Jesus: The Monster Under My Bed (a condensed version of my testimony )

Jesus was the monster hiding under my bed. For many years I feared the dark and the unknown voice that whispered ” stay ” whenever I dared tiptoe out of my bedroom. I would lay awake until midnight, too energized to go to sleep. As a child when I awoke, that voice would call out to me again ” stay “.
For years I was terrified of that voice, not brave enough to venture out of my room, scared if I moved an inch a shadowy figure would reveal itself. I realize now that voice had been right. When I did brave the dark, it was to my dad’s hand shoved down my moms throat as she tried to commit suicide, I awoke to my family screaming at the top of their lungs while new holes were punched through our walls, and to the sounds of my siblings crying out. Mostly I awoke from nightmares only to be denied the comfort of a loving embrace when I curled into my parents’ sides. Had I listened to the monster under my bed I would have never found the real monsters lurking beyond my room.
During my junior year, I had forgotten about the monsters. It had been so long since I had heard that whisper,”Stay”. I accepted the existence of the evil things that plagued my life, never once thought about religion.  Why would a loving God let me live in such a toxic environment ,and why would he take 16 years to show himself? I never got the answer to those questions, but it stopped mattering. Nothing mattered to me then. It is fair to say that I was not the best of teenagers and found myself not only a rebellious teen, but a regretful one. I regretted every mistake, from letting sexual harassment slide, to drugging myself daily just to feel something. I didn’t realize it then, but every mistake was driving me into deeper depression. Even today, I still make mistakes, but now I know better. I know that life does not have to be lived this way. I was angry with the world and the prospect of there even being a God because of the situation that I grew up in and the choices I found myself being forced to make; I was bitter.
But God found me.  I never could have predicted that I would be a Christian coming from a secular family, but that was not in God’s plan for me.  In the past eight months, my selfish heart has been softened into a compassionate and loving soul, and my faith is strong.
It was not until my AP English Literature teacher prompted us to do Bible projects that I even held an interest in Christianity . While I started out completely uninterested in the project, I found myself going to my teacher to ask about more than just Jonah, my assigned book. Every time I asked him a question I was scared. Until one day I stopped being scared to ask about original sin or to email about Christian beliefs. I began to consider the possibility that I was like him, and that I shared this same faith. For the first time in my life, I was doing something for me. One of the most meaningful moments of my high school experience came from me asking how to navigate the books of the Bible. Not only was I given links to online versions that would be easier to work through, He gave me a Bible. I vividly remember how my sweaty hands shook as I asked ,” Are you sure ? Is this for me ?” before taking the Bible from his hands.
I am convinced that it was in that moment that my life changed forever. This was the moment I realized the monster under my bed was never truly a monster at all. It was God protecting me from the things I was better off not knowing. Had I not been scared of the voice that said ,”Stay”, I would have been victim to my parent’s abuse much earlier in life. It was not a monster that whispered stay, It was God that had always been whispering ” Be still ,because I am “.