Marissa’s Story

Detours Don’t Last Forever

Marissa Mead

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On September 24th, four years ago, it was homecoming week of my junior year. I was sitting in 3rd period English (dressed as hulk) when I got called down to the office for my grandpa to tell me, “Everyone is okay… Your house is on fire.” That flipped my world. About a million thoughts went through my head while I watched it burn, but before I went back to school to get the few belongings I still had, my last thought was, “This happened for a reason.” Amongst all the chaos I felt, He had to know what He was doing.

The days, months and even years my family spent trying to recover was the hardest I’ve experienced. The stress of the process of rebuilding, the financial struggle we all of a sudden faced, and the emotional reality that I lost everything weighed so heavy. I didn’t understand how a tragedy that affected my entire family could be experienced in so many individual ways, which ultimately made me feel alone.

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My younger brother was just young enough to not quite understand and my older brother was in his first year of college here at GV. So there I was, understanding what was going on, listening to my parents stress and knowing there wasn’t a single thing I could do about it, except do my best to act like I was okay and not put any extra burden on my family. My closest friends growing up knew I wasn’t a very emotional person. They never experienced being around me where I wasn’t okay. So my worries were less toward the struggles I was going through, and more toward making sure those around me understood that I was still okay so they wouldn’t be uncomfortable around me.

A couple hours after my house burnt, I drove to the store to get new volleyball gear because I had a game that night and I needed to play because I was the captain of my team. They wouldn’t have known what to do if I all of a sudden wasn’t okay. I played in the game because I knew those people were depending on me. And that’s how it went, for the last two years of high school and even into college. I did what I needed to do for the people around me, and bottled up the pain and stresses of my crashing world so that no one around me felt uncomfortable. I was broken, and that didn’t change in college. I felt numb. I went through the motions and by the end of my freshman year and going into my sophomore year, I was so unhappy. I didn’t have the right kind of friends, I was putting energy into all the wrong people and things, and it wasn’t until I joined a life group that it started to change.

My faith journey is new and there’s so much more to learn, but feeling the love of God made every bit of numbness go away in the last year. I’ve made huge strides in my faith by letting go of the negative people in my life, getting involved with events through CM, the Passion conference being a really big one, and now this year joining the Care Team. I feel like myself again, and I feel like I don’t need to hide my brokenness anymore. That’s the most incredible feeling. I found happiness here, from my life group girls, from Ben Post listening to me cry for a good hour the first time he met me, and from this wonderful community.

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