Sr High (10-12) And Growing Up UPC

Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you 
the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
Psalm 37:4-5



I got through my Jr high years with only having to repeat grade eight. I had to have corrective surgery, which we thought wouldn't interrupt my schooling  so we had the surgery scheduled for the March break but in the end, I ended up missing several weeks of school which set me back. This coupled with my mum having her first heart attack, my nephew who was in our care at the time, and someone had to stay home and tend to him and keep the house while my mum recuperated. 

I was looking forward to Sr High. I knew there would be at least four other girls from my church who would also be attending the same school and so I was hoping that these years would be a little different from the previous years. But things didn't turn out that way. Two of the girls were French and hung out with the French crowd the other two, well we just didn't come together. We ran in different circles so to speak. There were still the other Christians from my Jr High but I was still not encouraged to befriend them. Now some of them even shared in some of my classes. They would talk to me but I made sure not to get too close. Always having it tucked in the back of my mind that they weren't truly Christians. They weren't saved. 

Not much had changed; my challenges now were still centered around my "religion" and defending the standards. Some of which I was still questioning. We had no Youth group so I had very little youth fellowship. I began to take note that the PAOC in St Jacques NB had a huge Youth Group that met on Friday night. Now; they could have had ten youth and it would have been bigger that my church, but then again like I said, we didn't have a Youth Group. But these folks had a BIG Youth Group. I so wanted a Youth Group. With all that had happened in my life, with all the secret pain that I was carrying inside, with all the confusion and even anger just tucked below the surface, I loved the Lord with every fiber of my being. Even, as I stated before, even if that love was there out of fear, I loved God. And I just wanted some fellowship with my peers.

 As stated in my previous blog/post there was a Pentecostal Assemblies not far from my home twon of Edmundston. It had a huge Youth group and it also had a larger congregation than our. But my point is that at the time, they had a youth group and my church didn't.

A revival hit the PAOC church both within it's adults as well as it's young people. People were getting saved. The Holy Spirit was moving, people were even getting healed. I couldn't understand it. How was it possible? Sometime during lunch breaks or library breaks I would see the other Christian kids reading their Bible. They always looked so happy. I'd have the odd conversation with them but that would leave me confused. There was nothing in their conversations that didn't make it look like they were serving Jesus.

A friend of mine who was getting married used the PAOC church to hold her ceremony in. While I was there waiting for everything to get started I decided to take a walk around. As I made my way looking around the different Sunday School classrooms, I found myself becoming more confused as all the sayings and posters were all very much the same sayings and posters that hung on the walls of my churches classrooms. I went up stairs to the Sanctuary and made my way to the front. Looking around and making sure no one saw me, I walked over to their remembrance table and took a look at their Bible. Again I was met with more questions as to my surprise, their Bible was no different than the one which lied on our remembrance table at my church.

Confused I decided to get ready one day and head over to my pastors house. I had some questions and I was hoping for some answers. When I got there my pastor was home and some tea was brewing. After the idle chit chat I got into why I was there. I explained my confusion and began to question why I wasn't allowed to hang out with these other Christian kids whom I had more in common with than the few non Christian friends that I did hang out with? I asked how come I couldn't attend their Youth services seeing as we didn't have any? I asked why were these folks considered unsaved when everything about them; their walk, their lifestyle,everything I saw when at the church for the wedding, told me they were saved? I then asked the question; why was this church experiencing a revival with people getting saved and other people receiving healings? Did I get an answer? Yes I did. But again it would leave me with more confusion. I was told by my pastor that these people did not serve the same God they we served. That they served a different God and the Holy Spirit was a different Holy Spirit too than ours. I was told that no matter how much they look like they are saved, until they come to know the "truth" as we knew it, they were not saved and were bound for hell.

I did not understand. By the end of that afternoon, I got the clear understanding that there were just some questions I was not to ask. Even if it was questions about my own churches beliefs, it was cut and dry, this is what you believe because it's the Bible and no more questions that go contrary to those belief standards. And so; on life went as I blindly followed what was expected of me. But still the confusion hung just below the surface and so did everything else.

I graduated from High School even with missing some time due to surgery again. Though I was missing a couple of credits to having my actual diploma, I really was tired of high school and just still dealing with some of the tauntings and questions about my church and it's restrictive and sometimes weird beliefs. Some of the arguments when debating certain topics like; "you wont go to a baseball game, but you'll sit around and watch it on TV"? You wont go to the movies but you'll sit down and watch a video"? If Jesus turned the water into just grape juice, wouldn't Matthew have said that? Why would Jesus turn water into wine if it really wasn't? I finally, because I didn't understand it, I just got to the point where I would just say, "that's what my church believes". If my church said it was this way than that's they way it was.

There are so many stories running through my head. During this time my brother had come back to the Lord, though again he was not attending a UPC church. Friends would come over to visit and my mum and they would get talking. On the one hand my mum would say, "well; at least he's off the streets and I don't have to worry". But by the end of the day when she would be saying her prayers at night, I would hear her crying out to God to save her son. A few times when we were in Montreal I would go to church with my brother, again I would be left with confusion, as these folks looked saved to me.

This one time, my whole family were out eating at a restaurant. It was a Sunday afternoon. We had all attended a UPC church that morning and I had plan, that when my brother met us later that afternoon at the restaurant, I was going to go to church with him. As we were finishing up our meal and getting ready to go our separate ways, I was asked by a family member if I would be in church later. I responded with that I was going to go to church with my brother. Without hesitation this family member told me that I was going to go to hell because I was going to a non UPC church. And this would not be the first time I would here this. Between this and the "rapture" trump card. My life was governed by fear. My life was constantly trying to please the system, God, my family, and in the end my mother. It was just an never ending cycle. But as crazy as it all was; God was still in the fore front. Though there were times when I wanted to just wanted to run from it all, there was just something...maybe Someone who wouldn't let me go.

God walks the dark hills
The ways, the by ways
He walks through the billows
Of life's troubled sea
He walks through the cold dark night
The shadows of midnight
God walks the dark hills
Just to guide you and me
(CHORUS)
God walks the dark hills
To guide my footsteps
He walks everywhere
By night and by day
He walks in the silence
On down the highway
God walks the dark hills
To show me the way

    

Comments

  1. So sad that religion tries to replace relationship with God, which it can't. "On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand." Bless you Paula.

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