Starting OverAdd Comment
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Tears streamed down my face as Mom and I battled again.Add Comment
“You’re never to speak to or see that boy again!” Mom exclaimed. “Do you understand me?”
“You can’t make me stay away from him,” I yelled as I turned to walk away.
“I can, and I will. If you attempt to see him or to talk to him again, I’ll send you to a boarding academy far enough away that you can’t see each other,” my mother threatened.
About a month later, in early August, I was on my way to look at my new school. I didn’t think my mother would actually go through the process of sending me away. Yet there I sat in the back seat of our car, heading toward an unfamiliar place.
I hadn’t meant for things to happen this way. All I’d wanted was someone to love me and to make me feel accepted. I didn’t feel I was getting that kind of attention at home. Dad had left us a couple of years earlier, and Mom had just gotten remarried. To me it seemed that she was aiming her attention at her new husband, and not me.
Raul asked me to be his girlfriend at the beginning of my freshman year. At first I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t believe someone really wanted to be with me. After thinking about it, I told Raul yes.
Finally I had the attention I wanted so badly, along with an instant group of friends and a house to go to besides my own. Raul and I spent most of our free time together. When we weren’t together, I daydreamed about him and what we’d do the next time we were together.
About nine months later the arguments between my mother and me began. She didn’t want me to see Raul anymore. “Raul and his friends aren’t the best influences, and you spend so much time with him that your grades have been slipping,” Mom pointed out. “You’re very smart, but you’re not reaching your potential when he’s around.”
I didn’t get it. I finally felt happy and loved, and my mom wanted to get rid of Raul! I continued seeing Raul, and I spent just as much time with him, if not more. There was no way I was going to allow my mother—or anyone else—to tear us apart.
As I kept seeing Raul, my mom kept telling me not to see him. Eventually she started naming punishments she’d use if I kept seeing him—such as making me wait until I was 17 to get my driver’s license. When that didn’t work, she threatened to send me away to school.
After driving for three hours we pulled onto the campus of Mount Pisgah Academy in Candler, North Carolina, and parked in front of the administration building. There my parents and I met a faculty member and started a lengthy tour of the campus, meeting students and other faculty along the way. I definitely wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of leaving my familiar home in Tennessee to live with a bunch of strangers. Why am I being sent to prison? I wondered.
A few hours later Mom matter-of-factly announced, “Well, honey, this school will be great for you.”
What? They’ve decided already? How can they do this to me?
During the miles home my mind whirled with thoughts of how my life was about to change. At home I started packing everything I could think of to take with me. One week later I was back on the campus to register for classes and move into the dorm.
Not knowing what to expect at this new school, plus being away from home for the first time, made me nervous. Mom and my stepfather helped me move into the dorm and unpack. But they were soon on their way back home.
That evening the staff and returning students had several activities to welcome everyone to Mount Pisgah Academy, but I had little interest in meeting anyone or being involved in the ice-cream feed.
As days went by I continued to avoid as many people as I could. Raul called every few days and tried to talk to me, but it was hard for him to call long distance. I eventually told him it wasn’t worth trying to date anymore, and he quit calling. The next few weeks I felt very lonely.
Not too long after I ended my relationship with Raul, a group of students invited me to join their prayer group. It gave me an opportunity to pray for others and bring my own concerns to God. By that time I was tired of feeling lonely.
Finally I opened up to a couple of my prayer partners and told them how I’d ended up at Mount Pisgah Academy. They comforted me by praying with me and helping me look at the situation differently. “You have a chance to make a fresh start,” they encouraged.
This new outlook was something I hadn’t considered. And as my sophomore year progressed, I made a lot of new friends. My grades went up from C’s to A’s and B’s, I joined the choir, and I worked on the yearbook.
Strangely, my relationship with my mother and my stepfather grew better too, as I realized that they loved and supported me. I no longer needed a guy to make me feel loved. God loved and cared for me, and He had a plan for me. I just needed to give Him a chance to show it to me.
I attended Mount Pisgah Academy for the next two years, and I loved every minute of it. I became yearbook editor, and I joined the Student Leadership Committee. I took part in planning and decorating for banquets, festivals, and programs. I went to Kenya, Africa, on a mission trip, and I graduated as class secretary.
When I accepted Raul’s invitation to be his girlfriend, I had no idea it would land me at Mount Pisgah Academy. But as I look back at my experience, I’m glad God gave me the chance to start over.
Hollie Eirich was a busy college student in Tennessee when she wrote this. Now she is a busy professional in Tennessee, still thankful for God’s working in her life.
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