Bullied and Abused While Growing Up

I was becoming more defiant towards my parents

I was bullied and abused while growing up. With severe depression, anxiety, and a sense of entitlement, I became more and more defiant towards my parents. But when our family moved to St. Louis and I started middle school, life really became difficult. After many life-altering events, I decided to give up on myself physically and emotionally. My parents responded by finding a place where I could be healed. I was simply trying to survive this grueling time in my life and I felt stuck inside a deep, dark, black hole.

During my stay at Shelterwood, I didn’t realize there were things which I should have taken advantage of. The things that felt annoying while I was in the program seem to be the things I miss the most having completed it. Being surrounded by people 24/7 was actually for the best and I failed to realize until later the importance of the relationships I had created.  The impact of these Shelterwood relationships was critical and changed and my life forever. The love, support, and care of the mentors is incredible. These people dedicated their lives to serve us ‘troubled teens’ and are insanely amazing people. They are such a great example of the never-ending love God has for us.  Along with the Mentors, it was nice to be able to have other littles not only going through the same struggles, but also being positive role models that showed me there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

After going through intense counseling, workshops, and retreats I was able to overcome many obstacles regarding my past. Although it was a lot of hard emotional work, I learned so much about myself and the LOVE God has for me. Although it has taken some time, my relationship with my family has never been stronger. I am very happy with where we are and I am able to communicate with them without the feeling of judgment. It is because of the love of my parents that I was able to go to Shelterwood and find healing.

During my stay at Shelterwood my spiritual life grew to such marvelous heights. I was no longer being forced to go to church; I actually wanted to. Sundays became a day of resting upon God’s everlasting love. I still have difficulties and trials, but these challenges have only strengthened my reliance on Jesus. Leaning on Christ is the only thing that gets me through the day. If I didn’t have God by my side, I have no idea what type of person I would be today. It is God’s light that guides me through the hardships of life.

I am still trying to figure out what God wants me to pursue. Being patient is a struggle, but I believe that God has something brewing. By letting go, listening to God’s loving direction, and following His light I know that my future will be fulfilling.  I hang on to the belief that I am a disciple of Jesus and am called to be a witness, obeying His commands and creating new disciples to spread His love.

Melissa K.