Unlike my hopeful predictions in the journal entry, soon after that brief October visit her family chose another church to attend. We didn't keep in touch.
The next several years of my life were full. We joined a homeschool group, and I joined the church youth group. I started horseback riding at a local Christian camp, and in the summer was on the city's swim team. In my country-girl life I'd never dreamed of having so many friends, having so much to do, or of being so popular.
The more accepted I was the more I conformed to expectations of my age. I fought with my younger brothers, got mad at my parents, argued, debated, and rebelled just as far as I could without getting in trouble. I could walk the line between "safe" and "you've gone to far" as though I'd had special training for it. Of course, there were times that I didn't care enough to walk the line and was unrepentantly rebellious, but even those times I kept in moderation. Just enough to drive my parents crazy at the time, but not enough for them to remember a few weeks later.
As cheerful and vivacious as I seemed to my peers, on the inside I had a deepening confusion. There was nothing in life I wanted that I didn't have (except a boyfriend!), and yet I wasn't happy and couldn't figure out why.
A dear friend of mine saw the problem long before I did, and one afternoon asked, "So, how is your Bible Study going these days?"
"Well..." I coughed. I was, if nothing else, honest, but I didn't want to admit to him that I couldn't remember the last time I'd voluntarily cracked my Bible open. "Uhm, it's been a little while. I've been forgetting about it the, uh, last few days."
"You know that's important."
"Yeah... I know. Thanks." I knew he was only saying something because he cared, but the whole conversation was awkward. What was worse, he caught on to the fact that I was trying to dodge the question, and kept bugging me about my quiet time. I finally began to do a semi-daily quiet time just to shut him up.
A funny thing about reading the Bible is that you can't read it honestly and not walk away changed. The change didn't happen overnight. It was very gradual, and very painful. God was preforming a delicate and precise operation of open heart surgery on me. There were times I thought the mental and spiritual strain was more than I could handle. But by the time I graduated highschool in 2004 I was a completely different person. God had taken the rebellious lump of clay that was me and started fashioning it into a woman after God's own heart.
This painful refashioning wasn't a moment too soon, because mere weeks after my highschool graduation I was to become friends with a certain young man that would become very dear to me in the years to come...