CHAPTER 5: IN YOU I TRUST!

CHAPTER 5: IN YOU I TRUST!

From Chicken Soup for the Soul Presents Teens Talkin' Faith

Chapter Five

IN YOU I TRUST!

TRUSTING GOD IS THAT ESSENTIAL . . .

If you are reading this book in sequence and have just completed Chapters 3 and 4, then you know that various teens shared their most serious trials and tragedies. Although frequently people believe in God because they are brought up in a family of believers, sometimes it takes an extreme situation to lead others to their spiritual convictions. For these people, putting their trust in the Lord may be the only thing that gives them hope for their future. Trusting God is that essential. Throughout this chapter, teens share their philosophies of trust. You may be one who has put your trust in God since you were a young child. Or, perhaps, your relationship with God is recently evolving. Regardless, I believe you will find this chapter both enlightening and insightful. Take heart and trust in the Lord!

Mrs. T

I CAN TELL GOD ANYTHING . . .

Throughout my life, I have always had a hard time trusting others—not because everyone in my life is not trustworthy, but because I have just been afraid to trust them. I am afraid of people breaking my confidence or making fun of me for what I have told them. Of course, throughout my life, I have found a few people I can trust, but there is only one I can trust completely—God. I know that whatever I have to say, He will listen to it, and whatever I have done, He will not make fun of me. I know that I will always be able to go to Him for help with anything. I do not have to worry about Him telling others. I can tell God anything, unlike with some of the people in my life, where I am only able to share some things with them. Being able to trust God completely has helped me greatly in my life. When there is no one in your life who you can talk to and trust, then all your feelings and emotions will just build up inside you, and this can cause many problems in your life. But if you are able to trust someone with anything you say or do, then it is easier to work out your problems. After I talk to God about something, I feel like I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Many times, if you don’t tell someone about something you may be worried about, then it will get even worse. Luckily, though, I have found that by talking to God about something, it makes it easier to deal with. I hope that for the rest of my life I will keep this complete trust that I have in God, and I hope that others will be able to find this trust in Him as I have.

BELINDA, 17

. . . IF THEY KNOW WHO I REALLY AM . . .

I don’t trust people. I can’t completely say why anymore. I think it’s just out of habit. But it doesn’t change the fact that I can’t tell people how I really feel or who I really am. That no, everything is not okay, and I really just need a hug and a few nice words right now.

I’m afraid of what people will do if they know who I really am or how I really feel. I’ve seen so many other people do it. I’ve seen people tell a secret that literally moments before they promised to keep. I’ve seen people trash talk someone who was only a few feet away from them. I’ve seen people make promises that they never intended to keep.

I’ve just seen too many people betray another’s trust. I can’t help but think that those people, some who I call my friends, would do the same to me. And so I started to keep everything inside. Or I tried to. As time went on, I found it harder and harder each day. I began to search for an outlet. I tried writing in a journal, which helped, but only for a little while. All of my thoughts and feelings and secrets still seemed to be crushing me with their weight.

I’m not quite sure how I came upon God as an answer, but I eventually found myself praying to Him. The prayers were awkward at first. I wasn’t quite sure what to say or how. And I didn’t completely trust God either. But, over time, the mistrust went away. The prayers came to me easier and more often. And I felt like I could breathe again. I even feel like I can try to trust people again. I’m not there yet. I still freeze up a little when people ask me how I am and expect an honest answer. But it’s a step—and one I made by learning to trust God.

ARIANE, 16

HE WILL NEVER LEAVE MY SIDE . . .

Whenever anything isn’t as good as I want it to be, such as my grades or my relationships with my parents or friends, I know that I can always turn to God. It often feels like I have nobody to trust when it comes to the problems in my life. But I do know that no matter what is going wrong or how bad things seem to get, I always can trust that God will be there. He will never leave my side, and for that, I am thankful.

DONNA, 15

I HAVE NO CLUE AS TO WHAT I WOULD BE LIKE . . .

Throughout my life, I have been guided to trust God. Today, I am old enough not to be guided anymore. I now choose to trust God. I trust God in many ways. I trust Him to guide me through my everyday life, to be there when I need comfort, and to direct me in doing what is right. Another simple reason why I put my trust in God is because I believe that He truthfully knows what is right for me. I have no clue as to what I would be like if I did not trust God. God has protected me from major injuries and drugs, and from me turning away from Him. He has taught me to love myself and, in doing so, I can share my love with other people. I have also learned to trust other people besides myself. I usually don’t get on someone’s bad side, but when I do, I turn to God and ask Him why I made that person angry. When I talk to God or pray to Him, I don’t always hope for an answer. I hope that I can learn from my mistakes by talking them out with God. So, again I do trust God to be there when I am down or need to reason something out. He is an inspiration to me, and I look forward to the future because of my trust in Him.

DERECK, 16

. . . I CAN TELL HIM ANYTHING WITHOUT FEAR OF BEING JUDGED . . .

I think that teens have trouble putting their trust in other people. The main reason is mostly because of gossip and judgment. I trust in God, though. I know that He will never judge me, He will believe in me, and He will always look for the best in me. I don’t have to lie to God about myself or pretend I’m someone I am not, like I do with some of my friends. I know He will always accept me for who I truly am. I know that I can trust God with anything and can tell Him anything without fear of being judged or pushed away. If everyone learned to trust God and His compassion, then maybe we could learn to trust each other more.

SANDRA, 14

. . . I FELT ABANDONED BY GOD . . .

I think when we become teenagers, life starts getting complicated. We wonder who we are. We know we need help, and we can’t do it on our own. When I turned thirteen, life hit me in the face. The pressures of being a teen started to affect my relationships with my friends, my family, and more important, God! I felt like my family hated me, my friends were going their own way, and I couldn’t find God anywhere. I started praying about it, but I felt like I was praying to a brick wall. So, I gave up all hope of a better life and relationship with God. Also, at the time, my best friend moved to Chicago. We had been friends for over half our lives, and I just couldn’t let her go. I thought, How could my life get any worse? It got so out of hand that I thought about running away and never coming back. I was sad and angry with God. I stopped talking and listening to God altogether.

In the meantime, my church camp was coming up, and even though I had turned away from God, for some reason I really wanted to go. On the second day, the pastor was talking about God’s love and hope when we feel abandoned. That was exactly what I was going through. I felt abandoned by God and everyone else. When I heard this message, I knew God was talking to me. I realized that I had shut Him out, not the other way around. He opened my eyes and my heart. God pulled me gently to my knees, and I was speechless. I just broke down in tears and poured my heart out to God. I never felt so loved and touched in my life! From then on, I knew God would always be there for me. I trust Him and know that He loves me and will never leave me. Now, when I pray, I know He is listening to everything.

If you are reading this and you feel abandoned, know that God has never left. Open your heart and let Him come in! God is there. I know He is! Trust Him! He won’t leave, I promise!

KERAN, 14

. . . TRUST HIM TO LEAD YOU . . .

I’m a shy and quiet person, so when I started my freshman year in high school, I was scared. I didn’t have any really good friends from my previous school, and I had no idea who to hang out with. For about two weeks, I just floated around, sometimes hanging out with acquaintances from my old school. I never really considered that God might have a part in helping me find a group to hang out with, but now that I look back on it, I truly believe that He did. During the first week of school, an old friend introduced me to a redheaded girl. She seemed nice at the time, but I had no idea who she hung out with or if she was even the kind of person I wanted to be influenced by. Toward the end of the second week of school, I saw her standing in the hallway alone, so I went up and started talking to her. Because God gave me the courage to talk to her, I found a great friend who is still my friend today. As I was talking to her, the group of friends that she hung out with walked up. She introduced me to them, and they accepted me for who I was. I realized afterward that God must have been leading me in this direction because none of these people were in any of my classes, so there was no way for me to get to know them. God can work in your life in many different ways. You just have to trust Him to lead you where He wants you to be. I’m glad that I followed His lead!

KAJ, 15

. . . “LOOK, MOMMY, SHE HAS ONE LEG” . . .

I was born different from everyone else, but I know who I am, and I trust God to show me the way. I think my poem, “I Am,” explains it best:

I am loving and kind.

I wonder why people think that I’m different from them because I am not.

My difference just shows.

I hear little kids say, “Look, Mommy, she has one leg. ”

I see all the little eyes staring at me and little fingers pointing at me.

I want for everyone not to care what I look like.

I am loving and kind.

I pretend not to hear them say the things they say.

I feel sad that they don’t know that what is on the inside is what counts.

I touch the sweaty handles of my crutches every day.

I worry that no one will like me at first sight.

I cry sometimes when I feel sad about the way I am, Wishing everyone would see me as God does.

I am loving and kind.

I understand the way God made me.

I trust that God put me on this Earth for some reason and If it takes a lifetime, I’m going to find out why.

I am loving and kind.

I trust God.

I have hope.

LENNA, 15

I HAVE NEVER DONE ANYTHING TO CAUSE MY PARENTS’ DOUBT . . .

No one ever said that being a teen was easy, but I never expected it to be this hard. I never expected a lot of things, least of all a lack of trust from my parents. It’s tough to deal with. Authority is necessary, but it can also be frustrating. I have never done anything to cause my parents’ doubt, and yet I am still treated with no trust. This tells me that they do not respect how I feel about things. In another sense, however, I can see where they are coming from. I can understand their need to keep me close by them. After all, I will be leaving home for college in a few years, and they don’t want to see me get hurt. Oddly enough, when I feel too stifled or mistrusted by my parents, I feel that I can turn to God and be trusted. I know deep inside that He trusts me and my judgment. He guides me, as well, and it is because of Him that I am able to trust that everything will work itself out.

JAQULIN, 14

. . . INSIDE I WAS STILL REGRETTING IT A LITTLE . . .

I have always been taught to look to God and trust Him when I am confused. Well, in August of last year, my great-grandmother was starting to get sick, and I looked to God for guidance.

Grandma Chris was ninety and lived in a home for the elderly in our town. My grandparents (she was my grandpa’s mom) went to see her daily, and we went at least once a week between sports practices for my brother and me. My great-grandma was full of spunk and spirit in her old age. One of her favorite things was to knit and paint pottery for my cousins and me. I had so many painted trinkets that I didn’t know what to do with them. Anyway, one day after practice my mom told me that Grandma Chris had to go to the hospital. She had to have surgery and was having trouble breathing. I really thought that she would pull through. But as the days went on, she had to rely on a breathing tube, and she only got worse instead of better. Every time we thought she was getting better, she would slip back down.

Each night, I would pray to God that she would use all of her strength and pull through for us. Then one night my brother told my parents that he thought he needed to see her if this was the end. It was late, the hospital was an hour away, and I had a big basketball game the next day. My mom came into my room and asked me if I wanted to go, too. All I could say was I didn’t know. I wondered if I would ever see my great-grandma again, but to see her in the hospital with tubes down her throat? I thought back to my last memory of her. I had picked her up for church with my grandma, and I remembered seeing the biggest smile on her face because we were there.

I finally decided not to go with them, but inside I was still regretting it a little. A few days later, she passed away. I was listening to my mom, aunt, and grandparents talk about how she was so miserable in the hospital. It hurt them to see her in so much pain. I kept remembering the way I saw her that day before church, a smile from ear to ear and so happy. That’s when I realized that God had helped me make my decision. Why should my last memory of my Grandma Chris be of her in pain? It was the right thing not to go see her. I’m glad that I trusted the memories and feelings God gave me about what I should do that night. If you are ever in a hard place, trust God to guide you. Even if it is not a direct answer, He will help you, just like He did for me.

DJ, 14

. . . I KNOW I CAN TRUST GOD . . .

Even though I can’t see Him, I know I can trust God. He listens to me and doesn’t make judgments. He hears what I say and just lets me talk. Sometimes it’s a big comfort to know that the person you’re pouring your heart out to won’t give you a lecture or think you’re weird.

RILEY, 15

. . . JUST LET GO OF THE ROPE . . .

A few years ago, we were at a lake, and I was learning how to water-ski behind my uncle’s boat. Despite the in-depth instructions that my uncle and cousins had given me, I still felt nervous. I was an okay swimmer, but I hated not doing well at something. I remember getting myself in position and my uncle taking off. For a few seconds, I was able to get up on the skis behind the boat and felt that I was getting the hang of it. Easy, I thought. Suddenly, I crossed my skis, lost my balance, and fell. I hit the water, shocked that I hadn’t completed the task. My mind went blank. What was I supposed to do? What had my uncle and cousins said to do if I fell? All I could think of doing was to hang on to the rope as if it was my lifeline. As my uncle continued to drive the boat, I clutched the rope, afraid if I let go I would end up slamming into the boat engine or drowning. My mind raced with crazy thoughts of dying and of all the things I had not done yet. I could do nothing but cling to the rope in complete terror. Suddenly, I heard a kind voice in my head. This voice calmly told me to let go of the rope. I thought to myself, There is no way I am going to let go of this rope. I will die. The voice again calmly told me to just let go of the rope. I thought, No way. I don’t want to die. For a third time, I heard the voice, “Trust in Me. Let go of the rope.” At that exact moment, I felt a sense of calm sweep over my body. I knew that if I trusted in God, everything would be all right. I just needed to let go of the rope and trust in Him. I did exactly that. I trusted in God and let go of the rope. I didn’t crash into the boat engine, and I didn’t die. In fact, I dog-paddled while my uncle turned the boat around to pick me up.

Although this happened years ago, there are still times in my life that I feel I can’t let go of the rope. Being a teenager is full of stress. Sometimes, this stress is so overwhelming that I don’t feel as if I can handle it. Starting high school, changing schools, moving, family crises, peer pressure—the list goes on. I become overwhelmed thinking about what others will think, how I will succeed, what I am supposed to do, and so on. I tighten my grip on the rope that connects me to my insecurities and fear. Just as I think I can’t let go, I remember the voice from the day on the lake telling me to trust and let go. By praying and trusting in God that He will do what is best and guide me to make the right decisions, I can let go and stop worrying about what my peers will think or if I fit in or what will happen in stressful situations. I can allow the calmness and peace to flow over me once more. All it takes is letting go and trusting God.

KHRISTOPHER, 14

“T ” TALK

One morning, Sarah [not her real name] came into my classroom sobbing uncontrollably. She could hardly catch her breath as she tried to speak to me through her tears. Her parents had broken the news to her just an hour before that they were filing for divorce. Sarah just didn’t understand. They were the perfect family; everybody had always teased her about that. They had never had any problems. She rarely, if ever, saw them argue. So why would they be getting a divorce?

Apparently, her mom had fallen in love with another man. She was moving out and leaving Sarah, her little sister, and her dad to live with this man. Sarah could not believe that her mom would betray her dad this way. But what hurt more was that she felt her mom had deceived her, too. Isn’t it just a given, Sarah asked me, that every teenage girl should have a mom there to talk to? How could her mom choose another man over her family? Sarah had always naturally trusted that her mom would be there for her. How could she just walk away? Now, she didn’t know if she could ever trust again.

Sarah’s story is not uncommon. Many teens have experienced situations in which someone has shattered their trust. Trust is a fragile bridge that brings people together. But because it is delicate, it can easily be destroyed. Unfortunately, when this happens, it often leaves people hanging on by a thread, feeling confused, hopeless, and sometimes even angry.

Have you ever felt like you’re barely holding on, shocked by a betrayal? Perhaps, like Sarah, you had always believed that your parents would stay committed to each other and remain the foundation for your family. Yet, here they are, divorcing. Or maybe it is your friends who broke your trust. Suppose they betrayed your confidence or talked about you behind your back. If such an incident has occurred in your life, it might be difficult for you to trust again. Many teens have told me, “Mrs. T, I am not going to let myself get burned twice.” They feel that it is easier to stay away from friendships or guard their emotions around family members, rather than set themselves up for heartache. The sadness in this philosophy is that in choosing not to trust, teens risk missing out on love and joy, friendships and fun.

Or sometimes it goes much deeper. Take the two students who entered their school, shot several of their classmates and a teacher, then killed themselves. Apparently, they felt betrayed as a result of years of being teased and taunted, and they began to isolate themselves. They trusted no one. It makes me so sad to think that if there had been just one person they could have trusted enough to talk to, perhaps the senseless and tragic murders could have been prevented.

In all the years that I have worked with teenagers, one issue that continues to recur is the concept of trust. Teens talk about trust as a value that they hold very close to their hearts. They treasure trust and do anything possible to protect it. If someone damages or deceives this trust, it is as if they are breaking the person’s heart. You may have experienced this type of betrayal and know what it feels like. As much as your parents, siblings, or friends may not intend to break your heart or shatter your trust, occasionally it happens. During these times you may feel as if you can trust no one. Well, take heart! There is someone you can always trust: God. He never turns away from you or breaks His promises. God is always listening and constantly available. At times when we feel so alone, all we have to do is call on Him, and He is there.

I often think about the disciples when they were out on the sea in their little fishing boat. A storm came from out of nowhere as it often does at sea. They were so afraid. I would guess that they felt helpless and alone. And then, without fail, up walks Jesus. Yes, you read it right. They were in the middle of the sea, and here came Jesus walking on water, calming not only the sea, but the disciples’ fears, as well. I’m sure that once they realized it was really Him and He had come to save them, they must have asked themselves, “Why didn’t we trust? He told us He would always be here. He asked us to trust Him, so why didn’t we?”

My parents experienced a similar situation. They were in their sailboat, sailing south toward Mexico, when they encountered a storm. The waves were huge, and my mom and dad were still inexperienced sailors. It was my mom’s turn on night watch, and she was terrified. Yet, in the midst of the storm, God was near. My mom prayed throughout her watch, but as the storm grew, she felt that her prayers came secondary to her fright. After two hours, my dad took over watch, and my mom went below. She tried to get some rest, but as she listened to the sounds of the water crashing against the hull, panic set in, and she imagined the boat breaking into little pieces, leaving her and my dad to drown.

So, she continued to pray. As her fear heightened, my mom began to realize that she had absolutely no control of their current situation. She couldn’t calm the storm. She had no authority over the ocean as it thrashed their vessel from wave to wave. Only in that moment did she understand that she had to completely surrender her usual need for control and put her trust in God. She prayed, “Okay, God, I’m afraid, and I’m not able to feel brave, so please take care of the sea and calm it down.”

As Jesus demonstrated with the disciples, He has the power to do such things. Within moments of my mom’s prayer, the noise of the storm began to quiet, and the relentless waves became still. My mom has always believed in the influence of prayer, but this absolute and virtually immediate response from God caused her to feel humble and appreciative of His power. He calmed my mother’s fears, as well as the sea, and reminded her that although some situations will be out of her control, if she chooses to trust God, He will be there.

Like my mom, many of us have the need to control various circumstances in our lives. We like to take hold of the reins and assert direction and command. This gives us a sense of order that makes us feel safe and secure. However, when things happen in our lives that cause the reins to be ripped from our hands, it creates chaos and confusion within us. This is why it is so important to place our trust in God. When it comes right down to it, He is truly the one in control. When we try to dominate every facet of our lives, we are, in essence, trying to dominate God. Eventually, though, instead of feeling peaceful, we will feel frustration, disappointment, or anger when circumstances don’t turn out as we’ve planned. Yet, if we set our daily worries and blessings at God’s feet and choose to trust in Him, He promises to guide and comfort us.

Jesus makes this commitment to you, personally. He only asks that you trust Him. Let Him calm your fears and still your storms. God is with you always. If you “let go, and let God,” as the old saying goes, or “just let go of the rope,” as Khristopher learned to do, God will direct your path and never leave you alone. Without a doubt, there will be situations in your life that are completely out of your control, as Sarah learned when her mother left. Although she couldn’t change the current upheaval in her family, if she had let go and let God comfort her, she may have felt more peace.

In addition, if you have difficulty trusting others, I pray that when you experience the peacefulness and comfort that fills your heart when you trust in the Lord, you will have the confidence to trust others as well. With God by your side, I pray that you will open your heart and experience the love and joy that relationships can bring when you entrust yourself to others. I think you may find that when you do this, they will trust you as well. It is a wonderful feeling and a valuable gift. God will help you along the way; just put your trust in Him. Lord, in You I trust!

Mrs. T

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