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Hi, my name is Stasya. And this is my world.

When I was 5 years old my parents got divorced. Me, my brother and my mom started to live with my step-father. He was cruel to us, I hated him and wished that they would get divorced. As a child I always wanted to dress nice and fashionable and be accepted by my friends. But my family was poor and we couldnít afford the fancy clothes that I wanted so much. All the other girls would laugh at me because my clothes werenít as nice as theirs. Because of this I had such low self esteem. I felt alone and useless to everyone around me.

When I was 11 some of my relatives invited my mother to church, and I ended up going with her. That day I asked God to be a part of my life, and I joined the Sunday School there. I really enjoyed it, however there were a lot of things that I didnít quite understand. I didnít find any true friends there and soon I started to slip away from my relationship with God.

I started to hang around the cool guys from neighborhood and from school. I saw how everyone accepted these guys and I wanted to be just like them. I started to drink and smoke so people would accept me. I wanted to be accepted so bad that I would imitate cool girls that I would hang out with in every way. I was doing all of this while still going to church and pretending everything was okay. But I wasnít. No matter what I did, I was still hurting on the inside. I was suffering from my own hypocrisy, not being who I really was for fear of rejection. I just wanted to be loved.

When I was 16, I realized that even though I was living this double life I was still empty. There wasnít a real sense of love or acceptance in my life from the friends I had. All the time I was comparing the relationships I had at the neighborhood with the relationship I could have with God. I realized that only God could give such friendship and love I'd been searching for. I decided to put my focus back on God and church. I remember asking God from the bottom of my heart for forgiveness for all the mistakes I had made; for not being confident and comfortable with myself and trying to be someone that I wasnít. And you know what, I felt such a love and acceptance come over me.

I had been searching for a long time to be accepted and trying to be cool, but it was God who helped me to overcome the feeling of being useless. I didnít have to be dependent on other people's opinion to have a sense of acceptance, His love was more than that for me. He showed me how precious I am to Him. I now live in the confidence and love that He gives me. I'm so happy and I know that I can be who I am without all the pretending and faking. I am now working with the teens in my church. I want them to know about Godís love and acceptance. I know that if He has done that for me, He also will do it for you.

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