“Dear Jesus” Sally repeated, nervous, but excited to give her life completely to Jesus.
“Come into my heart and forgive my sins Lord.” Sally repeated each word of the prayer, her heart racing and expectant. She wondered if she would feel different, and she did and for the first time since she was a tiny child, she felt alive and free.
She, Sarah Amelia Pringle was a child of the Living God! Jesus loves me, she thought. Jesus loves me… the outcast, Sally Valley Single Pringle! He loves that skinny girl with a crooked smile.
Going back to school after Christmas break made her a little nervous. She was that unfortunate kid who had no friends, that odd girl targeted by the same bullies since Kindergarten. Most of the time she could be found with her head buried in a book trying to avoid being noticed by 'the populars'.
“I will never leave you or forsake you!” She didn’t know where this verse was in the Bible, but she repeated it to herself as she climbed the steps into the school.
Weariness seemed to bite into her soul like an icy blast of wind, when Sally's tormenters rounded the bend of the hallway.
The ‘populars’ promenaded in a line like fashion models just out of hair and make-up and their stunning faces twisted with distain when they saw the skinny little mouse.
“Help me Jesus, I can’t do this alone.” Sally whispered under her breath.
“I will never leave you or forsake you”, came the reminder. The burden lifted and she met their eyes and smiled.
This impish smile transformed the mousy girl’s face making her unmistakably pretty. Her face held no fear. The shock on the four plastic beauties tickled Sally’s new heart and she bravely uttered a sweet, “Hello!” before heading into her first period class.
It was clear the bullies had lost a target and they regrouped to attack the girl later.
What had happened to their target? 'Sally Valley Single Pringle' usually flinched, cried or scampered away; what gave her this new confidence?
Sally couldn’t believe it; she quickly thanked her new Lord and found she was trembling. A beautiful smile lifted her lips making her forgot to cover her offensive teeth and she was shocked to see questioning smiles in return. “Am I really a new creation?” Sally thought on this, taking a deep breath before looking around at her class.
Everything was different; it was as if she’d been sitting alone in the dark and someone turned on the lights. She studied her classmates for the first time and saw kids just trying to survive high school; just like her.
She actually believed they all hated her, but found in that glance that most were not even looking at her and those who did, returned her smile. In truth, her enemies were few.
That night, the Liar and Thief tried to return with his accusations.
"You will always be ugly!"
"You will always be a loser!"
"No one will ever love you!"
Her classmate’s chant echoed through her mind and she clenched her teeth at the force of the familiar weariness slamming into her chest.
“Help me please God,” she prayed with her arms wrapped fiercely around her pillow. Her whole life she’d believed these accusations and noticed the lies trying to take root again.
Under her breath she started to sing, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there’s just something about that name…” The darkness fled and she began to pray.
Sally was still teased at school, but this time it was because she was a ‘Jesus Freak’ and that suited her just fine. The bullies found another more worthy target. Remembering her own struggle, Sally stepped in and said calmly, “You are all gorgeous and intelligent; don’t you have something better to do?”
Brenda, the queen bee, gave the little mouse a push and Sally could feel spittle spraying her face as the girl screamed, “If it isn’t Fairlawn’s biggest Jesus freak?”
Sally lifted a paper napkin and wiped her face with a smile. She scanned the crowd and shook her head, “Seriously, is this really how you want to be remembered when you leave high school?” Brenda backed up as if pushed; the horror of Sally’s cool words sinking in, and she turned and ran from the cafeteria.
Brenda never bullied another person, in fact, after high school, she accepted Jesus into her heart. Sally and Brenda are now friends.
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