We all have a story, sometimes we feel too ashamed to share. Some of our stories feel too dark or we are so wrapped up in them that we feel unreachable at times. I know how that can feel. But God! He reaches those very people - us! - and brings us out with our stories. He transforms us and makes us new. My story for you begins here, but it’s not the end...
I was born in Springfield, Michigan the second child in a family of 7. As childhoods go my younger years were relatively normal; we had a good home, a loving family and many great times.
It was around my 11th birthday when everything started to drastically change in our family. It was at this time that drug addiction started changing my mother and losing her job had us moving south to Alabama where my grandmother lived. The next 7 years of my life were some of the darkest times in my life.
It was during these next 7 years that I would learn of my family’s history of addiction and all of the dysfunction that accompanied it. My grandfather’s suicide and mental illness fueled my mother’s addiction in Alabama like I had never seen before.
Job loss after job loss had us constantly on the move; at times, homeless, or staying in apartments that my stepfather was employed by as “maintenance man”. As my mother’s addiction deepened she began to spend long periods of time in bed, leaving my stepfather to care for all five kids.
This was the time in my life when molestation and abuse began, slowly but surely increasing and leading me to wonder where I belonged or where to turn for love.
So when I was 16 I found myself entering toxic, unhealthy and manipulative relationships - I was literally looking for love in all the wrong places. I longed for connection, love and protection, but was naive and desperate to find it anywhere. I even tried to find it in a long term relationship with another woman. Being identified gay was where I felt more accepted. But my identity was unknown to me at the time.
At this low point of my life I met my ex, who at the time took me in and protected me from my stepfather. Thinking I was in love, it being a toxic dependency. I followed him and moved to North Carolina where my life began to change. After that relationship deteriorated my 2 kids and I moved out on our own and I began wholeheartedly seeking God and what he had in store for my life.
For the first time in my life I started to breakdown the walls around myself that I had built. When I was finally ok with being alone, God brought my husband, Doug, into my life. Doug accepts me for who I am and loves my kids like his own, but accepting his love was the real battle.
He has loved me unconditionally from the start, but with my past I didn’t know how to receive that love. Nor did I know how to give that same unconditional love. The first 2 years in our relationship were a struggle for me. If our marriage was going to work I was going to have to work through so much. With God’s help that is exactly what I did; I got real, I got vulnerable and I challenged myself to break down my walls so I could receive genuine love and be able to give it. Four years later we are happily married and still growing closer everyday.
This is just an outline of the first 30 years of my life, there is so much more that I will share in time. I wanted to share my story though, to show you some of what I have lived through and because stories like mine are my passion.
In working through all of the hurt in my past, God created a fire in me to help others do the same. My prayer is that God will raise up a generation of people who can be vulnerable with each other and share in each other’s successes and overcoming’s. I know our pasts have helped shape and mold who we become, but more than anything I know that with God’s help, we can break down the walls that are holding us back from truly loving others...and receiving love.
Breaking down walls brick by brick is a process, but remember - God holds the hammer.