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Tami McCandlish left school because she couldn’t take one more day of being bullied, but her story is not one of an awkward outcast.
Raised in a blue-collar community at the edge of Appalachia, Tami not only fit in, she stood out as an athlete, honor-roll student, and club leader, which made her a friend of many and an enemy of a group of girls who had targeted her happiness, success, and temper since fifth grade.
She dealt with their name-calling, gossip, and rumors until her senior year, when they created a swarm of noise she could no longer ignore, and she stood up to them—with devastating results.
Crushed by her sudden fall from popularity, she lost her sense of belonging, identity, and love for others. Doubting whether she could endure one more day of life, she found herself staring at a shotgun cabinet when she heard the words that would eventually change her life.
High school ended but shame lingered throughout college. As Tami faced the backlash of a professor, the dysfunction of her basketball team, and conflicts with her roommates, she saw the reflection of her bullies in others. The lies she had internalized compounded every relational disappointment, affected how she interacted with others, and left her struggling but determined to make sense of the rejection she had experienced.
Meditating on the crucifixion, she saw Jesus as her bullied Savior and reclaimed her worth in Him. As she continued to struggle socially, she learned how to worship, and a supernatural encounter transformed her ideas about friendship. By resisting isolation and using her gift of encouragement, she fought her way back to loving others.
Let the Bees Buzz reminds us that we cannot always control how people treat us, but we can decide how to react. Hurtful words and actions do not define who we are. Our worth is in Jesus, who shows us how to forgive our enemies, love again, and move forward in friendship.