Starting four decades ago and back my life was caught in a morass of abuse, lies, deception, and duplicity. The tools for living were a sharp tongue, craftiness, violence against others, and a willingness to compromise any and all values for personal pleasure and survival. This is all I knew from childhood into adulthood. We were literally a hillbilly clan and violence and narcissism defined the men in particular. We worshipped no god but ourselves.
No one knew me, not the whole me. Continue Reading
I grew up in the church—in the height of church attendance my family went at least three times a week. Rules and acting good were really emphasized in the church and at home. I always had a lingering suspicion that if I was not good I would lose my salvation, my parents approval, and my reputation. We had spoken and unspoken rules, as all houses do. We did not go outside the lines or rules, and we did not share feelings, hard things, or struggles. It was best to act like all was okay.
In our family of five we have a long-standing affiliation with two clubs: The Silly Club and The Serious Club. Though, who belongs in which club is subject of much debate. We have a tendency to rotate membership. Originally, I was the president and sole member of the Serious Club, but to the welcome surprise of my husband and kids over the years I have become more "fun.” Now I am not only in the Silly Club, but on occasion even give my youngest a run for his money as president of it!
I was brought up in a Christian home with strong parents who loved each other and loved God. My dad was a strong leader and loving in the ways he parented my brother and I and in marriage with my mom. However, my dad was never extremely vocal about his faith, although he believed strongly. He had the mentality that faith was our journey and not something he could just hand to us. He was aware that we would have to be drawn by the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus has never left me alone, even when I didn’t want Him around. While I was busy demoting Him to a mere prophet and inventing my own version of God, He was planning a way to get my attention. Before I met Jesus, I thought I understood a little about suffering. Suffering seemed a normal occurrence, and I grew up tough.
At the age of 2 my mother and father divorced and my mother married my stepfather shortly after. My mom, brother, sister and I all moved with him as a family. At the age of 3 or before I became a victim of sexual abuse by my stepfather. My brother left to go live with my father a short time later. I now know he was an interruption to my stepfather’s agenda. It wasn’t until around Junior High age did I realize that this wasn’t a normal life. I just thought it was a game that was to remain a secret.