When I was in middle school I never really had any luck making friends. No one seemed to like me, and I couldn’t figure out why. I wasn’t weird; I didn’t wear strange clothes or talk differently from everyone else. For some reason, I just didn’t fit in. I was insecure, and I kept thinking, Everyone is looking at me, just blend in. All of this discouraged me a lot. To make matters worse, there were barely any kids at our church. The few kids that did come to church didn’t come all the time. So I was alone. Until one day, when I met a girl at a church party. That day changed my life. It turned out that she had three other siblings and they all came to our church. I just hadn’t known because they rarely came. After meeting the girl and becoming friends, she and her siblings started coming to church all the time. Slowly, all of us became very close friends, and I felt like I had a place; I wasn’t alone anymore. I finally fit in, and fitting in was the best feeling.
About five years later, our little church in Buffalo, New York, grew smaller as my best friends picked up and moved to Alaska without warning. In my head, Alaska was on the other side of the world—the farthest place from Buffalo. I still didn’t have many friends at school, and there were no other kids at church. This broke me. Before this, I didn’t care about my social life at school. It didn’t matter because I always had my friends at church to look forward to every week. After they moved, I pulled away from my family. I felt like no one understood and no one cared. I was alone again. I pushed away all of my problems and let my loneliness consume me. I was going down a horrible path. I let my grades slip away. I was numb from anger, bitterness and disappointment. And I started to pull away from God when the same questions kept rolling around in the back of my mind, questions I couldn’t answer: Why would God do this to me? Why would He take away the only friends I had for no reason? Why me?
Looking back on this time I can say with complete certainty that God always has a reason, even if we can’t see it. Sometimes we get caught up in the glory of one moment that we forget there’s something bigger. The summer after my friends moved, I had the opportunity to go to summer camp. I normally couldn’t go, because camp is the same time as my final exams at school, and I couldn’t miss those. But Pentecost was later that year, and that pushed camp back as well. I am confident in saying that Camp Cotubic is what helped me. I am incredibly grateful for that experience. At camp I gained confidence and happiness that I never had before. It was what saved me from walking too far down the wrong path. I finally felt like I belonged somewhere and fit in again. When my friends moved to Alaska, I couldn’t see why God would allow them to leave. But now, it makes sense. If He wouldn’t have, I would have stayed shy. I would have only talked to my friends at church and not talked to anyone at school. After my friends moved I started making more friends because I became more outgoing and friendly. I was interested in connecting and talking with people, and I wasn’t hidden away being shy anymore.
My friends from Alaska visited this past summer, and I was able to share the Feast with them in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. I am finishing up my sophomore year in high school and now have many friends. I drew closer to God, and I have a more positive outlook on everything. There is one scripture that my mom pointed out to me that really opened my eyes. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9 Isaiah 55:9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
American King James Version×). This scripture really moved me. God always has a reason. All we have to do is pray, have faith in Him and have courage that He will guide our lives. I am closer to God because of this. Every time I have a trial, I walk with God, pray and trust that He is always there for me when I need Him. I am happy now, I have a place, and I fit in. This is all thanks to our great, glorious and loving God. If you are ever going through a rough time, don’t make the mistake that I did and pull away. Draw close to God and He will help you, because even on your darkest days, God is there.