I tried to be a good girl, but it wasn’t in my nature to be submissive.It wasn’t in my mother’s nature, either, but she believed it was god’s law that men should take charge and women should be wives and mothers who submit to their husbands, so she struggled to make herself fit.The copy encouraged me to have the adventure of a lifetime while sacrificing myself for God. I ordered a catalog and pored over potential options. I was only adventurous in my imagination; at twelve years old, I got homesick when I left for a few days, let alone a whole month with a boot camp involved.My mom was firm on the fact that I couldn’t leave the country, so truly exciting missions were out, but there was still Team Rain Forest, where I could spread God’s word by building an accessible sidewalk through the lush Florida rain forest; see exotic creatures watching me from behind glossy leaves as I labored for the Lord; listen for the flutter and song of mysterious birds. It’s likely that my mom took the idea and ran with it, like she did with many vague ideas I had, but this time I also felt determined to prove myself in a way of my own choosing.
I saw their ad on the back of a magazine for Christian teens — it was a picture of a striped tent, the kind you see at the circus.Each team’s wall was painted with a different word: Doubt. In my head I panicked — nobody could find out I’d caused this, just like they could never see that I wasn’t trying to climb the wall, that I never finished my food.But at the same time, a hard kernel of stubbornness was forming in my chest.We were led inside a building, up a set of stairs, and into a dark, carpeted room.Here we were told to lie down on the floor and go to sleep, so I did.