If you are anything like me, you don’t have and haven’t had many people stick by you in life. Over the years you may have had friends come and go but seemingly they all end up moving on or passing away. Each time you meet someone new and grow close to them, you hope and pray this will be different and then, they too are gone. Often, loosing that one person that you counted on is probably the hardest thing in the world to swallow.
There is good news though. When we realize we can’t fill that void with anyone but God and that being alone is okay, we can rid ourselves of the lie that we somehow weren’t good enough. It is those that have walked away that are wrong.
The truth is God wants us to learn to turn only to Him. Having God’s love is more amazing than any human being. This is so hard sometimes. I used to hate being told to forsake all things buy God. It sounds so lonely but once you do, you find it amazing to fathom His love for us.
How can I know this you ask? I have something special, something I grew up with. Something that was always there but, I never new how rare and wonderful it was.
Bear with me as I recount my meager beginnings in life because the end is beautiful and I wouldn’t trade it for the world or anyone thing in it…
I say I had meager beginnings because compared to most of the people I come across in life, my beginnings were in fact meager. However; there are many more that came from beginnings much more meager than mine. I am sharing these beginnings not to seek out sympathy or even for shock value but simply to allow you to see the wonderful works God has done in my life.
As a small child, I grew up in a large home with a mother, a father and a brother that was less than 2 years older than me. My father was a teacher and my mother ran a daycare from our home. I had an older sister (17 years older) from one of my mother’s previous marriages. My sister lived with us sometimes but she often came and went. When she was home, she was my best friend and my care taker while my mom was busy with her daycare. Sounds pretty normal right?
About a month after my 8th Christmas, my sister had her third baby. She was in her second marriage but this baby did not belong to her husband. Her husband had beaten her so severely that the baby was born early and died the next day. This also happened to be my brother’s 10th birthday and the day my father chose to leave. After this nothing would be the same. My mother was never the same, my father was never the same and I was never the same.
My sister continued to enter into and out of abusive relationships and marriages. She continued to move in and out of the house and she continued to have many children that were subjected to trauma and abuse. She also continued to bring her various men into and out of my life.
At this point in life, my mother also brought a variety of men in and out of our lives. These men were always allowed to babysit us, drive us places and control various aspects of our lives. We were always expected to respect them and follow orders without questioning.
As I got older, I learned that I had 3 other brothers, that I had never met. One brother was from the same marriage as my sister and had joined the carnival as a young adult. He soon came home to live with us as well. Another brother had been the result of a rape. He had been adopted by another family and had begun using drugs. My mom went to find him and brought him home and he began living with us as well. My other brother never got to come home from the hospital, he lived there 27 years. I finally met him when I was 14 and it changed my entire life but that is a story for another day.
So to help you keep up, I now lived with 3 older brothers, an older sister that came and went with various men and children and my mother. I visited my father on the weekends. Eventually he remaried and had another daughter.
To give you a better picture I need to include the array of spiritual beliefs in my family. My father was a science teacher and an atheist, one of my brothers and sister practiced witchcraft and no, I do not mean the Wicca religion, they practiced black magic and my mother professed to have prophetic dreams and speak to spirits. Her boyfriend practiced borderline satanic rituals and I went to church every Sunday. Spiritual battles were something I was very familiar with.
My other brother was a drug dealer that did not pay off his debts and used his own stock, making a lot of people angry. Both of my brothers used drugs and frequently stole from us. There was a level of violence that often required police attention, not including the beatings that I would often listen to my sister take. 911 became a family holiday tradition. I even watched my big sister volunteer to be raped by 4 large men with baseball bats and knives. She volunteered because they came with the intent to kill my brothers. They owed them drug money. While this happened I held my 8 year old nephew on my lap, trying to shield him the best I could. Needless to say my life wasn’t normal anymore.
I watched my siblings get beaten. I heard them belittled and destroyed emotionally. I watched my mom slowly slip away into deep depresion. I held my nieces on my lap as they told me about being raped and molested. I comforted my nephews when they were made to feel unworthy.
Somehow, in all this turmoil and chaos, I always felt the presence of God. I always knew He was in control. I never felt completely alone. I knew God could save me but, I never believed I mattered enough to Him.
Instead of trusting God, I looked for a way out. For a while, I prayed every day that I would die. Eventually, I looked for love and acceptance in boys. Years later, I got married and moved out. I found my own escape. Instead of trusting God, I ran as fast as I could. I left God behind, even though He spared me from the fate most of my relatives endured.
I always felt guilty that I was spared. I felt like something was wrong with me. My family resented me and I resented them. I grew apart from them and eventually from everyone. When I realised the mistakes I had made, it was too late, I was all alone.
Then again, I wasn’t alone at all. God was still there. He is still here. He still loves me and He can take care of me and protect me. He does take care of me and protect me. Recently, I have learned to rely solely on this.
I am still distant from most of my family, although I am working on that. My sister and 2 brothers have pased away and nothimg will change that. My husband and I are in the process of divorce and I have lost many good friends and family members over that.
Nothing I say or do will change ay of these circumstances. Nothing will erase the past. However, I can pray everyday and allow God to change my own heart. I can read His word and allow Him to grant me wisdom from it. I can fellowship with other believers and allow God to fill the empty void in my heart. Finally, I can head His calling to comfort others and allow my pain to have a purpose, to bleed out and to begin to heal.
In all of this I have found much love and comfort. I have found peace and joy beyond anything imagineable. Without my past and present corcumstances, I wouldn’t be able to begin to fathom God’s love. That is why, I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. I’d certainly take away the pain of my family and provide them more love and support but, escaping is no longer on my ming. Instead I will live to spread comfort and joy and to praise my most awesome and amazing heavenly father, the God who created, loves and cares for me and you.