Inside and Outside

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

Libby's life is falling apart. All of her friends think it is fun to give her makeovers. Plus, they tease her for the amount of time that she spends on homework. Finally, she is never invited to hang out with them. It is enough to make Libby deal with her problems in her own way. Unfortunately, her way is not the right way. Will Libby ever get her life under control so that she can be happy again?

Chapter 1

 

The bell rang, dismissing my class for lunch. I slowly packed up my things and then headed down the hall. I was not in a good mood. I had a ton of homework to do tonight and the stress was weighing me down. To make matters worse, I had a headache that kept shooting pain across my forehead. I felt like Harry Potter.

I put my books down on my usual table and got in line behind some freshmen that were gossiping about another student.

I wasn’t really listening to the freshmen. I was lost in my own thoughts. I was trying to figure out how I would have time to get all my homework done and have time to study for my history quiz tomorrow.

The line slowly moved and I was handed a tray with a hot ham and cheese sandwich that I knew would be cold, tater tots that would be hard as a rock, squishy peas, and peaches. I took my tray back to my table, where my friends were already seated.

I took a seat next to Melanie, one of my closer friends, who was talking to Sage, another one of my closer friends, about her boyfriend. Also at the table were Mindy, Nancy, Sheila, and Kristy. Mindy and I have been friends since second grade. As time goes by though, I am finding that we are drifting apart as she hangs out with the other girls, who are friendly towards me and in many of my classes.

I could not join in the conversation about Sage’s boyfriend because I had never met him. Rather than just eat my lunch, I pulled out my math book.

“You are a nerd, Libby,” Sage said as she dropped the conversation.

Tears sprung to my eyes but I blinked them away and faked a laugh.

“Put that book away,” she ordered. “Nobody does homework at lunch. Especially not when there is study hall next period.”

I reluctantly shut my book. I just wanted to get a head start on the pile of homework I had. Not everyone is like Sage who tries to get her homework done the class period before.

As Melanie and Sage restarted their conversation, my hands itched to open my math book. Afraid of being laughed at again, I decided I had better not. My thoughts drifted to how different I was from everyone else. I really didn’t fit in with my own friends.

The bell rang and Melanie, Sage, and I went to our lockers to get our homework for study hall. I took out my history, English, and math books and nearly fell over from the weight.

“Got enough books?” Sage joked. She only had her English book. I doubted that she would get much done during study hall anyway.

We entered the classroom and I took my usual seat in the corner while Sage and Melanie took seats side-by-side in the front of the room. They were going to talk the entire time.

As I tried solving my math problems, I was finding it difficult to focus. People all around me were talking loudly. My mind kept thinking about all my homework. Tears started to threaten as I was reminded of what Sage called me at lunch.

When the bell rang to go to biology, I had not accomplished much. I dumped the pile of books in my locker and hoped that science would distract me from everything going on in my life.

Chapter 2

 

Biology was nearly over. We had finished taking notes and we were given the last few minutes of class to work on the assignment. I was the only one taking advantage of it though. All around me, people were talking and doing everything but working.

“You would look good with a makeover, Libby,” Carol said all of a sudden.

“What?” I asked, looking up from my assignment.

“It would be fun to give you a makeover,” Carol said. “Don’t you think Libby would look good with a makeover, Kristy?”

“Yeah,” Kristy said before she went back to her conversation with Melinda.

“It would be so much fun,” Carol continued. “My friends and I would straighten your hair and put on makeup. It would be fun.”

The bell rang then, saving me from having to come up with a comment to this hurtful statement.

As I walked down the hall, I thought about what Carol was implying. Indirectly, she was calling me ugly. And being told that directly to your face was very hurtful.

I know that I am not the best looking person. I have frizzy brown shoulder-length hair. I didn’t wear makeup because I knew my parents wouldn’t approve. I wear black wind pants and a sweatshirt almost everyday. I didn’t have a lot of money to devote to my looks. I also really didn’t care. I have better things to do with my time. I thought I looked decent enough to be seen in public though.

All through Spanish class, I struggled to focus. I really just wanted to cry. I couldn’t wait to go home and do exactly that.

The bell finally rang and I went to my locker to load up my pile of homework.

“See you tomorrow,” I told Sage and Melanie before heading out the door.

I have to walk home because my parents think we live close enough to the school. The only time I really mind is when it is cold or rainy. Most of the time, the walk home helps me relax and clear my head.

Today’s walk did not help me relax. I couldn’t get over my anger towards Carol and Sage. What had I ever done to deserve those comments? I was not a bad person. I was quiet, but nice to everyone.

I arrived home and went upstairs. I threw my heavy backpack on the bed. Then, I grabbed my letter opener, rolled up my sleeve, and made several marks on my wrist. A couple of them starting bleeding so I grabbed a tissue to keep my sweatshirt clean.

Tears that had been threatening all day finally started falling. I was very, very angry towards Sage and Carol. Especially since Sage was supposed to be my friend.

I really didn’t have any friends though. I called them friends, but they were more people I just walked around with. I only used them as friends for appearances.

Well, I really didn’t need anybody! I was fine on my own!

 

Chapter 3

I had just finished my homework and had attempted to study for the history quiz. I didn’t get very far because I started to feel very nervous about it.

I was feeling pretty horrible about how Carol had treated me and since I was also nervous about the history quiz, I decided I might as well as go to bed, even though it was only eight thirty. Going to bed would allow me to forget about reality. When I was asleep, it would be like I didn’t exist.

The next morning though, I was angry when my alarm woke me up at seven o’clock. Waking up meant facing the world and pretending to be happy, even though I wasn’t.

I slowly got dressed in my usual wind pants and a blue sweatshirt. I ran a brush through my messy wavy hair. It looked worse than usual but I really didn’t care about my appearance today. All I really wanted to do is go to bed.

I slowly walked to school and worry about my history quiz and the pile of homework that I was likely to get today.

I went to each of my classes, struggling to focus; all the while wishing it was time to go home. I was sure that I had failed my history quiz because I freaked out when the quiz was passed out and I suddenly couldn’t recall even what I already knew.

To make matters worse, in English, we had been assigned a group speech that was to be given in class on Friday. I had been assigned to work with Carol and Nancy. We were going to meet at Nancy’s house after school.

During study hall, I made a rough outline for my part of the speech. Even though I know the other girls won’t be so organized, it would be nice to have somewhere to start.

Once the final bell rang, I grabbed my pile of homework and then began the short walk to Nancy’s house.

“Come in,” Nancy said when I rang the doorbell. “Carol is already here.”

I went inside and found Carol sitting at the kitchen table. They didn’t have anything out.

“I already started an outline for my part,” I said. “Do you have poster supplies, Nancy?”

The girls slowly pulled out their English notebooks and looked at the speech requirements. Our speech was to be over the novel we had just finished reading. I showed them my outline and waited for suggestions or questions.

“I really don’t feel like doing this right now,” Nancy said.

“I don’t either,” Carol agreed. “You know what would be fun though? Let’s give Libby a makeover!”

“That does sound like fun!” Nancy replied.

“We have to get this done by Friday!” I protested.

“We have tomorrow and Thursday to do it. Besides, you have already gotten started.”

“Why don’t you get started on the poster while we do your hair?” Nancy suggested.

I couldn’t see how I would be able to work when they were messing with my hair but I couldn’t see any other way to get them to work on this speech.

“Fine,” I agreed.

Nancy came back with poster board and markers and then left with Carol for a minute.

I started sketching out the poster. Carol and Nancy returned with a bag of beauty supplies. I was hoping that their makeover wouldn’t extend past the hair though.

Nancy plugged in a straightner and while it was heating up, Carol came to the other side of the table and stared at me.

“Do you want to help color the letters?” I asked irritably.

“I was just thinking how good you would look with makeup,” she said. She took the marker out of my hand and spun the chair I was in around so that I was no longer facing the table.

Nancy started straightening my hair and Carol started putting on makeup.

I was feeling very self conscious. I was also very angry because they were valuing me as a person based on my looks. Again, I was being told that I was not beautiful indirectly.

I was also mad that they wouldn’t work on this speech. We only had until Friday to get it done.

“There,” Nancy said at last. She pushed me into the bathroom to get a look at myself.

I stared into the mirror. My hair was no longer frizzy or wavy. It was very smooth and straight. My eyes were very dark and my lips were pink. I didn’t recognize myself anymore.

“We still need to find her some different clothes,” Carol insisted.

Nancy ran to her closet and came back with a blue top.

“I need to be home in five minutes,” I lied as I took a look at the short sleeves.

“Tomorrow then,” Nancy said.

I grabbed my backpack and rushed out the door. Once I was a distance away from the house, I started running.

Once I was home, I rushed to the shower before my mom could see how I looked and start asking questions. I scrubbed all the makeup off and washed my hair so that it would return to normal.

Once I exited the shower, I was back to my usual self. I was angry at what they had done to me though. I went to my bedroom and got out the letter opener to use it on my wrist.

 

Chapter 4

 

There was about five minutes before school would begin and for some reason, almost everyone was already in the room.

“Doesn’t Libby look beautiful?” Carol asked as she pulled out a piece of paper and passed it around.

What was she passing around? I was starting to feel worried. I didn’t need to be teased anymore.

“Nancy and I gave her a makeover yesterday,” Carol explained.

“You look really pretty,” Kari said to me.

“Thanks,” I mumbled. I could feel my cheeks burning.

“You should do your hair and makeup more often,” Leann said.

Mrs. Clearwater came in just as the bell rang and Carol was forced to put the picture away.

I couldn’t believe that they had taken my picture without my knowledge, without my consent.

The comments I had gotten said that I was ugly. I was only semi beautiful if my hair was straight and I had makeup on my face. No one bothered to look inside. No one bothered to get to know the real me. People were quick to pick up on things they didn’t like about me, such as my hard working attitude and disregard to my appearance. There was so much that people didn’t know about me and probably would never know about me.

“Libby?” Mrs. Clearwater said.

I looked up, distracted from my thoughts. Mrs. Clearwater was looking at me expectantly. She must have asked me a question.

“Could you repeat that?” I asked nervously.

Mrs. Clearwater looked irritated. “I asked you what the theme of the novel is.”

I had read the novel. I quickly gave a response before the bell rang.

“Why didn’t you leave your hair straight?” Nancy asked when we were in the hall.

“I had to shower,” I replied. “And how did you get that picture of me?”

“I got the picture when Sheila was doing your eye makeup.”

“I really wish you wouldn’t show that picture.”

“Oh, it is fine. You look gorgeous.”

“You really did look beautiful,” Cassidy said as she came to her locker.

I walked away feeling angry and humiliated. My cheeks were still burning from earlier.

Wait. Maybe they weren’t warm from embarrassment. My throat was burning too. I was getting sick.

 

Chapter 5

 

At lunch time, I sat between Melanie and Sage because I was still angry with Nancy about the makeover. I could hear the other girls at the table making plans for this weekend though.

“Let’s make sure we have plenty of snacks,” Kristy said excitedly. “Remember the last camper night? We ate so much!”

Great. They were talking about Camper Night. It seems like they talk about it all the time.

This summer, Mindy, Nancy, Kelsie, and a couple other girls were invited to spend the night at Sheila’s parents’ camper. They watched the Olympics and then had a ton of fun.

I was very hurt when I heard about Camper Night. I was friends with Mindy and I was around the other girls often enough that we were almost friends.

The way the girls were talking to each other, I was guessing that I probably wouldn’t be invited this weekend either. I wasn’t going to give up hope though. Maybe I would be invited when things became more official.

I don’t know why I really want to go Camper Night. I hate most social situations. I think the only reason I want to go is because Mindy is invited. Ever since Mindy started hanging out with these girls, she has slowly drifted away from me. Camper Night wasn’t going to strengthen our friendship. If I got to go though, maybe I would be accepted more by the other girls and then Mindy would like me again.

Realizing that I was excluded from all conversations again, I pulled out my math book and attempted to get some problems done.

 

Chapter 6

 

Every time the phone rang over the next couple days, I hoped that it would be Sheila inviting me to Camper Night. Friday night though, I finally had to admit that I wasn’t going. The girls were probably already in the camper eating snacks and gossiping about boys.

I pulled out the letter opener from where I had hidden it behind my radio. I pulled up my sleeve and made several cuts on my wrist. Pain shot down my arm. It would only give me temporary relief from all these feelings I am experiencing right now.

I got out a book to read a little before bed. I was having a very difficult time concentrating. My eyes were on the page and I would read a sentence before they were on the walls.

“This is pointless,” I said as I put the book on the floor and shut off the light, even though it was only eight thirty on a Friday night.

I really wished I didn’t exist. I would never have to deal with the stress of life again. What was the point of life anyway? A person works hard at school just to get a job. Then, they die and none of it was worth it.

My future was pretty hopeless anyway. I didn’t really have any skills. The only thing I was good at was school. It would be difficult for me to get a job anywhere because I am not a people person.

I rolled over and tried to fall asleep. At least tomorrow I would be able to sleep in; that is, if my throat would quit hurting.

 

Chapter 7

 

“So what brings you here?” the nurse asked as she led my mom and me into the exam room.

“Sore throat,” I said as I took a seat on the table.

The nurse took my temperature. “One hundred and one.”

“Could it be strep?” my mom asked worriedly.

“We will let the doctor decide that.”

She went to take my pulse. When she tried to pull up my sleeve, I jerked my arm away.

My mom had already found a magazine and was reading so intently that she didn’t notice. The nurse looked stunned but didn’t try again. Instead, she left the room.

A few minutes later, there was a knock on the door and the doctor walked in.

“I’m Dr. Madson,” he said. “Could I possibly have a few minutes to speak with Libby alone?”

“It’s just a sore throat,” my mom said.

“Please,” Dr. Madson pleaded.

“Fine,” my mom said and left the room.

Why did the doctor need to speak to me alone? It was just a sore throat, right?

“May I?” Dr. Madson said as he gestured to my wrist.

Suddenly I knew what this was about! The nurse had told him how I reacted when she reached for my arm! They both knew what I was hiding!

I knew there was no way I was going to be able to keep my problem a secret anymore.

The doctor pulled up my sleeve to reveal the cuts on my wrist.

“They are cat scratches,” I lied.

“I have heard that before. How long have you been doing this?”

I shrugged. “Awhile.”

Dr. Madson started asking me questions about how I was feeling. He asked if I had been feeling sad or thought my future was hopeless. He asked whether my eating and sleeping patterns had changed and countless other questions.

“What is going on?” I asked at last.

“You have depression.”

“Depression?” I asked worriedly.

“Don’t worry. You will get help.”

 

Chapter 8

 

Dr. Madson told me that he and his wife, a psychiatrist, offered a group for depressed teenage girls at his church once a week. I really didn’t want to go. I was not a church person. I believed in God but other than some prayers aimed at getting A’s or something else, I pretty much ignored Him. And since I am pretty much ignored by everyone, I really did not want to put myself in an awkward social situation.

My mom insisted I go though. She thought it would be good to meet people “just like me”.

I was feeling nervous as I walked into the church. Dr. Madson told me this was a very informal group that just hung out and talked but I was still new to this.

“Welcome, Libby!” Dr. Madson said excitedly when he saw me walk in. He was sitting in a corner of the church where there were a bunch of couches and chairs. A couple of girls and someone that must be Dr. Madson’s wife were also there.

I awkwardly took a seat on an empty couch. None of the girls bothered to say anything. Some of them were talking to each other and a few were staring into space.

“Candy’s here!” one of the girls said excitedly as a tall girl with very long black hair walked in and took a seat. “Where were you last week?”

“Psych hospital,” she said sheepishly.

“Aw, what happened, Candy?” Dr. Madson asked.

“If it makes you feel better, I turned myself in. I didn’t attempt anything.”

“That’s great, Candy!” Dr. Madson replied.

A few more girls walked in and then Dr. Madson began.

“Welcome, girls. We have a new face here today. Please welcome Libby.”

“I’m Keiko,” the girl to my right said quietly.

“I’m Annie.”

“Emily.”

“Emma Madson, psychiatrist,” Dr. Madson’s wife said.

“Candy.”

“Isabella.”

“Juanita.”

Dr. Madson broke in after the last introduction. “This is a place where you can freely talk about your life. Anything said here stays in the group.”

I nodded my head to show that I understood.

“Should we begin in prayer?” Dr. Madson asked. “Would anyone like to pray for us?”

“I will,” Juanita said.

I watched all the girls bow their heads. I quickly decided I had better do that too.

“Lord, I thank You for this group of girls. I ask that You bless the time we have together. Please help each and every one deal with their problems appropriately. Amen.”

“Would anyone like to begin?” Emma asked.

“I cut again last night,” Annie began.

“How do you feel about it?” Emma asked as Dr. Madson got up to look at the cut on her arm.

“Afterwards, I regretted it. I just couldn’t help it though. My parents were on my case about my grades again.”

“Has anyone else cut this week?” Emma asked.

“I did,” I admitted.

“And how did you feel about it?” Emma asked.

Dr. Madson came and looked at the fresh cuts I had made last night and cleaned them up.

“Made me feel better at the time.”

“Do you know why you cut?” Emily asked me.

“It was just one of those days. One of my friends called me a nerd. Then, I heard some guys in the hall making fun of me for my looks.”

“Do your friends know that you have depression?” Keiko asked.

“Why would I tell them?” I asked incredulously. “I’m already called a nerd and teased for who I am. How would they respond to me telling them I had a mental illness?”

“Isn’t that why we have this group?” Isabella asked. “So that we have a group of friends that understands us?”

“Has anyone told their friends that they have depression?” Emma asked.

Two girls raised their hands.

“How did they respond?” Emma asked.

“My friends started treating me completely different,” Juanita said. “They are constantly asking me how I am feeling. I wish I had never told them.”

“And how did your friends react, Candy?”

“I never told my friends,” she replied. “I have been in the psychiatric hospital several times. People talk and they found out. They are no longer my friends anymore.”

“Well, I must applaud you for seeking help when you had suicidal thoughts, Candy,” Dr. Madson said.

“I just remembered that verse you told us about how God had plans for us,” Candy replied.

“For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” Dr. Madson quoted.

“I guess I figured I couldn’t carry out those plans if I was dead,” Candy said.

“Why would God give us depression?” I asked curiously.

“Nobody knows,” Keiko said. “We are damaged goods though. God can still work through us.”

“I just wish it wasn’t depression though,” I mumbled.

“Well, does anyone have any prayer requests?” Emma asked.

“Pray that we can live according to God’s plans,” Isabella said.

“Pray that we will make the right decisions,” Annie said.

“Pray for a cure,” Candy said. This was followed by a cheer.

Everyone bowed their heads and Emma began praying.

“Lord, I pray for every one of these girls. All of them struggle with depression and need Your help to make the right decisions and live according to Your plans. I thank You for giving Candy the resources to help her make the right decisions. I also pray that You will help all of these girls get well. Amen.”

“Amen,” the girls repeated.

Everyone started standing up to leave.

“Will you be back next week?” Isabella asked me.

“I think so. I actually kind of liked it.”

“Are you a Christian?”

“No.”

“Well, then you had better come back next week.”

Why was being a Christian so important? I guess I would have to wait until next week to find out.

 

Chapter 9

 

Over the next few days, all of the girls from the group added me on Facebook and Annie even invited me to hang out with her on Friday night.

I didn’t know Annie very well, but I agreed to hang out without any hesitation. I was actually looking forward to it.

Friday night, I drove to the mall and met Annie by the fountain.

“How’s it going?” Annie asked when she saw me.

“I’m actually feeling pretty good. It feels kind of weird.”

“I know that feeling,” Annie said with a weak laugh.

“How long have you suffered from depression?” I asked curiously as we headed towards the food court.

“I was diagnosed when I was fourteen, so three years.”

“Have you been depressed this entire time?” I asked incredulously. I didn’t want these awful feelings to last for several years.

“My psychiatrist actually thinks I might have cyclothymia.”

“What is that?”

“A mild form of bipolar.”

“Does that mean you will have to leave the group?”

“No. Candy is bipolar and she still comes. Bipolar still has depression episodes.”

We both ordered some fries and sat down at a table. I ate some fries in silence as I thought about Annie suffering from depression for three years. It is no wonder that there are people who have considered suicide. That must be why the girls had wanted to pray for a cure and the strength to make smart decisions.

“I can tell you have a lot of questions,” Annie said after awhile.

“Some of them might be a little personal though.”

“I had a lot of questions too, Libby, when I was first diagnosed with depression. Go ahead and ask. I won’t be offended.”

“Have you attempted suicide?” I asked.

“I have.”

“What happened afterwards?”

“Well, I obviously failed. I was taken to the hospital because I had taken a bunch of pills. Dr. Madson treated me and then sent me to the psychiatric hospital for a week. After that, I started going to the Madsons’ group.”

“Are you a Christian?”

“Yeah, but I wasn’t when I first started going to the group. A couple weeks after I started going, Dr. Madson asked to speak to me afterwards. He asked me about my relationship with God. He then told me how and why I needed to give God my life. I did some thinking and finally realized that God is bigger than my problems. He has plans for me and it is not my right to decide when my life is over. I was baptized a couple weeks later.”

“Is everyone in the group a Christian?”

“They are now but I don’t think anyone was when they first started coming.”

“Why did you start going to the group if you weren’t a Christian?”

“Why did you come? I’m guessing you aren’t a Christian since you are asking all these questions.”

“No, I guess I came because my mom made me. She thought it would be good for me to meet people like me.”

“I also wanted to meet people who understood what I was going through. Some people think that our group is wrong because they feel a person will never get better hanging out with other depressed people. No one understands our problems better. In fact, the people in the group are my best friends.”

Maybe once I got to know the girls better, they would become some of my best friends too. I already really liked Annie.

 

Chapter 10

 

“Do you have some time that we can talk, Libby?” Dr. Madson asked at the end of our next meeting.

If Annie hadn’t told me that Dr. Madson had talked to her about a relationship with God, I would be worried that this was about my health.

“Sure,” I said as the rest of the girls headed out of the church, chattering.

“You seem to be enjoying the meetings,” Dr. Madson said.

“I haven’t been so close to my friends since elementary school. I like having friends that understand what I am going through.”

“I’m glad to see you building relationships. I am also glad to hear that you hung out with Annie.”

“We had a lot of fun.”

“Have you ever thought about having a relationship with God?”

“My family has never been big on religion. Everyone here seems to care more. Annie told me all the girls became Christians once they started coming here.”

“I’m going to let you in on something: All of the girls here have attempted suicide before they came here.”

“What’s that got to do with having a relationship with God?”

“Every one of the girls is now thankful that they failed.”

“But I thought Candy had thoughts of suicide not too long ago.”

“None of the girls had given their lives to God before they came here. If they had succeeded with their attempt, where do you think they would have gone?”

“Does God not approve of suicide?” I asked.

“The size of the sin does not matter. What matters is whether you have decided to live your life for God. You must accept the forgiveness that God gave us for our sins through the death of His Son, Jesus.”

“It seems so easy.”

“It is. So many people don’t realize how vital this decision is.”

“You know, maybe it is a good thing I got depression. If it wasn’t for it, I never would have realized that I had a need for God.”

“A lot of the other girls have said the same thing.”

“Have any of the others besides Candy wanted to attempt suicide after they became Christians?”

“I am not saying that the Christian life is going to be better than what you are experiencing now. You should ask the girls what their lives are like. Yes, some of them have wished that they were dead. They know that God has plans for them though. They felt like it wasn’t their decision to decide when they die. Like Candy, those girls called the Suicide Hotline and ended up in the psychiatric hospital for a few days.”

“What plans can God have for a person who suffers from depression?”

“I don’t imagine you have read many books by Chloe Cannon because she is a Christian author. She also suffers from depression. A lot of her characters suffer from a mental illness. Chloe says she writes about mental illnesses because she can truly understand what it is like and put those feelings and emotions in her characters. She uses her characters to help readers understand the mental illness as well as how to become a Christian.”

“But I’m not a writer.”

“God can use you in a variety of ways. Maybe someday you will start your own depression support group.”

“How did you and your wife get involved?”

“We lost a daughter to depression.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Emma and I wanted to find a way to help teenagers suffering from depression.”

“But you are both doctors,” I protested. “You diagnose depression and your wife helps people talk about their problems.”

“We wanted to do more. We also wanted to bring God into it.”

“You have given me a lot to think about, Dr. Madson. I will thank God for bringing you into my life though.”

“I’ll be praying that you will bring God into your life. This is a decision you don’t want to wait too long for.”

 

Chapter 11

 

It had been a rough morning so by lunchtime, I was anxious for some time to spend with my math book.

“Nerd!” Sage said. “You know, I heard Zac would like you if you would straighten your hair, wear contacts, and wear better clothes.”

I blinked back threatening tears. I didn’t even like Zac. I found him annoying. I looked around the cafeteria so Sage wouldn’t notice the tears. That’s when I saw Annie, sitting by herself.

I didn’t even know Annie went to this school. Somehow we had never mentioned our school.

“I will see you later,” I said as I grabbed my math book and tray and headed towards Annie.

Annie smiled when I sat down. “How’s it going?”

“Well, life has been better.”

“Why did you leave your friends?”

“Sage was calling me a nerd again. I figured I really didn’t need to put up with her. That’s when I saw you. I didn’t know you went to this school.”

“I’m pretty much ignored.”

“Why didn’t you tell me you and I go to the same school?”

“I figured you knew. I thought you didn’t want to be seen with me.”

“Why wouldn’t I want to be seen with you? I know we just met but I think you are more of a friend than the girls over there.”

“Thanks, Libby. I feel the same way about you.”

“How come you are ignored? I didn’t think anyone knew you were depressed.”

“In case you haven’t realized this, a person with depression feels withdrawn. I pushed away all my friends. They eventually got tired of me not wanting to hang out. I’m also not the most sociable person to begin with so I’m easy to ignore.”

“I feel the same way. Why do you think I always do homework at lunch?”

“School can be torture for a person who experiences depression or is not very social. There really is no definition for normal but for some reason, we are just far out there. God just made us special.”

“Special is right,” I said sarcastically.

“Are you mad at God?” Annie asked with concern.

“I guess it is hard to be mad at God when I hardly know Him. Dr. Madson really wants me to give my life to God before it is too late.”

“It very well could have been too late for me. I tried to kill myself by jumping off a bridge. Once I became a Christian, my life really changed. I look at life differently. Sure, I am still depressed, but I am no longer a danger to myself, apart from occasional cutting. I know when I die, I am going to Heaven, where I will no longer be depressed. Heaven is better than anything on Earth.”

“Better than chocolate or roller coasters or getting an A in English or winning the lottery?”

“Way better. And the thing is, we can only imagine what Heaven is really like.”

“Then why do we care so much about our lives on Earth if this is only our temporary home?” 

“And have you cared so much about Earth since you became depressed? Did chocolate or roller coasters make you happy?”

“I guess not. Nothing made me happy.”

“We were put on this Earth for a reason, Libby. We were put on this Earth to give glory to God and to make disciples. No one said the journey was going to be easy, especially since we were not dealt a pleasant hand. In the end though, we will be rewarded with an eternity in Heaven. I want you to come with me, Libby.”

If I thought life was pretty bad on Earth, I didn’t want to think about what the afterlife would be if I didn’t go to Heaven. Besides, even though God gave me depression, He also gave me life in two ways: Here on Earth and forgiveness so that I could live forever with Him in Heaven. If God sent His Son to die for my sins, what kind of person would I be not to accept just a generous gift?

“How does one become an official Christian?” I asked excitedly.

“Give God your all!” Annie said excitedly. “Let’s pray!”

Annie grabbed my hand and bowed her head. Even though we were in the cafeteria, I didn’t care who could see. I had just made an important decision.

“Lord,” I prayed, “I thank You for giving me forgiveness for my sins through the death of Your Son. I thank You for Annie and Dr. Madson and all the girls in the group for bringing me to You. Lord, I want to be Yours. I know You have plans for me and I want to live according to those plans. Lord, thanks. Amen.”

I felt like a totally different person! I was so excited that I hugged Annie.

“Do you know anything about baptism?” Annie asked as the bell rang.

“Yeah, I was baptized as a baby.”

“You should really talk to Dr. Madson about it. Why don’t you Facebook him tonight and see if he can meet you to talk.”

“Ok,” I replied. I could do that in study hall from my phone.

 

Chapter 12

 

Dr. Madson messaged me back and said to meet him at his office after school.

Once I arrived at the clinic, I waited in the waiting room until a nurse called my name. Rather than being taken to an exam room though, I was taken to an actual office. Dr. Madson was waiting behind his desk.

“Have a seat, Libby,” he said when I entered.

“Are you sure you have time for this? You aren’t skipping patients to see me?”

“I am actually done for the day so we can take all the time we need. First, I want to congratulate you on giving your life to God.”

“Thanks.”

“So are you ready to make the final decision of being baptized?”

“That’s what I don’t understand. See, I was baptized as a baby. Annie said I still need to talk to you. Why?”

“Libby, do you know the story of Jesus’ baptism?”

I had gone to Sunday school a few times when I was a kid.

“Yeah. Jesus goes to the river, gets dunked, and then God speaks.”

“Do you know how old Jesus was when he was baptized?”

“Wasn’t he an adult?”

“He was. In fact, in the book of Acts, no baby is baptized.”

“Why? I thought a lot of babies are baptized.”

“Could your parents make the decision for you to give your life to God?”

“Nobody could make that decision for me. Otherwise I think the entire group of girls would have made the decision for me.”

“So if your parents can’t decide when you give your life to God, how can they decide when you should have your sins washed away? You weren’t able to accept Jesus’ forgiveness as a baby.”

“Why don’t more people know about this?”

“It’s all in how a person interprets the Bible. Some churches that baptize babies have them come back several years later to go through confirmation. During confirmation, a person is supposed to affirm the decision their parents made for them. Do you think all kids are ready to make that decision at the time they go through confirmation?”

“I’m guessing not. And what about me? I didn’t even go to confirmation.”

“So is baptism something you want to do?”

“Oh, yes. How will it be done?”

“Well, it can be done anytime, anywhere. It doesn’t have to be done at church. It doesn’t e


Submitted: November 10, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Kimberly Adams. All rights reserved.

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