Growing up as a child my environment consisted of me witnessing my family members partying, drinking and using drugs. That environment was normal to me.
Being a first-hand witness to that lifestyle, I never imagined that I would follow down that same party path as an adult. I see it now as a slow path to destruction.
Along with those memories I have memories of fear and torment. Fear of not knowing what would happen to me next. Torment a word I use to describe the physical results of the pain inflicted on me. These are feelings that no child should ever feel. I was sexually abused as a child by my own family members. Yes that’s right, multiple family members. I loved and trusted them until my innocence was stolen from me. This occurred from pre-kindergarten until about fifth grade.
“He definitely will turn a bad situation around and use it for His glory.”
Needless to say in middle school I rebelled. Angry as a child I became a bully. Along with that I began smoking cigarettes and weed, which later led to me drinking alcohol and having sex. All of this was a result of me being sexually abused, never realizing that I was suppressing the hurt and pain that was inflicted upon me. Being a bully had its consequences. I had to take anger management classes and do community service. Around this time my mother gave her life to God. S.O.S. Ministries also began having tent revivals on the corner of Palasota and Beck St. I remember witnessing gang members being baptized one after another. I began going to Church with my mom and I actually made confirmation. JJ’s niece is my Spiritual Mother. God was reaching for me then, I realize now that nothing bad comes from God. He definitely will turn a bad situation around and use it for His glory.
High School came and you could say that I checked out at that point. I didn’t care about academics, sports or my future, boys had my attention. I met my son’s father at 16yrs old and not long after that I dropped out and got my GED. Then I moved out of my mother’s house at 17yrs old. I thought I was living the life. I had my man, 2 cars and a house. Next thing I know, I got pregnant at 18yrs old. I was a baby having a baby. I gave birth at 19yrs old. That’s when my past resurfaced. On top of the fear and torment I am now experiencing anxiety and depression for the first time. As a new parent I was fearful that someone was going to abuse my son like I was abused. After years of abuse, fear was subconsciously rooted in my mind. Scenarios of what if’s play over and over in my head, which eventually caused the break up between my son’s father and I. Not only did Satan take away my piece of mind, he broke my family apart.
“You’d think that by now I would have turned to God but I didn’t; instead, turned to the only other lifestyle that I knew the party life.”
You’d think that by now I would have turned to God but I didn’t; instead, turned to the only other lifestyle that I knew the party life. As the years went by I smiled on the outside but on the inside I was scared and lost in the lies and lust of this world.
At age 23 after a night of partying at my own house, I passed out drunk in my room only to wake up to being raped by a man. This man was another close family member. I was disgusted and scared. Why me? Why now? I thought that part of my life was over. Later that day I gathered my family and confronted this man, God’s grace gave me courage to face my fears and forgive him for hurting me.
Over the next few years I began coming to S.O.S. Women’s Bible Study group. Somehow I managed to keep one foot in and one foot out. On my own my life was going around in circles getting nowhere. I felt lost in the wilderness.
After years of not being able to escape the fear that was rooted in me since childhood, I had heard of God’s grace. Only then did it become clear to me that I needed to surrender to Jesus. Everything that Satan used to try to keep me down was nothing compared to all the wrath and indignation that Jesus was submitted to on the cross for me. He loved me purely. He showed me a way out of a dead end life. He’s my father, husband, peacemaker, counselor, financial advisor, healer and strength. He has rebuilt and restructured my mind and heart back to His original intent. He is alive in me, and He is definitely alive in you too.
Once I surrendered to Jesus and I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior doors began to open. I started College. I made the Dean’s and President’s list. I’m a student Ambassador and a member of Toastmaster’s International. I’m proud to be standing with you here today chosen by God to be a Kingdom Builder. No longer will I allow fear to paralyze me. I have the Spirit of the resurrected King Jesus in me and you do too. That is the ultimate gift from God to us to bring love, peace and strength to face each day. My hope is that this story among others may give you courage to surrender to God. He loves you. His arms are open, eagerly waiting for you to come home to His love.