Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (01/23/20)
TITLE: Freedom at Last
By Robyn Harbour
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
When I was 7 my parents got tangled up with a legalistic pastor who had his own stand-alone church. At the time my parents felt the teaching in their church was weak and his theology appealed to them.
We traveled 2 hrs each way to his church each Sunday and eventually moved to the same city. My mother hero-worshipped this man and thrived under his ministry. The weirder the theology, the more she sacrificed, the more she embraced it.
We became isolated from reality and community. There were only 3 families in the church. Us teenagers wore dresses that were 3 inches below our knees when the mini was in fashion. We had long hair, no jewelry, and no makeup. Even the styles were dictated to us, no slingback shoes, no knee-high boots. TV, radio, magazines, fiction novels, and newspapers were all banned. Friendships with other Christians were not allowed.
Church meetings seven night a week, door knocking each Saturday. By the age of twelve, I was preaching mini-sermons on street corners each weekend.
My mother took things much further, praying all day in her prayer room, and fasted regularly, a few up to 40 days long. She worked for the church to the point that we were neglected. She manipulated us spiritually and was very abusive. My father eventually left the church and the family.
At school I had no friends, I looked different, my uniform was longer than the other girls. I no knowledge of popular music etc. I was not allowed to play sport, go to Christian Education Classes, or school camps or excursions.
I had no idea how other families operated but deep down knew that somehow ours was different.
We didn’t celebrate Christmas but wanting to be like other children I would lie about what I was getting, then lie about what I got. I used to make up stories about what I had done at the weekend. It is so hard to be different.
I dreamed of leaving, but knowing nobody in the outside world, except a few people at my work, there seemed to be no way of escape. I also believed what I was told, that our church was the only one going to heaven, and to leave would send me to hell.
With this type of culture ( we had to be the perfect Bride of Christ), the grapevine was alive. Every sin and misdemeanor was carried to the pastor. Then he would preach at the perpetrator from the pulpit and the meeting would not finish until that person came down the front and repented. We were constantly manipulated by him. It was a very toxic environment.
Eventually, when I was 24 I was invited to a work function in another city. I decided to go. It was a Saturday night, which meant missing the Saturday night church meeting.
My mother pleaded with me not to go as I would be in deep trouble if I did. It was a battle, but I went. The next morning at church the Pastor walked down to where I was sitting, he pointed at me and said; ‘you are stubborn and rebellious, get out and don’t come back.’
I jumped up in fright and ran out the door. My mother told me I had to leave home as I was now a bad influence on my younger siblings. It was a lonely time as I found somewhere to board.
I started attending an Evangelical church. The pastor on seeing how screwed up I was, took me under his wing. He slowly taught me the basic Christian doctrines. I only knew 'Though shalt not', I knew nothing about love, grace, sanctification, justification, etc. My new Christian friends helped me shed my old dowdy persona and adopt a more acceptable wardrobe and hairstyle.
At 25 I married into a wonderful Christian family. My husband is my best friend. We went to Bible College, became pastors, and served as missionaries overseas. Real-life for me started at 24.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.