• Sheila Harkins

Teen Tuesday #8 (Michaela)

You are going to love meeting Michaela! I felt God place Michaela on my heart to pray for when she was a sad, confused middle schooler. It was a very sweet gift from God that He allowed me to really know Michaela in her high school years and to get to watch His love transform her. She is a gifted leader, an empathetic listener and a courageous young lady!

Meet Michaela!

I'm Michaela Gentry, and I am a sophomore middle childhood education major at Cedarville University. I'm almost 20 years old. I like to dance, I work in a theater professionally at my college, I love making origami cranes, I love science, I’m a quarter Italian, and I'm 5’1 or 155 cm!

Tell us some about your background:

I was born in Bangkok, Thailand. Then in 2001 I moved back to the United States for 4 years. In 2005 my family and I moved back to Thailand, and I lived there until I graduated from International Community School in 2018. I was born and raised Christian, but my relationship didn't really become my own till later in my teen years.

Can you share with us about your spiritual journey?

I have struggled with many mental health issues: depression, anxiety, and OCD, since my early teen years. It took me a long time to learn how to balance accepting that my struggles will happen, but that doesn't make my relationship with God any less real. I can still have mental health issues, but be able to have a relationship in Christ. It was hard to accept that for me. I struggled a lot with asking God why he would give me mental health issues if he was really good. Over the years I have come to realize that there are hard things that we all have to deal with. They are all a result of sin, but we can see God through it and become closer to Him. 

Through my teen years I also spent a lot of time trying to cater to guys and what they thought of me. I was always looking for a guy to make me feel loved. This all kind of stemmed back to my low self-esteem and fears of not being good enough for anyone, so I chose any guys that would like me. I did anything to make them continue to like me. It really wasn't good, but through it, I have learned that I need to find my identity in Christ and his love is all I really need. It has been a long journey to realize that, but I am stronger in my spiritual walk than I have ever been. I definitely regret so many of the choices I made, but I have grown closer to the Lord through it all. 

  That is a little bit of my story. Through it I have really learned that the only person whose love I really need is Christ, and there are different things that we all struggle with but God can overcome it all.

What insights have you learned that you would want to pass along to teens?

As a teen I really wished that people let me know it was ok to make mistakes. I had the belief that it was never ok to make mistakes, but no matter what, we will mess up. There is redemption and forgiveness though.

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