Former frontperson and lead singer for alternative pop/metal band Flyleaf, Lacey Sturm speaks of the deep depression that nearly killed her and the prayer that changed everything.
Speaking frankly in an interview on Youtube with Ryan Ries, Lacey describes her difficult, poverty-stricken childhood, growing up as one of six children with a single mother who was constantly moving around.
At ten Lacey's cousin, who had been like a little brother to her, *was beaten to death by his step-father. This deeply traumatic event was a turning point in her life, causing Lacey to focus on the negative and abandon any belief in a loving God.
"But looking back I can see how even at that time God was providing comfort, surrogate parents, material things and good, but I just wasn't seeing it," she admits.
Lacey turned to drugs and boyfriends, clinging to others like they were God.
"Society says that the height of love is to kill myself if I am not with you, like the Twilight series, but that is not love at all! Love is not that I HAVE to love you because I need you, it is that I am whole in myself and I CHOOSE to love you. It is not love to say that I can't live without you – that is emotional blackmail!" she realizes now.
By 16, Lacey was drinking, taking pills and smoking weed. She was also dating a girl. Then her grandfather, who was giving her a stable home at the time, went into the hospital with a heart attack.
Her grandmother said to her: "You know what, your actions affect people. You're not listening to our rules, you're not obeying us, you are getting into trouble at school, you are breaking the law, you are bringing all of this stress and anxiety into our home and now your grandfather has had a heart attack. You need to think about that.
"Stop being so selfish, your actions affect more than you and there is a bigger world out there than just your problems."
Lacey, who was already suicidal and depressed, knows now that those words were really good advice because depressed people need to take their eyes off themselves and start serving and loving others, but back then all she heard was "our lives would be better without you, it would be better if you weren't around."
She decided to kill herself after school that Wednesday, but her grandmother was home when Lacey got back that day and, realizing there was something very wrong with her grandchild, decided "You are going to church tonight!"
After a big fight, Lacey finally agreed to go and slouched at the back, hating all those "naïve, stupid, fake hypocrites".
She wasn't listening to the preacher until, right in the middle of his sermon, he stopped and said: "I feel God wants me to talk about family" and he went on to talk about various families he had ministered to.
Lacey felt like he was describing her life and talking straight to her. Then he started to cry and said, "There is a suicidal spirit in the room. Please come up here and let us pray for you. God has a plan for your life and He doesn't want you to die today."
Lacey thought, "This is so weird! There is no way I'm going up there in front of all these Christians. He wants to make a spectacle of me!"
She stayed where she was but, after the service, another man looked her in the eyes and said: "God knows that you've never had an earthly father and He wants you know that He will be a better father to you than any earthly father could ever be. God has seen you when you cry yourself to sleep at night."
Lacey had indeed done so every night since her cousin's death.
The man went on: "You have been rehearsing your pain, pain that comes from your own sin and the sin that others have committed against you. Did you know Jesus died to carry the pain Himself and take away the sins of the whole world? He took that on the cross, so you don't have to keep rehearsing it. Can I pray for you to ask Jesus to take the pain out of your heart?"
Lacey recalls feeling exhausted by her sin and dead inside, so she said: "OK, let's see what happens."
The man prayed: "Dear God, please wrap your arms around this girl that you created."
Lacey immediately felt peace, love and goodness, unlike anything she had ever encountered before.
"I was encountering a holy God. I felt like some filthy person who crawls from a sewer and enters a palace, before a king. But it was like God was saying 'I'm going to make you a new person, if you let me. I'm not shocked by you, I know you'."
The next morning, Lacey's perspective was totally different. She awoke with purpose, praying "You made me, God, and you rescued me from suicide – why? What do you want to do with my life?" Suddenly everything had a reason and she was aware of beauty and meaning in the world.
Since then she says: "Opening up to Jesus has been the most amazing adventure. There is no other name that has such life-giving power. All my night terrors stopped. I really understand what the Bible means when it talks about going from death to life, from darkness to light. It was like a spiritual switch had been flicked."
Lacey has a very simple way of explaining what Jesus did: "Satan is like a lawyer who says 'That person is a murderer, that person is a liar, they deserve to be tortured for their sin. They are mine. They belong to me.' But Jesus says, 'Yeh, they might deserve that but I'm going to die in their place. If they plead the name of Jesus they will be forgiven. You have to look at me now, Satan, and what sin did I commit? - none.'" Romans 10:13 says, "Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
After giving her life to God, Lacey went on to dedicate her talents to Him, which led to her involvement in Flyleaf. Each gig the band plays, they pray and ask God to show up and change people through their music. Lacey has also written a book called The Reason. Find out more at; www.laceysturm.com•