Good Morning Gorgeous!
Today is a BRAND new day! A fresh new start.
The sun has risen again today reminding us afresh that God is faithful and the darkest of nights gets overcome by light EVERY time!
I spent a beautiful evening last night with four other Christian women who LOVE Jesus! Three and a half hours FLEW by and none of us wanted to part the table. There is a hunger to be near the people of God.
As we sat together, stories of triumph flowed from each woman. Stories of how God showed up in the depths of the deepest pains, and how He carried, healed, and divinely aligned.
I shared just a sliver of my testimony, and this morning I woke up still thinking about my vulnerability.
Also, our testimonies are a door to freedom that someone else can walk right through! The Lord says that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ) and the Word of our Testimony.
When you share your story and how God has redeemed it, hope is deposited right into someone else’s darkest hour.
In my prayer time this morning, I began to pray and surrender afresh everything my hands are currently working on. God led me to my stories. I felt Him saying, “Go ahead daughter, it’s time to tell your story.”
One story at a time.
Each Saturday, I will release a story. And some of it is dark and raw and uncomfortable.
May every reader not see just the depth of the dark, but the TRUTH that God really CAN and God really DOES show up in the brokenness and make beautiful things.
I am a walking, breathing testimony that surrendering your whole self over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ will absolutely change EVERYTHING!
I wrote this in 2015. I’ve never shared it. I have been waiting on God to give the green light for me to begin sharing the darkness that I have emerged from. I have been writing my stories and saving them on my computer for years. I was born into deep dysfunction, grew up in poverty, and then paired all that with my own bad choices as I sought love and acceptance.
Yet, through it ALL, God kept showing up and showing up and showing up! He delivered and delivered and delivered.
6 years old. 6 years old. I have to let that sink in as I remember this story. I was pretty much just a baby. It was the summer after first grade. My young life had already been through mountainous highs and valley lows, but I don’t have many memories of the first few years of my life. I just know the stories that I have heard told over the years, so by the time I was six I had a pretty strong backbone. I was clever and witty, and also wise to pain, fear, and loss that a child so young should not have had to bear or witness yet.
6 years old, summertime, a dirty apartment in a dirty apartment building. The building is two stories with a courtyard in the middle. Our apartment is small, but big enough for the three of us. The three of us, that’s new and uncomfortable, and just plain weird. For so long it had just been the two of us, and now there are three.
My dad has re-entered the picture. My mom and I have spent the last four years of my life on our own. I love my mom, I cherish my mom, she is my safe place, she is my shelter, she is strong, and smart, and I want to be just like her. We are on the same team. She takes care of me, and talks to me like I am her best friend. I watch her every move, and when I am alone, I pretend to be her. She is young. 24, carefree yet responsible. She can turn anything into fun, yet she goes to work every day, someone has to. For the last four years, my mom and I have been a team. Just us against the world. Now I am a part of three not two.
I don’t think I like it. This man is mean, but smiles a lot. He is cold, then loving. He is kind, then cutting. I am 6 years old. I can see right through him. He is evil. My mom is my shelter, my safe place. But how can she be my safe place when she cannot be her own safe place. This man, this number three person hurts her. He hurts her a lot, and she doesn’t seem to know how to make it stop. She looks at me with apologetic eyes, and I know exactly what she is saying. I can read my mommy like a weathered book. We are a team. On this particular day, the apartment is hot. Really hot. There is a fan running and it smells like sweat and cigarettes and alcohol. He glares at me and tells me that I am disrespectful. I glare back and fold my arms. I am sitting in a type of swivel chair, maybe a computer like chair or a spinning armchair, and I spin so my back faces him. I refuse to allow him to see me cry. I am angry. I am not angry about being called disrespectful. I am angry because he says I cannot see my family. My aunt wants to pick me up and take me to church tomorrow. I will get to spend the night at my grandparent’s house. He says no. “We are a family now, and we should be together.” Sounds innocent enough right? Several problems here….. his idea of spending time together is him getting high on a myriad of drugs and there are always people here that I don’t know. Scary people of all ages and most of them smell. Another problem is I just met this man, this number three, and now he is telling me what to do, when to do it, and he hurts my mom…a lot….
I spin my chair around. He’s not gonna let me go. He’s gonna make me stay in this trap of an apartment and watch in horror as he hurts my mommy. My throat gets tight. My heart starts to pound. Oh no, the tears are coming. I will not let number three see me cry. I will not. He spins my chair around. “Why are YOU crying?” He demands with hot anger. “You love that family don’t you?” “Your mom really messed you up bad. She made you love that sick family of yours that thinks they are tooo good for everyone else. I don’t hear you asking to stay with my mom. Vanessa, you do know you have another grandma?” I am thinking…..”I never met her until maybe a week ago.” My silence fuels his anger. He asks more probing questions, and slings more insults. When he hits a brick wall with me, he turns on my precious mother. He tells her that she raised an ungrateful brat and made her only love her side of the family.
When he has run out of things to say, he gets up and tells me to pack my shit. Pretty much his exact words. I am 6 years old. He says, “ You love your grandma and grandpa so much, get out and move in with them.” He packs everything. He even packs my plastic play kitchen and sets it all out against the wall outside of the apartment in the courtyard. I am sent outside to sit with all of my stuff packed up in garbage bags. I cover my ears and hear my mom and number three fighting inside. I don’t remember what was said after that. My grandma came and I left. Safety and protection arrived even if only for the day…. I was six.
Friends, Don’t mourn for me. Rejoice with me!!! This is what I have been saved out of, redeemed from, and healed from! This is a mere sliver of my story. But what I can tell you is this, on that day, God sent me the physical arms of my grandparents. He does that sometimes. He will send physical people to be His Hands and Feet in the earth. And other times, He will show up and move in ways we didn’t realize were still possible!
If you need a miracle today, a breakthrough, you can trust Jesus with the depths of your darkness.
Call on Him, He will answer!
Dear Heavenly Father,
I cannot praise You enough. Magnify Your Name enough. Say I love You enough. It feels like I could sing Your praises without end! Sometimes I feel misunderstood, and that’s okay. You know the depths of my gratitude, and I pray that I will please You with every breath, every spoken word, everything I put my hands to and every where I place my feet. Lord, may my whole life be a holy offering poured out unto You, pleasing and pure. You can have everything. Consume me Lord. Consume my mind, my heart, my will, my emotions, my desires, and my yes and my no. Remove anything impure in me, and fill me with Your desires, will, and plans. I will live my life solely for You. No matter how radical. No matter what it means. I choose to be set apart and live fully in the light. No more darkness ever. I know what the darkness feels like, and I choose light over darkness every time.
In Jesus Name, Amen.