Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Broken Glass - a Teen goes from Tragedy to Triumph

"One thing I've learned is that sometimes glass must be broken before it can be shaped into a beautiful mosaic" - Renee, Age 19

Like many people I grew up in a Christian home and went to church fairly regularly as a child. When I was seven I prayed with an older woman in my church and asked Jesus into my heart. When I was younger I didn't really understand the gospel and thought that as long as I went to church regularly and was a decent person I was ok.

I remember distinctly an incident in Junior High when a close friend shared to me about Jesus. This really bothered me because she clearly did not see him in my life, but I was a Christian, right?

I didn't put much thought into it after that and just went about my life. Like most young teen girls my image was more important. As long as things were ok I didn't really think about God. I spent most of my free time hanging out with my best friend, who was like a sister to me or a Siamese twin because we spent so much time together. My life was pretty meaningless and I clung to things that would not make me happy, but God had other plans for me.

One thing I've learned is that sometimes glass must be broken before it can be shaped into a beautiful mosaic. God wanted to shape me but I was stubborn and refused to see the full potential of life. The summer between my junior and senior year of high school would change my life forever.

It had only been a few months since my grandmother had died and it was hard. She was the first person I was close to that I had lost, however I had a peace knowing that she was a strong Christian woman and had lived a full life. That peace was taken for granted at first, but later would be a significant realization.

My family took a vacation to a rural lake in another state and when we came back my mother, father and I had both contracted West Nile from mosquito bites. Imagine what it feels like when you have the flu and your joints and muscles are aching multiplied by a million. I have in my lifetime broken 2 bones, fractured one and sprained my ankle twice, but that was the worst physical pain I had ever experienced. This physical pain was nothing compared to the mental anguish that was soon to follow.

While I was still recovering (even today I suffer side effects like dizziness upon standing), I got a call from my best friend's cousin.

My best friend had died suddenly of a brain aneurism while visiting her mother in Vegas. Silence fell across the line as I tried to absorb this; suddenly I heard crying and realized it was me.

Not being able to handle it, she handed the phone to her mother who began asking questions like "Do you have someone there you can talk to?" I can't recall if I responded. It felt like hours passed, perhaps minutes, my mind was screaming. This isn't possible. The next six months to follow were the darkest times in my life. I walked around like a zombie and the crooked road I followed lead to a deep black hole with seemingly no escape.

I tried to put on a smile when I was in public, but lying in bed at night I couldn't escape the emptiness that consumed me. At first I was angry with God, how could he do this with me?

Slowly a light began to shine at the bottom of the pit and God reached his arms of love to find me when I was at my worst. Dirty and bitter he washed me new and had me smelling sweet again in a way that Lysol couldn't hold a candle to.

Eventually I grew stronger and started living my life again. The anger that ate away at me subsided and I found something I had never known before: peace. True peace that could only be found in handing the wheel of your life over to Jesus Christ and accepting that it is in his hands and that he knows better and that sometimes a piece of glass not only has to be broken but shattered so that the Lord's loving hands could mold it into something beautiful.

My story has not ended and I will not pretend that with my new beginning I lost all of my struggles. Only the lord knows the dark places this soul has been. I still feel the tug of despair every now and then, especially when her birthday rolls around. However, He walks with me in the valley of sorrow and laughs with me in the mountains of joy. I can now say with confidence I am a child of the great I AM and my life is safe in his hands.

“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isaiah 43:2

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