I was a too-young thirteen when I saw my first official boyfriend on our first official day of "dating" curse rage at his father and punch him senseless on their driveway until his mother peeled him back with pleas, blood and fists forever pounded into my terrified mind.
At fourteen, my best friend and her boyfriend taught me the "safe" way to cut, the safe way to bleed out enough pain without bleeding out life.
Then I fell in "love" for the first time. The obsessive kind. The God-made-in-the-image-of-man kind. I gave him everything, except my virginity, though many friends were giving theirs away.
When he broke up with me, I broke. Tried to drink it away... my first time ever to drink at all. The friend I asked to care for me by remaining sober and looking out for me?... He remained sober, and didn't care for me.
The date rape details were explained the next day, when moving anything was agony and everything was fuzzy. I was 17, the summer before my senior year.
I decided then, a full-out conscious decision, to turn my back on God and intentionally walk away from everything He said was good.
Senior year, I quit. I quit classes that were necessary to be valedictorian. I quit saying no to boys I'd said no to for years. I quit calling myself a Christian. I quit believing stability in life existed. An amazing Christian friend's parent committed suicide. Another's parent lost her fight with cancer. I quit believing in unbiased authority when one of my teachers, ten years my senior, left his position at the school to officially declare his intense interest in me. I quit denying the names my brother labeled me.
This is just a scratch on the surface that was my high school experience. This was all before 18.
There were good things too...
... a poetry club with two faithful friends, girls who have two of the best kind of contagious laughter I've ever heard.
... a history class study-buddy who shared her notes and pencils and heart with me and together we survived with joy the "toughest" class in high school.
... there were school plays and soccer tournaments and basketball and class video-projects and missions trips and youth group and loving teachers and I had(still have!)prayerful, patient, Christ-like parents.
But if I'm being honest, my high school experience was overwhelmingly pain-filled. Conflict-filled. Confusion-filled.
This Monday, the 29th, sometime around 9 in the morning, I will be the guest speaker at the chapel session for that same school I graduated from.
God is still a God of miracles. And He has a fabulous sense of humor.
I've been thinking and praying about what I would have needed to hear during those years. I've been asking Him what He wants to say through me. He is preparing me, as I am sure He is preparing them.
I have known no service for Christ that has not required intense preparation. And this preparation requires intense focus on Him. This is all about His story, His plans, His character.
I'll be sharing my speaker notes sometime soon after, your prayers would be a great blessing to me.