So I couldn’t decide in which order to write my story so I hope what I say will make sense. Sorry, it took so long to write more life is crazy!

My first memories of church were sleeping under the old wooden pews. My mother took us to church when we were sick and when we were well. She took us when we were on E and didn’t know if we would make it back home. (In her defense, we were never stranded going or coming from church.) I also remember crying and praying until I felt sick, trying so hard to speak in tongues so I wouldn’t go to hell. I was so fearful I wouldn’t make it and the rapture was going to happen soon and we had better be ready and repenting and re-repenting every day.

My birthday always fell during family camp. The year I was turning 8 everyone kept telling me “wouldn’t it be neat if you got the holy ghost at camp on your birthday”. The Sunday night before my 8th birthday I prayed so hard and was told I had spoken in tongues. I believed it but now I question that experience. I was just a baby. I got baptized the following week.

I always felt like what I did was never good enough. I had/have such a low opinion of myself, but at the same time, I was learning to be an elitist. We were the “chosen” people. No one had the “truth” but us. We should feel so blessed.

The pastor at that time taught against random stuff, such as no shoulder pads for women (the men could wear them in their suits) but it was the 80s and 90s for goodness sake lol, no hair bows, no red shoes (really he didn’t like women wearing red at all), women must wear their hair up (if you wore it down you were “loose”), panty hose at all times. Those are some I remember I’m sure there were more.

That man also told my mom if she didn’t leave my dad for good he would turn her into child protective services. My mom did leave him but the pastor didn’t make sure we were safe, had food, have a place to live, check on us etc. He continually was very manipulative to my mother and sister. When my mom went in and told him we were leaving and going to another United Pentecostal Church he cursed her and said that she would never prosper spiritually, financially or prosper in life in general. My mom felt extremely guilty but we left anyway. I do not believe in curses but it messed with my mom’s head and she still struggles to this day.

To be continued…