WHAT KIND OF FAMILY ENVIRONMENT DID YOU GROW UP IN?
I grew up in a happy, stable home environment. The town I was raised in was small and quaint. While attending the Mennonite Brethren Church with my family, my brother and I also participated in VBS, Christian Summer Camp, Youth Group, etc.
WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP DID YOU HAVE WITH GOD?
I accepted Jesus into my heart at age seven. I believe I knew what it meant but didn’t understand the dynamics of it. Around age eleven or so, I had many questions about God such as, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
This really affected my relationship with my “church friends” as I was “rebelling” against Mennonite culture by asking so many questions. Although others mentored and cared for me, I was already fairly lost and angry with God. My relationship with God continued this way into my young adult years.
I believed in God and wanted to believe He was good, but I never felt He loved me. The enemy also reminded me of how much I was a failure and not good enough. I know of course today that I don’t need to earn God’s love because of His mercy and grace towards me.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE STRUGGLES YOU WERE DEALING WITH GROWING UP?
I was a redheaded late bloomer. I was bullied from kindergarten until the day I graduated high school. I don’t think anyone should ever underestimate the power of a bully. I should also mention, I started school young and went to college when I was only seventeen. I wasn’t ready.
During my tween years, I fell in love. It wasn’t a silly puppy love. I really, truly fell in love. The Fish (His nickname because there was no other “fish in the sea” for me) wrote me my first love letter and took me on my first date (we went mini-golfing). Halfway through the second semester of high school, he broke up with me for another girl. That experience sent me into my first major bought of depression and suicidal thoughts.
On my nineteenth birthday after many on and off relationships with “The Fish”, broke my heart for the last time. Again, I spiraled into another period of depression. It got so bad that I had to drop out of college and move back home.
So much of that first relationship formed and affected how I thought about myself; I never saw myself as worthy enough. Combine that with being bullied and feeling like God didn’t really love me, I looked for approval and inclusion wherever I could find it.
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