Saturday, August 8, 2015

Letting Go of Yesterday

As a child, I was bullied all through grade school and into high school. I had some horrific experiences of mean girls doing terrible things to me. The thing was that I was a very shy person. I often kept to myself and was the girl on the playground reading a book. I would cry coming home from school, burying my face into my pillow.

I remember in sixth grade when the lunch bell rang. It was raining outside but our room was located on the second floor. As I proceeded on my way to lunch in a building located downstairs, a girl who had for years tormented me pushed my petite body down the hard, metal stairs. I flew with speed until I reached the bottom and stood to run off to another place with my very bruised back.

After this experience, I changed schools to another one after the administration failed to do anything. Over the course of the next few years, the bullying did not end. I changed schools a few times to escape the mean girls but the bullying often followed.

When I reached my junior year of high school, things began to change for me. I took my sadness and aggression and returned it for meanness to others. My weaknesses and sins changed me to reach popularity on a level only through my careless actions. I treated others the way I was treated sometimes and not how I wanted to be treated. And it only made my feelings of acceptance in this world worse.

A friend and I would sneak off campus before school and chug down some alcohol. After school, we would attend parties and drink with the kids our age along with their older siblings. I took my savings account and emptied it on immodest clothing meant to make myself more attractive for this popular gain. But the bullying never stopped.

At this time, I attended a very wealthy, "Christian" school in town as my parents were hoping it'd be a good place for me. When I say wealthy, I mean that the kids there drove expensive cars and had super expensive clothing. I was 16, still had no driver's license yet, and either rode to school on a bus or was dropped off in my folks 1980s Subaru. Now, in reality, there is nothing wrong with these things. But being in this place, I never really fit in.

I remember one day when my mom gave me a brand new pair of Asics running shoes. As I got to school, a girl pointed me out and laughed with a group of people at how my shoes were "so ugly that they were not in style." I wanted to crawl into a hole and never emerge.

Another time, I remember taking a test in a class that was being subbed by our very principal. A boy passed a picture and very inappropriate wording about my body parts over to me. In return, I responded with cuss words. The principal intercepted the note and I was the only one who got in trouble.

As I got called into his office, the principal took his can of pencils and threw them at me. He then proceeded to tell me that since my family wasn't wealthy and that I wasn't Dutch, I wasn't much. This school was made up of wealthy, Dutch people from our community. It wasn't very Christian at all.

My parents were enraged and went to meet with the principal. He told them the very same comments. After that, my parents pulled me away from school and decided to finish out my high school years through independent study.

Things began to look up after that time. I strongly grew in my relationship with the Lord. I slowly let go of the cutting of my arms, the cigarette smoking, the drinking of large amounts of  alcohol, and groups of popular kids smoking weed. I re-committed my heart to Him and changed my ways back to the girl I started out to be at the beginning but stronger. I didn't want to be apart of that worldly life anymore. I wanted something more and this included a life seeking Jesus.

I used to think that people would judge me by the mistakes I made in my past. I used to believe that when they found out I did things like smoked pot or sliced my wrists, their opinions would change of me. They wouldn't find me as this rock solid Christian because of my many mistakes in my past.

But then it dawned on me. Only Jesus is that rock that is solid. When God laid the foundation of this earth, He created Jesus as the rock. The rest of us make up the specks of dirt scattered among the Earth. Our lives our messy and none of us have clean hands or pasts. We all make mistakes. I have since embraced that I am a reckless Christian seeking Jesus' mercy and grace.

Part of the journey of my faith included some hard times as necessary moments to get to where I am now. It's part of the growing process. God never promises for things to be easy. He never says that He doesn't give us more than we can handle. But rather, our sufferings produce perseverance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3-5). Our pains and sufferings mold us into a better version of ourselves with more compassion and strength.

We don't have to hold on to our past. We don't have to live worrying about how we were then, yesterday, or even two hours ago. The moment is now and we can press forward with Jesus as our foundation. Let's live in this moment here and now!


  1. Oh, Carrie. My heart aches for what you endured growing up. I dealt with bullying but not to the degree you did. Not that I'm comparing, bullying hurts. Period. And, yes, Jesus is the Rock we can run to, hide under, and stand on as a solid foundation.

    And, I'm glad the Lord drew you deeper into Himself. You have a beautiful testimony. Thanks for the exhortation to live in the here and the now.

  2. I was bullied, totally understand. so sorry dear. be blessed.

  3. Carrie, thank you for sharing your story friend. Hard to tell it but you are so right. We make mistakes. God always offers God's forgiveness. I was teased in school too. I know how hard that can be. Your story reminds me of a Pastor in Colorado..Nadia Bolz-Weber. Nadia wrote a book called "Pastrix" and is working on her second book. She has tattoos all down her body and is a recovering drug addict but went to seminary and is now a pastor. God has this amazing way of turning things around doesnt he?

  4. Thank you for your powerful testimony. My spiritual director often reminded me that Satan wants us either ruminating about the past or worrying about the future because he knows that Christ is with us in the present. I'm so glad you're in the present when it's so tempting to be elsewhere, especially when the past is so painful.