Hello friends! Look at me being on top of my game and giving you another blog post. I know, I am really winning at life right now. Anyways, I was doing some reflecting today and became aware that I post a lot of heavy and emotional things. Life as an adult has been extremely challenging for me and I have experienced a lot of heart break, but my life has not been one horrible experience after another. So, I wanted to take you down a trip of memory lane and introduce you to a version of myself you have not yet read about. So…ready or not…let’s go back in time.
I was born on January 23rd, 1992 (yay, I am almost 28) to the most amazing parents you have ever heard of. My mother, Julia, is a true gem. She was young when she had both my brother and I but I never remember that being a barrier for her. She was, and still, is, the most incredible and attentive mother. My father, Anthony, is equally as much of a gem as my mother. He was, and still is, the one man in my life I can count on no matter what. My brother, Devin, was born almost 3 years before me. I wish I could say he was a gem growing up, but he was a pain in the butt…but life growing up would not have been near as fun without him. I grew up in a pretty tight knit family. We lived on the same street as my grandparents and my great-grandparents and every event was filled with aunts, uncles, cousins, and close family friends who were like family. It really was the best way to grow up.
I was a pretty mild tempered child. I don’t recall giving my parents much issue with anything. I grew up in church because my parents are pastors of a church. I was actively involved in all aspects of church and youth group. I danced on our dance team and later instructed the team, I acted in our dramas, I went to every youth service and prayer service, and traveled all over going to conferences. I like to think that my consistent and active involvement is the core reason I built a strong relationship with the Lord and never strayed away. I loved being so involved, but it came with a lot of sacrifice. I was not the teenager running around with and sleeping with different guys nor was I the life of every party. I did not date much at all and I did not spend much time with anyone outside of my church friends. I don’t really consider that a bad thing, though, because it has saved me from a lot of mistakes and has given me a strong foundation of values and morals as an adult. I feel blessed to have grown up the way that I did. I don’t look back and regret being so devoted to church and youth ministry because it’s just who I was and I have always valued being a good person and I feel that my relationship with the Lord kept me straight. I made mistakes as a teenager, sure, but I look back and feel proud of who I was and that I did not compromise my identity for anyone or anything.
I get asked often what it was like growing up as a pastor’s kid. To be completely honest, it really did not seem to impact my life in any sort of noticeable way. It was just normal to me. My parents were pretty strict but one thing they always did super well was allow my brother and I to express ourselves and always have an open discussion when things were going on. I never felt sheltered and completely monitored. I have always been unique and my parents took notice of that and gave me the freedom to be who I wanted to be. With the freedom of self-expression came the understanding of boundaries. My brother and I were obviously not allowed to just run rampant and do things that did not align with our beliefs all in the name of self-expression, but my parents understood that I dressed differently, I liked my hair a crazy colors, and I liked piercings. They made room for those things and I appreciated them for it. I have always had an immense amount of respect for my parents and with that respect and my personality, I have always had the need to have their approval in all aspects of my life. I legitimately could not make decisions without knowing how they felt. So, when I was nearing the age of 18 I really wanted to get a tattoo. My dad asked me to wait until I was 25 because he felt I would make a better decision at 25 then I would have at 18. Let me tell you…I could not wait to turn 25 and get a tattoo. Fast forward to me turning 25 and I still did not get a tattoo…dad knows best I suppose. However, I got one at 26…27…and already have a consultation for a third one for my 28th birthday. Sorry dad…it’s all in the name of self-expression 🙂 Anyways, the point is I waited because honoring my parents and having their approval has always been important to me. I value their opinion and feel that they know whats best for me so I have developed the relationship with them where I can go to them for anything and trust their guidance. I attribute our relationship today to the type of parents they were growing up. Did they do everything right 100% of the time, probably not, but at the end of the day, pastor’s or not, they really were the best kind of parents.
Truth be told though, I miss the girl I once was. She was pure and had not been scarred by the effects of bad decisions and heartbreak. She was a dreamer, full of life and laughter and embraced the future with such grace. She was involved and present in life and full of hope. She was inspired. She lived. As I reflect back on that girl, I know she is still in here somewhere underneath the layers of divorce, loss, and heartbreak. In the past few weeks, despite the emotions I have experienced, I have been able to see a small glimpse of that girl. I have found myself day dreaming about the future, though I am unsure of what it will look life. I have found myself truly laughing, though I have sorrow on the inside. I have found myself relying on my grace so I can forgive and let go of the things that have beaten me down. These glimpses of that girl give me hope that I am moving in the right direction even when I can’t see it or believe it. I am getting there…I am finding myself…and I am believing that I am going to be okay.