There are some days where it takes everything I have to not just scream at those who look at me and think "She's an apostate...she didn't turn out well enough..." My family...my old friends from church...they all see that I left, and don't see the joy in my life beyond that, not really.
My little brother has probably been one of the most difficult. On Father's Day two days ago, we were joking around with each other, and he playfully said he got scared whenever he turned out like me one way or another. I laughingly denied turning out badly, citing a good marriage and a decent job, among other things, and he gave me a look. And I just knew he was thinking that I'd left the church...and so he never wanted to be like his big sister. Not in that way. Not ever.
So I just pray, for myself and those in my position...God, grant me strength, and understanding, and patience, and love. Help them see through what they've been taught to see what's really there. And help me be the example so that when they finally see it, they will see joy and goodness, rather than just an apostate. Help me have the grace to stay strong, to know when its time to speak up and to know when to leave things alone. Help all of us who have found our way out, to testify with out lives that we have found better--that we didn't leave because we weren't good enough--that our little siblings can grow up to be like us without shame.