Chrissi Crawford (model Reese Witherspoon)Today, I’m going to let my character Chrissi Mae Crawford take over and write the blog post! I hope you like it, and this way you’ll get to learn a little bit about my book. I’m not too scared to let her take over. She’s pretty nice. ;D This is actually a snippet from my work in Progress.
Chrissandra “Chrissi” Mae Crawford is a teenager who lives in Florida with her parents, four younger siblings, and best friend. Chrissi has gone to a boarding school, but is now attending Washington High School for the last semester of her senior year. After high school and college, Chrissi hopes to become a counselor, get married, and have a daughter.
By Chrissi M. Crawford
Hi, guys! First of all, I’d like to thank Natalie for letting me get out of that scene to talk to you guys. I’d also like to thank all of you for reading this post. Natalie asked me to share the most important thing that I’ve learned since I’ve come back to America (I used to go to a boarding school in England) and to try to challenge you. Well there’s a few things I could say. I’ve learned that no one is as perfect as they seem. I’ve learned that it’s extremely important to trust God through everything. But I think this would have to be my most important lesson. Let me start at the beginning.
This was the sermon preached the night that I first attended youth group after coming back to America permanently.
Somebody came running up onto the middle of the stage. “Good evening, everyone! How are you?”
“Good!” most of the room said.
“Well for those of you who don’t know, I am Pastor Allen.” A few kids laughed at that, kids who I guessed to have gone to this youth group for most of their teenage life. “Welcome! Do we have any visitors?” He scanned the large crowd and his eyes landed on me. “Hi!” His booming voice made me jump. A few kids behind me snickered. “Would you like to introduce yourself?”
I looked at Sabrina having no idea what to do. She shrugged good-naturedly.
Pastor Allen laughed. “Don’t worry about it, kid. We won’t embarrass you.” He looked to Sabrina next to me. “Sabrina, do you know her name?”
Sabrina messed with a little microphone that was connected to the top of her shirt. She patted it a couple of times to test that it was on. “Chrissi Crawford. DeaEnna’s older sister.”
She shut off the mike.
Pastor searched the room, looking for who knows who. He found his “victim”. “DeaEnna, I’m shocked!” His tone mocked sternness. Pastor shook his head. “Leaving your sister all the way across the room, all by herself! And with Sabrina of all people.”
A few people laughed. Across the room I saw DeaEnna, trying to show oblivion. The tips of her ears were a shade of pink.
“Okay, people. Well teenagers. Listen closely to this. On Saturday what are we doing?”
A groan went through the room and Sabrina’s mouth lifted in a slight smile.
“It’s going to be fun!” He acted like he was angry, and I tried to decide if I liked him or if I thought he was a total joke. “At the Greg’s house, we are having our teen festival. It’ll be fun. Come, you’ll enjoy it! It’s from one in the afternoon to eight in the evening. They’ll be games, food,” someone cheered, “contests, and for all you girls….” He rolled his eyes. “You can sit in the house and catch up on gossip while stitching pillows.” Pastor grimaced. “But please don’t gossip. It’s wrong, not cool. It will get you nowhere in life, except for a lonely hole where you will be living. There you will make the decision to be a monk or a nun.” I laughed softly at that. I had learned too much about those types of people in England, and I knew his facts were so off.
After a few other announcements, like who would be helping in the nursery on Sunday, and who was in charge of bringing snacks for the preschool class, we sung a few songs. I didn’t recognize most of them, but I guess that they were what my school had called “Contemporary hymns”, but thankfully the music was on a sheet of paper in the pocket of the chair in front of us. We sung something titled “Awesome God”, “You are my All in All”, and “Lord I Lift Your Name on High.” I had heard that last one before in America last time I had come to visit. We finished out with “How Great Thou Art”.
Two hundred voices blended together making a beautiful sound (minus the girl in front of me who couldn’t hit a note after a B to save her life).
Pastor then started his sermon by saying “Today we are going to talk about forgiveness”. I smirked and thought of DeaEnna. She could so use this sermon. Sabrina looked at me and saw my expression. She looked amused herself.
I listened to it half-heartedly until the end when he said, “So far we have only talked about forgiving others the way Jesus has forgiven us. But guys, listen closely. If you can’t forgive yourself, how can you forgive others? If you can’t forgive yourself, how can you live for God?” His voice raised as he really got into the sermon. “God DIED for you. That was to cover ALL of your sins, not just the small things, but the big things too. God didn’t make you so you could live in regret. God didn’t make you so you could just live through the motions and wait for the day when this can all be over. I’ve talked to enough of you to know that no one in this room is near perfect. We all have our own problems and our struggles.
“But hear me out, friends. God died for you. You’re already forgiven. You’re forgiven and loved.” Pastor Allen looked down at the floor, seeming to almost get emotional over this matter. “I know some things you just can’t do on yourself, and this might be one of them, but what does Philippians 4:13 say?” He paused waiting for us to answer, and when no one did, he said, “Come on, all together.”
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthenth me.” The words echoed across the room. It was a verse I was familiar with from my personal Bible reading.”
Pastor Allen nodded in approval. “Exactly. That verse doesn’t tell you that you can do some things. It tells you ALL things. I can do ALL things. Tonight, pray to God and ask him to help you forgive yourself. Friends, let God’s hand work in your life. Let Him heal you. Let Him love you.” Pastor Allen walked back to the center of the stage. “Bow your heads and close your eyes.”
Heads went down all over the room.
“God, you know these people. I consider them friends, you consider them your children. Lord, you know their hearts. You know if they’re right with You or not. You know if they are going to heaven or if they haven’t made that decision yet. I pray that if anybody doesn’t know one-hundred and fifty percent sure that they are going to heaven, that they will come to you tonight.
“I pray for those who need to forgive somebody tonight. Whether it be a friend, a family member, or anyone who has hurt them in any way. Let these kids see the need of that, and let them put it all in your hands tonight.”
“I pray for the teenagers who need to learn how to forgive themselves. I pray that they’d come to you and ask you to help them. I pray that they’ll realize this is a sad, dangerous road they’re on.”
“Lord, be with each and every one of the teenagers here. Help the ones who struggle with gossiping. Help those who struggle with things much worse than that, even though all sin is the same in Your eyes.”
“Thank you for allowing us all to be here and bless this invitation time. Amen.”
To make a long story short, that night my sister forgave me for something I did, and I forgave myself. I guess this would have to be the most important thing that has happened to me since I came to America, and here the challenge: today, forgive somebody (maybe yourself).
Thanks for having me, Natalie!
Note From Natalie: I now have a Facebook page for both the blog and the book. http://Www.facebook.com/NatalieNoelTruittBlog and http://www.facebook.com/TenPromises
Coming up soon! I’m going to be hosting a writing contest. Details on that soon.