The Words in the Grass
(Westlake Village, California)
I have always lived a life of luxury. My parents drive expensive cars. We live in an expensive house. We have expensive furniture and appliances and even our dogs cost over one thousand dollars each. It just seemed natural. I knew we lived a privileged life, but that was a very awkward topic for me, so I just put it out of my mind. For the most part, life was good.
I remember the summer before I started Sixth Grade. My parents sent me to a day camp at the nearby country club, and I met a girl about my age. We built a tentative friendship, even though I was a social outcast and this girl was popular. I never actually asked, but just watching her I could tell. This girl wasn't always the nicest person, but I hung out with her anyway. She cussed a lot, and always tried to put people down, and eventually, she started to rub off on me. I wanted to be like her in every way possible.
Soon enough, camp was over, and school started. That year, I would be going to an exclusive, private Christian school, which was only fitting for our lifestyle. My parents weren't religious at all, although they had both been raised to be. So when someone told me that God had brought all of us here for a reason, I rolled my eyes and thought,"I'm not here because of God, I'm here because I'm smart." I couldn't have been more wrong.
Over the next year and a half, I matured about ten years spiritually. I started reading my Bible, and I loved Bible class and Chapel more and more. But midway through my Seventh Grade year, I still felt I was hiding from Jesus; giving Him only the part of me I wanted Him to have. So in the last quarter of the school year, when my Bible teacher challenged a group of students to try to do what Jesus would do until the end of the year, I joined, thinking I would get to know Him better in the process. That decision changed my life yet again. For two weeks, I followed the challenge very strictly. I even wore a WWJD bracelet, taking it off only to shower. The rare moments that I told Bible stories to my little sister increased.
Then those two weeks ended. I lost enthusiasm for the challenge and everything it stood for. I didn't feel like I was making any difference at all. I shared this at my next WWJD meeting, but the only advice I got was to pray and have faith for just one more week. With doubt in my heart, I trudged through the rest of the day. As I was walking up the stairs after school that afternoon, I glanced out the window and saw an amazing sight. My sister had found several rocks and sticks and spelled out in big letters,"I love God". That night I prayed like never before. I revealed myself to God, my whole self, not just what he would be proud of. I praised Him for giving me exactly what I needed. In my time of doubt, He had given me the sign I needed to see, so I would have faith to move past this period of doubt. I connected with Him on a level I had never experienced before.
I know I am blessed with many things, but this time God spoke directly to my heart, and this memory will stay with me forever. I know it won't be easy, but I know now that I'm not on my own. No matter what I'm going through, I know God will never leave me, no matter what my human perspective tells me. I also will treasure the memory of the girl from camp, because it shows the direction I would have gone if God hadn't intervened. I owe Him everything for keeping me on track, using a school and a seven-year-old girl to show me the way.