It is amazing to look into15-year-old Megan’s eyes as they light up when she tells about the changes in her life.
“My story is real,” she says. “There are people dealing with many of the same things I dealt with, and I want them to know there is hope. I want people to know God can change your life.”
Nineteen months ago, March 4, 2019, Megan’s mom picked her daughter up from the hospital where she was being treated for suicidal ideation. Mother and daughter had reached a dark place which neither had ever imagined. While attending a job fair, Megan’s mom met a recruiter from Camp Duncan for Girls and knew she needed to act. The next stop for her daughter was the residential wilderness program Baptist Children’s Homes operates in Moore County.
“I could not see how bad things had become,” Megan recalls. “I could not understand why I was going to be left by my mom at Camp Duncan. But there were few options. So, I decided to play the game until I was able to leave.”
Megan says her troubles began when she was seven and her parents divorced. She was watching cartoons when she learned her father would be leaving. She says the memory is vivid in her mind.
Her father’s addiction played havoc with her and her brother’s lives. There were canceled visits because he was drunk or high.
On one visit, she remembers coming into his apartment’s living room after waking in the morning to find bottles on the floor and her dad passed out.
“This was not what I wanted for my dad or my family,” she recalls. “I felt somehow to blame for the brokenness in my parents’ lives. It all became too much.”
When Megan entered her teen years, she began to act out. She had always been called the “tough cookie “ in the family, but now she was crumbling inside. The trouble erupting in her life caused her heart to harden more and more. It came to a point that she began cutting herself “to feel something–– anything.”
“I totally disconnected,” Megan says. “I became mean, and I was rude to adults. I thought it was cool to be on the edge—to make everything a drama. It was all a big joke to me.”
At the same time, her dad was losing his struggle with his addictions. Her mother began dating, and Megan thought none of the men were good enough for her mom: “I hated all of them.”
Her mother struggled to cope. She remembers thinking everything was okay––“It wasn’t that bad.”
Megan packs all her things from the tent she has called home at Camp Duncan. Her father, who has just completed a rehab program, her mother, and younger brother are coming for her graduation––she will be leaving with them.
“I can hardly remember the girl I was when I first arrived months ago,” Megan says. “The big turning point for me was when I accepted Christ and God became a part of my life. Just as amazing, my mom’s life has changed, too––she has opened her heart to Christ.”
Megan says things improved when she “gave up on the pity party.” Today, she is determined to make good choices and “do something good” in her life. Things are better with her parents and brother. Megan’s mom says the changes in her daughter’s life have impacted them all and “put Christ at the center” of their family.
Megan has learned many coping and life skills at Camp. She says the chiefs/counselors and other staff members have been an inspiration. “Everyone has been a blessing and brought joy into my life.”
This year at Thanksgiving, Megan and her family will have much for which to be thankful. She hopes to use her new cooking skills learned at Camp Duncan to impress her grandparents, aunts and uncles.
She plans to use a couple of dessert recipes that are favorites for her Pathfinder group.
“I’m trusting God,” Megan asserts. “I give Him my worries and burdens and rest knowing He has a plan for my life.”
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Article by Jim Edminson, Charity & Children Editor