As I got older boys started to notice me. I developed early and looked a lot older than I really was. By the time I was in eighth grade high school boys on the bus started talking to me.
My heart bloomed under their attention. I felt like someone saw me for the first time and liked what they saw.
Eventually, I started dating a boy. He was seventeen and I was thirteen. He told me he loved me. Oh, how I wanted to be loved. I never heard those words at home. I just felt like I was in the way there.
It didn’t take much for him to convince me to have sex with him. Soon after I did he stopped talking to me. I was crushed, abandoned again.
Not long after another boy came along and I knew what I needed to do to feel loved, even for a just awhile. I was hungry, desperate for even a few moments of being wanted, of being seen.
Thus began a cycle that I didn’t know how to stop. Or even if I wanted to.
With every relationship I hoped this one would really love me. And with every relationship I lost another piece of my heart. My whole body ached with the brokenness inside me. I was empty and knew no one would want me one day. My own father knew I was trash and it was a matter of time until the whole world figured it out.
One day as I was walking around town, trying to avoid going home I walked by one of the local churches. I walked by there several times and never paid much attention. That was one place I wouldn’t be welcome.
A young women was headed in the building and I tried to walk past her without making eye-contact. No one ever really saw me so that should be easy.
“Hey, are you okay?” Her voice pulled me out of my tangled thoughts.
I just nodded and kept on walking. I heard her footsteps shuffling behind me.
“I’ve seen you walk around town before. My name’s Carrie.”
I stopped walking, I didn’t want to be completely rude.
“We have a youth program here. Why don’t you come on in and check it out if you think your parents wouldn’t mind.”
I wanted to laugh. Yeah, like my parents would even notice if I didn’t come home.
I glanced up finally and saw some of the kids walking into the church. My heart sank. I saw a few boys who had pledged their love to me and then left me. So church was for liars. I didn’t need any part of that.
Carrie scrambled for her purse and drew out a piece of paper and pencil. “If you ever change your mind we meet every Wednesday. Here, I feel like I’m supposed to give you this.” She wrote on her piece of paper, folded it and handed it to me.
I took it, shoved it in my pocket and walked away.
“It’s the truth. What’s on that paper. It’s true.” Carrie’s voice called from behind me.
The paper seemed to burn my fingers as I picked up speed to walk home. I wanted to stop and read it right then but didn’t want Carrie to know how desperate I was. I waited until I got home. I ran to my room and drew the paper out:
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:13 NLT
I crumpled the paper up and threw away. Just more trash.