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Nicole breaks grasp of past

December 4, 2013

By Jim Edminson

Christmastime can be the best time ever, especially when you are surrounded by people who love you, you feel safe, and you have a new relationship with Jesus.

“I like getting presents,” 15-year-old Nicole shares. “But this Christmas, I see the importance of Jesus’ birth. I’m truly ready to celebrate this year. It will be the best ever.”

It’s hard to imagine that only five months ago Nicole was standing before a judge and facing a probationary sentence. The petite, raven-haired teen’s life had been turned upside down. Her single father moved them to a new town because of a job transfer. The two settled into their community and Nicole began attending a new school. Then life spiraled downward for her.

“I’d never moved before and it was kind of scary,” Nicole says. “It was a new start and I had begun to look forward to it, but I wasn’t treated the way I had hoped.”

More and more children and teens are facing cruel bullying. Nicole was added to the statistics. People who she never would have expected began making school a nightmare.

“I’ve been pushed down stairs and against walls,” she says solemnly. “These were kids that everyone thought were great – cheerleaders and straight-A kids. It became a bad place for me.”

At what seemed like the lowest point for Nicole, a group of students reached out to her. They welcomed her into their circle. They began by telling her that they were her friends and that they would treat her differently than the other kids who were making her life miserable. Nicole felt hopeful.

Gangs and drugs had never touched her life. In her hometown, these things had never raised their ugly heads. Before Nicole could recognize what was happening, she was trapped in a horrifying place.

“I knew what I was doing was wrong and that I’d get into trouble, but I was going to do it because of the people I was with,” she says.

They began to manipulate her and make her think what was good was bad and what was bad was good.

“I was thinking everything I did bad was the right thing, but I was wrong,” she confides. “I see now how fast I messed up.”

And then what Nicole treasured most was about to be crushed. Her new friends told her that her relationship with her father was a lie. He was against her and she needed to break ties.

“I found myself fighting with my dad all the time,” she says. “I wrecked our relationship. At that time, I just didn’t care about him or anything. I only thought about what my friends wanted.”

It took the strong arm of the law to break the grasp the gang had on her life. After a dark night incarcerated, she came to Baptist Children’s Homes. “I never imagined it would be so beautiful. Everyone welcomed me with open arms. They made me feel like it was not just a job for them – they do what they do for all the kids.”

Nicole still fears her friends – the gang that hurt her and her father. But life is different. There are people around her who protect her and make her feel safe.

She is working hard to regain the trust and respect of her dad. She looks forward to daily devotions in the cottage and asks lots of questions as her faith grows.

“I’m a better person because of all this,” she says. “I’m becoming what God wants me to be.”

You can help make hope possible for children like Nicole by making a gift to Baptist Children's Homes. Please give online at to help immediately.