My Story:How God Held Me

I suppose that if you are reading this, you should probably know a little bit (or a lot if you make it through the whole thing!) about me and my purpose for starting this blog, so here goes:
I was born to my mother and father in a military hospital in Washington-the hospital is known for its green floors. lol. When I was two weeks old, my mom left my dad and moved around the country looking...for someone and somewhere. I guess she met up with my dad when I was one but he was not very nice and I have not seen or heard from him since.
When I was two years old, my mom remarried and I now have two younger sisters and a younger brother. My step-dad is really the only dad I have known and despite the things I am about to tell you, he really did a lot for me. If it were not for him scaring the crud out of me I would have been in a lot of trouble and would have a much longer "past" story to tell!

My parents raised us in church and I never went to a public school. I was mostly homeschooled and graduated from a small Christian school in Colorado. Both of my parents have very rough histories and made big mistakes in their pre-adult life and they did their best to shelter us from the world out there and from making the same mistakes which I am very grateful for.

Mom and Dad were not perfect people but they tried. I am not a perfect parent either so I am not going to go through a list of random everyday things they should have handled differently. What I am going to talk about is how my family was dysfunctional. In my family the key parts of our homelife were shame and denial. Both of my parents were extremely insecure people and put down their kids to make themselves feel better. Also, my step-dad was a very angry, screaming person and my mom liked to pretend he wasn't.

From the time I was small until I was a teenager, it was my job to make my parents happy and my siblings sinless. That got a lot harder when my step-dad was rendered physically disabled because of a brain tumor and we lost our house and had to move. The move wasn't a completely bad thing for me though. Something my parents didn't know was that I was being sexually abused on a regular basis by a family member who lived in the area. There is a lot that I don't remember about being abused, and that is ok, but my earliest memory is his hand going into my diaper. Yes, diaper-I was very little.

I was very conflicted about it. This man was my favorite man in the whold world and we were buddies. While I hated what he was doing to me, I still preferred him to my step-dad and didn't want to make this man angry at me so I ignored that it was happening at all and focused on the cartoons playing in the background. It was also during my childhood that I was abused by a teenage girl who stayed the night at our house one night. So while I was very upset about leaving my church and my friends, (I was now 9 years old) I also breathed a quick sigh of relief and then denied I had anything to sigh about.

The years until I became a teenager are kind of a blur of hospitals, places and people. My step-dad was in the hospital more often than he was out and actually, we preferred it that way. He was very verbally abusive and the slightest thing would set him off. And while he told me he loved me, there was constant friction and fights between he and my mother because I was her "favorite" which he took personally because I wasn't his. And maybe he was right, I don't really know and it doesn't matter. The point is that I needed someone to love me and I didn't feel loved.

I knew a lot about God and the Bible stories. I became a Christian when I was three years old in my Sunday School class! And at first, I really, honestly, loved God and wanted to be in the ministry (not that I knew that was what it was, but I wanted to serve God however I could.) I talked to God all the time and we had a good relationship for awhile, but then I started getting caught up in the lies that were being thrown at me:
"You are worthless"
"There is something wrong with you or he wouldn't have touched you like that-you must be bad"
"You are stupid"
and on the list goes, so after awhile I had a very hard time believing that God wanted much to do with me or was anything other than a much larger, more powerful version of my step-dad and He was just waiting for me to mess up so He could punish me.

In 6th grade I was enrolled in the Christian school which I loved! I was very insecure and stumbled through a few years, but it was also at this time that God began again. I recommited my life to Christ in my 6th grade year and tried harder to be good for Him but by the time I reached highschool, I was done being the perfect daughter. I hated our homelife and prayed that if Dad wasn't going to die (he had actually died in the hospital numerous time and they kept bringing him back) that he and Mom would just get a divorce. 
I started a secret life-not of drugs or alcohol, again I was terrified of what Dad would do to me, but I started looking for someone-a boy!! As you might imagine, boys were strictly forbidden and if it even looked like I might be friends with a boy, all hell broke lose and it was threatened that I would be pulled out of school or youth group or whatever I was doing at the time. So boys were a secret. Mostly there was just one boy whose home-life and experiences were even worse than mine and so we worked hard at sucking the love and attention we were looking for out of each other. Once this relationship was found out in 11th grade and it was found out that we had been ummm.... well uh'.......making out, I had a lecture/scream fit from my dad that went until the wee hours of the morning. Long story but he dragged out of me how I was abused and then he called and yelled at the perpetrator who denied it of course. Then he went on to tell me how the abuse was not my fault in then in the same minute told me I could not be trusted with boys because I was a "whore". I was grounded from school recesses, (my mom was a teacher at the school at this time) youth group unless my mother went and anything else where Mom was not present. For a couple of months I was grounded from babysitting but the rest of the grounding went on for 6-9 months. The worst part about it was what the kids at school and everyone at church thought had happened. Until that point I had become pretty popular both with kids and adults. I played the piano at church, everyone knew I wanted to be a missionary, I had a reputation for being the best babysitter (I was booked!) I helped out in the younger classes at school and was kind of the "model" teenager. Then I was grounded and it was obvious to everyone that it had to do with me and my boyfriend. Very shaming. And while no one really said it, (well, except my parents) and maybe it was all imagined, I felt like I had let everyone-church, school, my sisters (who I was trying to teach to be perfect) and especially God-down. I lapsed into depression and spent a lot of time talking myself out of suicide (which I will talk about in a later blog.)

During this time I did have some people who in my opinion saved my life by speaking truth into it. They let me know that while what I did was wrong, that it did not ruin me forever. God still loved me and He had a plan for me and kissing a boy was not an unforgivable sin for God. Sounds silly now, but I really truly believed that God didn't want me anymore.
In my head, my saving grace was that this boy and I were planning on getting married someday. I put my stock in the fact that at least I didn't have to drag this unforgiveable baggage into a new relationship.....

I made it through my senior year of highschool and my prayers were being answered-I was going to college. My step-dad was sliding down a very steep slope. He had stopped going to church and was involved in a "Home Church" where everyone discussed what they "thought" and no one had the gumption to stand up to sin. So Dad (in his own depression) was addicted to his pain medication and was getting even worse at home. My sisters let me know they had no respect for me since the boy incident and so I was going to leave and not look back.
I couldn't believe when I actually showed up on campus the first day of school!! My parents had been threatening that if I didn't do college studies at home, then they would move with me which scared me to death. I just wanted out!!!! But God did it. For some unexplainable reason, I was allowed to go to college far away from my parents. My sisters never did.

Because I believed that I couldn't do anything moral myself, I went to a very strict, very small Bible college where I felt comfortable. I made some friends and flashed around the engagement ring I had that my parents didn't know about....
A few weeks into college God had made it very clear what I knew all along-my "fiancee" was not the one I was supposed to marry. So I broke up with him and then began the search all over again. I got a bit depressed again because nearly every guy I was friends with there swore to have never kissed anybody, and now I have baggage!!! And who was going to marry me????
After a few months I ended up developing a huge crush on my best friend which he did not reciprocate at all, so I went home for Christmas break and vowed to God that I was done looking for the "one" and it was His turn to do what He wanted in my life-whatever that meant. I started getting back into my Bible and looked forward to what my future held as an old maid. :)

About three weeks later, God turned on the light switch for my best friend-he saw me differently and within months knew we were getting married someday...and now we are. :) A little off the subject- marriage is a picture of God and His love for us. The groom represents God and the bride represents the Christian/the Church. The groom's responsibility is to love his wife like Christ loves us and thus show a clear, beautiful picture of what our relationship with God is supposed to look like. Well, Chase does this. He has given me a more clear picture of my heavenly Father than anyone else I have ever known. When I stopped living my life on my own and in my own "wisdom", God stepped in and gave me the man who is perfect for me. Waaaaay better than anything I could comprehend. :) Just saying...

Back on track...Chase graduated from college in three years third in his class. He became a youth pastor at his home church in Arizona and we were married a few months later. My parents were not at all thrilled about this, but by this time my step-dad was a full blown alcoholic, child abuser, drug addict and my mom was in denial about the whole thing. We had done everything they asked us to do, but in the end, we got married anyway. My step-dad walked me down the aisle without incident and actually changed his mind about us that weekend but that was the last time I saw him. He died in a motorcycle accident a month later. Part of me really feels badly for him. He was finally getting better! He still had health issues, but he was almost ready to not be physically disabled anymore! He was going to school again to get ready and had lots of opportunities for great things-yet he died drunk on the side of the road in the middle of the night in his early forties all by himself, and hated by his family. Granted, many many people showed up at his memorial service and talked about how nice and giving he was and how he was there for a lot of people when they were going through bad times, but we sat there, because to us it was a joke.

So anyways, now Chase and I were married and despite our "two year plan" we got pregnant after three weeks. :) We were very excited to welcome Chastity into our home! She was this happy, easy baby and we were smitten! But it was at this point when all the things I had been shoving back into the deepest "closets" of my heart starting coming out. Here I am a mother to this tiny baby girl and I am realizing that even as a tiny baby she is not safe. I was abused as a baby, so who was to say it wouldn't happen to her as well? Sooo...I went a little crazy. She didn't go in the nursery or have babysitters and I was very paranoid about who held her or touched her or looked at her. I was going to protect my baby from all the evils the world had. At the same time, I was dealing with inferiority issues. A particular teacher at the college I went to made it clear that I was not pastor's wife material. I was too messy and unorganized etc. etc. etc. She even went as far as to tell Chase's parents who were visiting for the weekend, that she and her husband were looking for a "good girlfriend for your son." I was standing right next to them. Thankfully, his parents hugged me and told them they were really happy with the one he had.

So here I am, a Pastor's wife, messy, unorganized etc. etc. etc. and worried sick about her baby. But I was still managing on my own....until I found out I was pregnant with another baby girl. AAAAAAHHHHHH!!! Watching over one girl I was handling ok, but two???? How in the world would I be able to watch two little girls all the time? How could I control everything around them all the time? And it was then that I decided-I couldn't. I needed God's help. Funny (and sad) how I never come to that decision until I have driven myself crazy!!!

I talked to Chase about seeing the Christian counselor who worked at the Crisis Pregnancy Center that our church supports. He thought it was a great idea and I went and talked to Robin! But I have to tell you that this process was much longer than God bringing me Chase. I went to counseling for two years-pulling everything out of the closets of my heart and asking God what I was supposed to do with them. Two of the darkest years of my life. Who wants to take all the yucky unspeakable things in their life, discuss it and then show it to God??? But what I learned in a nutshell is this: I was not responsible for the things people did to me. I was responsible for how I handled them and how I let them shape my life and mostly- I didn't know my God.

I will go more in depth with the "what I learned aspect," but I wanted to end on this-my whole life, God was there. It took me years for Jesus to pull out the lies I was believing about Him and myself, but He replaced it with truth, He restored my broken, broken heart and He let me know He has held me the whole time. I still have days that I get upset about my history and what I have been through-but now I know what to do with those days and they get fewer and fewer. Now I can look back on my life, and it is sad but it makes my life now that much more beautiful. And even if awful things were to happen to my family or me, I know God much better and I know He is in control and can heal any situation. I still have sooooooooo much more to learn, but He healed me, and He wants to heal you too.

These verses from Psalm 40 sum it up!
40:1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
4 Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord.
10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
11 As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.
16 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!

Isn't that an awesome passage?


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