I grew up with abusive parents who were also addicts. For many years of my adult life, I kept that truth a secret. In “the church” there seems to be some stigma and shame attached to people who come from messy backgrounds.
But having a messy childhood is part of my story. And hiding that reality robs God of the glory, for He is a big part of my story. Plus, let’s get real, there is no such thing as a perfect childhood or perfect parents or a perfect marriage. Those things are about as real as fairy dust.
Life is messy, people are messy. And my family? We come from a long line of royally dysfunctional messy people. We could have won awards for our dysfunction.
Growing up my parents’ screaming matches would have had normal neighbors calling the police, but my dad was a police officer and the neighbors knew if they wanted to have a ticket free life, they’d better shut up and turn the other cheek.
If you have a person in your life that has sworn to protect and to serve your community and they do this with integrity and respect, make sure to thank them for their service!
Dad was in control and he let everyone know it. After he left my mom for another woman, another man came onto the scene that mom called a “step-up” from my dad.
Just for the record, if an unmedicated paranoid schizophrenic who believed in black helicopters and found joy torturing my sister and me emotionally is a “step up,” then I seriously blocked a lot of crazy stuff out from my early childhood. Because that makes my dad a saint.
The physical and emotional abuse my mom and dad served up was extreme, but the psychological torture that came from the next man my mom chose to do life with is something straight out of a Lifetime TV movie.
Jesus kept me sane in a sea of insanity!
I’m a Jesus loving girl who gave her heart and life to the Lord at the young age of five. God has pretty much been my best friend ever since. We’ve had our ups and downs like all normal, healthy relationships do. But the Lord has been the one constant, steady rock in the stormy seas of my life. I’m super thankful for that!
Have you ever wondered how abusive addicts spend their Sundays?
Many go to church like the rest of us!
Even though our family was so messed up we went to church every Sunday. We had our best clothes and smiles on display for the whole world to see. Perfect wife. Perfect husband. Perfect kids. Everything practically perfect in every way, as Mary Poppins would say.
We never missed a Sunday unless someone was sick. Except for dad, he showed up on Easter and Christmas and that was enough for him. The other guy mom lived with was an atheist, so we didn’t need to worry about him much when he came on the scene. Except for the daily mocking of our faith. But when we were under the church roof, life was much less dramatic. It was a safe place in a world that felt very unsafe as a kid.
Going to church despite my family’s insanity was the silver lining to my childhood.
The Gospel rubbed off on me, as my grandma liked to say!
I got filled up with the hope of Jesus on Sundays in ways that helped me get through the rest of the crazy days that came in between. In the darkest of my childhood memories, I can look back and see God’s faithfulness in so many of those situations.
The Lord brings hope to those living in darkness.
When I was a teenager, I used to huddle under the covers in bed at night and listen to my bootleg Walkman to help drown out the noise of the yelling and screaming. The only station that came in clearly was Christian.
It’s amazing how truly real, relatable and tangible the Lord’s love became to me during those late-night gospel jam sessions under the covers. I’m so thankful for that blessing!
While the world was spinning in chaos around me, I would find safety, peace and security in the promises of Scripture as the music lulled me to sleep. I’m forever grateful to the inventor of that Walkman and thankful for the moms and dads that poured into my young heart on Sunday mornings at church.
I started leading worship at our large church at a very young age. That continued into my teen years and was one of the largest ways that my faith deepened. God has always used music to speak to me. Though that became much harder for Him when “new dad” decided to begin punishing me whenever he caught me singing. I have to work really hard today to get over the anxiety that comes from singing sometimes as a result of that deep, long-term psychological abuse. But that’s a story for another day.
I learned over the years that clinging to the good stuff like Jesus is far healthier than focusing on all the bad stuff that happens around us.
Because let’s face it. There is so much bad stuff around us. It can get depressing at times if we can’t find ways to find joy in our hardships.
The hardest parts of life are opportunities to uncover the deepest parts of God and His great love for us.
I learned at such a tender young age the necessity to hold onto Jesus tightly when life gets crazy.
No matter what chaos is swirling on around you today, remember that Jesus is our living hope!
Have you been silently carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Ever feel like you’re suffering alone?
You are never alone. God is right there with you in the middle of your heartache and pain. He loves you and is crazy about you!6 Bible verses that give you hope! #hope #trustinJesus #freefromabuse #showeredingrace Click To Tweet
6 Bible Verses That Give Hope
- Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7
- For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 2 Corinthians 4: 17
- He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. Psalm 147:3
- I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
- You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56;8
- God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
God is writing your story. Some chapters are harder than others, but God is with you through every sentence, paragraph, page and chapter of your book.
Lean on Jesus and trust that He can use all your hard stuff for His glory!Jesus can use all your hard stuff for His glory! #trustinJesus #showeredingrace Click To Tweet
The Salt & Light featured blogger is…
I love this post from Laurie of “Beautifully Broken.” She talks about how she suffers from depression and is still able to find her hope in Jesus. Have you ever struggled with this? She says, “Making space to linger in the suffering and embrace the triune God who is fully present in a way that is so much easier for me to see, hear, and feel in my pain than in my places of wholeness; this is where I can know His presence.”
Click here to read more about the struggles of embracing the bright side of things.
I am a co-host of the weekly Salt & Light Linkup Blogging Community. If you are female and a Christian blogger, come join us for some prayer, encouragement and a weekly linkup in our Facebook group. One blogger is highlighted in social media and on our blogs each week!