Short Story Tuesdays: This Crazy Teenage Life

Bethany Bell’s Journal

June 16th 2004

This is outrageous! Why would they want to move? Our whole life is set here. My friends, my school. Kate and I’ve been besties since kindergarten; now we’re going to live miles apart. This is not fair!

June 28th 2004

The moving truck arrives in two weeks. We’re slowly packing everything. My wall is stripped of all the memories that once hung there—the pictures, the postcards, the gifts from years ago. So many steps of my life happened in this house . . . in this community. Next year I would’ve started High School—I guess I still will, but in a different school. Without my best friend. Kate and I spent hours dreaming about our youth years together. We even planned our college life together at Eastern Mennonite University. We had it all figured out, High School, University, our weddings, babysitting each other’s children—the whole nine yards. We’re both dreamers you know.

July 3rd 2004

I stood in the doorway of my room, taking in one last look. A single tear fell from my eye while I scanned the naked walls. I turned and strolled through the house as the memories become vivid. I gave the house one final look and closed the door. Everyone waited for me to say my goodbyes. I worked hard to keep my tears from shedding. I feared if I would look everyone in the eye I would burst into tears, so I quickly gave everyone a hug, never looking up. Until I faced Kate. I felt the tears rolling down my face as I gave her a hug and stepped back. She said, “Don’t forget me Beth”. I couldn’t stand it any longer so I told her to call me often, then I ran into the pickup.

Shortly afterwards the gray clouds gave away a lasting shower. I stared out the window while the farms and dairies zipped by. I heard the pounding drops on the window; I watched them roll down, while the rest of the world became silent.

Two years later

May 13th 2006

Spring is around the corner. The snow is slowly melting. I’ve gotten use to the longer winters. Dad really enjoys his new job.  Mom helps out with the church activities regularly, she’s made a lot of new friends. She never was shy. One would think my brothers lived here their whole life, the boys at school took them in from day one.

I often wonder what Kate’s up to. After a year we stopped calling, now I hear from her every other month at the most. I hang out with the youth group and often with girlfriends on weekends. I guess with school and friends we don’t find time to call so often any more.

A year later

Mary Kate’s Journal

August 17th 2007

Three years since I last saw Beth and her family. We live only seven hours apart, yet never visit each other. I miss her at times; I think about the special friendship we had and how I barely talk to her now.

I met a guy named Steven. His family moved here a couple months ago. He hangs out with our youth group sometimes; he seems like a good guy—his family does too. They came over for Sunday dinner yesterday and I don’t know what it is about him that makes my belly do a little flip-flop. Not in the bad way though. I admire how caring he is and his relationship with his ten-year-old sister, Emily. I suppose he’ll be in the senior class with me this year . . .

October 20th 2007

My dad and Steven talked after Dinner today, while Emily and I played Dutch Blitz. I wonder what they talked about. Perhaps Steven was interested in what Dad had to say about him asking me out. Not that I’m eager, I’m simply stating what might have happened. Not very many guys do that though. But it would be sweet of him, don’t you think?  I won’t sugarcoat it—I’ve fallen for him. I wonder though . . . he doesn’t seem to like talking about the Bible–or God. And he never really speaks up at Bible study either.

October 31st 2007

Friday Steven and I went rollerblading, and for coffee afterwards. I had a good time and I believe he did too. I didn’t know if I should or not, but I asked about his relationship with God. I felt we needed to be clear of that before we went into a serious relationship. Hey, it could’ve happened!

He said he once had a strong relationship with the Lord, until his friend passed away in a car crash. Driving home from a ball game, they didn’t see the semi turning on to the highway in front of them. They dove full speed onto the semi. He barely survived; he said he’d rather have died than live through losing his best friend. Not knowing what to say I stayed silent, so he continued. He said after that he grew angry with God, not knowing why God would take a seventeen-year-old’s life away. He said his anger vanished by now, but he still never understood why God would do that. He said he doesn’t see why trusting in a God, who lets innocent people die like that, can be so rewarding.

After hearing his story, I wanted to make him see somehow that that was God’s will for his friend, now his friend didn’t have to suffer with life’s sorrows. His friend fulfilled his duty and now he was with Jesus in heaven. And that life with Jesus in our hearts truly was rewarding. I tried saying a few things, but he got angry right away. I know getting him to see the light in Jesus will be a slow process.

Until he see’s the truth in his past, and becomes straight with God, I’m afraid I can’t build a relationship with him.

February 1st 2008

Steven’s new enthusiasm makes its mark all around school. He’s defiantly happier lately and more interactive at the Bible studies. I wonder if he’s found his peace with the Lord? Our families still hang out regularly. After I said I couldn’t go out with him anymore he didn’t come with for a while. Then he started again and often asked me about forgiveness and such. He started hinting for stuff like where to read certain topics in the Bible. I noticed at times the little wheels in his head were spinning really fast. I hope he finally found his peace.

May 14th 2008

Up on the tree branches birds chirped. The tall grass waved around me, while I laid there looking up at the clear blue sky.

Spring is a perfect time for love don’t you think? I certainly do. Steven asked me out at the beginning of this month and with my parent’s approval, we went rollerblading and stopped at a coffee shop afterwards, just like we did last time. Now that Steven found his peace with the Lord I feel like our relationship could defiantly mean something. I wouldn’t date him if it didn’t. That would simply be wrong.

I received a letter in the mail today. I haven’t gotten time to open it though . . . it’s from Beth.

Bethany Bell’s Journal

May 23rd 2008

My graduation came and went, like all days. Except that day I got to see Kate and her family.

After my graduation party, when everyone else left, Kate and I talked for hours. After not talking for two years and not seeing each other for four, you can bet there’s lots to talk about!

After we moved we both asked why we had to separate, but now, after four years, we both realized that’s how God planned it. If I wouldn’t have moved Kate might have never met Steven. Steven needed her and God knew that. It’s only a matter of time until we find our best friends.

Moving made it easier for Kate to find time for Steven, without me feeling neglected. And after hearing Steven’s story I realize that if he hadn’t lost his best friend, he might have never known Kate. God knows what’s best for us in this crazy, sometimes confusing, teenage life.

Looking outside the kitchen window this morning, the sun glistened through an oak tree, shining on the May flowers. I took a sip of my orange juice and smiled to myself.

I wonder if Kate will marry young or go to college . . .

Sunday Morning: 5 Steps to Bring Your Hurt to Christ

In the previous article we talked about realism. I told the story of how I dug up my terrible thoughts and brought them to Christ. At the end of the article I encouraged you if you had any terrible thoughts laying in your head, to dig them up and bring them to Christ. I hope you did. But even so, I’d like to talk about it a little more before we continue.

How do you bring dreadful thoughts to Christ? Frankly, it’s not that easy. However, remember that God already knows those thoughts. Anyone else might not have a clue, you might even believe you’ve kept your thoughts hidden from God’s eyes, but you haven’t. Even though we don’t confess our thoughts to Him in prayer, He still hears them. As children we learned that God sees everything all the time, and that’s still true. (Hebrews 4:13) So why kneel down in prayer if God already knows all your thoughts? Why bring it up again? Why say it out loud? Because you’ll feel better. Jesus knows our every thought, yet He wants us to personally bring our thoughts known to Him. It’s one thing to have God know your thoughts while you’re still hiding them. It’s another to have God know them while your standing with open hands, giving everything to Christ.

Let’s say your best friend kept something from you for a long time, all the while you knew there was something he wasn’t telling you. What if you even knew exactly what it was? Yet you didn’t bring it up because you knew your friend was struggling with it. You knew when he wanted to he would tell you. And when he finally did tell you, you happily listened. You felt so glad that he finally brought that secret to you. Even though you knew, you felt special knowing he trusted you enough to share it with you. Just like that, God feels special when we trust Him enough to tell Him our secrets.

Now lets reverse it and pretend you were the friend with the secret. You carried this secret around with you forever. It slammed you in the face each time the conversation tilted toward secrets. When you finally told your friend, you felt relieved. You felt better knowing you told him, you felt better knowing you took the time to talk to him about it face to face. That’s how we feel when we bring our secrets to Christ.

God designed us after His own image (Genesis 1:7). Just like we like it when our friends come to us with our problems, so does He. Just like we feel better when we tell our friend our secret, we will feel better when we tell Jesus. So hows does one confess to Christ?

  1. Face reality. Face it that you have something that’s hurting you.
  2. Figure out what it is that’s eating you up. (A good way to do this is to write it down.)
  3. Pray. Bring those thoughts you wrote down to Christ in prayer. Ask Him to take them from you. Give them completely to Christ.
  4. Know that you are free from those thoughts. Know that they no longer control you.
  5. Memorize verses that will remind you when you’re feeling discouraged.

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not parish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Now, I have to say that I didn’t come up with this method. However, this method helped me and I hope it will help you. Very often talking to someone about it will help. Talk to your mentor, a pastor or your grandma and pray with them. Study with them, let them know what’s hurting you. With all this said, I recommend reading Live Fearless by Sadie Robertson and above that, I recommend reading and memorizing scripture. You’d be amazed how much it helps when doubt sneaks in.

Last but certainly not least, know you are loved, know you are enough.

Until next time,

Maria 😀


Creative Tuesdays: 22 Fun Things to do With Friends

If you read my last Creative Tuesday post then you probably remember I mentioned using a page in your journal for ideas. Have any of you collected ideas on fun things to do with friends? I’ve collected a few and I’d love to share them with you!



  1. Mini golfingPurple and Turquoise National Hugging Day Social Media Graphic (1)
  2. Order pizza and watch a movie
  3. Go four-wheeling
  4. Go to the lake
  5. Have a cook out Click here for creative backyard cookout ideas
  6. Play games in your back yard
  7. Go tubing
  8. Go paint baling
  9. Go to a coffee shop and get lost in conversation
  10. Go ice skating
  11. Go rollerblading
  12. Horses-back riding
  13. Bake or make ice pops Click here for any easy popsicle recipe
  14. Tie dye T-shirts, pillow cases, or sheets Click here for instructions on how to tie dye
  15. Host a potluck dinner in your back yard Click here for 35 potluck theme ideas
  16. Have a bonfire
  17. Go to a farmers market, then sit in the shade or in the sun and enjoy your fruit
  18. Go swimmingcookout
  19. Go-kart driving
  20. Eat out at a resturrant
  21. Go to a yogurt place
  22. Ride bikes at the zoo

The list could go on, but sadly I’m out of ideas for now.  Some of the things I mentioned is probably not an option for you or not something you’d be interested in. That’s fine! We are all into different things.

However, when we consider what activities to do it’s important to first see if your parents approve of it. All parents have their own rules. And the Bible says to obey your parents. We may not see anything wrong with it, but our parents have lived longer and are often smarter than us. Perhaps your parents just don’t feel comfortable about the idea. They don’t always have a direct reason why they don’t approve. When this happens it’s especially hard to understand why they’re so against it, which often leads us to anger. But in these cases it works well to think it through, like this: this is what I do.

I have a conversation with myself, it goes like this: “Maria, why would they say no? Is there a reason that I can’t see?” I answer, “No, I just can’t see what they think is so wrong. It’s not like I would sink that low to let them influence me. I’m strong.” Then I ask myself, “But is it worth doing if parents don’t agree?” I think to myself, I can live without it. It’s not like I can’t have fun otherwise. Then I continue with my conversation, “If i’m angry now I’ll just have a terrible time. My whole day will be ruined, plus I upset Mom and Dad. ” Now, by the time I’ve said all this to myself in my head, I’m happy and no longer angry. I’m still disappointed and I still don’t agree or understand all the time, but it helps me to see that my parents are trying their best and I see again that I have to obey and not argue against their judgement. So whenever you want something, but your parents don’t, yet you don’t see why not? Tell yourself, “No, I don’t see why it’s wrong, but I can live without it.” If you can live without it , then there’s no point in arguing. It just causes anger and often breaks relationships.

Maybe your not under your parents roof anymore, maybe your on your own, maybe you already moved out or you think “your eighteen, you can make your own decisions.”  You’re baptized, grown up and now your parents trust you to make smart decision in everything–even what you do to have fun. In these cases–and in all cases, it’s important to remember the Biblical guidelines. In the picture above it said, “in everything you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Think of it this way: if you were hanging out with friends and Jesus would pay you an unexpected visit, would you welcome Him in and offer for Him to join you or would you hide what you were doing? If you know this not something that our Heavenly Father would approve of , then don’t do it.

When we’re baptized and on our own and we attend a church regularly, this is our congregation, these are our people, then of course we have to obey their rules. We attend church to join in fellowship with our friends and family as we worship, but every church is going to have it’s own rules yet. I know our church does. In this case, we obey our church rules. The same situation might occur here, like it did with your parents in your teens. You might think to yourself, well I don’t understand why they’re against it, I don’t see what the Bible says against it. Here we can tell ourselves the same thing, “No, I don’t see why it’s wrong, but I can live without it.” If we’re going to upset our Minister by doing it, then we’re better off not upsetting him. We might still be disappointed and still not understand his or their reasons, but again, if we can live without it then there’s no point to argue or go against the rules.

Sometimes we have friends who go to different churches. I do, and our parents, along with our church have different rules, but we still want to hangout. In situations like this we have to consider each other. If our friends authorities don’t like the idea, but ours don’t see anything wrong with it then we have to respect them and find something we can both do without having a guilty conscience. Here–like through our life, we lean on the Biblical guidelines. The Bible says respect your authorities (Romans 13:1, Ephesians 6:1-3), it says show glory to God with everything you do (1 Corinthians 10:31) and do unto others as we would have them do unto us (Luke 6:31). If we pray and read often, remembering what Jesus taught us and follow His teaching we will have an easier time knowing what He approves of and what He does not.

Jesus is the furthest away from boring, He is unique and He wants us to be lighthearted and unique. He wants us to have fun and show who He is in everything we do. We do not have to sit on our couch because there’s nothing we can do, He wants us to enjoy our time and laugh with pure joy. We just have to do what He, our Teacher and Savior, approves of. There is SO much to do out there, with His guidance we can make the most incredible memories.