This is the life of Tara Madison Boggs.
I was born on Thursday, November 24th 1994. Thanksgiving Day to be exact. Apparently I was a tiny baby and to this day I still haven’t grown out of my toddler ears (my ears are really, really small ok… like freakishly small it’s weird). My parents are the most amazing parents anyone could ask for and the true example of what it means to sacrifice for your child.
Growing up I was always strong in my faith and my walk with God. I was baptized as a baby by my uncle, who is now a retired pastor of the United Methodist Church. My family made it a priority to bring me up in the church and knowing God from an early age. I grew up in a small Methodist church and attended Sunday school regularly. My dad taught me how to pray, and even though I was a small child, to this day I still remember the first night he knelt down beside me before bed and taught me the Lords prayer. My mom always making sure I had everything I needed and more and enrolling me in Girl Scouts as soon as I hit the age mark. (btw she enrolled me in dance the second I began walking, I feel it’s important to note but this is supposed to be a spiritual post so I won’t touch too much on that) I was extremely close with my grandma who constantly was having me memorize bible verses, and making sure I acted like a nice young lady because “pretty is as pretty does.”
I never questioned my life or my purpose because I had such an amazing support system around me.
Until a few years ago…
I went into my first year of college (University of North Carolina at Charlotte) ready to get away from home, and start a new independent life, away from everything I had always known. I was blessed with the most perfect roommates anyone could ask for, three beautiful, intelligent, caring, loyal, kindred spirits I still consider close friends to this day, even if we lose touch over time. That year was a year of new experiences for me, some really exciting experiences and some completely awful experiences. I got to cheer at the inaugural football game for Charlotte, I was initiated into a sorority, I made a lot of new friends, I took on new hobbies, I experienced love, heartbreak, disappointment, failure, but I also experienced acceptance like never before by getting involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a few on campus bible studies. I lived it up and really took advantage of all that college had to offer (and yes that includes countless frat parties, mixers, events, house parties and going uptown). There came a point in time I felt like I was living two different lifestyles. Trying to be a good, wholesome young Christian woman, while also wanting to live it up with all of my friends.
Going into my sophomore year I made the decision to leave Charlotte due to a few personal reasons. That is where my depression really began. I went from having this amazing life of being a cheerleader, a sorority girl, getting invites to events, parties, etc. constantly having friends around me, to complete isolation. I would go to class and come home and separate myself from the rest of the world. I barely talked to anyone, I shut myself out and became extremely introverted. I gained a little bit of weight, I hated looking in the mirror, I hated being Maddie. I wanted to be anyone but Maddie Boggs. The complete opposite of the fun-loving charismatic person I had always been.
The next couple of years were a struggle with finding myself again, fighting my inner demons, trying to figure out where my life was headed, what my purpose was, why I was even here. There came a point in time I even began to question my own existence and worse, I began to question God. Something I had never done. I had always lived by Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” and I never really worried or questioned that, I thought everything would eventually work out and be okay. But during this time, I had lost faith completely. I questioned why God, if you planned to prosper me and not harm me, why would you allow me to be in such a dark place, why do I have these thoughts inside my head? Why if you plan to give me hope and a future, “God” would I be sitting here questioning my future and my entire life? If you really are an “almighty God” why are you allowing me to experience this heartache and pain?
I moved back to UNC Charlotte after getting tired of the isolation I put upon myself and began looking for other things to make me happy and fulfill me. Going out more, drinking more, doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I stopped going to church. I stopped reading my devotionals. I stopped reading the Bible completely. I found myself in a toxic relationship that completely changed every aspect of the fun loving-bright eyed person I had always been. Constant fighting, emotional abuse, and making me question my worth. Feeding my insecurities, tearing me down, and never feeling like I truly was loved or appreciated. Although I had lost the weight I had gained and looked like my old self again, I wasn’t. I was more depressed than ever. I lost sight of the person I once used to know and became a complete stranger in my own body.
There came a point where I was at my absolute lowest I had ever been. Battling through an ugly, messy, spiteful breakup when it felt like everyone was against me and all of my “friends” began to show their true colors. Terrible, cruel, and hurtful rumors. Lies. Betrayals. Manipulations all coming to surface. It was a dark, devastating time and I remember crying myself to sleep every single night for 3 months straight. So much distance between my family and the people who loved me most. I was sucked into a careless world of negativity and disappointment. Everything in my life came crashing down. And it wasn’t pretty. It was a plummet, an avalanche of destruction. I had pushed everyone away. I became angry and bitter over everything. I pushed my friends away, I pushed my family away, I even pushed myself away, all because I made the selfish decision to push God away.
It wasn’t until one night while I was in bed, lying awake in the hours just before dawn, my eyes swelled from all of the tears… I remember staring blankly at the glow in the dark stars on my ceiling that had been there since elementary school and are still there to this day, thinking about how much simpler life used to be. How happy I used to be. So carefree and excited about life, always looking for the good in the world but now the same person of lost hope. I had just moved back home after the abrupt decision to leave Charlotte earlier that day, away from the complete turmoil I had been living in for months on end when it all hit me in the deepest part of my soul…
My life wasn’t working out the way I wanted it to because I was living life for myself. I was living my life for my own selfish reasons. I was looking to worldly things to give me fulfillment. I had been looking for the love of some guy that didn’t value even the slightest part of me, much less my virtue to fill that void in my heart. A void that only one person could ever fully complete. The one who had always been fighting for me since the moment life was breathed into me and formed me in my mothers womb. The one who had stuck by me, and went after me so recklessly, so jealously, and so passionately. The one who never turned His back on me even when I turned my back on Him. Leaving the ninety nine to pursue me–just me. I realized that it wasn’t God that let me down, it was myself who let me down.
It took a while to get back to where I used to be spiritually. Slowly but surely I began reading my devotions again, journaling again, writing again, something I had always loved to do yet I think I wrote a total of five journal entries during that dark time in my life. I began to trust God again and although I continued to experience some disappointments and setback I felt happier, and more like my old self. Don’t get me wrong, I would get extremely lonely sometimes, but I knew that I was working on myself and that it would be a process. I also knew that it was better to be lonely than to be back in the company of someone that made me compromise my worth, and even when I was lonely, I wasn’t all alone. I started going to church again, and on December 17, 2017, recommitted my life to the Lord. Like I said it was a process, often frustrating at times, but I valued the growth and the learning lessons from rebuilding myself and rising from my ashes of destruction. I began attending a bible study with a few girlfriends and it changed my entire life. To be surrounded by pure, wholesome women who guard their hearts at all costs, truly value themselves, and put their relationship with God above all other things was the meat and potatoes of my new life. A friend invited me to a new church in February of 2018, I was pretty content with where I was already attending, and really I joined them that Sunday to just put my toes in the water then go back to my old church…. It only took one Sunday, one sermon, one introduction for me to completely fall in love and quickly decided to dive on in. That church became my home. The people became my family. The pastor became my trustworthy friend, and on August 5th 2018, he baptized me. The Factory Church is the bread and butter of my four course meal with the Lord, preparing me for my week ahead in such a savory and fulfilling way and I always leave feeling even more full than anticipated.
I look back at the person I was a year and a half/two years ago and I can’t even recognize that person. Although I know that I will never be the same person I used to be I think I am a better version of my childhood self… still just as rooted in the Word and strong in faith, but with more life experience. The massive heartache I once experienced has been replaced with love. A perfect love that casts out all fear… and I no longer fear what is ahead of me because I know that my darkest of days are already behind me. I enjoy being myself again, and life is full of hope. I know how valuable I am in the sight of God which has transformed the confidence I have in myself. Though I’ve never been the type of person to jump from relationship to relationship, I truly value my time just being me, I guard my heart more now than ever before. My self-worth is uncompromisable. I love being Maddie Boggs. God created me in the image of Himself and all of His creations are beautiful, intricate designs of His perfect workmanship, and worthy of being admired… including myself.
In closing to my testimony, thus far (because I believe a testimony is a never ending revelation, every day we experience the works and miracles of this life God has planned out for us specifically). I would like to thank a few people who have helped me become a better version of myself along the way…
- Thank you to my family, for never giving up on me, even when I gave up on myself
- Thank you to Elevation church for getting me back on my feet and helping to rebuild my foundation.
- Thank you to my amazing sisters in Christ that have changed my life. Tuesday nights are the highlight of my entire week, and I take our lessons with me each and every day. Thank you for giving me a sense of belonging, for letting me bury my soul, and be my most authentic, transparent self, and loving me for every part of who I am. I love you.
- Thank you to a friend for getting me out of my comfort zone and bringing me to the place where I truly belonged.
- Thank you to The Factory Church for being my rock. For feeding my soul, and giving me so much hope. Sundays are the only day of the week where I actually look forward to waking up at 6am. I am always so excited and eager to get to church and see my adopted family. (also the free coffee and donuts definitely helps)
- Finally, saving the best for last here… Thank you to my Savior. For Your redemption, for Your mercy, for Your grace, and for Your persistence in not letting me go. For fighting for me, for loving me, and for saving me. You are the defender of my heart, and my entire being, and every part of who I am belongs to you, forever and always.
“I am yours, and you are mine.”