Then I Grew Up

Camille - Redlands, California
Entered on April 14, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

“I just don’t fit in with this family!” When I read this, I picture a dramatic teenage girl yelling this after an argument with her family at the dinner table. What happens when this becomes reality? My parents, my older sister, and I did everything together, and I always loved being around them. Then I grew up, and began to realize that I was different than the rest of my family.

When I was young, I remember going to church every Sunday morning with my family. By the time I got to middle school, my sister and I went without our parents. We were involved at our church through the youth ministry and missions trips, and relied on each other for strength regarding our faith. When my sister left to go to college in North Carolina, I watched her board the plane and prayed for her safety and guidance. I had no idea how college life would change the sister I once knew. I have heard people say that college is a true test of faith; You either grow closer to God, or you stray away. My sister went down the latter path, and when I recognized her new lifestyle, I felt my heart break.

High school was a challenging time for me. My parents were having problems, I felt I could not rely on my sister anymore, and the pressures of high school were hard to handle. I

viewed myself as being so different from my family, because I relied on God, and I did not feel they had the same values. It was hard for me to go to church every Sunday on my own, and see all the families there supporting one another. At home I felt like I was constantly in a defensive mode, and that I could not confide in my parents. Because of this, I chose to befriend people with similar views as me. While my family viewed me as judgmental, I saw myself as having good judgement.

My frustrations grew as I felt I did not connect with my family like I desired to. It wasn’t until I was separated from my family by moving to college, that I learned what I truly believed about my family. I reflected upon my relationships with my family members and realized that the things that God asks us to portray, such as grace, mercy, and love, I was failing to show my family. I had neglected to recognize the amazing opportunity that God placed in my life. I had become strong in my faith, because I saw how my family members were living and made the decision to be different. It is still a daily challenge for me to put things aside and show them love. However, my family life has prepared me for the real world because I know what it is like to be around people who have conflicting views as me, but still respect them and not compromise my beliefs.

My family life has been a challenge for me to determine what I believe. I believe in forgiving people, and knowing that I cannot control my sister’s life choices. I believe that my parents are to thank, because they are the ones who initially brought me to church, encouraged me in my faith, and show me unconditional love. I believe that every family has problems, but embracing each other’s differences and pulling together is true family love. Overall, I believe everyone was placed in their family for a reason.