There is always hope in the midst of heartache. There is always light at the end of darkness.Ella Mcleister
Hi, I’m Ella and this is my story…
‘It was a Sunday night, I was lying in bed staring up at the ceiling desperately trying to fall asleep, but the dread of walking into school the next day made me feel physically sick. As I tossed and turned, and replayed the different scenarios over and over in my head of what the next day would bring.
“Would this ever end?” These kind of thoughts and questions consumed my mind. When you’re thirteen years old it’s hard to see past the heartache and into a better future. Monday morning awoke my sleep, the noise of the alarm aggressively filled my hearing, as I reached for the off switch. My stomach was already in knots, worried about what the day would bring.
The feeling of being left out, neglected by peers, hurt and targeted by a group of people stung and felt like a tangible ache on the heart. Made to feel unworthy, not good enough, stupid and alone was more than enough for my thirteen year old self.
Walking into school feeling so different from everyone else and utterly cut off from others was not easy. As I sat through my classes, sometimes shaking, as I prepared myself for the hurtful comments that they would so coldly make. I looked at the clock over and over again wishing for the day to pass, but time always seemed to stand still. As I got through the day, holding back the tears that so often welled up when no one else was looking. The happiness that filled my heart as the school bell rang for the end of the day. I had made it. Another day done, another day that I was closer to finishing school.’
I don’t know who’s reading this, and I don’t know if you can relate to these feelings. Maybe school is wonderful for you (and I really hope it is!) or maybe like me, school was the hardest place for you to be. Take comfort in the fact that you can, and you will come through this! I know it can sometimes be hard to believe or imagine, but you will, one day you’ll leave all of that behind.
I know that I only shared a tiny glimpse into my experience with bullying, and I get it! It’s tough, it’s horrible and really really painful sometimes. However be encouraged by my story, I’m now 22 years old, and I can tell you that I’m completely free from that fear that used to grip my heart. That season of my life is over, and I’m stronger, more empathetic, understanding and passionate about justice than I ever would have been, because hard times actually grow you.
I did not get through this time by myself. It was not me that became the ‘hero’ of my story. No, it’s all thanks to God that I’m no longer in that dark place. God never left me, not once. He was always with me through it all. I know who I am because of who God says I am. I will always, always be enough because I’m secure in God, so it doesn’t actually matter if people like me or not.
Don’t let people tell you who you are. You’re strong, and brave and significant, because you are made in the image of God. Their words and actions have no authority over you. So don’t let the hard times make you bitter, Instead choose to be loving and caring towards people even when that’s the hardest thing to do. Don’t stay silent, Speak up! Tell someone that you trust and someone that will give you good advice and can help you. There is always hope in the midst of heartache. There is always light at the end of darkness.
For me, those years were nothing short of hard. But now I am so passionate about helping people through this than I ever was before. Just maybe your hardest time, will flourish into your greatest help for someone else. Don’t give up. Someone might need to hear your story one day.
‘God is my refuge and strength, my ever present help in times of trouble. Therefore I will not fear…’
‘The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up.’
God has been so faithful to me. I know that He will be faithful to you as well, as you trust in Him, lean on Him, depend on Him, He will not let you down.
We hope that you loved reading Ella’s story and seeing how God has been working through her and in her life. Remember that your story has value and has so much power. Whatever your story is, tell it with confidence, knowing that the Creator of the universe designed it uniquely for you. Your story is so very important and so very special. It makes you who you are and has the power to change lives. Be proud of your journey and proud of your story.