Hi my name is Elizabeth Steinmetz, I grew up in a Christian home with three younger sisters and an older brother. My mom is a daycare provider in our home, and my dad was in the Army and is also working at Boeing. We lived a normal Christian life, we all looked good going to church every Sunday morning and Wednesday night for youth group. We read the bible and prayed each night before we went to bed as a family, and woke up early for devotions.
At the age of 11 my dad left for Iraq, during the 18 months that he was away I thought that I could not trust or depend on him. In that time my family moved from where we had been for seven years to a new place, and a new school. It was the first time I had been in school for four years, because me and my other siblings had been home schooled. I developed a habit of being lazy and not caring about anything, I rarely ever did any school work and got away with it because I had no one to keep me accountable. When my dad got back he was the guy to keep me in line. I hated it. My older brother and I were sticking together, manipulating everything to get what we wanted and always going to my mom if we wanted anything because my mom almost always said yes to us. I was going into middle school, and still struggling with being lazy. As the homework load got bigger, and the more I didn’t do, the more I got into trouble. By the end of seventh grade I was starting to cut myself because of all the stress and overwhelming amount of things I felt like I had to do. While I was at school my seventh and eighth grade years I didn’t talk much. Someone asked me if I could really talk at all. I went into a depression and had no good friends anymore. At home I lived a different life though, I was a happy and cheerful kid, my parents had no idea this was going on until they started to see the cuts on my arms. Once they found out I started to cut on my legs so they thought I was doing better, but on the inside I was feeling so alone.
My freshman year of high school I was doing a lot better, I had some friends at my church and at my school. I got into sports and played softball and my schooling was going a lot better. I finally was getting a C average for the first time in years because I had to have good grades to be playing softball. My softball coaches were the ones that saved my life for the rest of that year. I stopped cutting, and it seemed life was going a lot better. But something happened that I would have never expected. I came home early from school one day and was hanging out with one of my family friends, but he turned out to be someone different than I thought. That day he raped me in the basement of my house. The rest of that night I stayed in my room crying and if I had to talk to anyone I acted like everything was fine. I only could keep that in until I went back to school and on Tuesday I told one of my friends, she went and told her mom and word got back to my parents. Things started going out of control again. My dad called the police and got them involved, I was pulled out of class by a policeman and questioned by a detective in school, I even went in front of a jury and told them all what had happened. By the time softball ended I had started to cut again, and I had met some new friends that were horrible influences on me, and my life started to go down hill.
Softmore year came I was into drugs, and taking pills that would make me sleep. I started having sex because I thought it would make me feel better about myself, and I thought it would keep my boyfriend and I together. I played games with my boyfriends head a lot with the whole break up, get back together, break up, get back together things. I told him I was pregnant a few times to make him not leave me. I was using him to get that “love” that I was looking for. I had him wrapped around my finger, and I didn’t want to let go. This all went on for a few months before my parents found out. Once they did they asked me what I wanted to do, and I told them I wanted to run, or leave somewhere far away. Before I even thought about it I told my parents I wanted to go to a place called Vision of Hope. I didn’t think I would be excepted to go, because I didnt think my problems were that big of a deal. I thought that was just how life was for most people my age, and that someday I would grow out of it.
The next few weeks I was filling out paperwork to get into Vision of Hope. When I found out I was excepted it really hit me. It didn’t seem real to me that I would be really going to Indiana, because I lived in Portland Oregon, it was quite a big move for me. The time got closer and went by really fast, and before I knew it, I was moved in to VOH by January 6th. I was rebellious and rude to all the staff there, I told one of the counselors that I didn’t like them to their face, and was extremely disrespectful to all of them. I didn’t listen to my counselor when she was talking to me, or anyone for that matter. My roommate and me hated each other and fought all the time, one time we didn’t talk for four days straight. That went one for almost a month, and God did something amazing in my life on Feb 1st I asked Jesus Christ to come help me, I prayed that He would take all my sins away and I asked Him to be my Father, and He really did. My life changed from that day on. Me and my roommate stopped fighting and now we have a great relationship. But even after I was saved I still had to work through everything. The two hardest things for me to go through were submitting to authorities and loving other people. I worked on understanding on how to love others week after week before it clicked that loving others is about giving and not getting, and that it was a choice to love people. Now, I’m not saying that I am a pro at it, I still have to work on it daily.
The best thing was that God made me a new person and that He has forgiven me of all my sins. I just have to keep doing my part, in Ephesians 4:22-24 it says “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” This verse reminds me of my part, that I have put off all my old ways and put on the identity of being a daughter of Christ. I’m a changed person and I thank God that He is a God of mercy and love.