I love how open we are this week; I think it’s a start of God showing us we are not alone. My story is one of addiction/family abuse/trying to be perfect. I tried to be perfect my whole life. I am an only child, with two hard working parents. I always wanted the kind of life where my mom would be waiting for me at the end of a school day, with a snack on the counter, asking me how my day was. It was never like that. I had to go with my Gram, who took me to my Aunt’s house. It was a horrible place. Filled with drugs, alcohol, abuse, and lots of dog hair. I had to spend almost every afternoon and summers there. It was awful. I didn’t find out til later that my mom never knew that’s where we went, my Gram would tell her we went to the playground… witnessing the pain my cousin had to endure at 4 years old, I tried to rescue her. I begged my mom to adopt her, to have clean sheets on her bed, her own bedroom, things I had. The good thing that came out of this was that it made me feel grateful, it made me have a heart for others, and thankful for the life I had.
In high school I worked hard to be the best, I loved my teachers and I wanted them to love me. They were my ‘sisters and mothers’, people who believed in me. I didn’t work hard for myself I worked hard for them. Most of my teachers were young and I wanted to show them they were good even great teachers. I knew that teachers got their own daily abuse by mean students, so I tried extra hard to show/prove that not all of us were like that.
God had been with me my whole life. I had been going to Catholic Sunday school, had my first communion and a few Masses, but my parents didn’t go much. I loved it because it was like school having kids my own age to hang with. I tried hard to be good and follow God. When I was 12 my Gram, the same one who brought me to my cousin’s brought me to her church along with my cousin who was now 8. I loved that little congregational church. We were small but we were mighty and they became my family. I still went to Catholic CCD (Sunday school that was on Wednesday) and the congregational church on Sundays. I did both until I was 14 and decided I wanted to be confirmed in the congregational church. It was a tough decision for a young teen, but my family was fine with it and I was happy. Around this time I struggled with weight and body image, I started playing around with anorexia, but my schedule was so busy and filled with love, I hardly took it to a point of extreme until my sophomore year of high school. A boy in my math class was being disruptive so I told him to shut up and then he called me fat. I was so upset, my teacher held me that’s how upset and shaking I was. The boy got in trouble, but I recently found out, he was struggling with his parent’s horrible divorce. I hope at our high school reunion I can tell him how sorry I am and that I forgive him. It taught me that we are all hurting. I began fasting a lot for the rest of high school, being a dancer it only made it worse. It never got to the point of hospitalization but my parents were starting to worry.
Senior year came and I was accepted to my top college, which was one close to home and Christian. I didn’t think how challenging it would be. I didn’t have the SAT scores or grades to get in, but I did. God wanted me to. The first two years were amazing and awesome! I was in my element, for once I was popular and had a strong fellowship of older girls who taught me what Christ’s love and grace was. I accepted Christ at midnight on 11/11/07. A day I’ll never forget. After two years though, I was burnt out. I was tying to become an elementary school teacher and I was already teaching in the classroom, waking early to go to school, on the swim team and trying to balance a workload that was the max you had to take to get all your courses in to graduate within four years. I crashed hard, I found weed as an escape from depression, feeling worthless, and anxious all the time. Soon, weed was changed to the synthetic kind that I could buy at a smoke shop. I was addicted by then. I had to quit swimming and I barely graduated. I changed my major and graduated with no job in sight. My addiction grew worse. I lost a job I enjoyed, crashed two cars, overdrew my account, stole from my parents, work, coworkers, I got arrested because I was driving while high on the fake weed also called spice. How did I go from a little girl who loved everyone and God, to a burnt out druggie who just didn’t care anymore. Where was God in this? There were moments of clarity where I begged God to take this darkness away, to help me get better, to be the girl I once was. He didn’t, I was angry and I would slip right back where I was. My parents were disappointed, my church didn’t know what to do with me, and I just wanted to die. I went to rehab for a week and it was believe it or not, great! It was almost the same feeling of being loved by teachers again. I was happy, I was in a space where I couldn’t use, I couldn’t go to the store and buy it, I was happy in the safe little place that felt like college in a strange way. We went to classes; I met people young and old who struggled with similar things. I met this older lady, who looked like my Grammy, so I took a liking to her. She was so awesome, but soon she got sick really sick and I couldn’t even say goodbye when she had to go home to the hospital. She came out all right, but some of the things I saw there scared me straight. It was easy for me to be successful because I wanted to please my nurses and the staff. My favorite nurse was Mama Jane. She was just young and had twins. I took a liking to her. When I would panic at night about having to go home, scared how easy it was for me just to go buy the stuff, she would listen even when there were many others who needed her too. She took time with me. I wanted to make her proud. The friends I made there were hurting, but I like to think my little kid jokes, skips down the hall, and just being a light, helped them that week. God wanted me there, to be with the hurting, to learn from others, to learn that the darkness could get darker without Him. I came back and was clean for a while until I picked up again. It wasn’t until recently about a month ago, during the “When Women Say Yes to God” online study when I realized, “What am I doing? Why am I wasting my time with this?” I had worked my butt off this summer to earn full time at my job, which I love and my God gave it to me. I treasure it, I still work hard even though I have tough days, and I know that this job is a gift, a part in saving me. Ataan, my lovie, is another gift that was given to me by my precious God. He is a remarkable man who is seeking after God and loves me all of me even when I get moody. We found a church we love and began a study there. I also recently joined the bell choir for the advent season. God is good. He is bringing the light back into my life. I have tough days, sometimes I still want to smoke, but it reminds me that I need to add more quiet time, journaling, and prayer. Talking with God, reading His Word, and sticking through it even when I don’t feel like it or don’t think I feel God, helps.
I pray that my story will help others and I am getting ready for God to send me into the field to harvest, but for today, I’m filling up my cup.
Love to my P31 OBS ladies, having your support and sharing your stories helps me too.
May we be and bring the lights to those stuck in the darkness.