You know, sometimes I feel that my life is like a really .. long .. “ABC Sunday Night Movie.” You may laugh, but it’s true. You might even see a picture of my life under the word “dysfunctional” in the dictionary. But I’m also starting to believe that I might be in there under the word “grace” as well.
The death of my father when I was 10, is where it seems to have begun. The 27 years since have included serious family issues, emotional abuse, neglect, an abortion in my teens, several suicide attempts and then I went on to an abusive ex-husband. In many respects, these problems were a result of difficult circumstances I endured as a child. On the other hand, my own choices along the way have led to the present situation of my life.
As a single parent, I have tried to provide some stability for my son Adam. I wanted to raise him to be a man, yet he has had no man in his life. At the tender age of 12, he started on a path of self-destruction. He started with small and petty things like shoplifting. His choices became more and more serious, and have now led to 4 felony charges and several misdemeanors. He is now 15.
In 1998, I filed for bankruptcy, as the legal fees mounted, and I couldn’t afford to pay bills. I lost my car, but was able to keep the house. Things continued to deteriorate with Adam. He began to sneak out at night, doing drugs and alcohol. I was afraid to sleep at most nights, fearing not only for Adam’s safety, but for my own as well.
For a short period of time in the fall of 1998, Adam stayed with my older brother. This was supposed to give us some breathing room for a few weeks, but it turned out to be the worst possible situation. Adam suffered sexual abuse by my brother. This obviously compounded the problems he already had. Unable to handle the consequences of the actions against my son, my brother took his own life three days before Thanksgiving, 1998. The rest of my family blames Adam, and me, for this tragedy. They refuse to acknowledge what my son has gone through. After this incident, Adam began to act out even more, was suspended from school two times, and finally was arrested for probation violation and taken into custody on October 23, 1998. He was taken to the Department of Youth Corrections ~ jail for teenagers.
This meant he would not be home for Christmas, as we awaited placement for him in a juvenile offender program. The holidays were tough. I had been thinking about the same time the year before. Along with my son at that time, I had a special person in my life. We had a dog, and a cat, a REAL family. Things were the best they had ever been for me. I had all the things I figured I needed to make my life complete. Then, a year later, I was alone at Christmas ~ for the first time ever. The boyfriend was gone ~ he took the dog. Adam was in jail. My family not speaking to me. I am not here to tell you that I came through everything okay and now I understand what God was doing. I am still struggling to understand why these things have happened in my life, and why things continue to happen.
Raised as a Lutheran and confirmed by the church at the age of 13, I never really felt like I had a personal relationship with the Lord. I have gone through life agonizing at every turn. In August of 1998, I walked through the doors at First Christian Church, and I felt something different than I had ever felt before. I felt home. I knew somehow, that I was where I belonged. I was saved on September 20, 1998.
If not for my relationship with Jesus Christ, I know I would not be here today. I would have succumbed to the pressure and taken my own life. I still think about that sometimes. But I would be letting Satan get the best of me. Instead, knowing that Christ loves me and desires what is best for me, I am confident that He will continue to take care of my son and me. At some point, I know that things will be okay. May not be tomorrow, or next week, or even next year, but these present circumstances will resolve. I believe this. In the mean time, I will continue to be thankful and draw my strength from Him. I am lucky enough now to know Christ and have Him in my life.
My hope is in Christ. I will continue to trust in Him, even in the darkest moments. I am thankful every day for those people who reached out to me with a hand, or a hug, saying, “It’ll be okay.” I believe that as well, and I believe Christ led me to know Him, and to have a personal relationship with Him. He opened my eyes, and my heart. Now I know I will never look back.
And with Christ in my life, I know I am never alone.