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Oh, family.

Discussion in 'Family and Parenting' started by StellarKate, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. Oh, family.

    Alright, so I really don't know where to begin.
    Let me start out by saying that I'm a Christian, but no one else in my immediate family is.
    That's really stressful on me, because not only do I have to go to church and endure the never-ending,
    "Oh Katie, where're your parents today?",
    but I also have to deal with the knowledge that they aren't saved.

    I'm going to break this down into categories:


    Relationship:
    Today, I realized how terrible the relationship I have with my parents is.
    It seems that no matter what I do, all they ever do is criticize me.
    I've found that lately, when they're going somewhere, I always prefer to just stay home by myself.
    I can't talk to them about anything!
    It's really pitiful when your own child would rather stay home alone than go somewhere with you, isn't it?
    And really, when I say that they criticize me about everything, I'm being serious.
    (Last year, on our standardized testing, I got a paper in the mail that said that I did better than 98% of students in Louisiana. All my mom had to say was, "Why didn't you do better than 99%?" Sure, you may think that she was joking, but she wasn't.



    School:
    Lately, my mom's been really worried about my schooling situation.
    She wants me to go to a boarding school almost three hours away from here, which I really don't want to do.
    She said I either have to go there or go to a private school in another state. (Mississippi)
    Not that it's all that far away, but the point is, she isn't giving me a choice.
    No matter what I try to say to her about it, all she ever does is shoot me down, tell me to shut up, or tell me that she's the one who makes the decisions.
    I really need to have a say-so in this, after all, I'm the one who's going to end up being forced to go to school somewhere.
    And if I'm forced to go there, I'm going to hate it.


    My boyfriend:
    I have a really amazing boyfriend. He's really focused on God, and he keeps me focused too. But for some reason, my family just doesn't like him! (It probably has to do with the fact that he's a really passionate Christian, and they aren't Christian at all.) But really. He hasn't ever done anything to me, or anyone else for that matter, to make them not like him. But they can't stand him anyway. And I can't even try to talk to them about it, because I know they aren't going to listen. I've tried before, and all they ever do is tell me to shut up!



    I really wish my parents would go to church, but they just won't. I've actually gotten grounded before for commenting on the fact that I have to go by myself.

    I just don't know what to do anymore. I try to talk to my boyfriend about it, but really, he can't think of anything to do either. I've tried praying about it; I pray about it every day. But the situation just doesn't get any better.

    I know that I'll probably be a stronger person in the future, because I'm making all these decisions on my own right now, and because I won't rely as much on my parents whenever I get old enough to move out. (And really, I plan on moving out as soon as I'm legal age.)
    But I just don't know how to make it through these days until then.
    I end up crying over it almost every day; you'd think I'd stop trying to have talks with them after all this time, but I haven't.
    And I just don't know what to do anymore.


    Thanks for reading all of this, if you did. That really really means a lot to me.
    God bless you guys.
    -Katie
     
  2. Your situation is indeed a very unusual one, and I have just a taste of the difficulty attached. It is very rare for someone in your position to become Christian, especially considering that you are still living with your parents.
    Do your acquaintances know that your parents are nonbelievers?

    Not necessarily, unless you and your parents are very social. Even those who get along well do not feel the need to be around each other constantly.

    Standardized tests these days are sadly easy...

    But 98th percentile is excellent. :graduated: Unless 98% was a new low for you, or you got something wrong that was obvious, I don't see what she has to complain about. Some people just have routinely higher standards; I don't know what your situation there is.


    Is this for high school or college?


    Nonbelievers are often a bit paranoid of Christians, especially if they appear fundamentalist. You say he is "really passionate," and so I gather he probably talks about his faith regularly. Your parents are probably concerned that he will try hard to convert them and be a general annoyance. They would dislike that sort of pressure.
    It's probably not him per se; it's just a stigma attached to Christians by uncannily widespread stereotypes.

    That is likely to be true. Self-sufficience now should make you more capable later on. Remember that we are frequently tested.

    James 1:2-4
    Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
     
  3. Dig the sig. I've used that term many times. :D

    Alrighty, what we have got here is a bonafide war. And you're by no means alone. I'm betting that you're not the only one either. Think of it this way, with you being a witness to your family, they will either break down their pride and accept Christ as their King, or they will stand before the Great White Throne without an excuse. Either way right now you are being a billboard for Christ with a great big target on your back.

    But will it just stop? Welcome to the cold world with a fire in your soul. No it won't. I remember being a fresh-faced newbie in the faith, and enduring ridicule from family members at an Easter get-together. I know, irony.

    As far as moving away, you never know what God has in store for you. What if you land in a place filled with Christians who are dealing with the same thing you are? What if you land in a place filled with the most rotten and unsaved, but come to Christ because of your faith? Either way, boring is not on God's menu.

    Chin up. Grab hold of our Saviour and stand in His grace. We'll pray. ;)
     
  4. Dear, dear, Kate, it is hard to be in a situation like yours, but, know what? God understands. He understands and cares. He cares about your parents too. The Bible says to honor our parents, which is hard to do when they aren't on the same level spiritually as you are.

    I know it will be hard on you, but it looks to me like you need to switch gears and trust your Heavenly Father to know your heart to serve Him. It will indeed, be hard to leave your church family, but like someone said, it will be somewhat of an adventure if you allow it to be so. That's easy for me to say, I know.

    But, what if, in spite of your parents pushing you into this, God had great plans for you and He turned it around to be something great for you? You just have to trust that God will still care for you and will lead and guide you to meet the right people.

    For sure, it will cause you to totally depend on Him and His love for you. I'm sure that can only be a good thing! As far as your friends, maybe they will be able to visit you during Spring break and such if their parents know how much it would mean to you.

    I will pray for you tonight and hope that you can somehow turn it around and see how it could benefit your Christian walk. If anything, becoming obedient and telling your folks you are going to trust God to take care of you, this could be a huge witness to them. Take care, honey and know that we all here on the forum will still be here to talk to no matter what happens. Bonnie :groupray:
     
  5. Dear Sister Kate,

    I feel extremely compelled to respond here, if not for my love for you as one of my bretheren in this world, but because I have suffered through nearly the EXACT same situation.

    I have been a Christian since September 2007, though the majority of my own tribulation has been during 2008. It is really in January that I took my faith to the next level, when I got serious about it and truly committed myself. It is in 2008 that I really felt that I was saved. I am not sure how long you have dealt with this, but I am hoping not too long.

    Similar here, except that it's just that my family seems to be busy, and that leaves me isolated and without anyone to talk to, as they seem to prefer their work, television, computers, and other worldly things to "quality time". It may be similar for you, but I can empathize in that feeling of detachment. Remember something though. For them, this life is all there is. Yet look what we are told...

    "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." (Colossians 3:2, KJV)

    In this manner, even if the world isn't pleasing (believe me, it is rarely satisfying), focus on the things of God, and He will provide a much richer lifestyle than you could ever dream of without God. This isn't a provide of fame, fortune, or happiness, but simply of spiritual contentment, even through times of suffering and trials -- you will have that knowledge that He is there for you. This is my own source of comfort, even in the hard times. ("For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30, KJV))

    In fact, this is one of my many reasons that I believe in Christianity: the Christian lifestyle simply works. There is something simple yet pleasing about it, whereas the dull, meaningless philosophies of humanism are destructive and have caused me unhappiness -- certainly if such things are true, then what a ridiculous existence. I find little point in being here a little while, then fading away in some sort of endless parade of life in an incomprehensible universe?! Surely Christianity is more logical (and has a great deal more evidence for it than any other religion that I know of).

    This is pretty much what happened (and still does happen!) to me, with the exception of the fact that the people at church are too perceptive to continually ask about my parents/family, but I can tell this is what they are thinking. It's not as if I do not notice the pity, or the way people try to sit with me or include me. For this, I am grateful. I hope that you are able to get something similar out of your church, where they can be understanding of your situation. This has been the utmost blessing for me, because I feel that in nearly every way possible, I have been accomodated for.

    My advice in this regard is to TALK TO YOUR PASTOR...youth pastor...student ministry...whatever is most applicable. I have done this and let him know more about my situation. This is a critical step to becoming more integrated in "faith life". Now, I am essentially a church member without actually becoming one (something I am not allowed to do). I'm listed amongst all the rest of my peers in the student ministry. I was able to volunteer at VBS, and participate in virtually all events. Later this summer, I will be meeting with him to discuss my faith more in-depth.

    What does this mean? I have been persistant in opening new doors so that I am not constantly feeling sad or left out. I refuse to accept the sedentary lifestyle of: 1) Feel bad all week while living life, 2) Feel good at church, 3) Repeat. This is not acceptable for me, and neither is it acceptable for you. For are we not called to more as Christians? How are we effective witnesses in the faith for others when we have not yet overcome our own feelings?

    I'm not sure where your boyfriend fits into this (since nothing similar applies for me, especially as a male!) but certainly that is a BIG blessing of your own, as you have someone to talk to, correct? I know that your parents are not very accepting of your faith and that can sometimes make you VERY upset -- I am telling you that I have been there, and sometimes still am. I have been ridiculed by family members, questioned, mocked, criticized.

    The part about the criticism, especially with standarized tests, is simply terrible. This is where you grit your teeth and bear it, there is really no remedy. I sort of have a similar analogy for my own situation, but it is sort of obscure and personal, so I don't think I need to go there.



    This is also a terrible thing...I confess that I don't think I have ever been blatantly punished for anything concerning my faith. My honest sympathies that you have to go through that. The worst I remember was complaining about not being allowed to join my church -- that was an argument I ended up conceeding before it turned ugly.

    But unfortunately, I am saying that the same thing (grit your teeth and bear it) applies with your schooling situation. Not always do our parents choose the same thing that we want, and admittedly, they are not necessarily right. HOWEVER, two points must be conceded. First, they have more life experience than you do. Note this does not necessarily make them right either. For example, you are a Christian, and they are not. Yet the second matter is more important. It is the Fifth Commandment, as others have noted. "Thou shalt honor thy mother and father". This means to respect, honor, and obey them, even through the persecution. However, we turn to Ephesians 6:1 for more information: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right". Note the wording "in the Lord". Now, although perhaps my interpretation is faulty here, I have best understood this to mean thus: you should obey them in all things, so long as they do not conflict with God's commandments. That is, if they instruct you to murder, worship false gods, denounce your faith, or any other such evil thing, then you have the right to decline. But as such instances are actually quite rare in America, except in certain places, I don't think that will necessarily apply (I can't think where it has for me).

    To switch subjects again, I can absolutely emphasize with the lonely, strange feelings that you get from regularly attending church alone. It is particularly hard when so many families attend together, and you feel left out, idly wondering what it would be like to be with your own family, to have grown up in the church, to be as well acquainted with the stories and Scripture as the others, to have the same network of friends. While these thoughts can be depressing, they must not be dwelled upon too long, as this line of thinking is in vain: what is not simply is not. Dwelling upon this will eventually lead you to violate the tenth commandment "Thou shalt not covet". What others have (a Christian family) is indeed desirable, I admit that freely, but we can't succumb to such others.

    Indeed, as some others have pointed out, you may in fact have a unique opportunity, as I do. This opportunity is manifested in the unprecedented access you have to YOUR network...that is, your own unsaved family and friends. While you may not feel presently prepared for the task of evangelism, that is why you have to remain involved in the faith, and in God's word, by regular prayer, Bible study, and fellowship.

    Now, the best way of evangelism is something I call passive evangelism. It is simply achieved through living like Christ, which is frequently commanded of us (“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16, KJV)). In this, you set an example for non-believers, demonstrating the change in your life by accepting Jesus as Lord. For example, I can hardly explain to you the change in my own attitude since becoming a Christian unless you were there to witness it. Though it is slow, and difficult to change previous perceptions, I assure you it can be effective. Remember that Jesus said this himself: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:12, KJV) How can we ignore this calling!? It can be likened to the act of dusting. One may dust a surface vigorously, only to draw open the shutters, and suddenly the light exposes even more dust – this is indeed the purpose of the Law, to convict sinners that they may come to repentance before God. Now you cannot evangelize by screaming the Gospel randomly, but it does set a format for how it should be done when you are presented with an opportunity (this may not necessarily come, but if it does, you should be prepared). What do I mean by an opportunity? It was once said that the goal is not to say "Let me tell you about Christ" but rather to hear "Can you tell me about Christ?". This is the ultimate goal: to present ourselves as Christians such that the world MARVELS at it, and scratches their head at our attitude. This is why I say it is so important to present yourself as loving, obedient, kind, meek, accepting, calm, timid, faithful. Do things without being asked. Accept what you cannot control without argument. I am reminded of (Ephesians 4:29-32, KJV): "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." as well as (Philippians 4:8, KJV): "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." I feel this should be your goal in this situation, as it is my own.

    Please feel free to contact me by PM about anything. I check it regularly, and will be in touch if desired.

    God bless you as well, very much so. I will be praying for you. :)

    To the God we both serve, may His kingdom prosper, and may He receive all the glory, even in a sinful world. For the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Amen.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Azarias
     

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