I was 16 years old, and my world came crashing down around me. I had lost my entire circle of friends in a matter of 24 hours. To an insecure, timid high school girl, this was earth-shattering and rocked my world of everything I knew and understood. The details of how this all happened don’t matter now at the age of 32, but at 16, I was lost, floundering, and utterly alone.

I parted ways with this group right before summer vacation, heading into the heavily anticipated senior year. The summer that took place was the worst of my life, with nothing on my social calendar, and not many phone calls coming in. To say I was lonely would be an understatement; I was crushed, depressed, and void of a sense of who I was and why I mattered.

I wish I had known God back then like I do now. I wish I had known how much He loves me, and that I was important to Him, and that I was saved by His grace, and that’s all that matters. While dealing with being ousted from my comfort zone and the people I was most familiar with, I was so confused, with no sense of purpose or direction anymore as I was entering my final year of high school. I kept asking, “Why? What did I do to deserve this? How am I going to get through this?” I didn’t understand that God has a perfect plan for all of His children, and that we are not meant to understand why.

Isaiah 55:8-9 states, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (NIV). I don’t think I would have ever been able to wrap my teenage mind around this truth and been able to accept it. As I think about how I felt back then, the experience was so painful, and God felt so silent and absent.

But I pressed on. I matured. I changed and grew. All because of God and only God. Time lends itself to clarity, and through the trials were tough, I made it through because of His grace and love. Hawk Nelson sings in his song “Diamonds”, “He’s making diamonds out of dust./ He is refining/ in His timing/, He’s making diamonds out of us”. We must experience these trials and go through intense pressure to become who He has planned for us to be, so we can shine. Whether it’s losing a friend group, losing a loved one, dealing with a major health diagnosis, or whatever is putting pressure on you today, take comfort in knowing He is there, He knows why, and He loves you, no matter what.