Your recent story live for This American Life went straight to my cold, sinful heart. My parents were Amish until the year I was born after which they transferred to a very conservative Mennonite community. The main difference from the Amish was we could have cars and electricity in our home. Like you, it was at age 14 that I began to rebel directly against the church and demanded answers to questions like "Why would wearing jeans and a belt (as opposed to suspenders) send me to hell?" and "What is so wrong about seeking knowledge?" The community graduates students from Mennonite school at the eighth grade.

At 18 I stopped going to church on Wednesday evenings because I simply did not believe anymore. Consequently, my mother began having heart palpitations. She feared desperately for my soul. Eventually I stopped going on Sundays as well. My poor mother spiraled into a debilitating depression. The church began to judge my entire family due to my decisions. The pressure mounted along with my interest in the "outside world." By 20 I decided I was going to break from my community and go to college—though I knew next to nothing about navigating “the world.”

The church machine kicked into gear. Scores of members began a 24-hour prayer vigil asking God to stop me. My parents went on a hunger strike hoping it would get God's attention, and that he would stop me. An international pastor was brought in to pray over me. But nothing could change my evil, calloused heart. The church was left with no choice but to label me a reprobate.

In late 2005, I packed my belongings in my newly-purchased car and traveled from my Upstate New York home to a community college in Oregon.

The pressure from my community remained at a fever pitch. Apparently God was judging the entire church because my family was still under its roof. My parents left soon after. No other conservative Mennonite churches would have them, forcing them to find a more liberal community.

Today, my mother watches shows on Netflix. She no longer tells me I'm going to hell for my sins, and even broadened her view on gay rights. She says God has grace and loves everyone. Last year, my family attended my graduation ceremony for my Master's in Journalism. Every Saturday I call my mother. We catch up on her week and mine. She tells me how she swam laps with her sister and how she took her new convertible for a spin. I tell her I appeared on TV to talk about a story I published. She asks me to spell out the name of the network and to email her the link.

Much like yourself, I am finally returning to the idea that the Bible may actually contain a few gems of truth. But like you, I cannot bring myself to believe in this God that my mother worships. More importantly, I could never part with my worldly jeans nor the abominable sin of having sex before marriage.

Your story reminded me just how badass my own mother is and how far we've come.