I didn’t come from a household that believed in God. As a matter of fact, my family was against the church. I perceived that God wanted me to be perfect, but knew that I could not be, so he picked on me. Everything was about rules and obedience. I had a responsibility: to take care of my sister and to be perfect. But I knew that I could not, so I failed myself, my family, and God every day.
As I’ve mentioned before, I had a step family that was always in and out of the house. In essence, our families did not ever come together as one. It seemed to be my sister, my mom, and I against my stepfather and his two kids. I secretly wanted an escape, but did not know how to get one.
When my parents got divorced, my dad started dating a Christian. She had a daughter my age who quickly became one of my best friends. They were always asking me to go to church. I went sometimes to make my friend happy. I didn’t really see anything special about going. We went to events where kids played games and listened to stories (stories that I don’t really remember).
My mom was very much against me going to church. I could easily get out of things by calling my mom. If I didn’t want to go to church, I would call my mom, and she would call my dad and say that she was picking me up. I didn’t have to do anything that made me uncomfortable.
One day, we were at Wendy’s. As I stuffed my Frosty into my mouth, my dad asked, “Do you want to see your friend today?” I always saw my friend on Fridays…why would that day be any different? I nodded. “Well, she’s going to youth group. So you’re going with her.” Youth group is like church but for teenagers. So many thoughts raced through my head: I was going to be judged; people were going to know my past; I can not go to church.
Under the table, I sent a text message to my mom: “Dad is taking me to church. Help!” She replied, “That sounds great, honey. Have a good time.” Really? The woman who didn’t want me going to church is actually letting me go?
I went there, and I actually had a good time. We played games in teams, and I made a few friends. Nobody asked me about my past or my insecurities. People did not judge me like I thought, but gave me a reason to want to go back. At the end of the night, we made bracelets and listened to the pastor talk. I heard for the first time that God was not angry at me, but that he wanted to be my friend. He did not expect me to be perfect; he just wanted me to love him. On that night, I made a decision to trust God. This decision resulted in a journey that brought me to peace.