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May 2016

TURNING PAIN INTO GAIN

Alecia Shine George age 15 from Chicago shares her testimony.

JESUS BEARS THE CROSS

Jesus knows all about suffering. Think about the weight of all our sins that He, an innocent man, carried to the Cross. He never did anything wrong. All He ever did was heal the sick, perform miracles and spread love. But He chose to bear the Cross so that you and I could enter into the everlasting bliss of heaven. Luke 24:7 says, “The Son of Man must be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”

BULLIED AND INSULTED

The pain and hurt that I went through is nothing compared to what Jesus suffered for me. For many years, I was bullied, picked on and insulted. The Bible says, “Rejoice when you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:13) At the time I didn’t know Christ personally, so I didn’t handle the situation very well. Instead of ignoring the bullies, I wanted to earn their friendship and be considered “popular.” So I tried to copy their lifestyle. Gradually, I abandoned Christ and drifted away from Him.

CRYING INSIDE

I went through weeks of heartbreak, thinking that I wasn’t loved. I began to act rebelliously, fight, and talk back to my parents and older brother. Proverbs 12:16 says, “Fools show their anger at once, but the prudent ignore an insult.” I would lock myself in my room, crying and complaining about my life. In public, when people saw me, they thought I was a happy and bright girl, but on the inside, I was just an unhappy mess. Jesus knew what I was going through, but I didn’t take any notice of Him.

RETREATS

I went on a retreat when I was in the 7th grade. There they talked about God’s love and it definitely touched me. But once I returned to school, the bullying and the insults became worse. St Paul said, “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) I went with my parents to many retreats where I would feel the power of the Holy Spirit for a while in my life but I always found myself in the same situation afterwards. When I got home I didn’t really practice my faith, so it gradually diminished.

SCHOOL OF EVANGELISATION

However, there was a special retreat called SOE (School of Evangelization) where Jesus touched me in a very powerful way. One night in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, we were praising and adoring God. Everyone around me was either in tears, speaking in tongues, or surrendering themselves totally to Christ. But nothing was happening to me. All I could keep saying was, “Hallelujah.” I didn’t understand why I wasn’t feeling anything. I was wondering about this when I suddenly realized that I didn’t truly believe and love God personally. The youth leaders around me were telling us to ask for Mother Mary’s intercession so I kept saying Mama, Mama. Before I knew it, I was in tears thinking of the unimaginable love of Jesus when He died on the cross for me.

I TOOK UP MY CROSS

I still experience insults and suffer bullying to this day. Sometimes at night when I am upset and in tears, I look at a picture of Jesus and I kiss His face. Then I rededicate myself to Him and offer to take up my cross. Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

MY SPECIAL GIFT

I believe that everyone is called to a special plan that God has already prepared for them and that my suffering is a special gift that Jesus has given to me. Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. But the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” St. Alphonsa described suffering as a way of purifying the soul. I advise you to take your suffering as a gift from God and allow it to strengthen your faith and help you to love Him more.

If you are being bullied in any way then please tell a responsible adult, whom you can trust.

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