Women of Reverence welcomes as Teri McAlpine as a guest blogger.
Teri McAlpine is the Co-Leader for Ignite Leadership Academy as well as a member of the Creative Media & Communications Team at Lighthouse to the Nations Church.
She is passionate about Jesus, her work, and social justice with a focus directed towards spreading awareness about Gender-Based Violence in South Africa.
Teri is the daughter of Bruce and Myra McAlpine and loves them and her siblings; Kimberly, Michael and David dearly. Teri believes that her walk with Jesus has just begun and she can’t wait to see where it takes her.
Let’s be real – being a Pastor’s Kid (or a PK as my friends called me) can be rough. I’m not saying it doesn’t come with some amazing opportunities and experiences, it does, and I did have a lot of fun growing up. That being said, certain aspects of my PK life were quite hard for me. I can only really speak for my own experience here, but I struggled with being a PK for a lot of the time. Personally, the two things I struggled with most, was visibility and identity.
When you’re Pastor’s Kid, or your parents are part of A GLOBAL TEAM, you become known as “So-and-so’s Daughter”. It is very difficult to build your own identity when you grow up in an environment where everyone knows your parents, especially in a church context. People have referred to me as Bruce’s Daughter (even in my adulthood), sometimes without even bothering to learn my name. I felt like I wasn’t free to explore my identity in Jesus because my perceived identity was so rooted in who my parents are. This led to a disconnect within myself. People expected “Bruce’s Daughter” to behave in a certain way, dress in a certain way and be more spiritually mature, but often, the reality was, I was in a very different place than the idea I projected because I wanted to meet people’s expectations of who they thought I was.
Visibility was another issue for me. Everyone in my local church knew me by name, and unfortunately, many people thought that this was enough of a relational license to be able to speak into my life. From the time the church was planted, I was expected to be a “role model” for the other children, no matter the circumstances. I was consistently reminded that I was watched more than the other children and was held to a higher standard. Even in my teen years I received comments on how I dressed, from people who “knew me” more than I knew them.
From a very young age, contrasting words were – either knowingly or unknowingly - spoken over my life. From the classic “Oh you know the pastor’s kids always turn out the naughtiest” to “You’re going to be just like your Dad when you grow up”. Both of these prophecies – whether they were intentional or not, have come to fruition in my life in some way, whether it was through my own indignation or genetic inheritance.
Unfortunately, all of this led me to a point in my teens where my Christianity had become more of a performance than a revelation. I got so caught up in people’s perceptions and opinions of me, that my personal walk with Jesus grew non-existent. It took me leaving the church completely and making a mountain of mistakes to get to a point of realizing how much I needed Jesus.
One thing I knew from my time away from the church was that I never hated God. I had a lot of hatred towards the church, but I continued to pray and read my Bible occasionally, but I wasn’t interested in attending any church service. It wasn’t until I had come to my lowest point – broken, lost and suicidal – where I ended up making a conscious decision to lay down my life to Jesus, that I began to have a revelation of His love for me and the life He wants for me. A big part of the life He had for me was a journey of forgiveness and reconciliation – for myself and the mistakes I’ve made in my life, and for the people of the church. I’m still walking this journey in a massive way and I often have to catch myself and extend forgiveness all over again.
My identity in Christ is slowly being built up and affirmed, and the identity I tried to build around performance and “perfection” is slowly but surely being broken down in the process.
The biggest part of this was realizing that I am already perfect. The blood of Jesus has covered every last blemish and imperfection that I have, but realizing that the Holy Spirit is working on my character and behavior, guiding and leading me gently through the changes that need to be made.
I don’t need to project or strive for perfection because - just like everybody else - I am a sinner. I make mistakes and I learn from them; I mess things up and then pick up the pieces. God didn’t create me to be a perfect role model, he created me to be real and vulnerable, to be fiery and passionate, to advance His Kingdom the way he laid out for ME – my walk is different to that of my parents.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a GOOD work in [me] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” – Philippians 1:6
This verse brings me so much hope because (1) it is a reminder that we are all works in progress, none of us are expected to be perfect or to get it right all the time and (2) HE is doing a good work in us, while we need to remain faithful, change in us is only possible through Jesus.
“Lord, I pray for the reader of this blog. I pray for healing where they have been hurt. I pray for a revelation of you and the restoration that follows. I pray that you affirm their identity as a Daughter of the Most High King. Bless them in Jesus’ name.