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 “.

Required Reading and Its Relevance

Required reading is often seen as the end to creative thought. After all, what do a bunch of old white men have to say that is relevant to todays society? As it turns out, a lot. I would have never thought to pick up and read F451, The Great Gatsby, or The Handmaids Tale without taking an AP English literature class my junior year of high school. The most important tool a reader can have is diversity in their selection of books. I believe that it is best to know a little bit about a lot of things, instead of knowing everything under the sun about one topic. I never cease to be surprised by how often I can mention a Classic to someone and surprise them with its relevancy to the world today.

I would highly recommend anyone hoping to pursue teaching English to read this article. It reminded me of a truth about required reading that is far too easily forgotten.

The topic of required reading in high schools often comes up for criticism and intense debate. Why must students all read the same books? Why must they all read those books (those old, musty classics by dead white men?) Isn’t reading supposed to be about enjoyment? the critics ask. Shouldn’t we be simply encouraging students […]

via 5 Reasons I’m in Favor of Required (Classic) Reading — Pages Unbound

Thirteen Reason Why: Not an Appropriate Conversation Starter in Schools

A month or so ago, Jefferson county public schools website released a article encouraging parents to use the Netflix original Thirteen Reasons Why to start conversations about suicide and depression with their children. This , in my opinion, was very poor attempt at encouraging a honest, and intentional discussion of the serious topic. While JCPS strives for educating students with both book knowlage and life knowlage , it is clear that they cherry pick the educational topics easiest to talk about and leave the rest for parents to teach at home. For some children this is detrimental to their learning and future, because of a lack of involvement in the education process at home.

Suicide and depression in teens is a real problem that should not be glorified. Unfourtionatly that is exactly what Thirteen Reasons Why  spends the entirety of season one doing. Depression is not easy to hide. It is ugly and it builds up gradually until the snowball effect becomes so evident that everything seems like a hopeless disaster. This show fails to explore that ,instead focusing on depression as something almost comical. Thirteen Reasons Why glorifies suicide in the end by having Hannah Baker slit her wrists in a gruesome and painful way instead of overdosing as she does in the novel. If anything JCPS should be encouraging students and parents to read the novel instead of watching the Netflix original . The new show is the picture of a extremely liberal world. No school in society today is composed of 90 percent minorities, lgbtq , and abused teenagers; for some reason that’s what the school portrayed in the school is composed of . This show is a unrealistic portrayal of a pressing issue in society and because it is unrealistic Youth look at it and come to conclusions that are not acceptable in the adult world.  Suicide is not an escape.

I urge parents of JCPS students to use the book as a talking point about suicide if they must. Instead parents should be willing to have the embarrassingly difficult conversation with their teens without prompting . JCPS should also being willing to educate children on this topic at school , being sure not to make them feel ashamed of emotions.

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