From her earliest years, Tabitha Eichelberger remembers longing to feel accepted by her peers.   Her dream was to be the prom queen- that would surely mean she was popular and had friends who loved her for who she was.  She couldn’t fathom that a few short years later, she would wear the crown, and yet still feel lonely and isolated.

As Tabitha entered high school, she observed a very rigid social system.  The “royal court” of popularity seemed closed to her.  Repeated attempts to build true friendships failed.  At times, she experienced outright rejection- joining a group of “friends” at the lunch table, only to have everyone get up and leave.  Or walking up to a circle of friends and attempting to join a conversation, only to have everyone go silent. Year after year, she struggled to find acceptance and friendship.  Even when she found herself crowned the queen of the prom, she experienced rejection from peers.

Although she had few friends, God put other people in her life who could remind her of her worth and that she was loved.  Her relationship with her mother became one of the most important.  Her mom was a rock, always there to provide comfort, perspective and hope.  And more than anything, her mother prayed constantly.  She prayed for wisdom, and prayed with Tabitha on the way to school.  Her mother made sure there were other adults in Tabitha’s life that could listen, show love, and remind her of her worth.

When Tabitha looks back on the awful years of high school, time has given her some perspective.  She says she wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone, but now, as an adult, she’s grateful for what she learned.  More than anything, that season forged a confidence in her- that she is loved and accepted by God, even when she doesn’t find that with friends.  Day after hard day, she was forced to rely on God for strength.  She grew to know that He loved her, even when she felt unloved.

Tabitha’s hope is to help teenage girls who are struggling.  She has written her story in a book, “Diary of a Lonely Prom Queen: Reflections on Parenting Teenage Girls from a Teenage Survivor.” It’s a window into the world of adolescence, and it’s a practical guide for parents and grandparents who want to help their kids navigate the teenage world.  Filled with stories of her personal experience, it also includes tools parents can use along the way.

Hear Tabitha’s story in Chapter 36 of Epic.

Diary of a lonely prom queen - Tabitha Eichlberger

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