A Letter To God

A Letter To God

"I have a long way to go, but I will never forget everything you have helped me overcome."
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Dear God,

We used to have a difficult relationship, but I’ve grown a lot closer to you in the last few years. There is a lot I want to say to you so I decided to write it all down. First, I want to thank you for saving me from the lowest point of my life, senior year. Thank you for pulling me out of that dark place, and putting me where I am now. I also want to apologize for the mistakes I have made, and the things I have taken for granted. I know I’m not perfect, but I don’t deserve all of the blessings you have given me. I want to grow even closer to you; I want to be the person you want me to be.

Three years ago I didn’t have much hope for myself. I was miserable, I was heartbroken, and I felt like a complete failure. I was sick of looking at myself in the mirror everyday. I would come home from school everyday and scream at myself. I would hit myself and cry for hours. I felt like I needed to go into a mental hospital because I couldn’t deal with the pain. My family was already going through a lot and I felt like I made it worse. Even trough all of the anger and pain I had, I prayed to you everyday. I prayed that you would save me, and that’s exactly what you did.

When I graduated, I was so excited for a fresh start in college. I loved college. I wasn’t homesick, I made friends, and I even went to Nashville with members of my class. Dorm life was rough, especially my first year, and I ended up living alone my second semester. My freshman year quickly took a turn for the worst. First, I fell for the wrong guy, and he broke my heart. I stopped talking to the friends I made earlier in the year. I stopped caring about my classes, and I kept myself shut in my dorm room. I was mad at you and myself. I felt like you pulled me out of the darkest part of my life, and put me right back in.

Freshman year ended, summer flew by, and I was a sophomore. This is when you really started to turn my life around. I was blessed with a great roommate who pushed me to get outside of my comfort zone, so I signed up for Sorority recruitment. Soon, I became a member of Pi Phi Epsilon and it has changed my life ever since. Instead of hiding in my room every weekend, I was out doing things with my sisters. I started going to worship services on campus, and making new friends. I realized that I was miserable in my major, and I need to find a new one. You blessed me with so much that year, and I cant thank you enough. You also showed me that a real relationship with you was the biggest blessing I could ever receive.

Now, I don’t recognize that girl from three years ago. For the first time in al long time I am truly happy. I have made so many friends, I like my classes and my major, and I am extremely grateful fro my sisters. I realize hat I have made so many mistakes, but they all got me to where I am today. I’m going to keep making mistakes and I know I will go through dark times again, but now I have seen what you have done for me. Now I have a real, unbreakable relationship with you, and I know that will get me through anything. Thank you for listening to me all those years, and thank you for continuing to listen. I have a long way to go, but I will never forget everything you have helped me overcome.

Cover Image Credit: freetextures.com

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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This One’s For Africa

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Read through to the end for an amazing Toto reference.

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It's now been a week since I stepped foot on the African continent for the first time in my life. I first visited Johannesburg, where my dad and I spent a day on an 'apartheid tour.'

This tour consisted of visiting Shanty Town, one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The living conditions were indeed different. They had to steal electricity through homemade wires connected to the telephone poles. They had only a few porta potties for ten families to share. They had several spickets to obtain fresh water from. There was no heating in the houses, which were made from pieces of painted aluminum.

Such inconvenient circumstances have come from years of oppression towards black people in South Africa. It was incredibly sad to know that these problems still exist and that apartheid only ended so recently.

On the other hand, the people showed very little anger. Despite their living situations, the people of Shanty Town were so kind and welcoming. Everyone we passed smiled and waved, often even saying hello or asking about our wellbeing.

It brought some serious warmth to our hearts to see their sense of community. Everyone was in it together, and no man was left behind. They created jobs and opportunities for one another. They supported each other.

The next part of the day included a tour of Nelson Mandela's old house. We then made a trip to the Apartheid Museum.

Overall, Johannesburg did not disappoint. The city contains a rich history that human beings as a whole can learn a lot from. Johannesburg is a melting pot that still contains a multitude of issues concerning racism and oppression of certain cultures.

After two days in Johannesburg, my family made our way to Madikwe game reserve, where we stayed at Jaci's Lodge.

The safari experience was absolutely incredible. Quite cold (it's winter in Africa right now), but amazing enough to make up for the shivering. We saw all my favorite animals: giraffes galore, elephants, zebras, impalas, lions, hyenas, wildebeests, rhinos, you name it. While my favorite animal will always be the giraffe, I don't think any sighting could beat when two different herds of elephants passed through a watering hole to fuel up on a drink.

Finally on June 1st, I flew to George to start my program with Africa Media in Mossel Bay. On Sunday, we went on an 'elephant walk.'

The safari was certainly cool, but that makes the elephant walk ice cold. We got to walk alongside two male elephants - one was 25, the other 18. They were so cute!! We got to stroke their skin, trunk, and tusks. They had their own little personalities and were so excited to receive treats (fruits and vegetables) at the end of the journey.

My heart couldn't be more full. Africa, you have become my favorite continent. And it sure is going to take a lot to drag me away from you.

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