I believe that family is the greatest gift God has ever given me. Growing up, I wasn’t always right with God. My father took a job as a pastor in England when I was three. Life was so simple there. After living in England for seven years, my father told us that God was leading him back to the states. I was confused, heart-broken and thought I would never talk to my father again. We packed up and left everything I knew as a child. When we arrived in the US, my father accepted another job as a pastor in Roxboro, North Carolina. The whole year we were there was the worst experience of my life. We stayed in a three bedroom parsonage and I received a huge culture shock when I attended my first all-black school. It was hard at first, mostly because of my accent, but I soon adapted. Throughout all this, my parents were very supportive of me and still loved me even when I tried to make them pay for putting me there. When I turned eleven, my father took another job in KOP, Pennsylvania. I thought that moving again might turn my life around for the better. Turns out my parents did not approve of the people I was befriending so they were constantly trying to move me from school to school. In my sophomore year, I finally realized where I wanted to be. During my second year there, something devastating happened that would send my family spinning again. There was a conflict in the church my father pastored; consequently, people started leaving and then my dad was forced to close the church. He has not taken another position since. After this point, I really started to doubt God cared for my family. This time we picked up again and moved to Danville, Virginia so my father could be closer to his parents. I especially did not want to go because it would be my senior year. After hearing this, I went into deep depression and became very shy at my new school. I had concluded that I did not want to make friends for fear of losing them again. After graduating, I realized I would need to go to college but I had not considered any place because I was not familiar with Virginia. My sister was attending Liberty that year so I decided to join her. Unfortunately, she backed out last minute and left me not knowing where to go. At last minute, I did decide to come to Liberty and it has truly been the best experience of my life. People were welcoming even when they did not know a thing about me. I can honestly say that without my family, I would never have made it this far. My parents may have put us through a lot but it has only made me a better person. I love them with all my heart and thank God for the greatest gift- family.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.