13 May 2007
My Testimony

In life we have a difficult time getting a job without experience and an even tougher time getting experience without a job. Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t work like that? Aren’t you glad that He has the same ultimate plan for you as He does for a preacher? While everyone is not called to preach, God’s ultimate plan for us is the same: our lives, no matter what background we have, will glorify Him. Today I would like to encourage you in your endeavor of walking near to Christ by sharing my story. I want you to fully know and really understand that if God can reach down and keep me even when I denied Him that He can and will do the same for you.

I was born September 12, 1978 at 11:31 A.M. My life was a burden to my mother from the moment I took my first breath. You may laugh or even question the truth in my next statement. I was born in the middle of her favorite soap opera. Not only did my impending existence ruin the previous nine months of her life but I now had the audacity to make my grand entrance during her favorite show.

My mother was an alcoholic, prescription drug addict, and mentally ill. My father was a prescription drug addict as well. My great-grandmother, grandmother, aunt and older brother assumed most of my care during the first years of my life. My brother and I spent a lot of nights fearfully awaiting our parents’ arrival home after a night out wondering what we would be beaten for. I remember one such night when I was about three. My brother and I were in our beds. My mother bursts into the room with a belt and rips me out of my bed by my arm. She dangles me in the air and beats me with the buckle down my back and the backs of my legs. She throws me back into my bed and begins to leave. I remember her saying to me, “If you don’t shut up, I will give you something else to cry about.” Shortly thereafter my father came in and made my brother and I both get out of bed. He made my brother bend over a chair and he beat my brother and made me watch.

A five year old child should be enjoying school, playing outside with friends, maybe even learning to swim. They should not be locked outside, beat when they see their mother smoking pot, told to pack their stuff and get out because their mother hates them, and they should not be beaten because they ask for help to put on a pair of socks. Above all, the parents should protect their children. My older brother (almost six years older than I) had a friend that lived down the street. Occasionally that friend and his sister would spend the night. He slept in my brother’s room and the sister slept in my room. The sister was round 12 or 13. This is the first time I’ve ever told anyone this – my mother walked in my room in the middle of the night while the other girl molested me and my mother didn’t do or say anything about it. She left the room.

I lost both of my front teeth when I was almost six. My dad punched me in the face. I was informed on a daily basis on how ugly, useless, and stupid I was.

When I turned thirteen, I was as tall as my mother. I was doing the dishes one day after school and she came in from work. The first thing she did was start cussing and she started hitting me in the face and about the arms. I had a cast iron skillet in my hand and I hit her back. She never hit me again but she still made it abundantly clear that I was neither loved nor wanted. Around that same time, the school started noticing that I was “different” but no one could put their finger on it. I went to a counselor at school and told them what was going on at home. I was told it was my fault and all children need “discipline”. The school did, however, place me in gifted and talented programs for music and academics. I thought, “Finally I can gain the approval of my parents!” I quickly learned that it didn’t matter what kind of grades I brought home, I was still stupid.

Everything was out of my control. My brother moved out when I was 14. Although I was no longer being hit, I was still the root cause of every problem my parents seemed to have. There were many, many times when I would go as long as a week and a half without eating because there was no money. My mom got fired from her job and my dad would call in and quit his at any moment’s notice.

In 1995, my mother had her “first” psychotic break. She just started crying and throwing stuff out of the blue. My dad was asleep. I knew if I woke him up, it was going to get a lot worse than it already was. I called my aunt. She rushed over and took my mother to a psychiatric ward. Since my father worked nights and slept during the day, I was on my own. My dad went to work stoned one night and got hit over the head with a hammer. The hospital called and said that he might not make it. I punched a wall and broke my hand (no, I am not that weak – I hit the stud and cracked it). My mom came home (as did my father) about two weeks later. I still had not been to a doctor to see about my hand. It wasn’t until a teacher forced me to go to the hospital because I couldn’t write that we found out it was broken. By that time, the bones had started to heal so they had to re-break my hand. That, of course, required pain medication. My aunt bought it and I went home to heal. There were 60 pills to last for one month. They were gone in 24 hours. My parents stole them. The week before my cast came off, I was on the phone with my husband (who was obviously just my friend at the time). My mother came into the room with a knife and attacked me. If it wouldn’t have been for my being able to block blows with a cast and eventually hit her with it I probably would not be here.

In 1997, I married my first husband. I thought I loved him but looking back on it, part of it was just wanting to get as far away from my parents as humanly possible. You could have convinced me to move to Mars without a space helmet. I “knew” about God. I “knew” that you could do what ever you wanted all week (including drugs, alcohol and abusing your children) and as long as you repented on Sunday then you were alright. I also “knew” that apparently God wasn’t as great as what all those Bible-thumping Baptists thought He was because look at me. God never saved me. God never stopped the abuse. God never heard my prayers. God never made sure I didn’t go hungry. So I turned away from God. I got involved in witch craft.

As a child, I always held some fascination for the occult. Now that I was 18, I could do what I wanted to. I went and bought several books, tarot cards, runes, and started reading everything I could possibly find. Satan told me that it was okay. Satan told me that even if witch craft wasn’t right, I still “believed” in God and the “once saved always saved” would take me to heaven. After all I did not have a mom. I could worship a goddess. Within a year, I was highly respected in the Wiccan community and had my own coven. My marriage was a train wreck. I was working and supporting us. We lived in his mother’s house, he was in community college, and he was also seeing other people. I found out I was pregnant in late October 1997. I had some suspicions earlier but I found out for sure in October. My husband informed me that I was to have an abortion. I refused to even consider it. A couple of days later he informed me that he did not love, never loved me, did not want a baby, and that he was leaving to carry on a relationship with someone else. All this time I knew that being involved in the occult was wrong. Conviction hit me. If only I had not gotten involved, I thought, my marriage would not be falling a part (sort of a silly thought now that I think about it since he was an atheist). I prayed to God that night. I prayed if only He would save my marriage, I would serve Him.

I went back to Oklahoma (from Texas) and moved in with my brother long enough to find a job and a place to live. I had a baby coming. It was a bittersweet time for me. I felt some relief because I didn’t have to worry about where my husband was all night. I was excited to be pregnant (even if I was alone); I could be the mom that I wanted to have as a child. I liked the thought of having my own place. When I was living with my ex-husband, I was denied any contact with my friends. When I returned to Oklahoma the first thing I did was fire off a letter to my friend “Mouse”. I didn’t hear anything for a couple of months – I started to think that he didn’t care. One night my phone rang. The letter was forwarded to Maryland and his parents held my letter until he went to visit his parents. He called me right after he read the letter. He said, “I am so glad you came to your senses and came home. I talked to The Cop Magnet right before I called you to let him know I made it to Maryland okay. I told him I had a letter in my hand from you and he wants me to ask you if he can have your phone number.” I said yes. He said, “Good. Invite me to your wedding.” I rolled my eyes and we talked and caught up for over an hour. When I hung up from him, I was so happy and relieved. At least I had someone to talk to (even if he was already trying to marry me off – which was the last thing I wanted to think about). The Cop Magnet called me about an hour later. I said, “That was fast.” He said, “I’ve been trying to call you for a couple of hours and your line was busy. Matt [Mouse] gave me your number before he even called you.” The Cop Magnet and I talked on the phone a lot during the next few months. One night he said, “I want to be there when the baby is born.” I told him I would call him when I went into labor. Bry-onicle was born June 21, 1998 11:31 A.M., (is it any coincidence that if you turn the six upside down, reverse the 21 and subtract 20 years that you get my birthday? I always found that kind of interesting) Father’s Day. I was incredibly sad for my baby boy. He had a mommy but he didn’t have a daddy. Could I really do this by myself? A million thoughts raced through my head. I spent my entire pregnancy alone. I gave birth alone. I lived alone. I would now raise my baby alone. There was a knock at the door. It was The Cop Magnet. He found out from my brother that I had a son. He was hurt that I didn’t call him and let him know I was in labor. He asked if he could hold the baby. As he sat in the rocking chair, the nurse came in. She said, “He looks just like his daddy.” I started to say, “That’s not his dad,” but The Cop Magnet beat me to the punch. He said, “Thanks. This is my son.” Over the next two years, if I needed anything at any time The Cop Magnet was there. He bought diapers, bottles, baby formula, and he would baby sit if I had to work overtime. In early 2000, we moved in together in an effort to conserve money. I had given up on Wicca but I certainly wasn’t going down the straight and narrow path either. In March we found out that we were expecting Monkey Butt. That was a very tumultuous pregnancy with trips to the hospital, stress tests, and going to the OB practically every time I turned around. I had agreed around the time I found out I was pregnant with Monkey Butt to marry The Cop Magnet but I wouldn’t set a date. My feet were very cold when it came to the idea of getting married again (like shacking up is so much better). On November 17, 2000 two visitors showed up on our door step: Mouse and our other friend Jim. We went to the courthouse and they stood up as witnesses when we were married.

Once my mother in law found out I was technically pagan, I figured I was in for some fireworks, arguments, conniption fits and the likes. She said, “Oh yeah? How’s that working for you?” Instead of answering her question, I told her that in high school I logically figured out that Christianity was nothing more than a myth. I presented her with my paper (that the teacher reluctantly gave an A on) that listed the ten guidelines of a myth. I told her, “If you can refute every point in this paper then I will go to church with you.” She said, “How much time do I have?” I was so cocky and convinced that it couldn’t be done that I told her to take all the time she wanted to take and enlist as many people as she wanted to. I was recovering from a c-section and she gave me some books to read (by Ruth Rieder). I was fascinated by the stuff I read. How could such simple beliefs bring anyone so much joy that they would even consider writing about them? I was very curious and started to secretly hope my mother in law could prove my paper wrong. I wanted to go and meet these women – the very women that threw a baby shower for me when I was pregnant with Monkey Butt and they did not even know me. The husbands of those women (and probably some of the women too) took up my challenge and helped my mother in law refute every single point I made. To this day, I can’t even remember the answers but to tell you the truth – I don’t care! It got me in church. My first visit to New Life Tabernacle I was very nervous. I was so different than every one there. They all knew I was pagan. They all knew I was in my second marriage. Everyone in that church was so nice to me. They treated me like I mattered (which was a new feeling for me). They treated me like I belonged. I honestly went in there expecting them to shun me; I was so surprised that it almost got over the initial shock of seeing people clap, sing, dance, shout and carry on in a church service! The only religious experience I had came from a Baptist church. They don’t do that (at least not the ones I went to)! The one sister (aside from my mother in law) that really affected me was Sister Tabitha. She is a couple of years older than me, married, and has two young children. Her spirit was so peaceful and joyful. She was so friendly and loving – she was the sister that planned the games for my baby shower. I started thinking, “Wow. Where can you get that kind of peace and joy? I’ve never had that before.” I started recounting the feelings I did know. I couldn’t think of a time other than the births of my children and marrying The Cop Magnet that I ever felt pure joy. Life with joy? She had joy? How could I get that? I started wanting what they had. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I wanted it. A couple of months later (Feb. 01), I was filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost by evidence of speaking in tongues. I immediately felt a difference. I was baptized in Jesus’ Name shortly after.

Of course, my life isn’t all peace and joy. I have lots of trials that I have to face – including my background and mental disorder (I am what is known in the psychiatric community as living with a borderline personality disorder). Something dawned on me though when I sat down to write this. We call it a “background” because it is *behind* us. It might be where I came from but it is *not* where I am going. It didn’t matter to God that my parents were addicts and abusive. It didn’t matter to God that I followed pagan ways at one point in time. It didn’t matter to God that my first marriage failed (in fact I am now glad that it did). God was no respecter of persons. He always had His hand on me even when I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) look at it. The fact still remains that I have the peace of the Lord. I have the peace of knowing that God is near and He is bigger than any trial I have faced or will have to face. He is bigger than any problem that comes my way. He is the parent I never had – He loves me regardless.

I am not cut from the cloth of ministry. I did not go to Bible College. I am not necessarily a people person. I am a child of God with a higher purpose in mind – glorifying Him. I have never taken a class to enhance my writing skill (although I probably should). I am learning on the job. God is looking for people like me (and like you). He is looking for people He can train to do things the way He wants them done. It is not an easy job but the rewards are astounding. If He can use me (even after being battered, bruised and scarred by the world) then He can use you too.

1 Philippians 3:14 – I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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posted by -atomik kitten @ 10:21 PM  
12 Comments:
  • At 10:44 PM, Blogger Melessa said…

    This was inspiring to read. Thanks for sharing it and thanks for letting me know you had posted it.

     
  • At 2:02 PM, Blogger t18maltby said…

    Thank you for your honesty in this post. I am glad to see that through it all you have been able to see God's arms around you in your life. You have been blessed to have such a loving mother-in-law and family. This truly delighted my soul. Thanks!

     
  • At 8:53 PM, Blogger Margaret said…

    I know I've heard most of this before, but it is always a beautiful journey of yours to witness. =O)

     
  • At 2:46 AM, Blogger so grateful to be Mormon! said…

    hi there: i saw you on joyful days/julie and wanted to come see your testimony.

    i was touched by what you wrote. through it all, you have emerged with a positive spirit and with joy and peace.

    i quote that, too, about how we are always in the hands of God. we don't always pay attention, but He is always here for us when we are ready and when we want Him in our life.

    no greater peace had i known before two years ago this month when i placed God in my priorities --- right at the top -- i chose my church 2 years ago.

    thank you for sharing. take care. best to you, kathleen :)

     
  • At 12:53 PM, Blogger Joyful Days said…

    What a beautiful testimony. My heart hurts for what you went through. I don't know that I could be so strong. But I pray that you will always feel the LORD's strong hand on you life.

    Prayers for peace and joy~

    Julie

     
  • At 11:29 AM, Anonymous ReY said…

    :)

    That was beautifully written my friend.

     
  • At 3:39 PM, Blogger Ang said…

    I'm sorry I've not been able to get over here sooner to read your testimony. However I want to say thank you so much for sharing this. I cried through most of it. At first in sadness because of what you had to go through, then with joy for what you've found.

    Do you mind if I mention your testimony and link back to it on my blog? I know quite a few people who would be able to relate in someways and would be blessed by this.

     
  • At 6:36 PM, Blogger Carla said…

    I want to thank you for sharing your story. It touched me deeply and I admire your courage and your honesty.
    You have shown me in a new way how much God loves us.

     
  • At 11:43 AM, Blogger Marcia said…

    WOW - that was so beautiful! I was absolutely hooked to read about your journey.

    Well, all I can say is Praise God!

    Oh, I'm over here from Time Travel Tuesday because you commented on my blog. Will have to pray about the whole combining blogs thing

     
  • At 4:19 PM, Blogger Irritable Mother said…

    I don't even know what to say.
    I came over to read about your first date for TTT and ended up browsing around. When I saw a post with the title "My Testimony" I was interested, but not prepared for what you shared.
    I am so sorry for what you endured as a child. So sorry.
    And I am so glad for your mother-in-law and the others who were used by God to assure you He DOES care, He IS powerful to save, and He LOVES YOU more than words can say. He has redeemed you from the pit. Praise God!!!
    Thank you so much for your willingness to share and to be used by Him.
    Blessings,
    Karen

     
  • At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Barbara H. said…

    I love what you wrote here: "We call it a “background” because it is *behind* us. It might be where I came from but it is *not* where I am going." I am so sorry for all you have gone through...but so very glad the Lord brought you out of it.

    I Cor. 12: 28-30 says: "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? "
    I am glad that, according to these verses, speaking in tongues is one among many gifts and not something required by everyone to be saved. :)

     
  • At 12:41 PM, Anonymous blizzardofdee from cafe mom Bible study Group said…

    GOD IS AWESOME! Thank you for sharing this!

     
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Name: The Little Woman-atomik kitten
Home: Oklahoma, United States
About Me: I guess you'll learn about me by visiting this blog.

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  • The Cop Magnet - my husband
  • Bry-onicle - my 9 year old son that loves Bionicle
  • Monkey Butt - my 7 year old son that loves adventure
  • Squarepants Star - my 9 year old step-son that loves Spongebob
  • Nana Beachy - my MIL
  • Big Baldy - my older brother
  • Dumb Dog - my very dumb turkish sheep dog (Anatolian Shepherd)
  • FC15 - my cat that weighs 15 pounds
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  • Unkey Monkey - my 19 y.o. brother in law
  • The Little Miss - my 3 y.o. niece
  • Fatty McChuckles - USAF BIL, father of The Little Miss
  • Peg Leg - the wife of Fatty McChuckles and mom of The Little Miss
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