The Outcast

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

When Vanessa's Bible study goes to the library to tell random people about Jesus, she had no idea the affect she would have on the girl she talked to for less than a minute. And to think that Vanessa's friends had told her to stay away from the girl.

Chapter 1

 

“Would anyone like to pray?” Marissa asked at the end of Bible study.

“I will,” I volunteered.

“Go ahead, Vanessa.”

I bowed my head and folded my hand. “Lord, I thank You for this great group of girls and the opportunity we have to get together every week for fellowship and to study Your Word. I pray that You will be with them throughout the week and to help them live their lives for You. Amen.”

“Amen,” the rest of the girls chorused.

“So I have an idea for next week,” Bristol said.

“Let’s hear it,” I said.

“Well, we have been talking a lot lately about Matthew 28:19: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ We have also been talking a lot about telling others about Jesus so that they can be saved. But all we are doing right now is talking. Don’t you think it is about time to put our faith into action? After all, we are not going to be saving any more souls by hanging out in a dorm room every week.”

“That is true,” I agreed as several other girls chimed in.

“So what do you suggest?” Cheyenne asked.

“How about going to the library next week and talking to at least one person about Jesus?”

“That sounds like a good idea!” Chrystal said. “We can always invite them to Bible study too.”

“Do you have room for eight additional people in this room, Marissa?” Katelyn asked with a laugh. Katelyn did have a point. Marissa’s dorm room was awfully small.

“We can always move to the lounge,” Marissa suggested. “We will not turn away anyone that is interested in God’s Word.”

I was pretty excited for next week. I had been praying for God to allow me to put my faith in action and it looked like the time had finally come.

“Let’s meet at the couches in the library next week to pray before we head out to tell people about Jesus,” Cheyenne suggested.

“See you later then,” Bristol said as everyone began gathering up their Bibles and heading out to do homework.

“Thanks, Lord!” I said as I walked to my own dorm room. I was excited for this next opportunity to share my faith.

 

Chapter 2

 

I looked around the library in excitement. There were lots of people around either studying or hanging out with friends. By the end of the night, several of them will have been introduced to Jesus. Several of them might even be ready to give their lives to Him!

Over in the corner, nearly out of sight from everyone in the library but in perfect view of all the girls in my Bible study, sat a girl all by herself at a table. In front of her was a large stack of books but instead of looking down, she stared straight in front of her, looking as if in a daze.

I had seen the girl on campus on several occasions. She always seemed to be alone. I wondered how many of my friends would try to talk to her.

“Well, are you ready?” Marissa asked, bringing my thoughts back to Bible study. “Let’s pray before we begin our talk.”

We all bowed our heads, unashamed that we were praying in the library.

“Lord,” Marissa prayed, “I ask that You be with us this evening as we go out to tell the people about You. Lead us to the right people and give us the right words to say. Amen.”

“Amen,” we repeated.

“Let’s do this,” Bristol said as she put her hand in the middle.

We all laughed and put our hands on top of hers.

“Jesus on three,” Bristol said. “One, two, three!”

“Jesus!” we said, loud enough that people around us stared.

Let them stare, I thought. Let them ask questions.

One by one, my friends began scurrying off, finding people to talk to. I looked around. Nobody had approached the girl. Maybe it was up to me.

“Hi, my name is Vanessa,” I said once I had approached the girl’s table. “Mind if I join you?”

The girl appeared startled. She shook her head so I sat down.

“What is your name?” I asked, surprised that she had yet to tell me.

“Addy,” she mumbled without looking at me.

Addy was definitely not making this easy.

“What are you studying?” I asked.

Addy showed me a counseling textbook.

“Cool,” I said. “My friend, Cheyenne, is a counseling major. She wants to be a Christian counselor. She wants to help people through their problems using God’s Word.”

Addy did not say anything. I kind of doubted she was even listening.

“Did you know that Jesus died for all of our sins and whoever accepts this forgiveness will one day spend eternity in Heaven?”

Addy shook her head. I was feeling a little encouraged that she was at least hearing me.

“I can pray with you right now if you are interested,” I said. “You are also welcome to join us at Bible study to learn more.”

“Excuse me,” Addy said, jumping up and running to the nearest restroom.

What was going on? Was she sick?

I followed her into the restroom. I could hear someone crying softly in one of the stalls.

“Addy, are you all right?” I called.

“Just fine,” she said.

Since Addy appeared to not be sick, I left the restroom and found Katelyn.

“So how did you do?” she asked.

“I struck out,” I admitted. I was not ready to tell her more. I was still having trouble figuring out Addy’s actions.

Chapter 3

 

“So how did last night go for you, Vanessa?” Marissa asked as I joined my friends for dinner at our usual table the next night.

“I am not sure,” I said. “I had the strangest experience and I am still trying to figure it out. I am not going to give up on this girl though. I am going to try to talk to her next time I see her.”

I had spoken too soon. All of a sudden, Addy walked by and took a seat at an empty table. I knew what I had to do though. God had laid Addy on my heart.

“There she is,” I said as I gestured at her table. “I am going to go sit with her.”

“Vanessa, you can’t,” Cheyenne said. “That girl has problems. She is in several of my classes.”

“What is wrong with her?” I asked curiously.

“She has depression and it is rumored that she cuts.”

I was shocked that Cheyenne would be so unaccepting of Addy. After all, she was a counseling major. But at the same time, I was kind of bothered by Addy’s problems. Who in their right mind would cut themselves? What is fun about pain?

Still, I felt God telling me to go. And no matter how much I wanted to, I could not ignore God.

“I am going,” I said as I took my plate and headed over to Addy.

“Hi, Addy,” I said. “Remember me? I am Vanessa. Do you mind if I join you?”

Again, Addy seemed startled but she let me join her.

“I never got to finish telling you about Jesus last night,” I continued.

“Don’t bother,” Addy said. “God doesn’t want someone as messed up as me.”

“Of course He does. That is why He sent His Son Jesus to die for all sins. Whoever accepts this forgiveness will one day spend eternity in Heaven.”

“Look around, Vanessa,” Addy said bitterly. “As you have probably noticed, nobody wants to be anywhere near me. God clearly does not want me. Now, I would appreciate if you would quit treating me as a charity case and leave me alone!” Addy stood up and took her nearly full plate to the counter and walked out of the cafeteria.

I sat at the table feeling stunned. What had just happened? I thought Addy would be relieved that someone was being friendly to her. But maybe I had offended her with talk of religion. Of course, maybe it had something to do with the depression Cheyenne had talked about. I really did not know that much about it. Maybe I should do some research. I was still not ready to give up on Addy.

 

Chapter 4

 

As soon as I got back to my dorm room, I chose to research depression rather than do my homework.

I learned that depression is a mental illness categorized by extreme sadness but that there are actually several other symptoms such as loss of interest in ordinary activities, changes in sleeping and eating, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide. Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. A person cannot get over depression with a positive attitude. It is an illness like diabetes and cancer and needs treatment.

Next, I researched cutting. I could not imagine taking a blade to my wrist. I am a wimp when it comes to pain. I did want to understand Addy a little better though.

Apparently, cutting is done as a response. A person suffering from depression might cut in order to feel something other than the numbness depression has left them with. Or, they might cut to put their intense feelings into something they understand. And sometimes, a person cuts in order to feel in control of their life. Cutting is, in fact, addictive and can be very difficult to stop.

After reading all that, I felt like I understood Addy a little better. Of course, I could never truly understand her. I barely knew her. I also had never been depressed and I am definitely not a cutter so it would not be fair to say that I knew what she was going through. I was still eager to help her know Jesus though.

“Lord,” I prayed, “help me to reach out to Addy. I bet she is going through a lot and could probably use a lot of help. Lord, please use me to help her. At the very least, please give me the opportunity to tell her about You. Amen.”

 

Chapter 5

 

The next time I saw Addy, she was sitting on the ledge outside the library, staring into space. I had time before my next class so I went and sat beside her.

“You just do not give up, do you?” she complained.

I feigned innocence. “What are you talking about? I am just relaxing before my next class.”

“Don’t lie to me,” she said. “What is going on?”

“I care too much about your soul,” I admitted. “So why not let me help you? I mean, why have you run away from me the last two times?”

“You wouldn’t understand,” she said bitterly.

“Why not try me?” I challenged her.

“Nobody else really wants to get to know me. You probably have noticed that I do not have any friends. Why do you care?”

“That is just it,” I said gently. “Everyone needs a friend.”

“Are you sure you won’t run away the second you truly get to know me; just like the others who felt sorry for me did? I do not need my heart hurt again.”

“Look, God has laid you on my heart. I cannot disobey God. Why not let me be a friend?”

I could tell that Addy did not believe that I would stay but I would prove her wrong.

“Please, come to my Bible study,” I begged. “It is a lot of fun and you will have the chance to meet a lot of other girls.”

Addy looked like she was having trouble deciding. I guess if I was her, I might have felt the same way. After all, she had apparently been rejected too many times.

“No promises,” she said at last.

I would take that as a small victory. At least she did not try to run away.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6

 

As I sat in Marissa’s room waiting for Bible study to start, I wondered if Addy would show up. I only prayed she would.

“I heard Bristol is bringing a girl she met at the library last week,” Marissa said.

“I invited Addy,” I replied.

“Why?” Katelyn asked.

“Because I have yet to have a deep conversation with her about Jesus,” I said. “Addy needs Jesus just as much as the rest of us.”

“Yeah, but she is weird,” Chrystal said. “She cuts.”

“Yeah, and do you know why people cut?” I asked.

“Because they like the pain?” Chrystal guessed. “How would you know? Are you a cutter?”

“No, but once I heard that Addy had depression, I decided to do some research. Depression is not her fault. It is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. She can do nothing about it.”

“She has control over the cutting though,” Katelyn said.

“Yeah, but you should know that cutting is an impulsive behavior done to give the individual control or feeling or understanding.”

I was angry that my friends who were Christians were so unaccepting of Addy. At the very least, Cheyenne should be understanding because she is a counseling major. But before I could say another word, there was a quiet knock on the door.

“Come in,” Marissa said.

The door opened slowly to reveal Addy in the doorway.

“I am so glad you came!” I exclaimed.

Addy flashed a weak smile and then joined me on the floor. Nobody said anything to her so I made the introductions.

“Thanks for having me,” she said when I finished.

There was awkward silence following her statement as everyone sat and stared at Addy. I knew they were hoping to see the supposed cuts that were being hidden by her sweatshirt.

After a couple minutes, everyone had arrived as well as several new guests. Rather than overwhelm the new girls by continuing our reading of the Bible, Marissa decided we should just share our testimonies so that the guests could get an idea of how Jesus came into our lives.

I was relieved that the awkward silence was over. Addy would not come back if my friends were going to be like that.

My story, like many of the other girls’, started with a Christian family and going to church until one day we decided to have a relationship with Jesus.

The story that surprised me the most though was Liza’s.

“I am a former drug user and alcoholic,” she began. Everyone’s mouths fell open in shock. “In high school, I got involved with the wrong crowd. I ended up in the hospital several times for my problems but I always went right back to what I was doing. Then one day, a person I thought was a drug dealer turned out to be a cop. I was arrested and sent to jail. Once there, someone told me about Jesus. I realized that I had had too many close calls. If I had died, I would not be in Heaven right now.”

Nobody said anything for quite awhile. Finally, Addy spoke.

“Wow!” she said. “You really put life in perspective. How have you stayed away from your addictions?”

“I pray every time I want to go back,” Liza said. “Plus, I remind myself of how bad my life really was before I had Jesus.”

“You really are an inspiration to all of us,” Chrystal said. “I know all sins are equal in God’s eyes, but sometimes we like to think that drugs and alcoholism are worse sins since they are in the eyes of the law.”

I thought that statement was pretty bold, especially since she had just put down Addy for her depression and cutting. I kept my mouth shut though.

“Shall we pray?” Cheyenne asked.

Bristol decided to lead the prayer. “Lord, I thank You for this great group of girls. I thank You for Your presence in their life stories and pray that You will continue to make Your mark. Amen.”

“So will you come back next week?” I asked Addy as we all started leaving.

This time, Addy did not hesitate. “Of course,” she said with another weak smile.

I think it was good for her to hear Liza’s testimony. Through her testimony, Addy will see that God wants everyone, not just kids from Christian families.

 

Chapter 7

 

The next day in the cafeteria, I saw Addy and waved her over to our table. My friends were not pleased but I did not care.

“How is it going, Addy?” I asked once she had sat down.

“Fine,” she said.

All of my friends sat in silence and just stared.

“So, Addy,” I said, trying to ease the tension, “what do you like to do for fun?”

“I like to write,” she said shyly.

“Cool,” I said. “Bristol likes to write too.”

Bristol glared at me and then nodded.

“Really?” Addy asked. “What do you write?”

“I am a Christian author,” Bristol replied. “I think of my writing as a gift from God that should be used for Him. I use my writing to tell people about God. What do you write?”

Addy’s face flushed. “I write medical fiction,” she said at last.

“Do you use any online publishing site?” I asked since I knew Bristol occasionally used a website to share her writing.

“Yes, I use “Writer’s Block,” Addy answered.

“That is the same site as Bristol!” I said. “You should add each other so you can read each other’s writing.”

Bristol glared at me again while Addy slowly pulled her computer from her backpack to find Bristol.

“I guess I will read your writing tonight,” Addy told Bristol.

“Me too,” Bristol replied.

Neither of them looked very happy.

 

Chapter 8

 

“You need to forget about Addy, Vanessa!” Bristol said angrily as she came into my room later that evening.

“You guys need to drop your prejudices against Addy and act like Christians!” I exclaimed. “Her problems are not her fault.”

“I just read some of her writing, Vanessa. Some of it is very disturbing. She writes about suicide.”

“Suicide?” I repeated. That was kind of disturbing. I definitely was not expecting that. I mean, I knew that suicide often happened from people who had depression but since it was such an unfriendly word, I had pushed it to the back of my mind.

“You should really drop Addy before it is too late,” Bristol said. “Can you imagine getting close to her and then having her kill herself? You will blame yourself for the rest of your life.”

“But how would you feel if you were Addy and then suddenly the single person who was nice to you has suddenly left?” I put emphasis on the word because none of my friends were being nice to her. “It might be enough to push Addy over the edge and take her own life.”

“Whatever, Vanessa. You are just asking for problems by becoming friends with this girl. And don’t forget, she cuts. There is a suicide warning right there. It is only a matter of time.”

“So in your eyes, I should drop her because her soul is worthless? Because if Addy were to commit suicide, who knows where she would be spending eternity.”

“She is your problem, Vanessa!” Bristol said before stomping out of the room.

I decided I did not know enough about Addy to make any decisions. I needed to do some more research about suicide just in case Bristol was right and Addy was contemplating suicide. Maybe I could stop her.

I learned that not everyone who is depressed is going to commit suicide. Otherwise, about a quarter of the world’s population would be gone. Suicidal thoughts are a serious medical problem though and need to be treated as such.

There are several warning signs for suicide such as giving away personal possessions and saying goodbye to loved ones but cutting is not usually one of them. People cut because they want to do something about their problems instead of killing themselves.

After reading all that, I was even more determined to be friends with Addy. I did not think she was suicidal but I would just watch her for warning signs.

 

Chapter 9

 

The next time I saw Addy was at Bible study.

“How is it going?” I asked once she had sat down on the floor.

“Great!” she said. I could tell she actually meant it, unlike the weak smiles I had gotten before. “How about you?”

“Pretty good,” I answered.

“So, Bristol,” Addy continued, “I read some of your writing. You have quite a gift. I could not stop reading.”

“What was your favorite?” Bristol asked.

“I liked the book about the girl that was in a car accident and was paralyzed that ended up realizing that if she had died, she would not be in Heaven. It really got me thinking.”

“Do you have a relationship with the Lord?” Cheyenne asked.

“I guess my parents have never been one for religion,” she admitted. “And I have had trouble understanding why God would allow bad things to happen to good people. I thought God loved us all very much.”

“He does,” Marissa said. “But sometimes good can come through those bad events. Take that book of Bristol’s for example. The character saw a need for God through the accident.”

“Plus, He can use those events to help us strengthen our faith and to tell others about Him,” I continued, glad that my friends were having a conversation about faith with Addy instead of ignoring her.

“God has a plan for every one of us,” Katelyn said. “But sometimes, the plan does not make sense to us. God knows what He is doing though. That is why He is God.”

“Maybe we should read about Ester,” Marissa suggested. “God had huge plans for Ester.”

So that is exactly what we did. We read about Ester, an ordinary girl who was made queen so that God could save her people through her.

“I liked that story,” Addy said when we had finished. “Do you think God has plans for me?”

“Of course He does,” Bristol said. “God has plans for me to use my writing for Him. God has plans for Cheyenne to be a Christian counselor.”

“What are God’s plans for me though?” she asked.

“Pray,” I encouraged her. “Ask God to reveal His plans for you.”

We all bowed our heads as Marissa decided to pray for her.

“Lord, we pray for Addy and ask that You would reveal Your plans for her. Help her to give her life to You so that she can fulfill Your plans. Amen.”

“Thank you, guys,” Addy said as she stood up to leave. “I hope the prayer will be answered soon.”

 

Chapter 10

 

“I am having a game night on Friday,” Bristol said when I sat down for lunch. “Do you want to come?”

“As long as I can invite Addy,” I replied.

“Way ahead of you.”

“I thought you did not like Addy?” I mean, I was glad that Bristol had invited her but she had been the one to say I needed to drop Addy as a friend.

Bristol shrugged. “I am still worried that something might happen and then you will blame yourself. But I thought about what you said and how abandoning Addy might cause more problems.”

“Good,” I said. I only hoped the rest of my friends would come around soon.

“Besides, last time at Bible study, Addy seemed almost normal. I never would have thought her to be depressed if I did not know it already.”

“Maybe she is getting better,” I suggested.

“Maybe you are the reason why,” Bristol said.

I thought back to one of the first few conversations I had had with Addy. She had said that lots of people had tried to feel sorry for her but ran away once they got to know her. Maybe I was her first real friend. I know if I was feeling depressed, having a friend would make me feel better.

God had probably brought Addy into my life for a reason. I could not wait to see what He had planned for us next!

 

Chapter 11

 

The weather turned nice on the day Marissa was to have her game night so I changed into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. I was not the only one. All the other girls were dressed like it was summer. The only exception was Addy. Addy was wearing a pair of shorts as well as a sweatshirt. I think she was trying to hide her cuts.

“Aren’t you hot?” I asked incredulously. “I am warm and I am wearing shorts and a t-shirt.”

“I am fine,” she replied. I thought she did seem a little flushed in the face but I wasn’t going to argue.

The first game we played was Apples to Apples, a hilarious game involving matching nouns to an adjective.

From very early into the game, it became clear that Addy was winning. She was having a great time and kept laughing along with the rest of us. It was hard to believe that this girl was depressed.

The next adjective was selfish with Addy as the next judge and I was having trouble finding a noun in the cards in my hand. I finally threw in some card that I really did not know what it was and waited for the other girls to throw their cards in. As soon as everyone was finished, Addy picked up all the cards and looked at each one of them. All of a sudden, she burst into uncontrollable laughter.

“What is so funny?” Marissa asked.

Addy was gasping for breath as she continued laughing.

“What?” I begged.

“I choose wood chipper,” she finally got out.

“Why would wood chippers be selfish?” Katelyn asked.

“Because they keep demanding more wood,” she replied with another round of laughter.

That got all of us laughing but after several minutes, we finally calmed down to play another round.

“I am so glad you came, Addy,” Cheyenne said.

“I am having a great time,” Addy answered.

“Did you really not have any friends before this?” Marissa asked.

I could not believe that she asked that! It was such a personal question. And Addy appeared to have come such a long way from the first time I met her.

Addy’s cheeks had turned redder than before. She looked down as she answered Marissa. “I guess I am not everyone’s cup of tea.”

“I am having trouble believing that,” Cheyenne said. “You are very funny.”

Addy shrugged. “Some people have trouble looking beyond life’s scars,” she said.

I was confused. Was Addy talking about literal or figurative scars?

“What do you mean?” Marissa asked.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Addy said.

There was an awkward silence. I knew nobody knew what to say to her.

I was afraid she was going to run out of the room like she did the first couple times but thankfully, she didn’t. Instead, she drew another adjective from the deck so we all followed her lead and continued the game.

After a couple more rounds, the awkwardness had disappeared. The fun continued as we played Life and then Charades. I kept looking at Addy, waiting for some sign of depression but I never did notice anything.

At long last, everyone was ready to call it a night.

“You will join us for brunch tomorrow, won’t you, Addy?” Cheyenne asked as everyone was getting ready to leave.

“I would like that,” Addy answered. “Thanks, Bristol, for a good night.”

On my way back to my room, I said a silent prayer, thanking God for Addy’s apparent happiness. I only prayed it would continued.

 

Chapter 12

 

Addy continued to go to Bible study and hang out with my friends. However, she had yet to admit that she wanted a personal relationship with Jesus. Even though she did not seem depressed and did not appear in any danger of committing suicide, I was still worried about her. I mean, death is inevitable. You never know when your time is up.

Addy arrived at Bible study a few minutes early. She greeted all of us but did not join in the rest of our conversations. She appeared very distracted, as if she had something on her mind.

“Is everything all right?” I whispered over to her.

“Just fine,” she whispered back. “I am just thinking.”

Lord, I prayed silently, please help Addy. She really needs You. Plus, I do not want her to be depressed again.

“Well, it is seven o’clock,” Marissa said. “Let’s begin.”

“Before we get started, there is something I want to say,” Addy said.

I wondered what Addy could possibly want to say that she could not have said when she arrived.

Addy took off her sweatshirt that we had all become accustomed to her wearing, even in warm weather. She was wearing a t-shirt underneath but that is not what surprised us. No, her bare arms were what surprised us. Because just like it was rumored, there were cuts all over her arms. None of the cuts looked recent but they still looked bad.

“You probably heard the rumors going around campus that I was very depressed and a cutter,” Addy began.

We all nodded, still too shocked to say anything.

“I had no friends until you came along,” Addy continued. “Occasionally, someone would try to feel sorry for me but once they got to know the depressed cutter, they would run away. You guys did not do that.”

“Actually, we did try,” Marissa admitted. “We tried to convince Vanessa that you were not a good person to be around. She thought that you needed God, just like anyone else though. She is the one that made you seem different.”

“In all the weeks you have been hanging out with us, you have not seemed depressed,” Katelyn commented.

“I got put on a new antidepressant that seems to be working. And I actually have not cut since the night that Vanessa talked to me in the library.”

Wow! I really had had an affect on her!

“Actually, your talk about God has made me look at life differently. I was very close to committing suicide before Vanessa talked to me. But after that night in the library, I wondered where I would be spending eternity if I did do it. And after reading Bristol’s books online, I learned that without Jesus in my heart, Heaven is out of the question.”

I was feeling very tense. I just knew that Addy had to be close to making a decision. I wished she would hurry up and say the words she was close to saying.

“I am ready to have Jesus in my life!” she said. “I was thinking about it when I first arrived. I realize that God has big plans. He can actually use me through my depression. I mean, I am a counseling major that understands mental illness in a very personal way. Think of the help I can give people!”

I could not help it. I hugged Addy and the rest of the girls quickly followed.

“Let’s pray!” I suggested.

Before anyone could say another word, Addy had bowed her head and was praying out loud.

“Lord, I thank You for this wonderful group of girls that led me to You. I thank You for bringing them into my life before it was too late. And now, I am ready to live my life for You. I am sorry for all the mistakes I made in the past as well as taking too long to bring You into my life. Thanks for sending Your Son Jesus to die for my sins though. Amen.”

“Amen,” we repeated.


Submitted: December 20, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Kimberly Adams. All rights reserved.

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