I am not alone.

I don’t come from your everyday Christian family: my parents are atheists. They are very liberal when it comes to politics, sexuality or really anything in the world. But when something happens within the family, they have their opinions. They would never say it out loud, but it is there.

I remember clearly the day when I told them I was Christian: they did not say a word. So, a few years later, when I told them I was getting baptised, I was not surprised that they remained silent. Whenever the topic religion came up, they would talk about our family history: how people ruined the life of our ancestors in the name of some religion. And when someone would mention me as a Christian person in the family, or just as a person with faith, they would quickly switch the topic.

With this in mind, I guess you can imagine how I felt being around my parents. Even though they would never say or do anything disrespectful intentionally, they would not accept me as a whole. So, when corona hit, and the university moved to online classes, I was not thrilled about the idea of going home, even though due to my medical history it was best for me. But I put aside my feelings and went back home. The first few weeks were really hard, I had to readjust to my family: when to pray, where to listen to gospel, how to go to online church without disrespecting their beliefs. But it did not help that they still saw me as the person I was a year ago: a person who did not talk about her faith, who did not go to church (or would not talk about it) etc.

After quite some praying, I realized I needed to do something, talk to someone, who understands God, who is a friend, whom I can trust. So, I asked my friend to give me lessons on the Old Testament, since I never could follow some discussions among other believers due to my lack of knowledge (the result of not growing up in a Christian family) and she knew a lot about it and was a good teacher. Few days later we started our lessons, one book at a time, and started to have discussions that lasted for about 1-1.5 hours or maybe even more. I grew quite fond of these skype calls. At one point, I realized that that was the thing I was looking forward to during the week. I don’t think she realizes how much joy our discussions bring to me, how much they help me see that I do belong to someone, that I am not alone.

These small things are what make me thank God for everything that’s happening around us: the good, the bad and the ugly. I can only hope, that my parents will one day see who God truly is and would discover these small sources of joy for themselves. But until that happens, the only thing I can do, is spend time with God and my friends, who share these values with me and hope.

A student from Groningen

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