An Average Teenager

(By: Brooke)

My grades dropped, a lot. I didn't care, and I didn't see hope in anything. I would be at home and I started cutting myself. I would sit and imagine what I would put out and do if I was going to ever kill myself. I thought about the things that would hurt my mother the most and when people would hear about it they would really look down on her for not being there for me.

I lived in Bloomington, Indiana all through high school, and I now live in St. Louis, Missouri. 

When I left for St. Louis to go to college, I left my problems behind. YEAH RIGHT!!!! I thought that I was getting out of all kinds of stuff, i.e., past relationships, hurt feelings, my mother, lame town, lame people, and bad memories. 

I look really young and all my life everyone has guessed my age to be at least 3 or 4 years lower than it actually is. Which I hear is going to be good when I'm a lot older, but for now it's not so cool. But, with that I've always been considered, "cute" and such. Seeing as I was very sick of all of that, what do you think an average teenager would do?  Well, in my case I tried my hardest to rebel against all of it. 

I started hanging out with a bunch of guys that were into drugs and dealing drugs and alcohol. I thought they were "cool"  - not the things that they did particularly, but the things that I could see inside that no one else did. I got to know them just because everyone told me that they were jerks and that I shouldn't hang out with them. So, I did it just to try and prove people wrong. 

However, it didn't quite work out the way that I had planned. Instead of me making an impact on them, they made an impact on me, and certainly not a good one. I started using pot. I really didn't like it much (it's a downer) and I couldn't figure out why I did it. I suppose I did it because I could get away from all the stuff I hated, or at least that's what I thought. I 'escaped' my nagging mother, my mean foster brother, my 'cute' scenario, my friends-turned-enemies (because of my "new friends"), and all the other things that I hated. Consequently, I did all that for some time. 

In a way I was somewhat blessed to have a boyfriend that had about every possible problem that you could imagine, which kept me out of a lot of things, for the most part. He was an alcoholic and a druggie; he sold drugs and would steal things and had a lot of problems growing up. To top it off, his brother (who he looked up to) was the biggest jerk I thought I had ever met; so that's where I believe he got most of his attitude. Well, I was "in love" with this guy. He became my world. When something went wrong with him, it went wrong with me. I started getting involved in things that he was involved with. I got him out of any situation that I could. 

One night at 1:00 in the morning he called. He needed me to help him. He gave me directions, and without asking why, I drove there. An hour and a half away, I got there to pick him up at a hotel. When we got half way home he informed me that he just busted out of a mental institute. Wonderful, I had no idea. Then, I ended up hiding him in the woods for a couple weeks, until I convinced him to call his frantic mother. It was quite a scene.

So, I ended up having all sorts of problems with him. Thank God that I felt strongly about staying a virgin. That would have been one of the biggest mistakes of my life. But, that was the reason we broke up at two different   points, and it just made me mad at myself. I wanted to be like the other girls in some forms because they could do anything that they wanted to. And they never seemed to care what it did to them or anyone else. 

Things got really bad and my whole world came tumbling down. I had no friends when we split up, because I let them all go. I was left desperate and lonely and devastated. My mother was a counselor, and funny thing because I thought she had the most problems that I had seen in anyone. She was never calm about anything, and I was just in the way it seemed all of  the time. If I wasn't slowing her down I was simply stopping her. We had fight after fight. Most of it came with a foster brother she brought into my life when I started to become a teenager, which was when I needed her the absolute most. He was in and out of juvenile detention, and when he got old enough, it was in and out of jail. He had her wrapped around his little finger, and I despised her for it. 

He did anything that he wanted, she didn't care. And if she did care, she felt 'powerless'. So, I hated her for that, she was never there when I needed her it seemed like. And with my father not living there, but in St. Louis, I really didn't have a parental figure. So, pretty much my life was in shambles.

My mother had me take some of her medicine - herbal and non-herbal - whatever, just to calm me down. I hardly could sleep because I couldn't stop crying at night. I stayed in my room as much as I could and lived in there as often as possible. I skipped soooooo many classes. I didn't see the point. I couldn't even make myself get up. I would just lie in bed and block up my door so my mother couldn't get in and tell her I wasn't going. She couldn't do anything about it.

My grades dropped, a lot. I didn't care, and I didn't see hope in anything. I didn't use the drugs as much, seeing as I didn't get out and didn't really want to talk to anyone to get them from. So, I would be at home and I started cutting myself. It made me feel better. I would take the razor and write things in my arm. I started really freaking my mother out then. When I came out of my room I would have my arms all covered up in bandages, and long sleeves, but it was obvious. I then moved to my stomach - I started cutting myself across the stomach. I hated everything. When I was at home by myself, I would walk around the house and plan things out. I would sit and imagine what I would put out and do if I was going to ever kill myself. I thought about the things that would hurt my mother the most and when people would hear about it they would really look down on her for not being there for me.

So, I was going about psycho. For real. I never really told people what was going on. Just the surface things that they would be able to know about. So, that's when I started to take up a passion. I loved to do art. Painting and working on the Potter's wheel was my favorite. I couldn't do ceramics unless I was at school, so I would go there (to school) when I was really skipping and just work in the ceramics room. The occasional person saw me, but I really didn't care all that much.

So, I did work some, and all of my money I would just spend on art stuff, mainly paint. Then, I would get everything together. Load up, drive really far away and pull over to the side of the road in some wooded area. I would pack everything on me. My backpack full of paint and water bottles to clean my brushes with. Then my paper and this plastic board that opened which I would use to paint on and I could keep things inside of it. I would walk so far, but only in one direction so I didn't lose myself out there. Then I would set everything up and start painting. I loved painting. It would be 40 degrees and I would be out there layered and painting in the middle of nowhere. It's where I found peace. That was the only place. It was calm and no one knew I was there and I could just paint and listen. I loved it. That was my secret place to go and be happy. Not full happiness, not like I was laughing, but I was so peaceful. If I wanted to just scream, I could. As loud as I wanted to. Just scream and cry all I wanted and I didn't have to explain why.

So, then I was really a hermit. Wow, I didn't talk much before, but this was ridiculous. And it's not like I wasn't involved in things. I was in the Marching Band for all four years on High School. I was in the Guard, and I took it very seriously. I would practice for hours and hours a day, building up strength and tolerance. I wanted to be good, not really the best, but GOOD.

Well, I got a few friends back, my best friend, Christina. We started hanging out again, and I brought her back to date with my life. She couldn't believe it, no one could. She became my closest friend, and still really is. 

Well, the time came near the end of my High School career. I thought that I would be so happy to get out and move to St. Louis, and go to college and study art. I couldn't wait! Well, I drug my feet a little towards the end, but the time to go came and I took off. The last two weeks I will never forget. So much happened. My mother was on a trip and so I had the last two weeks by myself and a free house. I'm not the type to party, but I had a couple of friends over. So after that, the time came and I was off. I only held on to a couple people, the rest I let go and they really hated me. I told everyone what I really thought. I figured, "No sense in keeping things in any longer..."  Well, sometimes it's better to hold your tongue and let things go, I later found out.

I went to St. Louis, with BIG PLANS. Well, they withered away to nothing. I thought I was going to come to this new place and everything was going to be GREAT! I moved in with my dad, got a job, and was going to school. Then I realized that it was no better than the place I moved from. Then, I had no friends; I didn't want them. I hated my job, and school wasn't at all like I expected. I started going to counseling, and I was terribly homesick. Not really homesick for the 'home' part, but the area where I lived. So much nature was back home, and this place was lame; you had to drive really far to see a tree as far as I was concerned. Therefore, I hated it. So, I ended up driving the 4 hours back to Bloomington and staying every other weekend; then I would drive the 4 hours back up to St. Louis. I was miserable again.......quit my job, started skipping classes, and became a real hermit again.

Well, at Thanksgiving time my family went to my Grandmother's. We stayed a couple days, and then I had to get back on the 27th to finish up a paper. So, I got home, and did the paper, and was sitting in front of the computer. I thought about how lame it was that I wasn't doing anything. It was after those thoughts that I got up to take a shower, and went to get a ticket to see the movie, "The Messenger." I had already seen it right before Thanksgiving, but I really liked it!  It was about Joan of Arc, and how she died for what she believed. I've always been really into things like that - I love the stories about powerful people and what they do.

I had a couple hours before the movie, and drove down to "The Loop" which is this downtown area in St. Louis. I wanted to get some coffee. Well, the place I was going to was packed, and it was cold so I was just going to go home, but something said, "You've got 2 HOURS!!!  Do something else!"  So, I decided to go to this c.d store to look at a particular c.d that I wanted. I decided not to get it and was going to go back to my car. I was walking out and that same feeling of  "2 HOURS!" came upon me, and so I decided to walk up the street and then back to my car.  

As I turned, I saw these two girls in front of me push away a flyer this guy was handing out. Things like that have always made me angry, so I was determined to march up there and take the flyer since those two girls wouldn't. I figured he was promoting a band or something. Well, I go up and make eye contact and he says to me, "Would you take one of my flyers?" I smiled really big and said, "Yes, I would." He handed it to me and I started to walk off. Then he asked if he could ask me a question. So, I said sure, and that's where it all began. He asked me what my relationship with God was. I laughed at the question because it sounded really funny, like, "How can you have a 'relationship' with God?!" 

As he talked to me about it, he introduced himself as Jamie and asked me a couple more questions. He introduced me to another guy named Chuck. Chuck really started talking to me; I was out there for 2 hours on the street talking about God. I couldn't believe it. I mean, I had been raised Christian, but I never had the feeling about it as I had this night. It was amazing. I kept looking at everyone as an outsider wondering what it was about these people. There were about six or seven of them, standing in the cold talking about God. They all had this beautiful attitude about everything - peaceful and so caring. Seeing as I had spent an entire semester here in St. Louis without a single friend, and here there are these people treating me like I was their best friend.  I loved it.

So, that's how my life really turned around! One of the amazing things about the whole thing that I didn't mention is the fact that I had a graphic arts class. We had this assignment that we were to pick one of four stories and do an illustration to it. I picked a Cherokee story about the "Butterfly-Man." It was about a woman who left everything behind for this man with Butterfly-wings. So, I spent about two weeks, working on how I wanted this guy to look. I could have simply picked any picture of a guy, and added wings, but I wanted to make it look exactly a particular way. I never even attempted to draw people, because I have never been good at that. But, somehow, with all the drafts of this guy, I came out with one real good one. It was perfect. My teacher didn't think that all of it really fit the story, but I had worked on it too long to change anything, so I convinced him to let the guy keep his haircut and goatee. Then, I added the butterfly wings. 

Well, a week after I gave my life to Christ on the streets of "The Loop," I realized how much Jamie looked like the guy I had drawn. It was the same all the way to the goatee. His hair was the same, his eyes, his complexion, color of hair - everything!!!! I couldn't believe it; I didn't want to say anything because I figured people would think that it was REALLY WEIRD! Well, Jamie was going to get a job and was going to shave his goatee, so I had to say something then! I told Chuck, and he was like, "WOW! Do you know what that means???!!! Butterflies are a symbol of new beginnings. And since you drew Jamie, it's like he was the one that was going lead you to the new beginning!"

So, I told Jamie, and he couldn't believe it! I showed him the picture, and he thought it was awesome! He framed the picture and now it's in his room (so he says!) So, that was really cool!!!!

Now, I'm happier than I've ever been in my life. My friends that I have now are some of the most beautiful people that I've ever met. And what's so beautiful about them is the fact that they have God, and it shows through them. I have never felt such love like I have now. It's amazing! It's been about two months now, and things only get better with time. I'm reading my bible and that's something I NEVER thought I would do. I do things about five or six days of the week with this group! I can't get enough of it!!!! Now, instead of being this little 'cute' girl that keeps to herself, I'm out on the street, too, telling people about God just the way I was brought into it. I've seen all kinds of stuff! As my new friend Jamie says, "If you had the cure for cancer, would you keep it to yourself?" So, there you have it folks . . . I am telling you about the love of Jesus, and that the chains of the devil can be broken by His love for you just as He broke them for me!  

It is my prayer that you will experience a new beginning in your life too as I have in mine. It is yours for the asking - You can have that new beginning too if you are willing to turn your life over to Christ. May God Be With All Of You!  

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  (2 Cor. 5:17)

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God?  If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW!  Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake. 

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.


JESUS DID IT! and...


Remember:  All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-21 is our assurance)