The same year I turned 12, my parents decided it was time for me to start wearing the head coverings like the other females in our church. I hated it. It burned on my head. And I’d read the Bible by then. I knew why Paul said women were supposed to cover up. And I hated that even more.
I was being rebellious and sinful just by pinning on the doily every Sunday with resentment. But I wanted to be a good Christian. So, I stopped reading entire portions of the Bible. I tried so hard to be silent and submissive. I would even argue with others for submission and head coverings.
At age 16 I went off to Mexico to live with family for a year. I worked as a beer model. I had friends who weren’t Christians. I tried alcohol for the first time and found it was possible to drink and not get drunk. (Our church preached no alcohol or dancing.)
I began to question why I believed Christianity in the first place- was it only because my parents taught me? I drilled our philosophy teacher, who was a Catholic priest, about the meaning of life, truth, reality and so on. He told me I could find the answers within myself.
“Did you?” I asked.
“No.” He said and went silent.
Deciding there was nothing in philosophy or Catholicism, I then got really involved in some Pentecostal churches. Dancing in the spirit, personal prophesy, and being slain in the spirit were all new to me. With it came contempt for my new non-churchy awesome-nerdy friends. I dragged one of them with me to a service once, (the guy I had a crush on). There was an altar call. I went and felt God telling me I couldn’t be unequally yoked, which had been the theme of the service, so I told my friend we couldn’t date. He stopped believing in God after that.
I came back and went off to university in a city with a local congregation. Again, I was involved in multiple Christian groups. I helped run the church youth group with my cousin for a year. Then I got a job working with kids with different abilities and had no more time.
In my 3rd year of university, our church held an international “Scripture Studies”. It was a combination of bible school and just plain preaching for one month (church 3 times a day!). I decided to skip all my classes for the month of October to attend. I came back on Fridays for my jobs: leading a tutorial and the youth program. Despite missing a month of class and labs my stats marks were up in the 90s which I took to be a sign of God’s blessing.
Through this experience an opportunity came for me to go with a friend to an orphanage in India supported by our church and I grabbed it.