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He Remains Faithful - Kayla's Story

by Kayla Clark

I grew up in a family that regularly attended church and professed that Jesus was God but had little to no real understanding of grace. Legalism rooted itself deep in my heart, and for most of my life, I was riddled with self-loathing. Still, Jesus kept pursuing me with the truth. God was faithful. When I was entering my teenage years, my parent’s marriage began to unravel. Around this time, my family completely stopped attending church. My father had had a bad exchange with church leadership, which left my entire family jaded and distrusting the faith community as a whole. At 14, I started accompanying my cousin to a small church near home. I quickly made friends with the older people in the congregation but had difficulty connecting with people my age. That same year, I dropped out of high school and became incredibly lonely.

As a sheltered kid, I lacked self-awareness and desperately sought affirmation from any direction. I threw myself into church and became as involved as possible (with the adults). I frequently requested prayer and guidance regarding my troubled home life and regularly confided in the pastor during altar calls. When I was 16, I started receiving inappropriate compliments regularly from this pastor. To make a long story short, this gradually devolved into professions of love and physical advances. I was manipulated and groomed, and the abuse continued until a week after I turned 18. Unbelievably, the people I loved and trusted for several years exiled me. When the abuse I’d suffered came to light, I was labeled the victimizer instead of the victim. It took years to deconstruct and expose the mental strongholds that experience ingrained in me. Within this timeframe, my dad was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and my parents divorced. But even still, God was faithful.

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." Isaiah 43:2

Fast forward five years — I experienced so much healing, met the love of my life, moved to SC, and started attending Fellowship Greenville. But in September of 2018, I suffered a terrible loss. My dad passed away unexpectedly. I cannot convey the depth of sadness I felt. For the first time in my life, I questioned the goodness of God. I questioned everything. But God was faithful. He endured my anger, weeping, questions, entitlement… He welcomed every emotion I had in the hurricane of grief. And while some questions remain, one has been answered in my heart forever. GOD IS GOOD. I miss my dad daily and still struggle with the ramifications of the abuse I suffered. But in everything, all my life, He has been faithful. Now, I have a wonderful husband and the sweetest little son, and I’m embraced by this community of faith. I am privileged to serve on the worship team. I feel empowered and healed by the Holy Spirit like never before. Thanks be to God that, even when I am faithless, He remains faithful.

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