“You look like a Jezebel with all of that paint on your face! I can’t even imagine a child of the preacher looking like such a hussy!”
Her words stabbed like a dagger through my heart and robbed the smile from my face. I was only twelve years old, but I had a tender heart. I always wanted to make my daddy, a well-respected preacher, proud of me, and I wanted God to be proud of me, but it seemed lately, no matter how hard I worked to keep that fake grin plastered to my face and the façade of perfection intact, the most I could muster was to be an enormous let-down.
I turned to walk away, but my feet sprinted toward the church bathroom. I looked into the gold trimmed mirror, and rubbed the small smudges of mascara from my eyes with my tears and the heel of my hands. “You’re so stupid,” I verbally battered myself. I guess that’s probably where the self-abuse began.
(Now, excuse me if I go somewhere with this that you do not want to travel. If that’s the case, turn back now because that means this entry is not intended for you. This is not the normal HAPPY-go-Misty entry, but rather one that leads you to how I found my happy.)
Many people often tease, “You know ‘Pastor’s kids.’ They’re always the worst.” People may say it seriously, or they may say it in jest, but please realize, either way, the weight that those words hold over children. CHILDREN!!! Children do not get to choose whether their parents are doctors, druggies, or pastors. They simply are born into the family in which they are born. They don’t choose their parents or their professions, and please do not take this to mean that I did not love my home-life. If you’ve read my posts of my childhood, you will see that I recognize that I was blessed by the amazing parents and sisters that I have; however, this is my paraphrased story…my journey to Jesus, hope, and peace. One day, I may write it ALL down, but for today, I believe God placed this on my heart for someone in particular. If this is you, keep reading!
As a pastor’s child, I ran from God for years. I saw the judgement of God, as the church members calculated all of us pastor’s kids’ sins. I saw the pressure of God, as we were preached the commandments of God. I saw the fun-squashing side of God, as we were told it was a sin to go to school dances, be in cheerleading, or even do “jazzercise.” (Ummm, that term doesn’t date me, does it? LOL) I saw the “hell, fire, and brimstone” part of God, as we were preached how God would judge our sins and the motives of our hearts…how He knew our deepest, darkest thoughts, and how they’d be displayed for EVERYONE to see.
I RAN!!!! I ran as hard and as fast as I could from this God that seemed like he was a stalker, a creepy old man, peeping through my windows, just waiting to catch me doing something wrong. I just KNEW I’d do something wrong. I always messed up. No matter how hard I tried to be GOOD, I always failed…EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!
So, day after day of self-verbal-degradation, I still could not batter myself into perfection, and so the physical abuse began. I still remember weeping as I beat my head against the wall. I remember closing my hair in the door and ripping my head away, trying to force myself to be that Barbie version of a “Christian,” and never making mention of an inappropriate incident that had happened to me because I was so sure it happened because I was such a bad person. I was so sure it was a part of that judgement of God that my Sunday School teacher always barked at me about.
One day, I sat on the school bus riding home, and I overheard some boys discussing what it must be like to “do a preacher’s daughter.” They chuckled as they peered over the seat. “Oh, never mind, nobody would wanna have sex with that ugly thing.” He elbowed the other, and the two chuckled together.
My eye twitched, as the anger and hatred swelled inside of my chest. Something inside of me snapped, and I stood up and marched off of the school bus. It wasn’t even my stop, but I would walk the rest of the way home. That was the day that I decided to end it all: the madness, the anger inside of me, the God that didn’t care anything about me except whether I lived up to His standards. I was DONE! COMPLETELY DONE!!!
When I got home, I dropped to the floor in my room. I had my weapon in hand, and I sobbed. This was going to be it! And at least my parents would have two other daughters of which they could be proud. Just then, I uttered a few words, “God, if you ever cared about me at all, then you’ll stop me…even with all my screw ups.”
This is what I want you to really see in this post. If you don’t catch anything else, please note this…THIS IS WHERE GOD DWELLS!!!! He will ALWAYS ANSWER the desperate prayers of His creations.
Does God judge? Yes! He is perfect, and judgement of sin is reserved for Him alone—not because He has nothing better to do, but because He wants us to be with Him, and sin cannot exist within the presence of a completely HOLY GOD, so that’s why Christ had to die—to cleanse us of our sins. Do NOT take that gift lightly, but recognize it for ALL of its UGLINESS and all of its LOVE!
Christ died, to cleanse us of OUR sins, so that WE could be with God, WITHOUT judgement. There is nothing we could ever do to earn perfection, but rather it is a completely sacrificial GIFT from God for us…the ones He loves. Does God expect us to live lives of order? Yes! He is a God of order, and He created order to HELP us, not be a hindrance to us, to ruin our fun, or be a barricade to separate us from Him, so when we focus on that order (those rules and laws) and do not include ALL OF GOD, then we miss this…
Our God is THE GOD OF LOVE!!! He is the God of second chances. He is the God of renewal and new beginnings. He is the God of HOPE and HEALING. He is the God that wants us, not because of how clean we are, but simply because He loves us. He never intended for us to follow a bunch of rules. He’s not OSHA. HE IS GOD!!!!!
He doesn’t expect us to clean up to meet with Him. He expects us to welcome Him in, and let HIM clean us up. That’s what makes Him different from ANY OTHER GOD!
So, I met Jesus that day…runny mascara, snot-nosed, bulgy red eyes, and he accepted me. He accepted me just as I was. That day began a new journey for me. I met the one that calms the waters. I met that one that exchanged my tears for a smile. I met that ONE that never turns away ANYONE that earnestly wants Him. How many of us have bounced over this little jewel in 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 to get to the part about whether it’s a sin to eat food that is not “kosher?”
Seriously marinate in this:
“…while knowledge makes us feel important, it is LOVE that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.”
So, how did my life change that day? First, my parents never stopped praying for me from the day they noticed that I began to change until this very day. Never stop praying for your loved ones, for prayer alters the course of lives, but when Jesus stepped on the scene, that was when I laid down EVERYTHING to follow Him and the rest melted off my heart and just didn’t matter anymore.
I didn’t care what others said. It didn’t matter who thought I was “a Jezebel.” My Jesus loves me, and He chooses to live in MY heart, and wherever He is, there is joy.
Am I perfect now? I’m an ordained minister and a co-pastor (along with my husband), and we have three “Pastor’s kids” of our own. I am a children’s pastor. I am a professional writer that writes about Jesus and hope in Christ. I have preached to thousands, and still, I mess up, and yet, Jesus continues to love me. He still daily accepts me, and, every morning, He gives me new mercy and grace and we work on perfecting me together once again.
That’s my God, the ONE that never leaves or gives up on me. He is my hope, my joy, my salvation, my healing. He broke my chains and introduced me to freedom. He is mine, and I am His. If you don’t know Him, then let me introduce you to my friend, JESUS. He takes broken lives and makes them completely new.