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I grew up feeling like I was an outcast, ugly, friendless, no-good person—at least, that is how I felt at school. At home I just felt invisible because my parents didn't know what was going on at school.

From elementary school until I graduated from high school, I was subjected daily to taunting and teasing from my peers. I was called ugly and stinky. Kids said I had cooties and wouldn’t play with me. I was pushed around in the hallway. A group of boys ganged up on me and shoved me in a closet. Another time I was locked in my locker. These are just a few of the things that happened so often they broke me.

I believed the lie that I was not deserving of physical and emotional safety. I believed I was nothing.

The trauma of bullying affected my physical and mental health. Daily in high school, I had stomachaches, I couldn’t concentrate on my school work, and I started to suffer from suicidal ideation.

When I left school, the bullying stopped, but the effects did not.

I continued to suffer deep shame about what had happened. I felt broken and unlovable. Even when people accepted me, I doubted their sincerity.

I cried out to the Lord over and over again to heal me. My prayers seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Looking back, I now realize that God did hear those cries; the healing was just slower than I wanted. Slowly, I have learned to trust people. I’ve seen several counselors who have helped me.

I finally came to a place in my journey where I could hear the affirmation the Lord has been saying to me since I started crying out to him.

I trusted my pastor enough to share with him about the bullying I endured growing up. After I shared, he led me in a healing exercise where he had me imagine I was in a safe place and Jesus was with me. As Jesus was hugging me on my bed, he said to me, “You are loved; you are safe; you are accepted.”

This was about two months ago, and still Jesus’ words resonate with me. They are becoming my lifeblood. Every time I have a negative thought, I try to bring my mind back to those words: “You are loved; you are safe; you are accepted.”

The Lord heard my cry and, in his perfect timing, he answered me. And as time goes on he will continue to heal me until I meet him face to face and all my sorrows will be gone.

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