People go through things in life that lead them, that lead them to choices, places, and destinations. Most of these things are unplanned. Some people go through very difficult situations that are perplexing and confusing. Such are the times of being a teenager. A roller coaster is a good analogy of being a teenager, because there are many ups and downs. And sometimes drops, loops, and dark tunnels.
I have a story - usually a story has a beginning and an end. But this one is ongoing, and it will keep going on for a long time. Actually, it started a long time ago, but I'll tell you the current chapter. Maybe it can be called, Lost and Found.
My parents divorced when I was 7. I moved around a lot. I didn't have friends except my brother who ended up moving with my father when I was a teenager. Most of my life I went with the winds of change, going where my mom went. We moved a lot. And I did various things. When middle school came, we stayed in one place for the first time. I passed grade to grade with the same people. Trying to fit in and "be cool" was so hard. Peer pressure - I didn't even realize the pressure! It wanted to make me be someone I wasn't! I was so insecure feeling like I made an idiot of myself. I didn't know how to have "come-backs" or be mean to people. I didn't know how to relate to other girls. Being with the boys was so much easier. In health class, I remember thinking, "I'll never run away from MY house - Why do people do that ?!?"
So then came high school. O yes! I had to have the name-brand clothing you can hardly afford. And, of course, I had to wear make-up or else I'm not pretty. Being a child was so much easier. I didn't care so much about my "self" back then. I once was protected from certain things because I moved so much, but now in school, where lots of young people were, doors started to be opened. I went from making A's & B's, to making B's and C's, then to C's and D's. My attitude went from "I love answering the questions and doing projects!" to "I hate this - why do I hafta be here?"
A certain young man wanted to be with me. Totally blinded because I "loved" him, he became my first boyfriend. He was a junior, I was a sophomore. He was popular among the alternative crowd, but I had no idea who he was, really. I started lying to my mom, telling her I was with my friend when really I would go to parties. I felt like I "fit in" and was cool. At first, I was leery of the drinking and smoking because I never did it before. But eventually it didn't seem so bad. This way of living seemed like freedom to me. Things at home weren't going so well. So at 16, I packed my things, stuck a note on my door, and off I left with my boyfriend. I was so glad. I thought it was the greatest thing: "No more parents to yell at me! I can do whatever I want!"
Soon I found myself in a dark place, wanting to kill myself. "Why should I go on anymore? I hate life!" The parties, getting wasted, drugs and immoral relationships. All of it left me depressed. I was so hurt and confused.
"Who am I? I wasn't taught about these kind of things!" Oh, how angry I was! After a year of that roller coaster, it was time to get OFF.
I moved to Florida to live with my father and brother. And after a month, I didn't want to be there, so I went back to my mom's to see if our relationship could be better. I met another young man. He was different. He liked to hike and be outside and smoke marijuana. So did I. We became good friends and eventually my mom kicked me out, and I went to lie with him. I was 18 now. I loved getting high because it was an escape from boring reality. It was a better state to be in. Life seemed so much better.
My interests changed. I started to want to know about conspiracy theories and how things worked. What's all this about December 21, 2012? The Mayan calendar? I was pretty scared actually. What if the world really ended as we know it? What was I going to do? Apparently not just the Mayans but many other cultures had similar prophecies and beliefs about the future! I believed something catastrophic was going to happen. I bought almost $400 worth of emergency food and was looking into living in a bunker in Oklahoma.
At the same time, I watched this documentary in school about this man who traveled the world in search of why human beings exist. He asked all sorts of people and at the end he said, "Well, we may never really know why we exist..."
"That's it? No answers? Why do we exist? Why are we all here? What is my purpose?" I remember being at this party and standing outside, looking in, at everyone drunk. I felt so alone. I looked up at the stars and I felt so small. It seemed like there was something greater to life, and here I was, lost and confused.
So all of this - the coming transition of the world and considering my purpose in it all - put a fire in me. I dropped out of high school to go hiking with my boyfriend. In my mind, I was leaving everything behind to find the truth. Hiking was wet, uncomfortable, tiring, smelly, dirty, beautiful, peaceful, exhilarating, breathtaking. I loved being away from society and all the noise and pollution. I was afraid and emotional, but I still pressed on to find what I was searching for. I believed God would help me. I wanted to somehow live for Him, find Him, know who He was and why He created me. I knew He wasn't in the churches.
A woman told me about a hostel in Rutland, Vermont. She said that really nice people ran it, but they were kind of a cult, but a nice cult. Uhhh...OK. We'll go there. In the next shelter, we found a paper that had a story of a man who wondered what his purpose was and why we exist. NO WAY! I couldn't believe what I was reading! could this be it? I read about this man named Yahshua, which means "Mighty and Powerful to Save." Ohh...This is Jesus' real birth name. Wow! I did not know that before! (I didn't know anything about "Jesus" really - Christianity had seemed weird and religious to me.) So my heart was pounding as I hiked up the hill and we hitchhiked into Rutland to the Yellow Deli.
WOW! I knew this was it! The love and care I received caused me to believe in the Son of God, Yahshua. I saw His people, I saw love, I saw families and happy children. I saw purpose, and...
I knew I needed to be forgiven and saved from all the guilt I had. I needed a clean slate - a new life! He gave His life, so I gave Him my life.
Man has a purpose in which he was created: TO LOVE!
Now I am found! No longer lost and confused - but I am part of a people, and new culture where all things are being restored and the purpose for our lives is being revealed. I'm so thankful for our life, and it's Good News! To those who are longing to fulfill what they were created for - to live for others and the one who made us. If you want to know more of this ongoing story, then come visit us!
Come for a day, or come to stay!