I grew up in a non-Christian home. I went to church maybe once or twice while growing up. I knew who Jesus was but that was about it.  Throughout my childhood, I had grown accustomed to being left behind while all my friends moved away year after year.  (Note from the Club Beyond leader: Leah’s adoptive father is European and her adoptive mother teaches at one of the school’s on base so she is one of the rare military teenagers who have actually lived at the same place her entire life).  I also dealt with being the older sister who had a younger brother diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, therefore he received almost all of the attention all the time and my mother seemed to overprotect him and favor him.  During middle school, I became depressed because I felt alone in the world as friends constantly moved away and I did not have a good relationship with my parents for a couple of reasons. 

Around that same time period I visited my birth family in Florida which opened a whole different world for me including learning about the ghetto, drugs and a completely different lifestyle; but I also felt a connection to my birth-mom that I had never experienced with my adoptive mom.  That love I felt was what I had longed for my whole life but when it was time to leave I felt even more abandoned and alone as I was the only one of her three girls to be adopted. I missed out on all the sister memories they shared, and all the growing up bonding moments. Regardless of how dim their future seemed, I wanted to live with my birth family because I felt loved and a part of something and that was all that mattered. As I got back into the “real” world of school I became more depressed as I started to compare my life to the life I could have lived.  I started to get into bad habits and as a result I lost friends.  That spring my grandpa died from cancer. Near the end of 10th grade, I was introduced to my Club Beyond leader and I was told she dealt with teens who faced similar difficulties in life. 

Just DAYS after I had met my CB leader, my parents announced they were getting divorced. This shattered my already crumbling world. I was lucky to have my CB leader in my life to help me through what the next year would bring. As a result of the divorce, I had to move houses for the first time in my life. The end of summer neared and I felt as if I had nothing, but my CB leader invited me to this Club Beyond retreat.  I decided to go on the trip and I learned a tremendous amount about Jesus and in the process realized I needed him, his love, and his strength in my life.  I had also become very close to my CB leader during a matter of a month or so.  In the early fall, I emailed my CB leader and told her I was ready to live for Jesus and that day we met for lunch and prayed together.

After giving my live to Jesus, life was everything BUT easy.  That fall my best friend from 8th grade moved to Florida, dealing with moving from one house to the other every week and this was taking its toll.  I had joined the cheer team which was fun at first but turned into intense drama — the whole school was getting involved and nasty rumors were being spread around about me and so I lost the little friends I had left.  I had been betrayed by everyone I knew that year and so I lost all trust in everyone and I became even more depressed. I started hurting myself, stopped eating, and tried drugs but nothing was working. I was so confused with my life and what I did to cause this. I was crushed but my CB leader was right by my side encouraging me to build my relationship with Jesus and to pray and trust him.  Near the end of my junior year, I applied to become a student leader at Club Beyond. This helped me build a closer relationship with Jesus.  As a senior in high school, I still am a student leader at Club Beyond but still have my struggles. But, I now have a steady group of friends and Jesus.  As a new Christian, I have witnessed how God does amazing things and one clear example is how he placed my CB leader in my life and I am forever grateful.  My relationship with Jesus is currently a work in progress but significantly stronger now than even just a few months ago.

comments powered by Disqus
Enter your search term and press the return key on your keyboard.