Saturday, October 18, 2008
My parents became Christians when I was around 2, so I grew up in a Christian home. But I did not become a Christian until I was older. I don’t remember saying “the prayer” when I was younger, but I always told people I had. Unfortunately my life did not follow a Christian walk. I didn’t really understand what being a Christian meant. I thought that if I said I knew God and believed that He existed then I would go to heaven. Between the ages of 6 and 12 I developed really hurtful habits because I was being verbally hurt by others. I was physically and verbally abusing my younger siblings, I was blackmailing my sister into pretending to perform sexual acts with me, and I was a liar. On top of that, the thoughts that I had were all but Christian like. All of this I kept hidden from my parents. I made my siblings fear me so they wouldn’t tell our parents. To this day, I don’t think my parents know the extent of my abusiveness to them. At the end of summer in 2000, I was 12 at the time, a guest preacher at a camp I was attending challenged the campers with a question – “Can you honestly look at yourself and say you are a Christian”. My automatic thought was “yes”. After all, I did believe there was a God and I had thought up until that point that what I had been previously been doing was ok. God didn’t think so. A spirit of conviction came over me and I really started to question whether or not I was really a Christian. After several weeks, I decided I wasn’t and didn’t want to be. My parents were disappointed, but they supported my decision. I took the opportunity to enjoy being mean to my siblings, and so I increased the abuse quite a bit, but not enough that my parents would find out. It felt like my world was out of control and I had no way of stopping it. A huge hole developed in my life, and hard as I tried I couldn’t get it to go away on my own. I realized that when I had said I was a Christian, my world had felt under control. I didn’t take long for me to realize that I needed to truly become a Christian. So I did, for “fire insurance” (passage to heaven) more than anything. And I knew it would make my parents happy, but I had no real intention of really changing my pattern of behavior. God had other plans. I started being convicted of the different bad habits I had. Slowly God started changing me. I stopped the previous bad habits against my siblings, but I still struggled with a lot of stuff. There were a lot of barriers I had put up throughout my life so I wouldn’t get hurt and so my parents wouldn’t find out who I really was. I was wearing a mask. When I was 17, I broke away from my family and attended a different church. It was there that I decided I wanted a relationship with God and not just “fire insurance”. I committed my life to God, to have a relationship with Him, and to try as hard as I could to live my life in a way that would please and glorify Him.