My mom would say that I grew up in a Christian home, my brother would say we did not. I suggest that my Christianity as a child had very little to do with my home, but God certainly used the bizarre and peculiar to develop me into his servant.
My childhood is full of lots of stories. That fact that I was taught to think about God but was never given the intellectual tools to do so speaks well to God's intervention in my life. As a Sunday school student in the United Methodist Church, I learned to open my Bible--but that's about it. The greatest lesson I learned from that church is that God is sovereign. That, however, wasn't a message in a sermon. That came up in a meeting where my mom had been told by the pastor that God can't possibly know when you are going to die.
As a teen, I learned about death and how hard it can be for someone to face as an onlooker. The experience of seeing someone close to her in age drove my mom to pursue the pastoral care of the local RCC priest. I think she was cared for and I was able to see from a distance the important ministry of counseling. But nevertheless, we moved on after she found herself disappointed there..
While in high school, my mother who was now completely disillusioned by the Church, decided it was time to join a cult. In the not so distant past, we hid from the Jehovah's Witnesses whenever they hearkened our front door and now she was seeking to become a baptized member. This made so little sense to me, but hence, I was along for the ride. It wasn't long before I was involved in studies, the situation forcing me to think about why we celebrate birthdays, Christmas, and the deity of Christ. Needless to say, my radar was up as I had already been exposed to some solid preaching, the most sound coming through a baptist vacation bible school. I also do not underestimate the value of Christian radio as it would be emanating from the family stereo all hours of the day and night.
I clearly did not have all the answers as I was moved around from church to church, sort of like a military kid. I did, however, have enough theological intuition such that my mind was not vulnerable to every wind of doctrine that came before me.
Growing up in this environment instilled a passion for knowing God and seeking truth. I had no interest in the moral life outside of true faith as I was constantly besieged by my mom's gospel of legalism. I think the bottom line is that I was not in a home that was being kept spiritually. I had food, warm clothes, I was clean, but I had no example of what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. It is by the grace of God that I have become that person today. I know that through my experiences God was preparing me for a ministry to women that engages the mind. My mom may have on the surface partially fulfilled the teaching of Titus 2, and she may have just done the best she could. But I know that "keeping the home" involves more than domestic prowess, it necessitates sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning to teach, not standing in the shoes of the Pharisees and hoping your family gets their act together.
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