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Hi there! I am going to start off by giving a bit of a backstory, and please hear me out by reading all of this because I am in dire need right now. I grew up in a lovely home with Baptist parents who attended church every Sunday. However, I hit very traumatic times at about 7 years old, and now I am 16, going on 17, and my life is healing from the trauma of divorced parents, dealing with calling defax on my own mother for emotional, verbal, and sometimes physical abuse, hating my father for years due to my mother calling him unworthy every chance she got- only to find that my father did everything he could to make me realize he meant no harm, and all the mental issues which came with these life experiences. Shortly after turning 12, four years into my nearly 10-year real-life conflict, I found myself falling far from God. Although I had become fully saved according to the Baptist faith and believed with all my heart that God was my savior and my all at age 10, I fell far from Him only two years later. Two years later, at 12, and hardly 12 at that, I text my friend late one summer night. "I don't know that I believe in God anymore," I sent her, crying my eyes out because all I needed right then was someone to pull me back to God and say that I needed to hold on. I desperately needed someone to grab my ears and pull me up saying, "Hello!! Jesus is alive! He is alive! And He loves you more than you'll ever comprehend!" But, the reality was far from this. My friend responds less than a minute later. "I am an Atheist." My heart dropped at the message. But... strangely enough, it later was found with relief. I felt ACCEPTANCE for falling from Him! It sounds crazy because it is. I researched for a long time, mainly in the wrong places, and I found myself to identify as an Atheist. This lasted for years, all the way until a month or so ago to be frank. I am going to be 17 in July and going into the 12th grade next year, and I believe this all happened in the summer of going into 6th or 7th grade, which would have put me at 11 or 12. So for 5, possibly 6, years I have been very lost and falling blind of God. I fell into believing I was transgender, from female to male, to believing I was gay and dating a girl almost a full year. Many, many tragic things followed this initial start of trauma when my parents got a divorce at 7 years old. Now, having all that said... I still feel a strong incomplete pit in my life, this being my relationship with God. I still question my sexuality today. I believe that being abused for all those years led me to believe I was homosexual because beforehand, I never EVER questioned my sexuality. I was your typical "boy-crazy" little girl who would go to their mom after school and say, "Guess what mommy! [Enter name here] talked to me today! I was so nervous!" I can tell you confidently now that I know I am a beautiful, straight female who deserves just as much as everyone else. In my heart, I feel that. However, I hesitate to answer so confidently in person because it takes denying my past conflictions to find my true self deep within me that, yes, I am that person. For a long time I denied this person that I was because of the many times my mother would tell me that I wasn't her daughter, I wasn't what she wanted, and I was a mistake through and through. I believe truly, within my heart, that abuse can cause lifetime problems such as this. Abuse, especially that in childhood, does not just affect your personality, your social life, and your way of coping with life situations. Abuse affects your lifestyle, your beliefs, and all the critical things of yourself. I am stuck. My ex-best friend and I started talking recently. We grew up together and shortly after I went from a true Christian to Atheist, we fell apart from one another. In the past month, we found each other via social media and I have come to find, not to my surprise, that she is still very faithful and connected to God. Even when we were little and very close, I was inspired by her connection with God and trust in Him, despite our different beliefs. She was raised Apostolic Pentecostal. I was raised Baptist. However, now that we have reconnected, I have caught her up with everything that happened to me in the past years that we haven't talked. She amazes me still at her immaculate trust in God. She is now involved in leading many youth groups to teach the Bible to younger kids, as well as attending her own youth group herself. This makes me intrigued in her beliefs since I am currently not under any official belief besides that in which God does indeed exist. My mother is not much in the picture anymore, so I have free reign to explore all sorts of Christianity that I please without fear of being bashed or shunned for doing anything other than Baptism. I have been looking into Apostolic Pentecostal all day, trying to actually understand what the belief is all about compared to Baptism, since that is what I know best, and it makes so much more sense to me compared to what I grew up with. Is there anybody who is an Apostolic Pentecostal that could please help guide me and help me in understanding the beliefs? I am very intrigued by this way of praise and church-going. So please, if you read all of this, which I hope you did because it contributes so much to my reasoning behind this, and you are an Apostolic Pentecostal, please give me information on your beliefs and ways of praising and keeping faith. I am finding God again, and I do not plan on losing Him this time. Not again.
Kate White Music Published on May 11, 2016 SUBSCRIBE 41 Rooted in my own story, I had come to a place where I needed to be willing to look back in order to move forward. To embrace the little girl who got left behind, and give her a voice. Co-written with Rebecca Loomis. Republished on May 11, 2016