I was a very obedient child. I did as I was told without argument or complaint. I had a momma and a daddy who loved me and a pesky little sister who showed her own kind of love through her constant irritation. We ate meals together at the dinner table, took walks around the neighborhood, and spent genuine, quality time with each other.
At 15 years old, our family dynamics seemed to crash from normal to utterly heartbreaking. Choices were made in our household that paved a crooked path to disobedience and blatant defiance. Teenage years are hard enough but to add stress within the family home gave me all the excuse I needed to do as I pleased without regard to my parents’ rules and their personal feelings.
I had created walls around my heart and guarded my feelings against everyone and every situation. I had no desire to be inside our broken home and I certainly didn’t want to be around the parents I blamed for my own personal choices. Rather than going home, I hung out with friends. I chose the attention of boys in place of the arms of my parents who I knew loved me, despite the choices made that split our family apart. I chose to stay out all night and find random places to sleep just to avoid the tension always on the rise. The fleeting desires of a sinful world quickly pulled me into the fast lane of sex, drugs, and alcohol.
I believed in God, I knew He existed. I prayed to Him nightly when I was afraid I might overdose, get pregnant, or pass out wherever we happened to be that night. I prayed before my nights of hell even began but that pull satan had on my heart and home were incredibly strong. I caved. I caved night after night, searching for something or someone that wouldn’t hurt me. Year after year, I said these prayers. I didn’t enjoy the sex, the hangover, or the sleepless nights. I didn’t enjoy my newfound freedom and longed for the comfort of both parents at home waiting for me with open arms.
At 17 yrs old I was sitting in church one Sunday. I have no idea what the message was about but I remember the alter call that morning. I remember sitting in that balcony chair and literally feeling like a string was tied around my heart and I was being pulled down. I can still feel the pull as I was walking as though someone was literally TUGGING me down that church aisle. I made a decision that day that I’ve never regretted and accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and life.
I attempted my own walk down that same hellish path but this time I wasn’t just saying prayers with empty promises. I was hearing the Holy Spirit speak to me and felt the convictions He placed on my heart. Satan was pulling on one side while God held on stronger, telling me He wasn’t letting go! A short time later, I found out I was pregnant. What seemed like a new stumbling block was really God’s hand at saving me from a world I couldn’t seem to climb my way out of. That baby boy growing inside me was my saving grace. God used the life of this new heavenly child to pull me from the pits of hell. I chose life for this child and therefore chose life for myself.
I look back now and there were troubles within our home, difficulties that no family should ever endure, and unfortunate choices that others made in our family. But I used them as excuses to create my own world of hell. I justified my actions based on the actions of others.
Today, I cry when I think of all that God has done for me. He chose me when I was the least likely to be an example for Him. He has taught me forgiveness, the kind of forgiveness that when I think of the pain others inflicted on me or the pain I caused myself that I can simply tell God “thank you”. I am able today to pray for those who hurt me, for those who abused me. I pray that God has blessed their lives and that the Holy Spirit convicts them of Truth. I’m also able to forgive myself, which is HUGE! God worked hard for me; He worked overtime. I wasn’t an easy task and my path was messy but He never let go.
As the years have gone by I’ve learned that satan isn’t original. He isn’t creative and continually reminds me of my past and of the many wrong choices I’ve made. He does this time and time again and each time I remind who my God is and who my life belongs to.
This is my testimony… messy, honest, and redemptive.