I learned to accept of others, Jesus, and myself
The challenges that brought me to Shelterwood were substance abuse and depression, which led to serious problem in lack of self-esteem and self worth.
I have used a lot of skills that I learned from Shelterwood, but if I had to narrow it down to one theme, it would be acceptance: acceptance of others, Christ, and myself. Grasping these three big concepts dramatically changed almost every aspect of my life for the better, and through this I was able to directly change the negatives things in my life that were holding me back from a life with Christ. My heart was hardened to the point of not even accepting myself, let alone to accepting Christ, but Shelterwood helped change this.
My relationship with my parents before Shelterwood was very negative. I just viewed them and everything they did as them trying to stop me from having fun and being very controlling of my life. But after being away from them and maturing at Shelterwood, I quickly realized that they aren’t against me at all. In fact, everything they were telling me was for my benefit and for some reason I couldn’t see that at all before Shelterwood. But my relationship with them has changed a lot. I get a long with them and for the first time in a long time, I very much enjoy spending time with them.
My spiritual life before Shelterwood was non-existent. My heart was hardened and I thought that Christ was just trying to control me and tell me what to do. I just wanted freedom from authority and to be able to be myself. But after the mission trip to Haiti, my heart wasn’t hardened anymore and I felt like I could see clearly for the first time in a long time. The different ways I had been trying to gain freedom were actually limiting freedom and joy. With the help of Shelterwood staff, I realized that the only place I could find this freedom was in Christ.
Since discovering this I have given my life to Christ and decided to do a gap year program in the Dominican Republic where I will be doing missions work and learning Spanish. I am very excited to see what the Lord has in store for me this next year and the years following.