At the age of twelve my parents enrolled me in a private Christian School. I learned a lot about the judgment of God and how unworthy I was to receive His love. I don’t recall hearing anything about how God loved us while we were still sinners. I got the message that He died for my sins, so I had to spend my entire life paying Him back. I thought God expected us to suffer through this life until Jesus came back to take us to heaven. The more I learned the more condemned I felt. I thought that there was nothing I could do to make God happy with me.
They had bonfires to burn rock music albums. I remember my one of my friends telling me that they told her she needed to burn her Airsupply records. Music was the one thing I had in common with my mother. Music made the time I spent alone bearable. I loved the Beatles, Buddy Holly, Simon and Garfunkel and many others. Now they were telling me that it was a sin to enjoy listening to this music. They taught us that all secular music was the devil’s music. I couldn’t understand how they could consider one of the special things that I enjoyed doing with my mother as a sin. It always made me worry that she was going to go to hell because she enjoyed that “devil music”. I began to believe that God was someone who wanted to take away anything that I considered fun in my life. I believed that He just was waiting for me to mess up so He could punish me. I believed I would never be good enough to be loved by God or anyone else.
They showed us the movie “The Thief in the Night”. I started to fear that Jesus was going to return and my mother was going to be left here on earth to suffer. It also planted a doubt in my mind about whether I was really saved or not. I remember waking up from a nap one afternoon, and my parents were gone. I went outside and the neighbors were gone. At that moment, I thought the rapture had taken place and I wasn’t good enough to go to heaven. Later my parents came home and told me they hadn’t wanted to wake me from my nap. I carried a lingering doubt after that about whether I was really bound for heaven. I was not able to overcome that fear for many years.