“A Good Nervous Breakdown” by Gemma Cummings

Illustration by Beth Pukala

I have always believed in Jesus. As a child, he looked like the picture with a flock of sheep holding a wee lamb on his shoulders. He had long brown hair, a gentle face and was lean and strong in appearance. He was far away from me as he lived in heaven.  My parents provided good lessons and I learned well knowing he was my savior; however, did I know what that meant?  Probably not, as I thought it depended on me to be “good” if I was to make it into heaven. I honestly didn’t give him much thought as a child.

By the time I was a young adult, I knew right from wrong and strived on my own to do right. Despite my good intentions I did much wrong harming others in my life’s journey, never intentionally you must understand, but due to selfish ambitions, jealousies and wrong judgments. Over time, I developed the malady of the known world order, guilt and condemnation. It settled on me as a pall of low self-esteem and all that entails basically depression. I wasn’t much fun as you can well imagine and I had to pretend to be cheerful and happy. I accepted my situation as my unfortunate lot in life hoping against hope when in church every Sunday that I would make it into Purgatory should I die.

My word is still “more.” I cannot get enough of him. I want more.

In the meantime, due to my bad judgments, I had a heavy load to bear. I was blessed with eight children, but in the days of their youth we were in pretty dire straits. As they grew into their teens, I lost control over our lives – theirs and mine. I moved forward, one day at a time, holding on mindlessly. Until one blessed day when I lost it and had what I now know to be a nervous breakdown. I call it my blessed day because it was a turning point in my life. Although it looked like I had hit bottom and this was the beginning of the end, it became the beginning of a life with Jesus and I mean that with all sincerity of heart.

One evening at work I received a most devastating phone call from home detailing the turmoil that was going on. I fell apart and my co-worker witnessed my grief. I was broken! I will never forget this young man. He witnessed to me about a Jesus that I never knew – a  real, compassionate, living, serving and alive Jesus. He told me that Jesus was present right here on earth. Imagine my awe at realizing this truth and by the grace of God I knew it to be the truth and I wanted more. These were the words this young man used when I told him that I was a Catholic and went to church every Sunday and knew about Jesus. He said the words, “there is more to Jesus.” He explained the Born Again experience to me and I accepted it desperately needing the hope it offered me.

What does Jesus mean to me now?  He is my personal friend. He is my companion on every front.  Above all, he is in love with wretched me and has assured me that I will be with him in heaven when I die. Since I confessed my sins to him as my great High Priest, he has removed all sin and condemnation from me.  With his Holy Spirit dwelling in my spirit, he enabled me to invite out-loud with my words of faith.  This has enabled me to be transformed by renewing my mind.

He still looks like that benevolent shepherd from my childhood, but in my spirit, he is the suffering Christ with whom I accepted the most personal, private friendship I have ever had. He permits me to live in peace despite the trials of life because he overcomes for me. He accepts me as I am but changes me as I need. He has assured me that it isn’t by my might or power but by his spirit that I live and move and have my being. He also tells me that this truth will not always be accepted, but with his Holy Spirit in me, I accept my challenges.

To know me is to know that I live to please God as He authorizes. He never lets go and I know it very well. He is my assurance of salvation not only for me but for my entire household. You could not ever get a better deal than that on earth!

My word is still “more.” I cannot get enough of him. I want more. The wonder of it all is that he provides it. I prosper as my soul prospers. He is more than enough. He is utterly and entirely beautiful. He is mine.

Note from Alice: Gemma Cummings has seen the light, and she is not afraid to shout about her relationship with Jesus. Can you catch the conversion from the worldly burdens to her heavenly resort? Homemaker, waitress and EKG technician provided plenty of demands on her energy. Her essential roles as wife and mother finally left her totally unfulfilled. Jesus worked his miracle in raising her from a low point to a place of hope and love. Gemma is now a blessed woman working her magic as a grandmother, sister, aunt, friend and faithful follower.  Email her at gemcummings@gmail.com.

Biblical Note: Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10 (NIV)

2 thoughts on ““A Good Nervous Breakdown” by Gemma Cummings

  1. Such a beautiful faith story! What struck me was the young man’s words of, “There is more to Jesus”, in response to “I’m a Catholic” and “I go to church every Sunday”…. Thank you so much for opening your heart and sharing your story!


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