My Testimony
Like most children, I began going to public school starting in Kindergarten. And right away, things were difficult. I remember having kids push me around and even throw me off a bench once because they didn't want to be around me. These children I would get to know real well because I would be in classrooms with them throughout my years in the public school system. When I was in the 2cd grade, I found out from my doctor that I had food allergies. I remember getting sick all the time in school and the teach never let me go to the bathroom or see the nurse. She's make me throw up in class, in front of everyone! Of course, the kids did nothing but make fun of me because of it. Both the students and the teachers thought I was getting sick on purpose, just to get attention. The only teachers that cared about me were in the third and fifth grades.

All the other teachers were horrible. In the fourth grade, I pronounced a word wrong in class and got screamed at by the teacher. Even on the school bus, kids would purposely trip me and the driver did nothing. But if I said something in self defense, the driver would yell at me. Most of my time on the playground was spent by myself, up against a wall. I just sat there and waited for recess to end. But one time, I was with a group of girls and as they walked away, one of them shoved me into a fence and said, "get away, we don't want you around." Another time, this boy shoved me to the ground and I skinned both elbows and knees. I was crying and bloody and he just laughed and ran off. He didn't get into any trouble for it. Even in gym class, I would feel really sick and get bad stomach aches, but I was forced to take the class anyway. I remember in the 3rd grade, we were doing gymnastics. Everyone knew how to do a cartwheel but me, so instead of teaching me how to do one, the teacher made me go, by myself, to the other side of the gymnasium, and practice them, while she worked with the kids on the other side. I was so embarrassed! I mean, there I was, all by myself, in tears, trying to do cartwheels while everyone else watched and laughed. Even after I could do them, I never heard anything like, "good job."

I remember being in music class and the teacher did nothing but tease me while the whole class laughed. She would talk about what a horrible singing voice I had and she'd say, "come on, get your voice out of the gutter!" I admit, I can't sing worth anything, but so what! You don't talk to a 10 year old that way! My first friend, Heather, was in the 5th grade and we're still friends to this day. But during the summer, the kids at school would prank call me, pretending to be her. They'd say stuff like, "I don't want to be your friend anymore." Of course, I knew it wasn't her! They also gave me a lot of calls in which they'd either make noises at me or just hang up when I answered. In the 5th or 6th grade I found out that I had panic attacks which is one reason why I was getting so sick. I got sick all the time, even when I went to places like KMART or the movie theater. Being around people freaked me out. I'd get real sweaty, I'd get hot flashes, my heart would race, I'd get really dizzy, and I'd eventually throw up.

Just thinking about going outside of the house would cause me to get sick. One time, in the 6th grade, I got really sick in school. After I felt better I went back to class (I had been in the nurses office). But when I walked into class, everyone started making barfing noises and pig noises and wouldn't stop. One guy told them, to knock it off, but they wouldn't listen to him. Once again, the teachers and students thought I was pretending to be sick just to get attention! I was teased for wearing KMART clothes, even though at times, I would see them shopping there too! I was teased for everything and no matter what I'd do to try and fit in, they'd find something else to tease me about. I don't even like the word tease. Torment is more like it! I was always the last one picked in gym class to be on a team. That's the most awful feeling. You see this happen on TV shows, esp. in comedies but in real life, it makes you feel like a big fat loser and an outcast! I remember the teachers making me feel like I was stupid and would never amount to anything.

We all know the saying, 'sticks and stone may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." That is such a lie! Names do hurt and they make you feel awful. I hear parents say, "oh, kids will be kids." It's almost expected of kids to behave this way! That needs to stop. I don't care if they are kids. Kids need to learn to respect everyone. If they hurt others, they won't stop. It's not a childhood phase. Kids who tease grow up to be adults who tease. Some say that teasing is a part of life, but it shouldn't be. If a child is making fun of someone, an adult needs to step in and let them know that this is inappropriate and NOT okay. If a child thinks a certain behavior is expected of them, they'll do it, even if that behavior is wrong. Anyway, at the end of the 6th grade, I was homeschooled. I was a total basket case! I coudn't eat or sleep and I was so depressed! But homeschooling saved my life. I not only began to enjoy learning, but I was able to lift up my self esteem. I started to love to read, including Shakespeare and I started to do a lot better in my subjects then I did in public school.

Its hard to learn when everyone is hurting you, but with homeschooling, I could concentrate on my studies. But I was still having my panic attacks. I had them almost every single day. Then, one day, I was flipping around the TV station and for some reason, turned on the Christian station. Up until now, I would make fun of Christians. I thought their lifestyle was boring and full of nothing but rules. I thought that all they did was preach, preach, preach and didn't know how to have fun. When I was around Heather and her friends, I went along with making fun of Christians, but I would still watch some Christian shows when I was by myself. Something really attracted me to it. Anyway, one this particuler day, I turned on the Christian station and a music video show was on.

Up until now, I thought that Christian music was all about organs and hymns. I had no idea that there was Christian rap and rock. But I decided to watch this video show to see what kinds of music video's Christians made. I was getting ready to make fun of it. But the video that came on was not Organ music. It was DC Talk's "Nu Thang." I was shocked to say the least! I was immediately intrigued by it! I was like, "hey, this is cool!" I immediately went out and bought the tape. I had been listening to Ozzy Osborne and Alice Cooper, so when I asked me mom to take me to the Christian bookstore, she was like, "are you feeling well?!" That got me interested in Christian music. I then started to listen to a Christian rock band called Novella. At one of their concerts, they ave an alter call and I was the only one who accepted it! I was a bit embarrassed at the time, but I went backstage and prayed with one of the volunteers. That night I accepted Christ into my heart.

I was still confused and had many questions about the Christian faith, but that was the best decision I ever made! I then started going to a new church and went to one of their healing services. Now, I had seen the laying on of hands on TV and I had heard stores about how some of it was bogus. I thought that all of them were like that, but thought I'd give it a shot anyway. I had nothing to lose! So, I went and had them pray for my panic attacks. Then, a month or so later I went to a sold out Michael W. Smith concert. Now, this was the real test because remember, I couldn't even walk into KMART without getting sick and now I was going into a packed arena! So, I went to the show and guess what? NO PANIC ATTACKS! I sung, I danced, I had so much fun and I didn't get sick once! I was so thrilled! I would have a panic attacks once a month, then once every couple of months and now I haven't had one for at least a year!

I was about 14 or 15 when I started listening to DC Talk and then got saved. Then, at 18, I went to community college. I spent two years there, not knowing what I wanted to do. I had always loved the theater and always wanted to try acting, but always chickened out, mostly because of my panic attacks. Even after they (and my allergies) were healed by God, I was still scared that I'd go on stage and get sick. That was my biggest fear! But then, after two years at the community college, I decided to not be a chicken anymore. I started my acting classes and I absolutely love it! My teacher is awesome and he's so much fun. His name is George and he really encourages us to lift each other up. He doesn't allow any of us to treat others like we're better then them. He encourages us to say "good job" to one another, not put each other down. I wish I had teachers like that in public school! I spent two years at one campus, not making any friends and I hated the teachers. But then, I had to change campuses because only one has theater as a major. I love this school and I love going there!

Before, I dreaded going to classes at the other campus, but this one is so different! I have so many friends and the teachers are awesome! It's definitely a different enviorment. For the first time, I actually felt accepted by people. Even during the summer, I try and either work backstage on one of their musicals or I at least go see the show because I love being in that school! This spring sememster I did two things that are simply amazing: First, I was in my first play. I played a mouse in a drama club production of Cinderella and you know what? I didn't get sick at all. In fact, I loved being up their on stage! The second thing I did was go to NYC with my drama club. Even though, at one time, I freaked out when I was around groups of people, I loved NYC! I didn't get sick and had a blast. We're going back in the spring and I can not wait! Now I hope to move there one day which is funny since as I said, I used to hate large groups of people!

At first I almost didn't go because I thought, "what if I get sick." Then I realized that was the devil trying to get to me and I refused to allow him to rule my life anymore. The Lord has done so many awesome things in my life. He has me doing things that I couldn't even dream of doing before! I don't know where I am headed in the future, but I know that the Lord is in control. He'll lead me and I know He will lead me in the right direction. I hope, after reading my testimony, that you weren't bored out of your mind although it is quite long! Instead, I hope you walk away seeing that God changed my life and He can change yours. All you need to do is ask Him into your heart. If you already do know Him, then I'm sure that you know all that He offers you and I hope that my testimony encourages you in your walk and reminds you of how good God really is.