I’m gonna step away from my normal postings for one post to talk about what has been on my heart lately. As I am now a dedicated Christian, I wasn’t always. I feel it’s important as a believer to talk about your experiences and share the good and the bad.
I grew up as a Preacher’s Kid (or as my fellow Preacher Kid’s call it PK) and for the majority of it I loved it! I will say that some of it had its downfalls, but as a child I enjoyed every second of it. Now this is not saying that PK’s have a hard time, that is not true at all! My story is just one of the few that had it’s difficulties.
Some of my favorite memories as a kid was being apart of the church. There was something about being a Preacher’s kid that made me feel special. I looked up to my daddy and had the greatest respect for him. As a child, he was almost God himself (well the right hand man at least) to me! To this day I remember learning the stories of the Bible and just being in awe. I loved Sunday School (my mom was my teacher!) and eventually got saved during class! I remember sitting in the front row during the sermon and trying my best to not fall asleep so dad didn’t point me out in his sermon (he always made a habit of calling me out mid sermon). The first Sunday of every month we had Dinner-on-the-Grounds (never understood why we always ate at tables if it was meant to be on the ground?) right after service, which was always a feast (we were Baptist). I had my family and then I had my church family. What kid could ask for more?
Now I’m gonna take a second to give you some background information. Before I was even born and my sister was young, my parents decided they were going to move from Florida to start a church plant in Delaware (my dad’s home state). There weren’t any churches there from our church association, so my dad thought it would be the best place to start. Our church building moved from place to place until we finally found home in Smyrna, DE right in town in an old store front. We spent about 10 or so years there until we found a bigger, better location in Clayton, DE. This is where our church hit it’s highest point. We had a sister church that supported us in Maryland, over 50 members were coming each Sunday; our youth group was growing, and we had finally paid off the land for our future church building. Church planting, if anyone knows it, can be extremely stressful and can face many hardships. My family definitely went through those hardships. Getting from our tiny storefront church to our big church brought a lot of financial struggle and loss on my family. When the fire happened, that was the end of it.
I was 14 years old when one night during a youth group lock-in at my church, a fire started in the kitchen. Even worse, I was the one that found the fire starting, it was coming from the floor where the electrical box was right above. I immediately ran to my youth leader to tell him, but when we got back to the kitchen, the fire had already started up the wall. We got everyone out, but by the time the fire department came (they were practically right across the street), it was too late. The church building that brought us so much joy and security, was gone. The words “devastated” couldn’t even describe what we felt. The person that took it the hardest, my father.
Imagine for a second, you put your blood, sweat, and tears into building something for the Lord’s glory and all of a sudden it is gone. It truly was the breaking point for my father. As a family we had been through so much. My parents had already been struggling in their marriage with the burden of the church and their “image” on their backs. My father was going through a difficult time in his life that I am sure had to do with wanting to be a great preacher as well as facing personal demons. This was the moment my father lost his will to fight for God.
Of course I did not know at the time, but it was the point in my dad’s life that he became angry with God. I don’t begin to know how my dad felt; all I know is that I was angry too. How could God let this happen? Were we not doing what He wanted? We’re we not faithful servants? This is when things started to go down hill.
From this point on our family started to crumble. My father was still preaching. We were now meeting in my high school auditorium on Sundays, and his heart just wasn’t into it. A few months prior our church moving to Clayton, my dad had opened a bookstore in Smyrna, and now he was spending more and more time there and less and less with us. My parents marriage started falling apart, and for my entire 8th grade year my mother did not share the same bed as my dad. In 9th grade my dad wasn’t even allowed to stay at the house. It got to the point that my parents marriage was in such bad shape. I was the one that begged my mom to divorce my dad. It’s not what I truly wanted, but my mother was so depressed I just couldn’t stand it anymore.
My 10th grade year was horrible. I was angry at both my father and God. I wanted nothing to do with either. I rebelled and was in a very deep depression. To me, God did not love us or want us anymore. During this time, my dad was still preaching and due to some complications with my father and the school district we were no longer able to meet at the high school. We were now meeting in a senior community center. We had to pretend we were still a family at the request of my dad. Not only that, but I was a teenager that was trying to find herself and failing miserably at it. My life was a Degrassi episode.
At the end of 10th grade my parents got a divorce, and my dad finally told the church. I stood my ground and told my parents that I could no longer live this lie and that I would not be going to church anymore. That year was the worst year of my life and in so many ways. My relationship with my father was in pieces and it wasn’t until the following year that we reconciled. My dad was my whole entire world growing up, and to see him in this destructive and miserable state was very tough for me. It broke my heart, and it took a couple years for it be repaired.
After that year, my life slowly started to get back into order. I was still very upset with God, but instead of dwelling on it, I decided to go to therapy. It was the best thing for me–when I look back now, it was God at work. God was helping me without me even knowing it nor really wanting it (he does that a lot!).
Growing up a Christian, especially on the pedestal of it, had many ups and just as many downs. Regardless, I wouldn’t change it for anything. I am now deeply in love with the Lord. I wrap myself in the joy of seeing Him at work in my life and especially in others. God was at work in my life even when I wanted nothing to do with Him. I can look back now and appreciate that. When I look at other children that are Christians, I savor in the moments when they truly grasp God and are excited to learn about His goodness. When I see children or teenagers that are struggling, I take time for them to be that Christian adult that I didn’t have. I know now that God wrote my story so I may be a blessing unto others. That’s what God does, He puts us through trials so we may grow stronger in our faith towards Him. I pray that the Godly children of this world will be blessed and watched over, just as I am.
“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
Who have been called according to his purpose.”