My father was an abusive alcoholic and I experienced things as a child that no one should have to endure, especially a child. Being the child of the town drunk certainly wasn’t good for my self-esteem. I grew up feeling ashamed and somehow less than everyone else.
When I was eight years old I was struck by an oncoming vehicle that failed to stop for the school bus. It was said it was a miracle I had survived. So, it was instilled in me at a very young age that the Lord had a purpose for me.
My life has been a very difficult one. I was raped and sodomized at the tender age of twelve. When I finally spoke out about what had happened to me, no one believed me. My father actually made me look my rapist in the eyes in the presence of others and apologize to him.
I left home at the age of fifteen to escape my father’s alcoholism and abuse. I married my boyfriend at the age of seventeen and because of infidelity on his part we were divorced by the time I was nineteen.
Over the course of my young adult years I was introduced to nightclubs, drinking and dancing. I was caught up in trying to fit in with those around me and never felt good enough. I began writing worthless checks and got myself into trouble with the legal system.
After a suicide attempt I decided to face my past, deal with it and move beyond it. However, I ended up being exploited by men time and time again. I was even raped a second time and told to remain silent about it because it would be my word against his.
I eventually married an abusive man and we had two daughters and one aborted child together. After years of excuses to explain away the injuries from the abuse I endured while living in a glass house in foreign countries and trying to be an example of success to others, I finally gained the strength and courage to escape following my youngest daughter’s open-heart surgery.
Though I had accepted the Lord as my savior for the first time in my life as a child, I actually never sought to have a relationship with the Him until I reached my thirties.
I had believed since I was a little girl that God had put someone on this earth just for me. That was the person I longed for in my life. I had established expectations of this person and made up my mind that I would settle for nothing or no one less. I remember praying for this person and God answered that prayer. Steve and I are about to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary.
Our marriage has endured so much from raising a mentally disabled child, failed business ventures, financial struggles, both of us losing our jobs on the same day in a failing economy, raising our grandson and Steve eventually going to Afghanistan to work in the middle of a war zone to provide for our family.
I blame no one for the events of my life except myself for allowing the devil to use others to try to destroy me and for allowing him to use me to try to destroy others. Eveything I have experienced has been the result of unwise and ungodly choices I have made. It is through the Lord’s mercy, His grace, His faithfulness, His love and His protection I have survived. He has taken the mistakes I’ve made in my life and cultivated me into who I am today. Without Him I am nothing. He has taken the mess I allowed the devil to help me make of my life and made it my message of hope and encouragement to others.