed to be transparent, that I needed to figure out how to be in God’s rest all the time,” Becca says. “We were snorkeling and I learned what it was to be in God’s rest. I was like, ‘OK, I need to figure out how to do this when my head is above water.’ ” She came back a different person. She came back with an understanding that faith isn’t about religion, it’s about relationship with the Lord.
“Up until this point, I didn’t believe in God. I was mad at God, because God allowed all these bad things to happen to me. I believed I was only meant for sex, to be hurt, to just go through life. I learned there’s more.” After leaving Teen Challenge she moved back to Lakewood to start a new life, form healthy relationships and grow in her spiritual journey, a process she says is ongoing. She was keen to find a church to support her new-found faith and sought out a place to participate in Celebrate Recovery. That led her to Friday night CR meetings at the Red Rocks Littleton campus. There she heard great things about worship at Red Rocks Church, which she came to love. She wants to share her testimony far and wide. She wants to visit schools, telling her story to help kids who might be where she was: abused, starving physically and spiritually with secrets too painful to share, hopeless. She wants people to know what happened that night in the pond, how she learned MercyMe has it right: The one living in us really is greater than the enemy of our souls.
“I know he pulled me out (of the pond) and sat me down. I know he has been with me my whole life. It was because of him that, on the days that I wanted to die that I didn’t cut too deep. He saved me. He has been with me my whole life. Even when I didn’t believe, he was there because he protected me.” Written by: John Meyer