I was boy crazy….at least, that is what my mom used to say. My first “boyfriend” was in the fourth grade, and I’m quite positive that I never went without one from that point on.
I craved attention. I longed for someone to think I was special; and unfortunately, I thought boys could do that for me. It felt good and I felt wanted.
You don’t know, what you don’t know. I didn’t know that my value and self worth didn’t come from young men. I didn’t know that even though my earthly father had “left me”, that my Heavenly Father was still very much present.
Looking back, and knowing what I know now, I would have told that young girl to stop. Stop trying to fill the void of feeling wanted and special with people that are flawed and will disappoint you. I wish I could tell her that, no matter what, your Father loves you unconditionally, will never abandon you, longs for a relationship with you, and whose grace and forgiveness abounds more than you can ever understand.
“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (Msg)
I didn’t know that though. Yes, I had attended church off and on since the age of 8. Yes, I had sex ed in school; but emotions, feelings, hurts, and divorce weren’t included in Sunday School or sex ed. So I continued to seek out male attention, and preferred attention from older boys.
Middle school was rough to say the least. I had crossed a line with an older boy and rumors started. I had written in my diary what had happened, and my mom found it. She confronted me one day after school. I was terrified. My mom contacted the older boys family and I was forbidden to go over to their house for a time. The rumors became worse, and I just went along with them. Attention is attention, right? I knew deep down what did and didn’t happen, but I was scared. I have found that people believe what they want to believe, and they tend to believe the juicier side, rather than the truth….especially 12-14 year olds.
I was bullied consistently my first year of middle school by a girl whose boyfriend liked me. She would wait for me after class to follow me, write threatening notes, call my home nightly, and even changed her bus route so she was on my bus. The days she couldn’t ride my bus, she would have others take over. The rumors escalated to the point where I actually had someone ask me if I was pregnant and if I killed my baby. None of which was true…I hadn’t even been with a boy in that way.
I didn’t try and fight it though. I didn’t even tell my mom what was going on. I had been telling myself since I was nine that things were my fault. I deserved what was happening because I was a girl who made people I love go away. I had thoughts of taking my life. I never acted on it, but I just wanted to not cause anyone else pain.
My eighth grade year was better. The girl had went on to high school, and it appeared the rumors were last years news and kids had moved on. I had gotten more involved at my church and youth group that summer, and Easter Eve of my eighth grade year, my mom, sister, and I were baptized. I felt relieved, incredibly happy, and clean. I had a fresh start. I was fourteen and found the love of Jesus, so everything was going to be perfect, because girls who love Jesus don’t have problems… at least, that was what I thought. I’ll never forget the day I told my friends at lunch that I had gotten baptized. One of my friends looked right at me and said, “I think you just did it because you felt like you had to. It makes you look better.” Old habits die hard… if my best friend felt that way, maybe God did too.
By the time I entered high school, I had become a pro at wearing a mask…
By His grace,