Friday, September 21, 2012

God Speaks: Real Stories of God's Guiding Hands in Real People's LIves

--> The book "Treasuring Grace" was inspired by a dream in which co -author Tracy Roberts feels that God spoke to her and directed her hand in the writing of the story. Many people feel God's special influence in their lives in direct or indirect ways.  This column seeks to bring you some of their inspirational stories.

The Weekend that Saved My Life   

by  Dani Roberge

“Who am I?” What kind of question was that, I thought to myself. Who am I? I am the girl never talks in front of people, the girl who never raises her hand in class, the girl who doesn’t make friends easily, the girl who never stands up for what she believes in.  All of these answers flew through my brain at the proposed question, however I guessed these were not the answers they were looking for.
A couple hours earlier my best friend and I were heading over to a church I had never gone to and were getting on a van with kids we had never met before and going to a place we had never been before. We nervously sat in quiet as the van drove off from the church. I looked over at my friend, Adria, she was silent as she stared out the window. We were both scared. The rusty van drove down roads where there were just trees and what seemed like no civilization for hours. Our destination? Mary grove Christian Retreat Center.

I didn’t even want to go, but I knew I had to. Something told me it was the right thing to go. My friend had to go to this thing called Youth Encounter through her church. When she asked if I wanted to go, I was super uneasy about it. First of all I had never been away from home for a whole weekend and second I just didn’t know what to expect. I tried to think of an excuse, but couldn’t. Maybe it would be a good experience? I thought. Maybe just maybe it would help me be happier with life.

Senior year is a stressful time for everyone, especially a person who has no idea what they want to do or where they want to go.  That was me. Middle of senior year, still no idea what school I was going to and what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t know how I would survive college without my best friend, knowing we would not be at the same school the following year. I was all around nervous and scared for the next chapter in my life. I also wasn’t completely happy, like something was missing in my life. I constantly tried to shrug it off like nothing was wrong, until I couldn’t fight off the anxious thoughts and sadness anymore. One day I came home one night and just bawled what seemed like every tear and cried into my mom’s arms. I told her all my problems and she told me everything was going to be okay. At that point I didn’t believe her, I wanted to believe her, I really did, but I didn’t. All I kept thinking was I wanted things to get better, I wanted to be happy again, but I just didn’t know how to achieve the happiness I wanted.

After that lonely night in March I officially signed myself up for Youth Encounter. I thought maybe just maybe it would be good for me. Everyone else I talked to loved it, they said it was the best thing they ever did. Of course, I had my doubts still, but figured there was nothing to lose to try it.

“Ready?” I looked over at Adria, she had on a huge smile as the van pulled up in front of the church retreat center. The outside of the building looked like jail from the side door we went into. I started freaking out as I felt uncomfortable. I thought about getting out then and pretending to be sick so I could go home. Then I shook my head and grabbed my bags, held my head high and headed for the door.  As we walked inside my mood was instantly uplifted. Twenty teens greeted us at the door with happy smiles and joyful voices. “Welcome to Marygrove!” They chimed. They were so happy and I noticed something in their eyes sparkled, little did I know in just a couple days my eyes would be sparkling too.

That night after we piled our bags into our rooms we met in the lecture hall. We were put into groups and separated from our friends. Throughout the whole weekend there were speakers, but not like a normal church would have a pastor talking at you, these speakers were different. They were teens, just like us, they were people from our school, teens from different schools, teens with amazing stories and amazing knowledge, and they were not talking at us, they were talking with us. I immediately felt at home as I became engrossed into their speeches. They were beautifully written and inspirational. The first speaker of the night was a girl, a girl who I had never met, but a girl I had seen before. She was genuine as she started her speech.

“There is a reason God chose you to be here, during this weekend, at this time. If you didn’t want to be here, well God wanted you to be here. God knows what he’s doing and it is no mistake you are here. God wanted you to be here.” She continued by explaining to us the main point of this weekend is being able to answer the question;‘Who am I?’, she continued by saying to remember the question for later. Which made me sigh with relief, so I could think of a legitimate answer to the question. As she finished up her speech I clapped and felt more comfortable. After the first speech we broke and went for snacks and socializing.

As I said before, I am the type of person who keeps to herself and isn’t good at branching out to talk to people. When I got into the cafeteria area I was surrounded by people I didn’t know.  Something in me was different already, though, I started talking to people I would never have the confidence to talk to on a daily basis.  Everyone was nice and everyone was here to change their lives and because they loved God.

I was surrounded by Christians who loved God and were positive. I loved it, I loved every aspect of it. I talked and laughed with my new friends I started forming relationships with after only a few hours of being at Marygrove.

The next day was filled with more speakers, fun, and bonding. One speech that day that changed everything was one given by a girl who had graduated a year earlier, I looked up to her and actually hung out with her a little the year before she left for college. She began talking and as she talked she broke down and cried.  She went through and explained how this year at school was hard, she felt lonely and felt like all her friends had abandoned her. Half-way through the year, however, she realized these things she was feeling and thoughts she was having were not real. They were the lies the devil was telling her and the lies she began believing. She explained how she got herself out of her rut and nothing is impossible with God.  She continued and explained we need to put all our trust in God because he is our best friend and is here for us always.

She said we need to have contact with other Christians and the friendships we make through Christ will be our lifelong friendships. As soon as she said this a light bulb went on in my head and everything started clicking. Everything in her speech that she said was everything I had been feeling the past year; anxiety, loneliness, and now the friend situation. She explained with friends, the closer we grow with God the closer we will grow to each other. I looked over at Adria and smiled, she smiled back.

At that moment, everything changed. I gave my life to God, He was the missing factor in my life, I accepted him as my savior and knew he put me at this weekend for a reason and the most important was to hear the speakers and to accept him into my life.

Saturday night flew by in a blur, I was uncontrollably happy as I beamed from ear to ear. My life was different, I was different. I could just feel it all around me. That night Adria and I sat up for two hours after everyone had gone to sleep and talked about everything. The day. The weekend. Our faith. We started right then growing closer to God, which meant we were growing closer to each other. I knew our bond when we went our separate ways the following year would never break. Nothing would ever break our experiences we had that weekend.

Sunday morning we went into the lecture hall for one last speaker before it was time to go home. The speaker finished off the weekend by explaining, “Remember that question we asked you to remember at the beginning? Who am I? What is the answer you might ask?  The answer is “I am a beloved child of God.” That is what each and every one of you are; beloved children of God.” My smile spread across my face and I looked around and everyone had the crazy sparkle in their eyes. We were all so happy. I was uplifted when I got home I was a completely different person.

I changed, God changed me through that weekend and helped me remember he is always with us. The lonely, sad, anxious girl had changed. I was happy, excited, and ready for what God wanted me to do. I was ready to do his will. Of course I still get scared and sad sometimes, but the difference is now I know God is right beside me ready to pick me up when I fall down. He is always with me. Youth encounter weekend helped me learn that.

AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by David Wulff


  1. Hello,

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    1. Thanks for checking out the blog. I will put a link to your blogs here (didnt see a way to follow via blogger?)
      thanks for hopping by!

  2. What a precious testimony.
    It never ceases to amaze me all the ways God meets each of us -- so different from each other -- right where we're at.
    Glad I stopped by today.

    1. thanks for stopping by, I am glad you enjoyed the post. God bless!

  3. What a beautiful testimony! It is wonderful how the Lord works. You came to visit my blog and now I have found a fellow pro-life Christian blogger! :-) Hope you have a wonderful day. Many blessings, Lisa

    1. Thanks for stopping by Lisa! I am glad you enjoyed the post, I enjoyed your blog as well. God bless

  4. What a lovely and inspiring story! Praise God for His saving grace!

    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting on Saved by Grace!

    Your blog is a blessing and I am now following it, and I invite you to follow Saved by Grace also:

    Love in Him,
    Laurie Collett

    1. Hi Laurie,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and I will definitely follow your blog as well! I enjoyed it very much.


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