Am I a Child of God?
Growing up, one of my parents was very vocal on the topic of the evils of religion, and the idea that there was "something out there that cares what happens to us" was completely ludicrous to him. The other's opinion was completely absent except for some vague longings for Catholicism.
When I was about four, I was assaulted by my friend's father. I went to their house where his parents gave me a tour. They introduced me to a fetus that they kept in a jar on a shelf in the dining room, presumably, so that he could take part in the family meals. At some point (my memory is a little spotty) the father carried me into their bedroom. There were heavy drapes, so it was kind of dark. He raped me on the corner of the bed. I remember blood on the zipper pull of his green pants. I remember his blue checked shirt. At some point his wife came in. I thought I was saved. I was not. She held my shoulders while he "beat the devil out" of me with a white bible with gilded pages. She whispered in my ear that God didn't love little girls who did things like this. She blamed me for being alive while one of her ten children wasn't. I don't remember leaving. I just remember being home. I remember my mother pulling down my panties to give me a bath, and they stuck to me with dried blood. I remember the smears of dried blood on my legs. I have a vague impression that she thought I'd had an accident in my pants. She put me in the bath. I looked up and saw her long sleeve green t-shirt and her long hair in a bun, her hands on the edge of the tub, as she looked off into space.
On a very deep level I believed the abusers. God didn't love me. I couldn't believe my father (though I tried to). I did believe in God. I could see things and sense things that I couldn't explain away. But clearly this God didn't love me.
Ten years later I went to stay with my aunt for 2 weeks. She was a fundamentalist Christian the absolute balance to my fundamentalist atheist father. She decided that she had two weeks to save my soul, and she was going to do everything she could think of to save me. In short they kept me from sleeping, fed me nothing but junk food, and surrounded me with love that had a catch. I had to accept Jesus into my heart. I got more and more physically and emotionally disheveled as the vacation wore on until the climax of going to the stadium to hear Billy Graham speak. I sat in the audience and wept. I cried harder and harder until my cousin told me I was accepting Christ, and I should go down on the field. I walked down in a daze still crying. I sat on the field and cried some more. Finally I was approached by one of Billy's people, and she asked me if I had any questions. All I could think was that Jesus was supposed to be the last sacrifice, so why do we kill trees every year in honor of his birthday? She had exactly the response you might imagine. Her face was stunned, but she tried to answer, "There's no blood, so It's not a sacrifice?"