Someone knocked on my door. I wiped my tears away, working to sound happy as I said “come in.” It was Tina Hellum, and I didn’t realize how much I needed a hug until I was given one. I started bawling. Tina asked what was wrong. Somehow, through the tears, I told her. She hugged me and told me it was going to be ok. We prayed. Our time together lasted about an hour and I started to see that God is my refuge, and he’s using my friends to show me.

Hurricane Irma hit my house last week. A tree crushed part of my home and our dock washed away. My parents sound stressed and tired, and I feel terrible because I’m not home to help with cleanup.

I feel helpless and not in control. God knows I struggle with control, and I believe He is teaching me a lesson in this moment. After I spoke to my parents about the Hurricane last week, I went up to my room crying, feeling like God was giving me too much in teaching me this lesson. I hoped and prayed that no one would notice I went to my room crying.

After Tina knocked on my door, gave me a hug, and started talking to me, I was able to speak through my sniffles. She asked if we could pray, and that prayer was one of the most beautiful prayers I have been a part of. In our prayer time I realized that God sees my pain, and He hates it. He sees the hurt, and He feels it. I believe He will use the hurt and pain and make good and beauty come from it.

At school this week I had a hard time focusing. The lessons I learned through my prayer time with Tina didn’t completely resolve my stress. In class I began thinking how the stress of fixing and rebuilding our home must weigh on my father, who already works hard to enable me to attend Hillcrest. My mother and brother are bearing additional stress without me home to help. I somehow felt responsible for the stress on my family. This bothered me throughout the day. Finally, I broke down in tears. I left class to talk with someone. I ended up talking with the school nurse.

Mrs. Venberg, the school nurse, helped me realize that the stress wasn’t my fault. She reminded me that God has me here for a reason. I realized that if my parents need me at home they will tell me. God has me here for some reason, and I believe this is only a small part of what he is teaching me here.

Mrs. Venberg and Mrs. Heikes prayed with me after I talked with Mrs. Venberg in her office. During the prayer I felt a calming sensation. I felt at peace, like a weight was lifted off. I believe Jesus is comforting me as I finally gave him all of my pain and all of my worry. I feel content and grateful.

I am realizing how great God is at Hillcrest. He is loving and kind. He teaches us lessons through the biggest and smallest things. I have sensed God close to me, wanting to hold me and through sorrow and pain. God is my refuge in the storm.

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