“My name is Autumn and here’s a snapshot of my Caterfly Story….    

photo cred: Kara Dicarlo

photo cred: Kara Dicarlo

So many people ask me why I am obsessed with butterflies? Why they are in my room, on my walls, and in my car? Why they are tattooed all over this “perfect” pastor’s daughter and why they are so important to me? Well, this “perfect pastors daughter” didn’t always have it so perfect–still don’t and that’s what people don’t see. It’s also the beginning of my Caterfly story…

I’m 19 years old and I used to feel like I’ve lived 100 years…fear will drain you like that, if you let. When I was little, I struggled with something called, “Separation Anxiety Disorder.” It wasn’t that bad…Or so I thought. It started when my mom became pregnant with my little sister. Then we needed to find a new home. Then my parents BOTH got a new job. And, THEN I had to go to a different school and THEN, the panic started. That was a lot of change for me then and my life also dramatically changed from that point on.

I can remember my dad pulling up to the school in our car and me just sweating bullets in the leather seats. Fear would come up through the palm of my hands and bottoms of my feet–it was a never-ending nightmare. My dad had to walk me into school while I was sweating and squeezing his arms each step of the way. The whole dropping me off for school thing…no longer worked for me.

Everyday I walked into that school making eye contact with my teachers, principals, and counselors and everyday I’d hear the same question, “Autumn, are we gonna have a easy day or hard one?” Funny thing is, there never had been an easy day. I would turn my head and start to panic and waited to feel more than just my dad’s hand wrap around my small body. I waited to feel them rip my arms away from him…and this was every day for 2-3 years.

AutumnI became physically sick every day at that elementary age because the panic attacks and adrenaline were tearing my body apart. The day came where my mom said, “We just can’t do this to her anymore, we are done.” I left school that day and didn’t return until seven years later. Seven years of not leaving my mom’s side. Seven years of panic attacks and horrible moments. Seven years of going on every date, pastors conference and counseling meetings with my parents. Seven years of doing whatever my mom was doing and going WHEREVER she went because…I couldn’t be without her. Seven years of sitting on the toilet while my mom showered because being outside the door would just be way too far away.

During those seven years, I felt like I completely lost my identity. I didn’t know who I was anymore and I didn’t care. I wanted this life to just stop, even if for only a couple of seconds.

How did I come out of the fear hole?

I went to a prayer meeting and heard God say to my heart that He was going to move this mountain in my life. I began to cry and knew I needed to go back to school. School to me meant: scary, mean, dark place where people treat you badly and hit you while your down; a place where no one REALLY cares about you, but acts like it, for a pay check.

The next day I “listened to God and did what He said” and walked back through those school doors. (Did you know that even if you SCRATCH a cocoon to help the butterfly come out before it’s time–you’ve ruined the whole wing-developing process. Caterpillars struggle for WEEKS in their cocoon, but without the struggle they wouldn’t come out as beautiful as they are or even have the ability to fly. Taking the “easy way out” can do more harm than just pushing through some tough times.) God used me both my freshman and sophomore year in that school to see people give their lives to Christ, to heal friends in the hallway, to make a stand against some crazy clubs and also to see them banned. He changed not only my teacher’s lives, but also–mine.

My junior year God moved my family out of state…yep, you guessed what that means! New School. Well, guess how God used me there? I lead a suicidal-cutting-eating disordered-severely-depressed girl to Christ my first week there and all over texting! I was nominated for Homecoming Queen my first year and was in some parades. I also danced in front of my whole school in the gym, passed all my classes and had four different teachers come to my church. And, also…GRADUATED!

If I can do it, you can do it! Just call on that name–Jesus.

Waking up and fearing the day is the worst way to wake up every day of your life. BUT, waking up with sun shinning, fearing the LORD, knowing who I am AND who He wants me to be…that right there is Jesus taking a caterpillar and transforming it into something beautiful.”

(NOTE: This beautiful soul is my (Lara’s) lovely god-daughter. She is an overcomer and a world-changer….SO PROUD OF HER! You can follow her on Instagram at: @AUTIESELFIEOFFICIAL)


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