I grew up in a small, middle class neighborhood in St. Petersburg, Florida. I am the youngest of four - two older sisters, my brother, then me. I don’t recall much of us as a family unit…my memories are vague with the exception of my first vivid memory of my father coming into mine & my brother’s room. He sat on my bed and looked at the two of us and told us that he and mom were getting a divorce. I don’t know all of the events that led up to this, but what I do know is that was one of only two times in my life I can recall seeing tears in my dad’s eyes.
Weekend visits with mom were blurry and short. Until one visit not to long thereafter, there was a stranger in the picture…a man…someone none of us knew, but all of the sudden he became mom’s husband. I was very confused. I was the youngest & got babied, but not nurtured in a way that a child needs. I was not taught proper affection, what love was or wasn't, or was conveyed my significance in life. I saw the actions of mom and dad, but they were in a lot of ways empty, lacking emotion.
My stepfather (and previous elder in the church we attended at the time), changed jobs and began driving cross country. He would be gone for several days at a time. Just as life started to settle down he began to barricade himself in the bedroom when he was home. We would see him stumble out for a beer, loud country music blaring from the bedroom - Mom became distant. Trying to hide a marriage that had terribly gone wrong, she was emotionally unavailable and it wasn’t long before our stepdad turned on us kids. I remember him in a fit of anger towards us kids, raising his hand to us, then to mom as she stepped in to intervene. We left that night & life shifted again. They began the divorce and the sale of the house.
I started making some strange friendships with the deviants and older crowds, but there was no one that I fit in with, no one providing the love every child needs, no one helping me sift through the barrage of emotions combined with adolescence. I told my mom I wanted to go live with dad & back I went.Dad was an alcoholic, never a drunk, but always enough to numb the pain life had brought him. He was a hard man – quick to discipline, but little-to-no affection...no teaching, no involvement unless I was in trouble.
I began to experiment in drugs. I had no understanding about what life was about, no goals, nothing to look forward to, no direction. I was hurting, and deep inside was looking for someone to comfort me. I was looking for love, acceptance, someone to let me know that I was important, to let me know that I mattered, and that everything was going to be all right – I didn’t have that. Like many, I sought fulfillment in the drugs and the opposite sex. I began a walk that would take me into the deepest despair I have ever known.
Life cruised on until I discovered I was pregnant. My significant other advised me that we could not have a baby and I would have to have an abortion…just shy of 15, I had an abortion. At about the age of 16, I found myself pregnant again. This time my significant other had convinced a friend’s girlfriend to lie and say I was her daughter. …another child wiped from existence. It was at this time, I really lost all self-worth and value of life.
After my father died, we moved back to Florida, and at the age of 18, I was pregnant again. It was during this time, I can say I felt a deep sense of conviction and longing to keep my baby. I didn’t feel like there was any hope at all in my situation…Yet God had his hand on my life…
God began to work on my heart opening door after door for me to receive training on computers, securing employment through a temporary agency and later landing a great job at one of the Big 3 automotive companies. Shortly thereafter, I was referred me to a church where I would encounter the greatest redeemer that ever lived..the Great I Am…
I remember walking into the church not wanting to speak to anyone, avoiding the ushers, slipping into the back row. I felt so out of place, but I knew it was right. It was like Jesus sat right next to me Sunday, after Wednesday, after Sunday, after Wednesday…each time, it was like he was saying…come up here…just a little closer. Before I knew it, I was at the alter time, after time, after time… I didn’t care who was around, what might be said, I had an appointment with the Great I Am. At the age of 21, on October 30, 1994, God revealed Himself to me in a most intimate way…He filled me with His spirit and took away all the desires for the former life. He opened my eyes to see the life I had been living for what it was and he began to change my life forever.
He picked me up and placed my feet upon solid ground. God began to part a path for me to walk on. He enabled me to stand on my own. He gave me hope…He provided person after person – both known and unknown, saved and unsaved to bridge the gaps during times of uncertainty. He so tenderly began the healing process in my life and restored my soul. God is faithful, and He is in the restoring business – He sets up the lost for success. He takes what is offensive to the eye of man, and transforms it to the glory of His name.
Although there is much more to share it is the burden of my soul to say, God is faithful…
For all who would judge and point the finger, you have become a stumbling block to the path of redemption. To those who would say, their sin is too great - He is a redeemer and you are deeply loved by the Father. His love is greater than the opinion of man and He is worthy of nothing less than our all.
To whom much is given…MUCH is required.
Doc. No. 1192138