Early January, late 1980s
Posters of teenage heartthrobs and pop culture singing sensations peppered my bedroom walls, a blaring testament to the shallowness that had become my life. “I deserve better than this!” I yelled at the ceiling. “If You’re listening, God, do something!”
The demand seemed to bounce off the ceiling and fall flat at my feet. I stood there. No response. The second hand on the clock near the bedroom door ticked rhythmically, unfazed.
“Why aren’t you listening?” I spat my accusation at God. “I need to know You hear me.” I crossed my arms and tapped out impatience with my right foot as if daring Him to answer. “I know I’m only thirteen, but even I know there’s more to this life than what I’m dealing with here.” I glanced around the room as if expecting God to materialize. When nothing miraculous happened, I added, “I feel ugly. Overwhelmed. Empty. What are you going to do about it?” I grimaced at the pain knotting my stomach.
The silence dragged on.
“Fine. What do you want me to do?” My words dripped with sarcasm. “I can’t live like this! I’ve been your good lil’ girl all my life, and look where it’s gotten me. Nowhere.” I fleshed out my anger, giving the pillow on my bed a good wallop. I then heaved it across the room and sighed with relief when it missed the porcelain heirloom doll sitting on my dresser. “I want to be like everybody else. I don’t want to be special,” I complained. I purposefully eyed each Spelling Bee ribbon, Track & Field trophy, and Principal’s Award lining my nearby desk and bit down on my lower lip. “I just want a normal life. No endless hours studying. No expectations. Just a simple life. Is that too much to ask?” My voice broke barely above a whisper.
Well-known words found their way to the front of my mind: …To whom much is given, from him much will be required. Luke 12:48. “Then take it back,” I begged. “I didn’t ask to be like this. I’m OK with having a normal IQ and not being number one at everything. I can handle it. I promise.” I groveled for a different approach, desperation tearing at my heart. Still, nothing.
Irritated and feeling ignored, I slumped to the floor, feeling the thud as I palmed my forehead. I stared at the carpet for a long while, struggling to slow the anger welling up inside me. I can’t put my finger on it, but something isn’t right.
Long brown locks tumbled in layers over my left arm, providing a form of privacy while I sulked. I sat in silence, watching a tear trickle slowly down my nose. It ran over the edge, threatening to disappear, but clung to the tip until I lowered my head, forcing it to fall from my face. Many tears followed—dripping from my nose and chin—but I just sat there. Numb.
Then it hit me. Meaningless. Yeah. My life. Meaningless. The vacant feeling haunted me. I shifted my weight, anxiously trying to pull myself from the floor. Fumbling to my knees, I rooted myself in a kneeling position by the side of my bed and promptly looked heavenward. “I’m not getting up from here until You promise to change me,” I informed God. Stubbornness dared Him to defy my challenge. “Do you hear me? My life is worth nothing without You in it. I’m tired of feeling shallow. My life is worth more. I am worth more.” Desperation oozed from every word, my pathetic pleas resonating from a genuine place of brokenness.
“I know the Bible says I matter to You, but I don’t feel like I do,” I confessed. “You don’t feel real. I need You to be real.” Raw honesty poured out, uncensored. I wadded part of the bed skirt into my hands, raging against a war building at my core. As if clinging to the hem of Christ’s garment, I bowed my head and pleaded, “Please, God, change me. I want to feel Your presence. I need to know You exist. Make me Yours. Do whatever it takes. I give You my permission. Just make my life matter. I want to matter.”