It was during the summer of August 1992. In just two short days, my life as I knew it, was forever gone. My heart was completely broken by the horrible and violent manner in which I had lost my little brother, Sam, and my mom, Vicki. The gun shots that had echoed around the country, echoed the loudest, in my heart. Our nation would later come to know this tragic scene as “The Federal Siege at Ruby Ridge”.

At just sixteen years old, this brutal introduction to death and tremendous loss, deeply wounded me in every possible way. Everything that I had ever known that was good and right with the world, had been torn away from me. The jagged edges of anger and grief, slashed and ripped away at my soul. The love and security I had once known were replaced with hemorrhaging, emotional wounds. Those same wounds would go on to dominate my life. They would influence my decisions. They would cause me to question and reject everything I had ever known about the God of the Old Testament that I had been taught to obey. Though I had grown up in a devoutly religious home, the God I knew, wasn’t able to save me. Or if He were able, He hadn’t been willing, and that was even worse. I determined to stay far away from anyone and anything, even remotely close to God. The same God that I had believed in, that had let me down in such a massive way.

During the first ten years following Ruby Ridge, I lived in a deep and dark depression. I had unconsciously decided to live my own life, insulate myself from any further loss and pain and distract myself by pursuing the American Dream. Running from my past, I kept myself as busy as possible both mentally and physically. When that failed, I rolled up my sleeves, grabbed a shovel, and did my best to bury the pain. When it wouldn’t stay buried, and was resurrected by the media time and again, I decided to hide from it, moving to Montana and living off the grid. Inevitably, the media would find me in Montana.

So, my next course of action was to face my past. I would fight it, and enter the public realm once again. My dad and I wrote, and then self published our book, telling our side of Ruby Ridge. We traveled the country sharing our painful experiences with others interested in hearing our story. After one short year, I had an emotional break down and I put my suitcase away.

My newest plan was to move on from my past, by getting married, having a baby, and building a dream home. This time I was certain I would find my “happily ever after”.

I had not yet allowed myself time to grieve. I had not given myself permission to heal. And I couldn’t slow down long enough to realize that the band-aids I had placed over the wounds on my shattered heart were no more protection than a one-man tent in a tornado.

Panic attacks now became my new reality as I spiraled ever downward, into the deep, dark pit of depression and post traumatic stress disorder. The added stress of motherhood, piled on top of post partum depression, gave me new things to worry about and obsess over.

I was ripe for a rock bottom experience. Thankfully, mine was coming soon. What I would learn, was that the solid Rock at the bottom, the Rock that would cushion my fall, was the very One I thought had been condemning me from above, all along.

After the 1992 Ruby Ridge tragedy, Sara Weaver has worked hard at overcoming her pain, deep depression, and PTSD. Out of that experience, Sara brings a message of hope and forgiveness from her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and is now an author and public speaker, dedicated to helping others through their own challenges. Sara lives in Montana with her husband Marc and her son, Dawson. To find out more about her, visit www.rubyridgetofreedom.com.

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