“Hi, my name is Melissa and I’m eighteen. I have been a Christian pretty much all of my life. I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was ten. A friend of mine and I both went forward in church and the pastor of the church prayed with us and I thought from then on things were going to be great. That there wouldn’t be any problems for me from that moment on. I was completely disillusioned though because I have since found out that God does not promise us a life of luxury here on earth, yet instead when we get to heaven. At that time we’ll find peace and rest. I learned that lesson the hard way. It started for me when I was in the seventh grade. The day started out like any other. I got up late for school, missed the bus and had my mom take me to school. I walked into the school, then briskly walked down the long empty hall to the office.
“Good morning Melissa, I see you are late again today.“ Mrs. Harding said with a slight smile.
“Yes, ma’am. My alarm clock didn’t go off again this morning.”
“I see. Well here’s your tardy slip. You best get running before Mr. Johnson gets to upset that your late for his class again.
“Yes, I will. Thank you.” I said as I grabbed the slip and ran out of the office and down the hall.
When I reached my locker I found a note from my best friend Elizabeth taped to the front of it. I grabbed the note and shoved it into my pocket. I opened my locker and crammed my backpack inside, grabbed my math book and raced off to class. At lunch time I looked for Elizabeth but couldn‘t find her anywhere, then I remembered the note. I sat down with two of my other friends, Marissa and Kelsey, then read the note.
“Melissa, you are my best friend and always will be please don’t ever forget that. I just can’t deal with things anymore. My mom only care’s about my little sister and my dad is too consumed with his new job to even acknowledge that I exist. I’m going to be going home “sick” after homeroom. My mom is taking my little sister to a play group this morning and won’t be back until this afternoon. Melissa please don’t be mad at me. I just don’t want to live in this horrible world of mine anymore. All I want to do is die, I just want out of this hell hole. I hurt so bad Melissa and nobody cares…..Your BFF, Elizabeth.”
I didn’t know what to think. I was surprised that she would really think of going through with killing herself. I mean we had talked about it sometimes, but I never thought Elizabeth would go through with it. I raced to the counselors office to speak with Mrs. Douglas. I figured she would be able to help in some way.
“Mrs. Douglas can I speak with you please?”
“Of course Melissa, are you okay?”
Tears began uncontrollably streaming down my face. With shaky hands I handed her the note. When done reading it she told me she had to contact her parents and the authorities about this matter. I didn’t want Elizabeth to hate me so I pleaded with Mrs. Douglas to just let me go to her house and talk with her. She tried to make me understand that in order to help Elizabeth we had to do it her way. I was very upset that she wouldn’t listen to me. I thought she just didn’t understand and now Elizabeth was going to hate me forever. I stewed over it for the remainder of the school day.
“Hey Melissa, are you riding the bus home today?” Kelsey asked.
“Yeah. You want to walk with me to the art room I have to grab my painting?”
When we got onto the bus it was noisy as usual. For me though all I wanted to do was go hideaway somewhere and let this day just pass me and forget about everything that had happened. I stared out the window wondering how Elizabeth was doing and if she would ever forgive me.
When I got off the bus I slowly walked home dreading the phone call that I knew I would have to make to Elizabeth.
“Hey mom, I’m home!” I yelled as I walked into the house and dumped my backpack on the floor.
“Melissa, were in the kitchen!” My dad yelled out.
At that point I knew something was wrong because my dad is never home from work this early.
“Hey what’s up? ” I said anxiously.
“Melissa, Elizabeth is dead. They tried to revive her, but …….”
“NO! NO! Your lying! She would never go through with it! YOU LIAR! I HATE YOU!” I screamed as I ran upstairs to my room sobbing. I raged for what seemed like hours. Throwing anything in my site and beating my fists into the wall until they were swollen and bruised. I couldn’t figure out why God let her do it. Why He didn’t save her. Why didn’t He make things better for her. Why did he have to let her die.
“Melissa, can I come in?“ My mom asked while slowly opening the door.
“Mom why did God let her die? Why did she have to die? Why didn‘t I read the note sooner? Why didn‘t God stop her?!”
“Melissa, these things aren’t for us to question or even understand. God lets things happen sometimes for reasons that we’ll never understand. We just have to trust Him and know that He will heal our hurts and sorrow.”
“But it’s just not fair, Mom. It’s just not fair.” I said while sobbing as my mom held me.
The rest of my seventh grade year was very hard to get through. I never did get over Elizabeth’s death and part of me still blamed God and myself for letting it happen. I let the anger fester in me that by the time I got into high school I was skipping classes and getting into the wrong crowd at school. I had been sneaking out with my friends going to parties and drinking. I didn’t think it was all that bad and it helped me deal with the pain and anger I had been burying inside for so long. Then at the start of my Junior year there was a new guy at school. He was cute, sweet, and knew just the right things to say. I had such a crush on him that when he asked me out to the homecoming dance I just about screamed “yes”. My mom and I went out and got the best dress for the dance and I felt like royalty. I could hardly contain my excitement. Except I kept wishing that Elizabeth could be there with me sharing in the experience.
“Melissa, Kevin’s here.”
“Okay mom, I’m coming.”
“Oh Melissa you look gorgeous. Here let me just take one picture.”
“Mom no! Dad tell her to stop.”
“I would but you know your mom, she likes to capture everything on her camera.”
I gave a heavy sigh which fell upon deaf ears. To make things less painful, I took my position next to Kevin and smiled sweetly.
“Thank you. I appreciate you appeasing me. The dress looks better on you than it did in the store. The pale blue goes beautifully with your big brown eyes and your long chestnut brown hair. I knew it would be better than the green one.”
“Yes mom, were going now. Bye!” I said with irritation as I was pushing Kevin out the door.
“Oh my gosh I hate it when she does that . She acts like everything I do is so miraculous or something. She is so annoying.”
“That’s okay my parents do the same thing sometimes.” Kevin said as we walked over to the car.
Kevin opened the door to his parents black suburban, and I slipped into the passengers seat. He walked around to the other side and plopped himself down into the drivers seat. As we drove to the dance I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I thought he was so gorgeous with his short curly blonde hair and blue eyes. To me he looked like a male model. I would do anything for him.
We left the dance early and Kevin took me over to his house. His parents were gone for the weekend so he said we could hang out there for awhile until I had to get home. I was a little nervous at first but loosened up after a short time. We got some pop and sat down on the couch and put on a movie. Kevin put his arm around me and before long we were kissing. I had so many butterflies in my stomach I thought I was going to burst. Then he started trying to unzip my dress.
“Kevin, I’m not ready for that.”
“What are you talking about it’s okay I have a condom.”
“That’s not the problem. I want to save myself for when I’m married.”
“Oh come on. It’s okay, I love you Melissa. I have loved you since the first day of school. I just want to show you how much I love you.”
“I know, but I just can’t.”
“What are you some kind of tease? I thought you felt the same way about me?”
Kevin instantly became angry at me the more I resisted him. He pushed me away from him and began belittling me. I didn’t know what to do. I was hurt, crushed, humiliated and wondered what I had done wrong. He ended up taking me home and I cried myself to sleep that night. The next day Kevin called and apologized for what he did. He told me it would never happen again. Things went along well for a few weeks. He asked me out to a movie and then after the movie we went back to his parents house again. They were gone for the evening and we sat on the couch and talked about the movie. Kevin leaned over and kissed me then started to put his hand under my shirt. I stopped him and he slapped me across the face. He took me home and then called the next day apologizing for what he had done. He said that it was because I made him so mad that he did it. I accepted his apology and responsibility that it was my fault. Things continued like this for the rest of the school year. Then came our junior prom. Kevin didn’t want to hear “no” anymore from me. He told me if I really loved him and wanted to make him happy that I needed to give myself to him. He promised me that we were going to get married anyway after we were done with school. I gave myself to Kevin that night and then the next month my period never came. I was so scared I didn’t know what to do. I went to Kevin and told him what was going on. He called me stupid, a whore and so many more horrible things.
“Kevin, I’m sorry. I didn’t know it was going to happen. Please stop yelling at me. I‘ll do anything you want.” I pleaded with him as he stared at me with pure hate in his eyes.
“You trapped me. You knew what you were doing.” Kevin said as he raised his hand and smacked me across the face.
I screamed and held my face as the stinging pain became intense. I pleaded with him not to hurt me. He continued to yell at me with violent anger. He spit pop on me and threw things at me until he got tired and walked to his bedroom. My body stung and I was scared to stay, but also scared to go home. I didn’t want my parents to know what was going on. I called my friend Theresa and had her come pick me up. On the drive to her house I told Theresa everything that happened and that I was pregnant.
“Oh my gosh Melissa, you have to tell your mom. You can’t do this on your own.”
“No, my mom would kill me if she finds out. I’d rather runaway and live on the streets than tell my parents what’s going on. Theresa you have to promise me you won’t tell anyone about this.”
“Okay, I promise.” Theresa said with great hesitation.
When we got to her house I called my mom to see if it was okay to spend the night. My mom said it was okay and then Theresa smuggled me up to her room. She gave me a mirror and a washcloth to clean myself up with. When I saw my face I began to cry uncontrollably. My lip was swollen, my eye was starting to turn purple and my cheekbone was split open and bleeding. Theresa left the room and said she was going to go get me some bandages and ice. When she came back though her mom was with her.
“Melissa, please don’t be upset with me. I’m just really worried about you.” Theresa said as she fiddled with her hands.
“Melissa, I can understand how you are feeling scared right now and confused. I can’t promise you that everything is going to be perfect, but I can tell you that you can’t do this alone. You need to tell your parents what is going on. You see not too many people know that Theresa’s dad isn’t her biological father. I was in a similar situation as you when I had Theresa and I could never have done it without the support of my parents. If you would like we can be here when you tell them.”
I was so confused, but I knew she was right. I had to talk to my parents about it. Theresa’s mom called my mom and had her come over. She broke the news to my mom first while I listened down the hall in Theresa‘s room. I could hear my mom crying and asking why this had to happen. After a while Theresa’s mom came and got us and we went out into the living room where my mom was sitting on the couch wiping her eyes with a tissue.
“Mom I’m so sorry.”
“Oh baby it’s okay we’ll get through this. I’m just sorry you didn’t feel you could come to me sooner.”
We didn’t press formal charges against Kevin, but my parents talked to his parents and then took me out of the school and put me into a private school for teen moms. It was hard leaving my friends. I felt like I was the one being punished for what happened, while nothing happened to Kevin. I was hurt, angry, frustrated and some days I wished I wasn’t pregnant and that I just had an abortion. I was fat and extremely uncomfortable. I didn’t know why God was punishing me, but I was just sure that he was.
“Mom! I’m wet!” I screamed as I was awoken from a dream.
My mom came running into my room while trying to put on her jeans.
“Melissa, it’s okay your water must have broke. Come on let’s get up and get you dressed while your dad is getting the car started.”
I got up out of bed and tried the best I could to get out of my nightgown that was sopping wet. My stomach felt like a rock and hurt so bad.
“Mom my stomach hurts.”
“I know baby. Your having contractions, remember the doctor said these would happen when you go into labor.”
“I hate this!” I said as I finished getting dressed and waddled down the stairs where my dad was waiting for us.
My parents helped me to the car and my dad drove as fast as he could to the hospital. Once we got there I was admitted and checked over by several nurses and then my doctor when she arrived.
“Well Melissa, things are progressing along fine. You should have this baby in a few hours.”
“Thank you Dr. Peters.” My mom said while holding my hand.
“Mom I don’t think I can do this. It hurts too bad.”
“Melissa, sometimes choices in life bring a lot of pain and through that pain if we trust in God, He will see us through it. Now you just need to focus on God right now and let Him guide you through this.”
“Mom God doesn’t love me or he wouldn’t have let this happen.” I said angrily.
“Melissa, God didn’t do this to you. Sometimes in life we make wrong choices and God let’s us fall to show us that we need Him always. That we can’t do nothing on our own without Him. Kevin hurt you Melissa, not God.”
I laid there in great discomfort thinking about what my mom just said. Then it happened.
“Mom I have to push.” I said as this strong urge to push this baby out came over me.
“Hang in there Melissa while I ring for the doctor.”
“Yes, is there a problem.” Said a nurse over the intercom.
“Yes, my daughter is having the baby!” My mom yelled.
Within a couple of minutes the doctor was in my room gowned up giving me instructions on what I needed to do to give birth to my baby. I was trying to listen to everything she said, but the pain was so intense I couldn’t concentrate very well. I started crying as the pain intensified and then after about an hour of pushing I heard for the first time a babies cry.
“Melissa, it’s a girl.” My mom said with tears running down her cheeks.
“Here you go Melissa she’s all yours.” The nurse said as she handed me the most beautiful baby in the world. She was so tiny and helpless. She was counting on me for everything. To feed her, to care for her, to love her, to always be there for her. I was now a mom. I wasn’t sure what to do all of sudden. I became a scared, how was I going to be able to take care of her. How was I going to be able to protect her, feed her, cloth her. Then I remembered what my mom said. I closed my eyes and asked for God to me and for Jesus to come back into my heart and my life. In almost an instant the fear left me and I felt a peace that I had never felt before come over me. I felt as though I was wrapped up in a big down comforter. It was the best feeling I ever had. One that I will never forget. At that moment I knew what it felt like to be back God’s care.
Through the birth of my daughter God showed me how wonderful He is. In seventh grade my best friend took her own life and then in my Junior year God gave to me a life. I still don’t know why He didn’t let Elizabeth live and I don’t know why Kevin was such an abusive person, but what I do know is that God doesn‘t forsake or leave us. Everything happens for a reason. On the many sleepless nights I’ve had I sometimes sit down in exhaustion and cry. Then I call out to God and ask for His help. He doesn’t make everything instantly better for me, but He helps make it bearable.
“Thank you Melissa for giving us your testimony today. We invite you all back next Sunday for the baptisms of those who have given their testimonies here today. Now let us turn to page 292 in your hymnals.” Said Pastor Ron as I walked back to my seat and sat down.
“Melissa, I’m proud of you.” My mom said as she squeezed my hand.
“Thanks mom, but I never could have done it without God.”