I have known for a long time that I had to write this. It isn’t something I have wanted to share but it is an incredible story about how God is faithful even before I even wanted anything to do with him.
My parents divorced when I was around the age of 5. My Sister and I lived with our Mom and visited our Dad who we adored on weekends. Our Mom’s parenting style is what I would call “Exploding parenting.” She let us get away with so many things. My Mom had no schedule on anything. The house was always a disaster and meals were not made. It didn’t matter if she was working, in college, or a stay at home Mom. It was just always chaos. When she had really had it with us kids being the junkers she allowed us to be, she would blow up and beat the tar out of us. We were often told she never wanted us and many other things I don’t even want to write. It is just too yucky. The thing is we never knew when she would explode and so 9 times out of 10 we could get away with stuff. If you use those odds for gambling they are pretty sweet odds.
I knew at a very young age that my Mom was not with it or whatever words you may have. I have heard stories about when I was a toddler and my Dad and I had to go to my Grandparents because my Mom was freaking out. We had to let her cool down before going back home. Dad would say “Okay it’s time to go home now.” I would say “We can’t go back there! She’s crazy!”
When I say she beat the tar out of us I mean it could be pretty bad. She gave me my first bloody nose when I was three. I remember it and I remember I got it because my little Sister was learning to pull herself up and I pushed her down. Apparently that warrants a bloody nose. My Mom was a Jehovah’s Witness which brought in a whole other set of issues. Like us not having birthdays and not being allowed to have friends with people at school because they weren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses. We didn’t have Christmas or other holidays. Which was embarrassing at school of course. Our house was just a dark gloomy and sad place all the time.
In 6th grade things had gotten pretty bad. Especially since I am a pretty strong willed girl. My Mom and I butted heads often because I wanted to have friends and be around people and that was not allowed. I started being around friends that their parents didn’t care if my Mom wasn’t home.(Which in 6th grade isn’t often the best of people.) Since that was the only time I could have someone over was to sneak them when my Mom worked. One day she was very mad at me and I could tell a major beating was coming. I actually don’t remember what I did wrong. I screamed in her face that she wasn’t going to beat me anymore. So she went crazy and I called my Dad’s house. He was at work and my Step Sister answered the phone. I asked her for help and she said she couldn’t do anything because Dad was at work or something like that. My Mom took the phone and told her that my Dad better come quick because she was going to strangle me if he didn’t. My Step Sister called my Dad at work and he came to get me right away. So that is how I ended up at my Dad’s house. Later she told stories about how I beat her up and how awful I treated her. I was so surprised! I didn’t do anything to her at all that I can remember. She didn’t let me have any of my clothing or bedroom furniture so my Dad had to get all new stuff for me. Including a bed. Eventually my Dad had the police help him get some of my clothing at least. I never did get it all. My Dad did take me to the police station to try and file something against my Mom for what she did to me. She pulled out a lot of my hair while I was waiting for my Dad to come. The police couldn’t do anything and needed more proof. They didn’t even file a report. This was the Lebanon Police Department.
Life at my Dad’s house was very different. It was clean there and there were meals. It wasn’t a super happy place because my Dad and Step Mom argued a lot but it wasn’t too bad. I got along well with my Step Sister and really loved her. After being there about 6 months my Dad came home from work early. He told us that he had quit his job and we were going to move to Bend. He had a very good job and it seemed weird that he would just quit it one day! Well I found out he had been fired of his long time job of at least 12 years because of drugs. They liked him so much that they had even given him a second chance and he still failed his drug screen again. Things started to decline majorly at my Dad’s house and he let drugs get a stronger and stronger hold on him. He never brought any of it around me and instead he would just disappear. I eventually lost him to drugs totally and even started to believe that the good person I remembered him being was just a made up fantasy that little girls can do with their Daddies. He got a job in Bend and we moved there. Even though he was working things were still declining rapidly. My Mom and I were talking again and she was trying to get me to move back home with her. While Mom’s house was awful it was all I knew and one thing she was good at was being stable with paying bills. So I went back to my Mother’s place.
Life was almost instantly bad at my Mom’s house when I got back. I would get grounded for entire terms of school because she didn’t like my grades. I had always gotten wonderful grades but because of life just being so chaotic I had finally stopped caring I think. She didn’t ask me if I had homework and didn’t make me go to school or support me in any way when I was struggling so that didn’t help either. Our fights got more explosive because I stood up for myself and told her when she was being awful. She broke glass plates over my head and I would go to school with bloody open knuckles from covering my head while she hit me. No one at school knew. I would lie all the time about how normal my life and family were. I was so ashamed of what I was going through. I didn’t want anyone to know. For P.E. I would change my clothing in the bathroom stalls so no one would see the bruises covering my body. One girl did see them though because she peeked at me joking around and doing what middle school girls do. She kept it to herself because I asked.
In a way I feel for my Mom. She was a single Mom and worked full time. I know raising kids is so hard! It is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I know she was overwhelmed but nothing excuses all the things she did. I just couldn’t take it anymore and was planning to end my life soon in the summer after 8th grade. We didn’t believe in hell and I was sure that being no where and dead was better then being there where I was hated. I had asked to move back in with my Dad and she went and talked with them on the phone privately and came back and said they didn’t want me. She said a lot more bad stuff that I can’t remember. Then she started slapping me in the face and calling me a tough girl and kept asking me to fight her. Eventually I lunged at her while saying some sort of curse words and bit her and held on because I was so scared of what she would do to me. I just couldn’t sit there and let her hit me anymore. She yelled for my Sister to call the police and they came. For the first time ever I confessed everything that was happening in my house to the officer. I even told them about my language that I was ashamed of saying to my Mom. Then he went and talked to my Mom a while and came out and told me they were taking me to jail! To Jail! I could not believe it!!! They didn’t check me anywhere for marks and said I was going to jail for assaulting my Mom!
The juvenile detention center was terrifying to a kid like me. After one night we had court over the phone with the judge. They said I could go home that day. My Mom didn’t even show up and left a note saying she was too scared of me and didn’t want me back in the home. The judge looked at our notes and our stories were not even remotely similar and my sister just told the police she didn’t see anything so her testimony was out. So the judge kept me locked up because she didn’t know what else to do with me. Getting checked into the detention center they did see the hand prints on my back and asked about them. I tried to lie in and say they were mosquito bites. I was very embarrassed. The lady told me she knew they were not mosquito bites. I finally told her they were from my Mom and that my Mom hit me all the time. She just replied that I should just never hit my Mom back no matter what. I was left in there for 5 days. My Mom’s parents immediately had wanted me but they would not allow me to go with them. The maximum amount you are allowed to be in there was 8 days for my situation. So eventually on the 5th day they let me go with my Mom’s parents. When I was released I was so ashamed and was sure they would hate me for being in jail where horrible kids go. I didn’t know they knew what was happening and was trying to make it so me and my sister could live with them. When I came out of the door we just all hugged tight (hugs from my Grandma and Grandpa Brady especially were the best in the world.) and bawled our eyes out for a very long time. They whispered to me “We know you didn’t do anything wrong.” They didn’t even know the story and they knew! I will never forget that hug and the healing it brought. How safe it made me feel. My Grandpa was a massive man and gave huge bear hugs that swallowed your entire body while my Grandma smelled amazing like always. A beautiful combination. Five days after the initial incident my Grandparents saw the marks my Mom left all over my back. How the inside of my mouth was hamburger and my missing hair she had yanked out. At the time it seemed insane I had even been brought to jail at all to us.
Things were so different then anything I had experienced before at my Grandparents. My Grandparents were Jesus freaks! We lived at church! It terrified me. I was raised being told that if I visited their church and partook in any of their stuff that I was inviting demons into my home. Still I lived there and it was the happiest place on earth full of so much joy. The main thing that was cared about was that I went to church. Eventually over time I was able to study the bible well enough to learn the truth on my own and got saved. I can never thank my Grandparents enough for saving me and teaching me about Jesus. Teaching me that I am important and loved and deserve the best in life. Sculpting me into a better person and helping me be on a much better path. For my Grandpa being a wonderful example of a husband and father which in turn helped me pick a man very similar to him. In ways that he isn’t like my Grandpa he is similar to my Grandma.
This story sounds awful but it was the only way I could have been saved. I just know it and feel it deep in my soul. It is what has made me who I am. Made me grateful and a mostly very appreciative person. I would have ended my life most likely if it wasn’t for me going to jail. I know if I had somehow moved in with my Grandparents without all that happening my Mom would have come around. She would have caused a lot of problems because she always has and always will. I wouldn’t heal and no way would I ever have gotten saved. The court being involved and all of that insured she stayed away because in her mind staying away from us was proof of how bad I was I think. She couldn’t let me back in the house because then people might know she wasn’t being truthful about what had happened. I am guessing these things I don’t really know her reasons. I did talk to my Mom about it once and she told me she didn’t tell the truth because she was scared they would take my sister away too. Yet later she in an email denied she ever did any wrong in this situation. I am grateful for God working this for good and for it being a horrible situation but also one of the most beautiful. My sister even eventually came to know Christ because of this situation happening. So many steps God put in place perfectly to make so many things happen that are wonderful. Too many to list! My Mom got remarried right after I left and never hit my sister again. Her husband didn’t really know me and was convinced I was the devil. She couldn’t hit my sister ever and prove to him that I wasn’t lying. Over the years they were married I could tell he liked me once he got to know me. He was a nice man. Eventually she divorced him as well. She is onto the next husband (number 4) now and hasn’t changed.
Yes my Mom has done horrible things. Really she should have served jail time for all the many many bad things she has done to so many over the years. I forgive her. I forgive you Mom. I forgive for myself. Sometimes I feel angry about what she did. That I don’t have parents to just come take my kids on the weekends so I can have a break. We tried to keep her in our life for a long time. She caused so many problems over the years, eventually we prayed about it and decided to just be done with the hurt and roller coasters of emotions she brings. I have thought about suing her in a civil suit because money is her everything. Thought about taking the money I would win and give every single penny to abused children. That isn’t what God wants for me I don’t think. I think revenge would be a horrible thing for me to do. I still hear stories my Mom has told about us girls. What horrible things we have said and done to our Mom. How sad it is she has such horrible children. So I just give it to God when my anger and hurt flare. Which is hard to do at times. Ultimately when all is said and one I have been beyond blessed with a beautiful life. My life is mostly great and God has given me some friends better then any parents I could be missing. My sister is one who truly understands all of this since she lived it too. It is so nice having her in my life so many reasons!
This scripture is so true for me. I can see God’s beautiful hand in my life even before I knew him.
Ephesians 1:4-5New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
I also love this verse. No matter what has happened to me God has been there holding me up and helping me survive.
Romans 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
If you weren’t or aren’t loved there is someone who always will. God. No matter how horrible life seems and how hopeless it seems it can always turn into something amazing! Don’t ever give up hope!