I’ve already told you about how much of a fan I was of getting attention from boys as a teenager. Here I am at 16 years old and my desire for attention has only grown. Being 16 years old also means one other HUGE thing to teenagers – DRIVER’S LICENSE!
My best friend and I were inseparable. We both had our licenses and we both had access to a car. We would ride around town going nowhere. We would go to one of the local Sonic Drive-Ins to get sodas (vanilla Dr. Pepper to be exact!) and then just cruise.
During one of these joyrides, we ran into a friend of hers – and that’s when I met him. The first boyfriend who would change my life… That afternoon, we hung out with these guys and we immediately hit it off. Remember that I loved attention – and he gave me plenty of it.
Before long, I would find myself trying to spend any free minute I had with this guy. I would drive to his house after school, before I had to be at work (even though it was in the opposite direction!). I would spend my weekends with him when I wasn’t working. I would even go to his house during my lunch hour at school.
Oh yeah – did I mention that he was 2 years older than me and had already graduated high school? Yep – there was that, too. For those of you adults out there, you know that “older guys” have different “expectations” of girls than guys who are younger. This guy wasn’t any different. We’ll leave it at that for now.
Oh yeah – did I mention he had recently been to jail or juvenile hall (I can’t remember which) because of an aggravated assault charge? Yep – there was that, too.
So here I am with this boy that I am totally infatuated with. As my friends and parents learned more and more about him, they started to warn me to get away from him. They would tell me that he was bad news and that I didn’t need that in my life. The more and more I heard this, the more I longed to be with him. He would comfort me and give me even more of what I craved: attention.
I remember one day during my lunch break at school, I did what I always did and went to his house to hang out. That day my dad did what any protective father would do – he showed up and instructed me to leave. My parents still had the rule of “you can’t be at a boy’s house without his parents around” and, of course, his mother was always at work at that time.
I lost my car that day. No more driving privileges. My poor mom had to start picking me up from school to get me to work and then pick me up after work.
Side Note: I have to say that I admire what my dad did that day. It took courage and faith to show up to a place that he didn’t know what to expect to demand that his little girl be safe. I didn’t understand his actions at the time as being heroic – but they absolutely were. Thank you, Dad, for being the man who fought for me when I didn’t know I needed to be fought for.
Back to the story. Needless to say, at the time when this happened, I was less than thrilled with my parents. I was embarrassed that my dad showed up at my boyfriend’s house! I was angry that my parents didn’t understand my relationship with him – when in reality they did, which is exactly why they were trying to keep me away from him! I was so mad that they had taken my car away! I couldn’t believe that they had the gall to dictate and run my life the way they were trying to! All I wanted to do was run away, get out of there!
And so that’s what I did.
I ran away.
I packed up as much of “my stuff” that I could – essentially what I needed – clothes, books, music, a book shelf – and I left. I had a friend waiting outside my parents’ house to take me away.
Before I left, I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my parents. They were still trying to talk some sense into me. I refused to listen. I felt so sick to my stomach. We were all in tears. This was the first time I had ever seen my dad cry – it broke my heart. I knew that what I was doing was so indisputably wrong, but I couldn’t stop myself. Up to this point, this was truly the worst day of my life.
I left my parents’ house that night and went straight to my boyfriend’s apartment – which he had recently rented in anticipation of me coming to live with him. So much for subtle rebellion…
The next morning, I remember waking up and being physically ill. I was so sick to my stomach – I vomited all day long. I couldn’t face what I had done – I think I even tried to sleep most of the day so that I didn’t have to think about it.
I turned 17 years old about a month before this happened. So now I found myself 17 years old, living with a boy, still going to high school (I was a junior) and working. What on earth was I thinking?
This was a HUGE turning point in my life. I couldn’t claim the “perfect little angel” image that I had always portrayed. I was further away from God than ever before – I didn’t even talk to Him anymore. I now had the life that I had asked for. If only I had known what I was actually asking for…
What I Learned:
- LISTEN TO MY PARENTS!!! Believe it or not, they’ve been through some “stuff” that makes them credible to listen to – as if simply being my parents wasn’t enough reason to listen to them.
- Even though I thought that I knew what was best for me, I didn’t have a clue.
- There will be people in this world that will be there to tell me what I want to hear. It is up to me to decide who I will listen to.
- If there is something that is so blatantly obvious to those around me whom I love and trust, I should listen to them. I may be blind to the truth at the moment.
- The further and further away I got from God, the worse and less manageable my problems became.
- Do you listen to the warnings of others, especially those who are closest to you and who care deeply about your wellbeing and safety?
- Is there anything in your life that you are receiving warnings about today? Are you listening to the warnings?
- What are the warnings you are receiving today? Who is delivering the warning? Do you trust this person or people?
- What in your life is so blatantly obvious to those around you that you simply cannot see?
- Is God warning you about an aspect of your life today? Are you listening to Him?
- What do you need to change in your life today?