Growing Up as a Preacher's Daughter

When I was born, I was a famous baby—loved by all in the church. I grew up with a lot of good people surrounding me. There were many who helped my parents raise me. When I was four, my parents split up, taking me to my grandparent's house three hours away. For the rest of my childhood, I was in the permanent custody of my mother and saw my father every other weekend. My dad was still preaching but to a smaller crowd. Every time I saw him, I asked so many questions about the Bible and the stories he told. I constantly questioned my beliefs and why I was following this religion that didn't make me feel anything. I learned from watching and listening to my dad that when you truly have faith in something, it gives you a cushion, something to go to when you are lost and can't comprehend your feelings. Something that is there when you need it with answers, comfort and forgiveness.

brunette girl with red nail polish and wedding ring Photo by Giulia Bertelli from Unsplash

I wasn't raised with a choice, and no one ever asked me what I thought about my father's messages. Good thing they didn't, because little me would have said "bullsh*t." A lot of my friends in middle school were Christian and went to church with their parents. Sometimes I would tag along because the church made me think of my dad. After my parents split, my mom refused to go to church. This made no sense to a four-year-old, and I started to miss the Sunday tradition. Being able to experience it again as a teenager made me love being part of the crowd again. The community was the best part. I was baptized again during my freshman year of high school and continually made my father happy. We discussed many things, but I still questioned many of the Bible's teachings. I never heard anything from the man upstairs. I never felt that cushion when I was in a predicament. I struggled through a lot in high school that made me question why this God would let this happen to me. I knew that I disagreed with a lot of the things my father would talk to me about. I knew that love was love and that I was definitely not attracted to boys, but because of the debates my dad and I would have, I didn't allow myself to lean into that feeling.

In the end, I do think that it allowed for many barriers to be put up. I didn't allow myself to be me until my senior year when I decided on my beliefs and established that I was not a Christian. In my years before coming to college, my mother learned about new religions, and my father only established that there is one correct religion. Through both of their lessons, I have developed my sturdy beliefs, and every day I try to open my father's mind. We learn a lot from each other to this day. I am lucky to have a father who preaches but also has been open to learning from other people's opinions. Today, I have a dad who loves me and my girlfriend!