But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)



For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD,
my confidence since my youth.
Psalm 71:5



All throughout my childhood and into my teen years, I was shy--shy to the point that by the time I was a teenager if I saw someone I knew at a store I would go to the next aisle to hide.

The summer before my junior year was a very dark time for our family (for reasons I prefer not to share online, since they involve other people than me). Adding to that, towards the end of the summer, I was told by my closest friend that the group we hung out with thought I was clingy and didn't want me hanging around any more. I felt very alone.

But, our family also started going back to church that summer. At church, I heard things I had heard many times before--that God loved me and had sent his son, Jesus, to die for my sins. These were things I had known and believed since I was little, but they became real to me in a new way that summer. I realized something that had never sunk in before--that if God loved me THAT MUCH, what others thought of me didn't really matter.

Then, the last day of the summer at a youth group meeting, when they asked for prayer requests I asked for confidence.

The next day I came to school, knowing that I would have to walk the halls alone with no friends to walk with me. Though I didn't mind being by myself, being by myself in a crowd was always terrifying to me. But I walked the halls that day and did not feel alone. It was truly like Jesus was walking with me.

I would like to say I have felt that presence ever since. I have been through long, long valleys where God has seemed very un-real and far away. And yet even in these times He has given me moments of light to remind me that He is still here, walking with me.





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