I turned 20 about a month ago. And that age terrifies me.

I’m not a teen anymore and no longer a child. People expect me to do things on my own. And yet, I don’t want to be an adult.

I don’t yet want to be an adult because I was never really a teen. My mom died when I was 13. I felt abandoned; there was nobody to call from school when I wanted to go home. What is a home without a mother?

Although I have a loving father and brothers (I am an only daughter), they were mourning as well. I also felt that my father wouldn’t be able to help in certain situations, so I didn’t tell him about things that bothered me.

I had become an adult in a child’s mind and body.

But truthfully, there was always someone helping me. I was a child, no matter how many responsibilities I felt I had. People felt compelled to nurture me. Now, too, I wish people could see that my bleeding heart just wants to be mothered. But when they see me as an adult, people no longer help. They think I don’t need it.

I was in Israel with my friend and her mom. We went to the Kotel and my friend wasn’t feeling well. They told me they were going to get some food and come back. But then they had to leave and couldn’t reach me, so they left without me. The familiar feeling of abandonment came over me, even though I had managed to find my way back on my own the day before. I knew I could do it, I just didn’t want to do it alone.

Later on, we talked about it, and my friend’s mom reassured me, “I would not put you in a situation that I felt wasn’t safe. I knew you could do it. I believed in you.”

A lightbulb went off in my brain.

Oh, G‑d did not abandon me. He believed in me, He trusted me.

He took away my sense of safety and security, and I’m not sure if I will ever accept that. Yet, I recognize that He did not abandon me, although He did make it harder for me to see that truth.

I realize now that “adulting” does not always mean learning how to be self-sufficient. G‑d made us in a way that we really can’t be entirely self-sufficient. We need help from others, and being an adult is learning when and how to ask for it. And when I don’t get the help I ask for, it is about learning that G‑d has another plan. When one person says no, or one opportunity falls apart, not all is lost. G‑d has many messengers.

This year, I started learning Shaar Habitachon, the “Gate of Trust.” In Chapter 3, it says, "No creation has the power to help or harm himself, or help or harm another person without the permission of the Creator." This made me realize that I no longer need to rely on anyone. It is all in His hands!

So when things fall apart, perhaps G‑d is telling me this isn’t the right path; this isn’t working out because it is not supposed to. Or sometimes, He is telling me I can do it on my own. Although I feel like I need help, maybe I don’t. He trusts me and tells me, “You can do this!”

And yet, there are so many moments when I feel that I just want to turn into a little child. But growing up is realizing that I can trust myself because I trust in G‑d. I trust that G‑d has given me the tools I need to accomplish whatever it is.

As it says in Shaar Habitachon (chapter 4), "He Who fashioned me with a particular form and shape, with certain character traits and dimensions did so because this is what is best for me. He is the One who chose for me that my sustenance come about in ways that are most suitable for my purposes and not in some other ways." I am learning to open my eyes and heart to receive what G‑d has given me. Even if it is not in the way I expected or wanted, I will get exactly what I need, when I need it, in the way I need it.

Growing up is realizing this: “I can trust myself because I trust in G‑d. I trust that G‑d has given me the tools I need to accomplish whatever it is.” He gave me my personality, my talents and my upbringing. He gave me my strengths and my weaknesses. He gave me, me—the greatest gift I can have. And so, when life feels hard, when it seems that everywhere I turn doors close or opportunities go up in smoke, I am not lost. I never will be. G‑d is simply telling me that it’s time to take off my training wheels.

I’m standing on the precipice of a cliff and adventure awaits. I am scared, but I know there is a cord holding me. That cord is G‑d. I do not see the future. But I see that it will be a beautiful one.

I have dreams and goals. It’s time to achieve them, but it is not all on me. I have a partner. My partner is G‑d, and He is more reliable than any other partner I could possibly have. He believes in me more than I could ever believe in myself. He is cheering me on, always and forever. And my mother is definitely also pulling some strings up there. Her body left, but she never really left me because a soul never dies.

So I take a step into adulthood. But I do not take these steps alone.