A story about Social Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD.


This is a long post, but it is, from my heart, vulnerable and authentic, so it is worth the read. A lot of people find it hard to talk real with other people about struggles in their life, but not me. I have always been an open book and try to be as real with others as I can to help other people, which has been my calling for a very long time. The last five years of my life have been some of the hardest times I have ever gone through. Including our move to Chattanooga where we tried to start our lives all over again, making new friends, finding jobs, finding a new church, trying to leave behind everything that happened here in Birmingham when my husband shot himself in the courthouse in 2012. When this happened, I had so many labels put on me; it tore my life and who I was apart. It wasn’t enough that I had to handle what he had done, and grieve his loss, but to be blamed for him doing it because I was the new wife was more than I could bear. Because of it being such national news, my face and name were everywhere, on every news channel national, and local.
I could not go out anywhere that people would walk up to me and say “ you are that woman whose husband killed himself in the courthouse” and that became my new identity. All the people in the federal courthouse where he worked were calling me a gold digger, the black widow, and saying things I could not even begin to tell you. When Ronnie and I were fixing to get married, he worked at Bruce’s office supply. The federal courthouse was one of his clients, he went there, and they told him they had heard he was marrying me and told him not to do that. “ You don’t know what kind of gold-digger and monster she is, she is known around here as the black widow.” They didn’t even know me, and they had never yet met me, they talked about how many times I had been married before, but the one thing they never knew was my past and why I may have made some horrible decisions in my life. They never knew I was just a woman due to my history looking to be loved. They didn’t know as a child I spent many years in very abusive girls home, locked up for months at a time a dog, naked, and kept in the dark for months at a time. They didn’t know I had been sexually abused as a child time and time again. They didn’t know that I didn’t have a father in my life, then at age 30, he finally became a part of my life after he had been in a motorcycle wreck paralyzed from the neck down needing me to care for him. They didn’t know years later, he was murdered in my home, and I still never heard, I love you from him, I had forever lost my dream of ever being daddy’s little girl. They didn’t know that it caused me so many issues that I left a long marriage of 16 years. They didn’t realize it tore my kids apart when I left my husband and our stable home that on New year’s day in 2005, I was all alone, my kids not speaking to me, and found myself in a fetal position in my bathroom floor contemplating suicide. They didn’t understand after my suicided episode on New Years I finally had a year of extensive counseling and became involved in a program called Celebrate Recovery.
I was saved at Celebrate Recovery and got into leadership there and started a singles ministry called Alabama’s Circle of Friends. David came to my ministry is how we met. I ran this ministry for five years, pouring my soul into singles and setting up activities and events every Saturday night. I was speaking everywhere, and my book came out; Hope Knows Your Name. I was the butterfly that got put in a box by what happened, and when you put a butterfly in a box, it dies, which is precisely what happened to me. I ended up closing the ministry that I had worked so hard for, due to my social anxiety, PTSD, depression, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts. I started an extensive program at UAB due to becoming so withdrawn and depression. I was back to where I was at in 2005 wanting to end my life.
I had lost everything now, who I was, the social butterfly I was, all of my friends who had disappeared after David’s death. The close friends I did have; I shut down on them, I wanted to be alone; I did not want any friends anymore, I tried to ultimately shut down anything and anyone that had to do with David. Due to my shutting down as I did, I lost some of the best friends I have ever had. They had stuck with me through this whole situation and helped me so much to get through it all, and I just completely shut everyone out of my life and stayed to myself. I had just married Ronnie, and he didn’t know what to do with me. He felt so secluded, and what a way to start a new marriage. He did everything he could to help me and was watching me sit there dying and becoming so secluded from everyone. I could not feel anymore; David’s death had taken so much from me, and so did other people. We decided to move out of Birmingham due to all I had to deal with, I was still getting facebook messages that it was all my fault, and just everywhere we went something would happen, or someone would say something. I felt like the most horrible person in the world; I did not want to become involved with anyone ever again. I did not want any friends, did not want to go to church, never wanted to go anywhere, or do anything which has continued the last five years. We felt a new life in another city would be the answer. But, even moving off to somewhere new, you are still with you. My problems only worsened due to leaving family, losing my ministry, my best friends, wow had my life changed.
In Chattanooga, I did the same thing; I had so much social anxiety that I could not get involved in too much of anything. I started working, and that helped to feel I was doing something again. Then my back issues happened, and I had to have major surgery, due to not being able to go back to work sooner than I did, my boss fired me. Once again, leaving me to feel worthless, and I went back into my shell. Through this whole situation, my husband is the one who has suffered the most. I have not been able to be the wife he has needed me to be. He has been the one to try and pick up the pieces after David’s death. I have even held him at bay, being able to get to close to me. I have shut out and hurt the people I have loved the most. Then, Ronnie ended up taking a job in Texas, so we move 13 hours from home and with me still needing more surgery on my back. I fell in July off of a stool, and I have two tears in both hips, which I am still waiting on surgery.
We had only been in Texas 6 months when the radio station Ronnie went to work for closed down. Now, we were 13 hours away, no family, no friends at all, and what were we going to do? We ended up moving back to Birmingham and lived with my mom for five weeks. We finally got our place two weeks ago, and we are enjoying it. I am back to getting help with my depression, PTSD and social anxiety. I have had a rough time being back due to running into people I may know, or hearing what I heard five years ago. I am still at a place of not wanting to go anywhere or see anyone. I have been trying to go to the store and get things for our apartment. I find myself sitting in the car for 30 to 45 minutes before going in someplace due to this anxiety of running into people. Ronnie really wants to get back in church, and my fear is going and seeing someone I know or someone recognizing me. I am so withdrawn still from everyone; I want prayers for being able to love Ronnie like I need to and not be afraid of letting someone into my heart again, I need prayer for this social anxiety that I still deal with. I need prayer for making friends again and not being so afraid; I need prayer for forgiveness from those friends that I did hurt so bad from withdrawing from the relationship. I need prayer for a renewed mind, a new ministry and for God to be able to use me as a vessel again. I need prayer to let others in my heart again, to know yes I am back as a cacoon, but one day I will blossom back to a butterfly. I need prayer that I can forgive those who have said some of the cruelest things about me that have changed my life forever. What they don’t know is these last five years of my life have been affected by what they did, what people have said, how I was treated through his death. I am glad I got to share where I am at and some very vulnerable moments for me. I want me back; I want my life back. I want to love my husband as he deserves to be loved. I want to forgive others and forgive me. I am currently not able to work due to my health, so please pray that God provides us as we live on one income now. I do believe what Jeremiah 29:11 I know he has plans for me, and I know he has hope for my future! I am so thankful for a husband who has stuck in there with me through some of the hardest years of my life.

Ronnie and Christie Bruce

Contact Christie to speak at your next event

hopeknowsyourname.com

hopeknowsyourname@gmail.com

205-960-4245

 

Life – Changes in an instant, how do you cope with it?


Wow, so much has happened in our lives these last six months. We were living in Chattanooga, TN where we both had great jobs. I was fired from my job while I was out for my back surgery and in rehab. Then, my husband took a job offer, in Texas which he thought would be better for our family in the long run. Trust me; I went kicking and screaming the whole way. After my back surgery and neck surgery, in Chattanooga, the surgery with my back did not go as well as planned. I was out of work from the time we moved to Texas until now. We had only been in Texas for six months when my husband’s boss announced to him that they were closing down the radio station on Friday, and he was told this on a Tuesday, leaving him with no time (3 days) to find a job. Now, we’re stuck out there alone and with no family or friends. That moment when Ronnie told me what had happened I was so angry, and I had just a panic of fear. Security has always been the one thing I need since my childhood. Now, that was gone, who was I going to trust, who would pay our bills, how would we get groceries? All these fears consumed me for months; we have both felt hopeless. I kept thinking, how could someone wreck someone’s life that bad? How could someone move us 12 hours from home knowing their business was on the verge of closing down? Ok, where are you, God? For the first time in our lives we seriously did not know what we were going to do. Long story short, we ended up moving back to Birmingham, AL and moved in with my mother, which has had to be our lowest point ever. I have sat and watched my husband feel less and less of a man because he has had so much trouble finding a job. I have watched him crying just out of sheer despair. I have watched him first-hand being torn down, and kicked in the mouth by other people, even by our family. All the while continuing to trust God, knowing He will provide, and knowing God has just the right job and people that he will cross paths with all in God’s timing. We are now going on four months that he has been without a job; it has been grueling. To have a stack of bills you cannot pay, you don’t have your own place to live anymore; you can’t go out and do the things you once could do. You know who you thought you were the closest to, acting like they never knew you when we needed a place to live. Being in the place where we are right now has made us cling only to God and not other people. We are trusting Him to get us out of our situation. Now, we are hanging on to the promises in His word, that is all we have. We have learned not to take anything for granted anymore, such as having a home, a kitchen to cook in, a bed to sleep in, your own bathroom, and just the comfort of knowing you are in your own home. I will always appreciate having an apartment or a home now. When we can get a place of our own, I will thank God every day for the blessing of having a roof over our heads we call our own. We are letting go of all of those people who let us down in one of the hardest times of our life, and trusting God to bring us new friends, those who stick closer than a brother. I am just so proud to see how my husband has witnessed to me through this time in staying so faithful, never losing hope, and his true dignity and respect he has shown to those who have just beat him down. He still showed them Jesus. I have to say my best friend since childhood has been here for both of us. Her belief in us and her encouragement is just amazing. I realize it is better to have one true friend like her than 20 who turn you away when you’re in trouble. She has always been a light to me in some very dark places I have been. Even though some of our fights throughout our lives, I always knew if I needed her she was there. What a comforting feeling, a true friend who is as genuine as nothing I have ever seen in my life. Her name is Jenny, so please pray for her and her family, thank God for putting her in my life, thank Him for giving me the comfort of knowing and seeing what a true friend should look like, ask Him to bless her beyond measure. I know pretty soon Ronnie will get a job offer, I know we will once again live out on our own. I know God is going to bless him abundantly just due to watching how He has just clung to the Lord through all this. Please continue to pray God will direct him to the job He wants him to have, where he can minister to others who are going through life and have so many issues just as we have had. We have a precious friend in ministry, and his logo is “God Did It” and that is one thing we are going to say on the other side of this trial, GOD DID IT! If you too are going through something in your life that is way beyond your control and you to don’t see a ray of hope, hang in there. Just ask God what it is He wants you to learn as you’re walking through your trial. Hang on to the fact, things cannot get any worse, so they have to get better. You’re not stuck. God has the answers He is just wanting us to be still and know He is God in these moments. Thank you all for continuing to pray for Ronnie and me, and we would love to hear from you how we can pray for you. We want to do this thing called life with you and continue doing life together.

Ronnie and Christie Bruce

hopeknowsyourname@gmail.com

To book Christie for your next event, please go to hopeknowsyourname.com and you will find a part of my story and how to contact us.

He has never failed you yet, waiting on changes to come. Your battle will be won, His promise still stands. Deuteronomy 31:8


Do It Again is a song of hope breaking through into the hopeless; of joy breaking through into disappointment. How does this anthemic worship song suggest that we break out of the depths of despair? By remembering what God has done before:

I’ve seen You move, You move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again

We have all faced mountains and overcome. Deuteronomy 31:8 declares that God ‘will not leave you nor forsake you’. By remembering what we have overcome with Jesus on our side our faith is stirred & our courage is strengthened as we face the challenges ahead.

‘God has delivered us from such deadly peril, and he will deliver us again’ (2 Corinthians 1:10).

In this Scripture Paul is sending the same message as this song, that is:

If He has done it once, He can do it again
With this declaration ringing in our ears we can boldly make the declaration at the end of the song:

You never failed me yet
I never will forget
You never failed me yet
And I never will forget

When we see the glory of God break through into the darkest parts of our lives, we cannot let ourselves forget about it. When Jesus answers our prayers, when He reaches out His hand to pull us to safety, we must remember what He has done.

Be sure to check out the song below. Spend some time reflecting on the lyrics and remember that if God has done it once, He can do it again.

Are you down in the dumps? Need a mood elevator?


“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4 NIV)

Are you down in the dumps? Need a mood elevator?

Put down the piece of chocolate cake. Don’t have a pity party. Pick up your Bible instead.

You need a Word break.

God gave us the Bible to encourage us. One way you can think of the Bible is as a mood elevator.

The Bible says in Romans 15:4, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (NIV).

Everything in Scripture is written for our encouragement. That’s a big statement — but it’s true! Even the tough parts of God’s Word are there to ultimately encourage our lives in the right direction.

That’s why we need to spend time alone with God every single day. Whether it’s your daily devotional, your quiet time, or your personal inspiration time, you need to be getting alone with God, reading his Word, and talking to him.

The Bible says in Psalm 119:114: “You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me” (MSG).

If you’re discouraged and have lost hope, I can tell you one thing about your life without ever meeting you: You’re not spending time in God’s Word. If you were, you wouldn’t be discouraged. The more you read God’s Word when you’re down, the more he lifts you up.

So the next time you feel discouraged, don’t come home and turn on the television. Instead, open up your Bible and read it

God’s Word has the power to change your life. It has God’s power in it. Nothing else does. The Bible will give you the “real stuff” — true encouragement.

Talk About It

  • What are some of the things that you turn to when you feel discouraged? Do those things really offer you encouragement or give you hope?
  • We can fit anything into our schedules if it’s really important to us. Have you carved out a time in your day for “quiet retreat” so that God can renew you?

Are you wondering if God is listening? Or, are you asking where are you God?


Did you know Jesus speaks to us continuously? He speaks through sunsets in the sky day after day. He speaks in the faces and through the voices of our loved ones. He caresses us with a gentle breeze that just refreshes us when the wind blows, feeling as if the spirit just washed over us. He speaks to us within our spirit which is where He lives. We can find Him in each and every moment when we have eyes that see, and ears open where we can hear. We should rejoice each and every time we discover His presence. Practice looking for Him and listening for Him in our quiet moments. Gradually, you will see Him more and more in each and every moment of your day. Continue to seek Him today sweet friend, even at those times, when we feel he isn’t there. He is there just open your eyes, open your heart, open your ears, and He will speak to you in one form or another.
Jeremiah 29;13 ” You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Doing Life Together,

Have you got an issue you would like for us to discuss in one of our daily devotions? Send us your question, thought, struggle, it can be about anything. We would love to give you some answers and guidance from someone who has been through it themselves. Email me at Hopeknowsyourname@gmail.com and Let us hear from you, we want to do life together with you!

Please visit my website at hopeknowsyourname.com

To Book Christie to speak at one of your next events please call us so we can get you on our calendar . Any churches, women’s conferences, small groups, conventions, retreats, or just any type of event. I would love to come and share with you how I was Shattered and Broken, but by God’s Grace, Forgiven and Whole!

Labeled a “Drunk” but his name was Michael.


This devotion is a lot longer than we ever post, but I can assure you it is well worth the read. It is a true story that happened this week. So please take your time to read it, I know you will be touched and blessed beyond belief.

I have been waiting for a few days to cool off before I posted this. I have been praying about all who were involved and how to let God handle it and not me. This is truly the hardest thing to turn over to God and lay at His feet, because I am human. I will not go into the whole story but will share enough where you get the jest of it. Since when did human beings become just a label, like drunk, drug addict or freak, hopeless, or any of the other labels that people put on other people?” I truly witnessed this Monday July 3rd 2017.

I was off work Monday and Tuesday for the 4th of July holiday. I go in Wednesday morning and my boss tells me to come and watch the security camera video as to what happened Monday July 3rd. He said “Christie you are not going to believe all this” little did I know what I was fixing to see. My boss, and his parents, were at our showroom working and they decided to go and get a bite to eat. While they were gone, we had a “man” that was extremely intoxicated walking around the building of our show room. He was tilting up his bottle of vodka as we watched on the camera and he could not hardly stand up.

As he walked around the parking lot to the front of our showroom, he tried to get in my boss’s truck pulling on the handle and trying to key in numbers on the pad. When he was unsuccessful, he walked up on our door step which is made of stone and has 3 or 4 stairs going up to the door. The “man” was so intoxicated he fell backwards off the steps hitting his back hard enough that he flew into the parking lot and hit his head really bad on the pavement. The “man” laid in our parking lot for 15 minutes before he was able to try to stand back up. All the while the people at the BBQ place right next door to our business was standing in their window which faces our parking lot watching, not doing a thing to help him. They never called 911 or nothing just stood there in the window, waiting on customers, and watched.

Continuing to watch the video, the “man” finally stands up again and comes back up on our porch trying once again to get into our building. He was bleeding pretty bad at this point. Once again when he could not get in, he turned to go off the porch and fell again down the stairs and there he laid at the bottom of the stairs. It is now around 6:00 P.M. My boss and his parents return back from eating, to find this sad bloody “man” at the foot of the steps. Once again, the BBQ owner and employees watched and did nothing. When my boss got out of the car the first thing he did was run up to the man and talked to him, and immediately got down on both knees and asked the “man” if he could pray with him.

My boss and his father kept talking to the man while his mom went in to call 911. They told her they were busy and would get there when they could. I guess because he had been drinking he was not high priority, labeled a “drunk” forgetting he was a human being. As my boss and his father were talking to him, he told them he had just lost his wife and was really having major problems. They helped the man stand up and were helping him to walk to our outdoor patio where there is a bench to wait on the paramedics. Halfway across the parking lot, the “man” asked my bosses father if he could give him a hug, he said of course and embraced the “man.”

He made it to our porch and my boss and his father went in to check the security camera to see what had gone on prior to them getting back from eating.  They were speechless to see what had taken place hours before. My boss and his father were going back out to be with the “man,” and as they were going out the door his mother screams “he is falling hurry.” Once again, the BBQ owner and employees looking on and still doing nothing to help. As they ran to the “man” he lost control and fell off backwards on our stone patio hitting his head for the third time on a huge boulder where he split his head wide open. As I watched him lay lifeless on that boulder it took my breath away, and were no words to even say.

There happened to be a doctor in line at the BBQ place and he came running over along with a nurse that too was in the parking lot also. Finally, 45 minutes maybe more, the police decided to show up, along with the paramedics. I watched the video as they took the man away on a stretcher and never knew how much this stranger would affect me. How could so many people look on and do absolutely nothing? My boss did go talk to the owner at the BBQ place which I am guessing did not go well. The owner of the BBQ place told him the “drunk” had come on his property at 4:30 P.M. Why he did not call 911 at 4:30 I will never understand. If he would have, the “man” would have never fallen 3 times.

I understand people do not want to take a chance these days on issues like this, but picking up a phone and calling for help would have been the humane thing to do because minutes could have changed the outcome. You notice I call him a MAN because he too is a child of God who had a very bad problem. We don’t know if this “man” lived or died, and it has bothered me something terrible. I hope this “mans” story will make you think about what to do next time you see something like this. God loves that man just as much as He does all of us. I pray for this “man” every day, and would love to know what happened to him, but needless to say, I will probably never know.

Please never discard a human life to this extent, he was someone’s son, father, or brother and I cannot even imagine someone treating my family in this kind of manner. I have to forgive which I am not to that point yet. I need to forgive the employees at the BBQ place, the onlookers, and the police for taking so long to respond after his mother telling them he was severally injured. Why did this turn out the way it did, because the “man” had a label, he was called a “drunk.” When the police took out his license he too had a name, and it was Michael. Continue to lift this man up and his family and just pray he gets some help for his issues, and for others to treat him as a human, not a label, if he did survive.

I want to say to my boss and his parents, you may have been the only prayer this “man” ever heard, and the only Jesus he has ever seen. Or, maybe it was the first time someone cared enough to get down on both knees in the rain and pray for him. It may have been the only time someone cared enough to embrace this man, letting him know someone cared. I am truly blessed and do not take it for granted to work for the greatest family I have ever known. The Lord saw what you did and trust me, you are going to have a huge crown waiting on you in heaven, and hopefully tons of blessings here on earth.

Doing Life Together,

Ronnie and Christie