Tuesday, July 29, 2008

From Darkness Into Light

There was a question posed on the Internet Cafe last week: " What would the title of the book of your life be?" As you can see from my title for this evening and the post below, my title would be
"From Darkness Into Light".

As I said yesterday, this will probably be a little long, and I can guarantee that this will be very personal, so please bear with me.

First of all, I want everyone to understand that I was raised with religious "beliefs". However, I had no real "relationship" with God. I believed in God, I believed that Jesus died for me for forgiveness of my sins, but beyond that there was no feelings attached to this.

My life was a confusion at times. My father died when I was 8 years old. I don't have many memories of him. My mother remarried when I was 12. She married a wonderful man, a man I was proud to call my father.

However, when I was 9 years old, the summer after my father passed away, I was sexually molested by a stranger in a parking lot. I was so frightened. I had been left in the car alone while my mother shopped. I told her of this molestation, and she contacted a relative who was a policeman. The answer to this was not to speak of it any further. In my family, if you didn't talk about something, then it just never happened.

Things went along smoothly for a while until I was about 11. My cousin who was 4 years older than me decided that I would be a good practice for him for his sexual education. I just went along with this. I didn't see anything wrong with this. After all, the stranger had had no repercussions from his actions, so why was this any different?

My cousin and I continued in our sexual promiscuity for approximately 2 years. At this time, he started dating and having girlfriends, so I was no longer needed for this purpose.

I was a troublemaker in school--skipping days and classes whenever I could. I drank alcohol during school, set off fireworks in the auditorium until the whole room was filled with smoke, and still no one did anything. I realize now that I was crying out, "Look at me--Would someone please pay attention to me--I'm lonely--I'm scared--I need help." But no one answered and no one listened.

I married shortly after my 19th birthday to a man who was 5 years older than me. My parents thought this was a wonderful idea--probably this was viewed as a way to get me out of their hair, and I truly think that they felt that an older influence might settle me down. We moved to another state, not far from my family, but far enough that I didn't see them much.

This did settle me down for a little while, and then this marriage ended very abruptly when my then husband decided that he didn't love me any longer, didn't need me in his life. I just moved on--onto bars, drugs, as much alcohol as I could get my hands on. Life was a big party, and any excuse was given to party. It's Tuesday, so we party--it's cold outside so we party, and on and on.

During this time, I stopped eating completely. I dropped to 90 pounds, and I thought I looked okay. My father saw me once during this period, and he told me I looked like a skeleton with skin. I took that as insult and continued in my not eating. I was on the "liquids" (alcohol) only diet!

I met my second husband in a bar. I took him home with me that night, and he never left. We were truly in lust. We lived together for 2 years, and I became pregnant with my son. We were both very happy about this and decided that marriage was the proper thing to do. I stopped partying, and he continued.

Eighteen months after my son was born, my first daughter was born, and then 19 months after her my second daughter was born. I was starting to party--just a little--in between pregnancies. When my youngest child was only a few weeks old, some friends came to visit. I was so messed up! I looked at my baby laying there sleeping, and I had the presence of mind to think--"If something happened to one of these children, would you be able to handle the situation?" And my answer to myself was, "No." I decided then and there that I would stop partying, be the mother that my children deserved to have, and I did just that.

However, my husband continued in his downfall. He went from pot, to painkillers, to heroin, to crack. In and out of rehabs numerous times, he would be clean for a short period ot time and then right back to the drugs. The abuse escalated--verbal, emotional, and physical. I kept no cash in the house because it would have been taken for drugs. My daughters and I slept with our purses around our necks so that nothing could be taken from us. My checkbook was in between the mattress and boxspring, and I slept on top of it. Checks had been taken from me, forged, and still I did nothing. I was too afraid.

During this time, I confided in no one. Absolutely no one knew what was occuring in my life--not my co-workers, not my family. I had no friends because I was ashamed of my situation, and I certainly didn't want any of them involved in my life.

I went into a deep depression and was hospitalized twice. Each time my husband told the doctors at the hospital that things would be different when I came home. And they were different--they were worse if that could even be possible.

My youngest was 13 years old when I finally decided that I could take no more. My two daughters and I moved into an apartment. I still remember the first night there and thinking that this must be what peace was like. My son decided to stay with his father (heartbreaking to me), but he felt that he could "fix" him. About 6 months later, he came knocking on my door one night, asking if he could live with me--he could take no more.

During this time at our first apartment, my husband was still living in our home. This house was repossessed. My car was repossessed. He had taken a loan and used the car for collateral without my knowledge. I was going downhill financially at a rate that defies human nature.

Then, my husband came to me--telling me that he was clean from drugs, he wanted to try to make us a family. And, I, being so downtrodden, both mentally, physically and financially, fell for this. So, I invited him back into my life. It wasn't too long when I realized that this was all lies.

The drug use escalated to a point where there was no money for bills, no money for food, no money for anything. My children were exposed to things that children of any age should never be exposed to. I call them children, but by this time they were actually young adults.

My youngest had been working since the age of 15, saving every penny she earned so that she could go to college. Her father emptied her bank account of over $6,000--all for his drug habit.

I was getting more and more depressed. I spent most of my time in bed, unable to do anything. Death was looking nicer and nicer to me. My mind was playing tricks on me, telling me that death had to be better than this life.

So, I chose death. I took handfuls of pills--blood pressure medications, sedatives, anything I could get my hands on. My son found me and took me to the hospital. I remember riding in the elevator there, and the doctor saying to me that I was an intensive care case just waiting to happen.

The doctors were most concerned with the amount of blood pressure medication I had taken--more so than the sedatives. I was on a 24 hour watch--someone sitting outside my room which had a glass wall--watching and monitoring me through the night.

An odd thing happened--my blood pressure never dropped, my pulse rate never dropped. I felt absolutely no different than I had before I had taken all of these pills--except for the fact that for some reason I felt hope. How could I feel hope in the midst of all of this??

Then a co-worker reached out to me and invited me to her church. I told her I couldn't go--I had no "church clothes". She told me that was okay--this was a very casual church--people wearing jeans, tee shirts, shorts during the summer. She saw my anger, my bitterness and God spoke to her and told her to reach out to me. I am so thankful that she was obedient to what God was asking her to do. I know it wasn't easy for her--I was very unapproachable about anything at that time.

I stood her up that first Sunday--I just didn't show. She didn't reproach me for this, just said we'll try for next week. The next week I did go, and God touched me that day. He has been holding onto me all this time. He has never let go of me--I was the one letting go of Him.

My journey has not been an easy one. But, I now know that God is always there for me. He has provided for me in ways I could never even begin to imagine. He is my focus in this life, my first thoughts in the morning, throughout my day, my last thoughts in the evening.

I had not cried in years. All of my emotions were on hold. Now, I cry easily. I cry when I think of Jesus suffering for me. I cry when I think of how much God loves me in spite of myself.

I left my husband for the last and final time just 4 years ago. But, the wondrous love of God has allowed me to forgive him. All the anger, all the bitterness is gone and has been replaced with a peace and calm--the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Are there still problems in my life? Do I still face obstactles on a daily basis? Of course, I do. But now I rely on God, reach out to Him, pray to Him, talk things over with Him, and my solution to these problems are His solutions, not my own.

I have surrendered my life to God. I am His servant, and I pray that I am obedient, that I allow His will to work in my life.

My greatest prayer is that my children will come to love our Lord, know of His love for them which is even greater than my own love for them. Will you pray for them with me? I know that they have each been hurt--each in different ways--not only by their father, but also by me. God has forgiven me and so have they. They each still have many issues to deal with, and God is their answer.

God has brought me from the darkness into His light. Life was difficult, but I know that God was watching over me, waiting for me, and He once again used evil for good for His purpose. I am here now, God, and I will never turn my face from you again.

Thanks for being patient, reading all of this. I know that it was long, but it was important for me to put this into writing once and for all.

Always in Christ,


The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made........Psalm 145:8-9


Aunt Kathy said...

Beth, what a testimony.

I have already lifted your children, and believe that God will reach them too.

Your light shines bright, and I am glad to be your friend and sister in Christ.

Denise said...

Bless your precious, beautiful heart. Thanks for sharing this, my prayers are with you and your children.

Micki said...

What an amazing story Beth! Thanks you for directing me here.