Looking back on my childhood, the first words that come to mind are---little girl lost. My earliest memories are seeing my mother with a bloody face, and all of my siblings and I scrunched together in one bed, terrified and crying. My intelligent father, who was once voted the top insurance salesman in the state of Nebraska, had become a raging, and abusive alcoholic. I remember going to bed in fear, and waking up the same way, every day of my life. I knew when I heard stirring around in the house at 2:00 in the morning, what things would be like when getting ready for school. He would be good and drunk by then. Ranting, raving, and cursing, was my lot every morning, and I was relieved to be able to go to school just to get way from him for awhile.
In grade school, I was rejected by my peers (until I got in high school, and then the boys liked me and didn't care about my parentage... LOL!), because my dad was the talk of the town, and we were very poor. My sister, brothers, and I were abused in almost every way, and I felt so alone and lost. My father told me I was worthless, and would never amount to anything, and called me filthy names. My respite was reading library books alone in my bedroom, and reading books is still one of my absolute favorite things to do! At first the only God I heard of was in a curse word, but for some reason, my neighbor decided to take me on as her project and got permission from my father to take me to church. He never let us kids go anywhere or do anything, but he never stopped us from going to church with the neighbors.
I starting hearing about another Father, one who loved His children, and gave His son to die on a rugged cross for me, and for the first time in my little life a ray of hope started to spring up. When I was 14 yrs. old, after years of fear and torment, I was allowed to go to a youth retreat in the mountains, and around a campfire I gave my heart to Christ! I went from being little girl lost to little girl found! When I returned home, I went up on my rooftop, literally, and prayed for God to deliver me from the abuse. The roofs were flat where we had moved to in Arizona, and my siblings and I had a ladder, and we would climb up there to watch fireworks at the University of Arizona. I felt closer to God way up there on that roof, and He heard my cry, for my father quit drinking, and promised he would never lay a hand on me again, and he kept that promise!
Through the years, I have made many mistakes and poor choices because of the shame and guilt I still carried around, but never once has my Father in Heaven rejected me, or left me, but always lovingly drew me back in, comforted me, and taught me of Him. And what a wonderful day it was when I pulled over in my car, and feeling the presence of the Lord so strong, I forgave my father! In tears and joy, I released any anger, hatred, and unforgiveness towards my dad, and love him so much today as I write this, even though he passed away when I was 20 years old. Oh, how I wish I could hug his neck and tell him it's ok!
One decision that I made as a child that I feel is crucial to me being the person I am today (though I strive to be more like Him everyday and seem to fall short), is that I would NEVER treat others the way I was being treated, but always endeavor to show kindness and love to all. And that has not always been an easy decision to live up to! I also made another decision as a young girl; to not let the things that happened to me make me a bitter person, but a better person, and I strive to live my life this way. Even after all these years the Lord is steadily working with me to renew my mind, "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16), and it is an ongoing process from victory unto victory. And "in all of these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us!" Romans 8:37