Reflections on a challenge

When I was 17 years old, I won a full scholarship to a prestigious international school, Lester B Pearson, United World College of the Pacific in B.C. It was to be for my grade 12 year, and one year following (a two year International Baccalaureate program). I arrived at the school with a lot of things going on that no one knew about, not the least of which was an eating disorder (which was impacted by emotional struggles and deep wounds). I ended up in surgery at the beginning of the year (complications as a result of being too thin too fast) and then ended up home for six weeks. The school was really supportive when I returned, but I couldn’t get my brain to work properly and was struggling with depression, identity issues, fear. I was a mess. I couldn’t even read a page of a book and understand it. I went from being an A student in high school, known as “the singer,” with lots of friends, to not getting any work done at all and feeling very disconnected from any community.

By April, I made the decision that the scholarship would be best used by someone else, and I returned home. My classmates graduated from Glenlawn (my former high school) without me, and I had to finish up credits ‘piece-meal’ the following year. My high school experience didn’t follow the expected pattern, and I felt like a real failure. I was someone who everyone thought had so much promise but I could not seem to “hold it together” and “deliver.”

What I didn’t know then (hindsight IS 20/20) is that all of that promise was still there. I couldn’t see past the immediate circumstances and envision the healing that God would bring into my life, or the many, many opportunities that would follow. It hasn’t been an easy road, but He has been faithful to me, no matter where I was at in my faith or otherwise. I can’t say that I’ve lived out the miracle of grace, because that would imply that I knew what I was doing; I didn’t. God knew what to do, and did it for me and in me.

It’s been years, and there are still times when things pop up in my life and psyche that remind of the past. I still feel like a failure, and I still feel things in extremes sometimes. But I’m not where I was, all glory to God. The journey He’s led me through has allowed me to deeply understand emotions in others, and to translate stories and feelings into songs. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is real and that God is good. That alone is a gift I’d never trade, and one that I passionately want to share with other people. He is my Hero, my Lifeline, my Everything, who made a way when I could see no way, and who has proven His faithfulness to me over and over again. When we are faithless, He is faithful! When we are hopeless, He is our hope—unfailing, unending, merciful God!

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