So, I was asked to write my personal testimony of how I found Jesus Christ (or should I say, how He found me) and I wanted to share it with you all on the Tribe.
Around 12 years of age, I was brought to know how the world really works. I came from a broken family, born to a mother and father who were really children themselves. I had an extremely lonely childhood up until the age of 12, as I lived with my father and step mother who were constantly working. I lived on a ranch very far from town, so I was rarely able to see my friends since their parents seldom wanted to drop them off down the long dirt road into Tick Canyon. Because of this I had to spend my childhood years entertaining myself, which was fairly easy as an adolescent with an ample imagination; but it didn’t keep me satisfied, I knew that I needed more from life. I was driven back and forth on weekends from Tick Canyon to Orange County where my mother and step father lived, which was a fairly long distance; probably around 40 or so miles. My mother worked incessantly as well, and my step father hated me with every inch of his being. He tortured me; basically just teasing me until I did something wrong and once I did, he would punish me for it. I still longed to be with my mother because she gave me the best attention she possibly could and she loved me with all her heart, so I would cry to my father and step mother every night to send me back to live with my mother. I felt so far away from people that loved me and cared about me, so as a child I suppose I figured that my mother would take away all my loneliness and inner pain. My longing to be with my mother could have also been that I lived with her until I was around 5, but I was sent to live with my dad abruptly because she came down with a horrible disorder where she couldn’t stop bleeding, and I guess she could not handle the stress of having me around while she was going through her pain. I look back and it still hurts me a bit though, being tossed back and forth like I didn’t really belong to anyone. Nonetheless, around the age of 12-13 I was sent back to live with my mother in Orange County and that is where all the trouble began with myself. I was relentlessly picked on and tortured by kids at school, and I didn’t really have anyone around me to help because my mother was working 8-9 hours a day and I was rarely able to see her. When I did see her, I would just cry and she would tell me that I am beautiful and it is alright – what a mother should do. As time went on, I used food to entertain my sorrows; which turned me in to a large girl at a young age. And of course, this added fuel to the fire with kids attacking me left and right because of my looks; which also added fuel to my fire, and I came down with something called body dysmorphia (my OCD manifested later on in cleaning and constantly feeling "dirty" all over). And it did not help much that my step-father would verbally abuse me and belittle me whenever we would get into an argument. Once I was in high school, I began experimenting with drugs and alcohol to ease my pain and it worked for a long time. I took basically every drug I could get my hands on, and I ruined my entire high school career; flunking out at age 17. I stole money from my mom to get drugs, and I did not even think twice about it. I started getting involved with unsavory people that introduced me to methamphetamines, which was the biggest mistake I think I’d made up to that point. I had a huge party while my mom was giving birth to my baby brother, having her labor induced at the hospital with a 3 day minimum stay. Once my mother and step father got home and found out, needless to say I was sent to live with my father again. My father did not want to deal with me either of course, and I really had much animosity towards him for neglecting me throughout my childhood so we both agreed that I should leave – except I was only 17, so he had the say where I was going. He sent me to a horrific lockdown institution for severely troubled teens which still plagues me to this day, but after many letters telling him the horrors of the facility he pulled me out and sent me to live in Louisiana at a Christian girls home. I faked my progress through that place and after a good 6 months I was back home at my mother’s house in Orange County. I maintained a “good-girl” persona for my mother and my dad, which worked for a while and I was out and about doing the same old stuff. To make a really long story a bit shorter, I got back into drug scene and wasted my life away. I was living on the streets (at friends’ homes) because my mother finally had enough of my BS and kicked me out. During this time, I would go visit my father at his new place in Los Angeles and would take his credit card and steal money off of it whenever I got the opportunity. It got so out of control that I stole $10,000 from him, and it finally caught up to me. My step mother and my father were informed from the credit card companies what I had been doing, as they had my picture on every ATM around the city. After all this, I STILL didn’t learn. I had a horrible relationship with my parents on both sides after that, and no one wanted to even be around me. So, I continued living at friends’ homes and doing the same old thing. I stopped the persistent use of drugs, but I still partied and drank and wasted many years doing this because of my inability to love myself. I was able to come back and live with my mom and I ended up meeting a good man a party and have been with him since. I moved in with him and he has tried to keep me on the straight and narrow, although he had problems of his own and was unfortunately also in the dark concerning what is true and right and moral. We began taking the pharmaceutical drug xanax together, because it made us feel so good and free from life’s daily issues. To cut to the quick, we were addicted for about a year and I had some horrible pain and was not able to sleep while I was not on that drug. I’d take a bar at night with some alcohol and fell to sleep instantly, but once it wore off I would toss and turn through the whole night. My eyes were black underneath and I literally looked like a gaunt, walking zombie. My mind was constantly racing with suicidal thoughts, as it had been in previous years. Except this time, I really was close to just ending it all because I felt as if I was a prisoner in my own body and my own mind was the enemy. People would always ask me if something was wrong because I looked so unhealthy, but I never correlated that my dwindling physical appearance was because of the very drug that was keeping me so content. I must also say though, when I was not on xanax I was a BEAST of a person. I would freak out over every little thing and I would take out all my frustrations on my poor boyfriend. It was a sad thing, but it finally clicked in my head (thank the LORD) that I was headed down a path of utter destruction. I stopped taking it cold turkey and experienced the most painful withdrawal symptoms I had ever experienced in my life, but I have to say now that it was well worth it. My dad is a very devout Christian man and he had always tried to engrain in me the importance of being a godly person, which unquestionably helped in my salvation because he planted that seed within me years before I even knew what direction my life would go. Once I told him all the emotional pain I’ve been dealing with since I was little, and my reasoning behind my rebellion, my dad finally gave me some emotional counseling which had never happened before; and he accepted me for who I was, which had NEVER happened before. In fact, he spent my entire childhood even up until my adult years telling me everything that was wrong with me. But now, he had FINALLY accepted me for who I was and I finally saw that light from God that many have spoke about. Ever since then, despite the difficulties, I have pressed on in my relationship with God and I have never been so at peace. I look back on everything that has happened and I thank Jesus Christ for it. I literally believe that, because I did not have stable parents capable of raising a child, God took me as His own and put me through all the trials because he needed me to be a good person for Him and for the sake of His Kingdom. I know this because now I am fully aware of the suffering that goes on every day, every minute around this world. I also know that because of the emotional pain I’ve been through, I have the utmost compassion for those suffering and in need. I know this also, because I am fully aware of the evils that lurk in this world and I am now becoming better equipped to deal with them and I know once I am fully developed as a Christian I will be able to help others out of similar trials. Sure I’ve wanted to give up on this path toward being right and true and just go do whatever it is that would make me happy for the moment, but I just pray to God to keep me pure and true, and in that small effort His grace strengthens me from the inside out. My knowledge of the Lord Christ Jesus and what he has done for me will never allow me to give up hope. He IS my hope; in actuality, He is my only hope. This world is full of evil, with pain and suffering around every corner. But if we can stand strong and endure through the hardships and pain of this world, we have a preeminent reward awaiting us on the other side; the wisdom and perfect love of the Creator of all humanity, and of all existence. What could possibly be more glorious than that?