“Depression stole my life in every way imaginable,” said Leenza Thompson, a student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. “[I felt] completely empty at some points, like I was just a shell of a human ... I really felt like I was a waste of space on earth. I felt that no one could ever love me.”
Then Leenza joined a discipleship huddle through Resonate Global Mission partner Geneva House campus ministry. There she began to discover her identity as loved by God and was able to take her first steps toward healing.
Leenza was raised in a Christian home but became close friends with an atheist during high school and started examining the Bible. Did God really create the universe? Did Jesus really walk on water, heal the sick, and raise the dead?
“I decided there’s no way God could exist,” said Leenza. “There’s no way any of this is possible.”
At the university, Leenza began questioning her worldview again. She struggled with unbearable depression, contemplating suicide and using a razor for self-harm. She searched for a way to break depression’s grip on her life.
At that point she noticed that Geneva House was hosting a seekers’ discipleship huddle for students to explore Christianity and ask tough questions.
“I didn’t want to go,” said Leenza. “But as I found myself at this rock-bottom place ... I thought maybe they have something to offer me that I couldn’t find in my life.”
In the huddle, Leenza read through the Gospel of John. As weeks went by, she felt cared for by Geneva House leaders Julia Kooy and Kathy Doering, who prayed for her before every meeting and encouraged her to apply Scripture to her own life.
In the midst of depression, Leenza heard God speaking to her. “One night in my room, I felt like God was saying, ‘Get out your Bible.’ It was late at night and I didn’t want to get out of my bed, but God just kept saying, ‘Get out your Bible. Get out your Bible.’”
Leenza listened to God and read her Bible. “The main message was that God loves me no matter what. It was really transforming ... God’s real.”
Leenza accepted Christ that night.
“It was visibly evident when we saw her at our next huddle,” said Julia. “She looked different. There was this joy about her, this peace that we hadn’t seen.”
God told Leenza to throw out the razor blade she had been using to harm herself, and she hasn’t thought about self-harming since. Over the next few months, Leenza began to heal from depression—and God has transformed her life.
She joined other huddles, moved into a missional house on campus, and switched her major to religious studies. She hopes to one day earn a Master of Divinity with a concentration on Christian counseling.
This story was originally published by The Banner.