MAY I ALWAYS BE A WORK IN PROGRESS
I painted this picture when I was working through a very dark time in my life. After having ignored wounds that began in early childhood, for nearly 35 years, everything started spilling out of my trashcan of pain. This picture is a representation of how God took the ugliness of sin inflicted upon me and turned it into good. As I share my story, I trust Jesus to reach out to you and meet the needs in your life as only he can.
At the age of 5, I was molested by a grandfather, then at age 6, my father used the excuse that he “just wanted to know what my grandfather did” to molest me as well.
When I told my mother, there was a huge fallout, of course. My mother was going to leave my father and take us kids (there were 4 of us at the time – I am the oldest of 7). My father used scare tactics: “if you leave, the state will take all the kids from you and split them up into different homes.”
She believed him and stayed, and from then on I felt like I was the one who had caused all the trouble, and that I was the “weird” child. I spent most of my childhood through junior high as an outcast because I isolated myself and was pretty much a loner, always picked on as we moved from town to town.
God sent me a best friend, a Christian, in high school who helped me get close to God. She helped me to remember that I had asked Jesus in my heart at age 10. That was thanks to my grandmother (my mother’s mom) taking us kids to Sunday School and church. My friend also helped me to remember that God loves me and I am not alone, and that I am a good, likable, worthy person (because of what Jesus did for me).
Then my buddy fell head over heels in love, and she had to get married in our senior year of high school. Because of the pressures she faced about being pregnant, she ended up quitting school. I am not blaming her because I started running around with the party crowd; I made my own choices. I guess I was not as strong as I should have been in the Lord. I also believe I had begun to ‘numb’ my feelings.
My family lived out in the country and it was ‘inconvenient’ for my parents to make sure we went to church. My father was not yet saved. My mother would try to encourage, but Daddy would not budge.
I started making the wrong kinds of friends and partying and doing things I should not have been doing. I put myself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I was raped by a boy who said he “had wanted to do that since junior high”. The boy spread the word all over school that he had had his way with me (putting it nicely). When my sister, a year younger than me found out, she said she would disown me if I got pregnant. I did not dare tell my parents for fear that my father would kill the boy.
The summer after graduation, I met my first husband-love at first sight?-and after 3 weeks we were married. That lasted for 6 years. I failed to go to God before getting married to see if he was the ‘one’, and of course, it did not work out. But, I have 2 beautiful daughters from that marriage.
I moved to Grand Junction and went to work in a bar. It was there that I met my second husband. He was a roughneck who worked the drilling rigs. Once again, I ‘felt’ I was truly in love, but here again I did not ask God if he was the right one for me.
We lived together for nearly a year and then got married. I had went to work in a nursing home by then. After we were married I started to see a slight change in him, like I was his property, but there was no abuse yet. I would not see it at the time, because I drank too, but he would drink to excess and black out.
One day he was nearly killed in a drilling accident and for 2 years I cared for him through surgeries and all. He became addicted to pain pills and drank with them. It went from bad to worse and the physical and verbal abuse escalated.
We separated and got back together many times because of his promises to change. I loved him so much and was so blinded by that love that I would believe him. I needed to believe him. He even went through a detox program for 3 weeks in St. Luke’s (because I was leaving), but that did not last long. His drinking buddies wouldn’t come around because he couldn’t drink with them.
We moved to the Springs in 1988 and found a great church home. We both rededicated our lives to the Lord, but he was too proud to get help for his addictions, and decided that God wanted him to be that way. In his eyes, because I continued to be faithful to the Lord, I became “better than thou, goody-2-shoes”.
My oldest daughter had come to live with us full-time and I would not allow his drinking in our home. Of course, what did he do? He found friends just like him and went to their house to party, sometimes for days.
In 1990 he totally ruined our Thanksgiving with his drinking, and I told him that I was looking for a place of my own, and if he ruined Christmas we would be gone. I am sure you can guess that, yes, it happened the week before Christmas and on Christmas Eve, friends from our church helped me move into a small one-bedroom apartment.
He did agree to go with me for marriage counseling with our pastor, but after the sessions he would make fun of what the pastor would say and I could tell he was not sincere. I decided after a month or so that it was not going to work because he was just doing what he thought I wanted him to. So we got divorced.
I, again, went into ‘unworthy’ mode. I stopped teaching 2nd grade Sunday School, stopped going to choir practice, and eventually left the church.
A year later, I met Ron. This time I went to God in prayer (I had 2 failed marriages under my belt, and I was terrified of even having another relationship). Ron and I dated for a year. I got to know him and his family. We became very good friends after much testing on my part. I had to make sure that Ron would not hurt me in any way. God Bless Him! I have never been so truly loved by a man. Neither have I ever truly loved a man the way I love him. I knew it was God’s will and we were married in 1993.
After 2 years, everything bubbled over in my life, and that is when I took out my pain on my loving husband without even realizing that I was doing it. I know now that it was misdirected anger.
I continue to praise and thank God for sending me this wonderful man. He loved me so much (and still does!) that I felt safe to face all of the agony that I had ignored for so long. I have become a stronger, wiser, and I pray, more Godly woman because of it.
This has been the toughest journey of my life, but it has also been the most healing one. Is God finished with me yet? I certainly hope not! I will not be a finished product until I go home to be with Him. 🙂
To all of you who are reading this, if you are also survivors of one kind of abuse or another, I ask you to please turn to Jesus and let him lead you through your healing process. Stay in church and close to your sisters in Christ. There are many times that I wish that I had done so, instead of listening to Satan’s lies and believing that I was unworthy. I do know that, in His infinite mercy and love, God led me through my journey to restoration the way He knew I needed to go. He knows the best way for you as well. His Light is at the end of the tunnel!