Protection for a Wandering Teen – part 3

My teacher in first grade Sunday school taught me Bible stories, the Catholic church taught me about reverence, the Baptist church showed me the grace and salvation of God, but I still needed someone to teach me who God is and what I needed to do in order to live a good and healthy life (Romans 6:16).

Once I was confirmed, I attended Sunday services by myself but that was still not enough. I was looking for something more (Psalm 119:131-135). Therefore, at the age of 14, I accepted the invitation of a couple school friends to go to a weekly youth group at the local Catholic church. Our leaders were out of the hippy era and taught us relational concepts. Ironically, it was through the kids in this group that I was exposed to some of the typical sins of youth. But yet, they were my “gang.” A few of us did everything together. They were probably looking for the same sense of love and belonging that I was looking for because when I spent time in their homes, I never saw the presence of family.

At this point in my life, my mother’s drinking and the drugs she was taking for her schizophrenia caused her to stay in bed all day; and my father spent all his time watching television. Therefore, I didn’t spend much time at home.

God gave me extra grace and protection during these years as He waited for me to find my way. I was walking the streets of North Minneapolis all by myself in the middle of the night and my friend and I were getting the phone numbers of strangers off the jam line and then meeting these people in random locations (that would be equivalent now days to meeting strangers you talk to on the internet).

Those angels must have also been walking with me through the halls of North High School. When I was just a freshman, I quickly learned that I shouldn’t go into the park across the street or I might get shot, I should blend in so I didn’t get beat up, and I shouldn’t walk the halls by myself between classes. I figured that last one out the hard way when I thought “the nice girls were just opening the door for me.” It was a double set of doors that led outside. They let me through the first set of doors but wouldn’t let me out the second set. Therefore, I was trapped in the entryway with them. But God supplied a way out. Not a minute later, the fearsome hall guard happened to be in that part of the school and came around the corner so the girls quickly backed down and opened the door. After that, I can recall using the bathroom only one time during those four years of high school. Thankfully, band, writing for the school paper, and golf were not cool “sports” so I could find something constructive to do during those high school years.

After a couple years with the Catholic youth group, and at the age of 16, I wasn’t attending church much at all and I moved out from under my parents’ roof to an apartment behind their house. I was still trying to find my way without adult supervision and was searching to fill that longing I had for fulfillment and meaning. I was reading the Bible but this was the era of the New King James Version so I didn’t quite understand it all yet.

Then I ended up in a serious relationship and became a person with divided loyalties (James 4:8). This guy was antagonistic towards God and I was still that 11 year old little girl hoping and praying that one day I could have a healthy Christian home. Without direction and accountability in my life, this relationship and his words continued to entice me and drag me away from my dream (James 1:14).

As I floundered around trying to figure out life, the Holy Spirit was still present and God was drawing me to Himself. No matter what I was involved in, I still felt a strong need to read my Bible every night before I went to bed in order to calm my spirit (John 14:27). The “Cinderella” story of Joseph became my favorite Bible story. As I prayed for wisdom and discernment, I spent years in the Psalms calling out to God and in the Proverbs learning what my parents were never able to teach me themselves. In my next blog, God answers those prayers.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol G
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 22:08:54

    I can’t wait to hear all the rest of God’s work in your life.

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  2. juleene
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 00:30:21

    Thank you Carol. This is encouraging to hear and makes it all worthwhile.

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    Reply

  3. Barb
    Nov 17, 2011 @ 17:57:28

    I finally sat down at the computer long enough to read this. This is awesome to be able to put into words, how God has worked in your life and how the scriptures fit in and to recognize how it fits into your journey.

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