I grew up as a shy girl in the hot, dry desert, otherwise known as Phoenix, Arizona. My family and I moved a lot during my elementary school years. I went to five different schools by the time I was in fourth grade. My dad was an alcoholic which made things difficult. (Praise God, my dad is a Christ follower today. Clean and sober.) Thanks to my two aunts I accepted Christ when I was 9 years old. However religious rules tainted my faith. Written in my first Bible in my own handwriting was:
* Do not wear black. (Avoid black because it stood for sin and evil.)
* No rock music. (Rock music was the devil’s music.)
* No dancing. (Dancing was unacceptable, only for the wild and crazy. Dishonoring to God.)
Because of this God wasn’t appealing to me. He was a mean judge. I was sure He would take me out if I didn’t behave just right. My family and I didn’t attend church regularly, but I attended church and AWANAs off and on with friends.
At age 7 and then again at 13, I was sexually abused. Both times by older adult men. Because of this I felt shameful, used, dirty, and devalued. The abuse experience when I was 13 involved me and a friend where she was raped in front of me. After that experience, I gave up on there being a good, loving God.
I could write pages about my experiences during my teens and early twenties, but I’m trying to keep this short. Basically I’ve been there, done that with most things. I was extremely insecure and focused on my body size to the point of obsession(I had a 24 inch waist but I felt fat). Body image struggles haunted me.
I tried the bar scene and sought attention of guys, but hated them at the same time. I felt depressed and unworthy, but I hid behind laughter, stylish clothes, trendy make up and just the right hair. I continued to make poor choices and found myself pregnant–unmarried, which led to my abortion and more shame.
A few months later I had surgery for breast implants, thinking I would fix my body image insecurities. No one was going to tell me what to do with my body again. Surgery made me feel plastic. Fake. A bigger bra size didn’t change my heart issue, so my body image issues remained.
The following year I got married to my current husband, Derek. But I was emotionally unstable and wounded. We struggled during our early years of marriage. I had an emotional affair with my ex-boyfriend, which made me feel like a complete loser. I felt like I would never find help or hope because I kept repeating behaviors I hated about myself. I needed to break free from me.
A couple years later, after a move to Colorado, we hit financial rock bottom and filed bankruptcy. That year was extremely humbling. To make a clean break and start fresh, my husband and I both started applying for new jobs in Colorado Springs. And by the grace of God we both were offered jobs on the SAME day. And guess what? Both of our bosses were both believers. That was the start of our turning back to God. During the next year a Christian couple invited us to their church. Another turn towards God! We both felt a new desire to live for Him and to raise our kids with faith. However the first five years I felt like I was at an arm’s length from God. I didn’t feel worthy for God’s love yet I longed for intimacy. By God’s grace, He led me to a desert place literally. We moved to a small town outside the city of Colorado Springs. There in isolation real change and healing began. I felt the Word came alive like never before. I heard from God personally. I felt undone by God’s love for the first time in forever. I danced, prayed, praised, fasted, sang, and felt His JOY over me.
And there in the desert my writing journey began. Compelled to share what God was doing in my heart, I wrote devotions and emailed them to friends and family. They responded with encouragement, so I wrote again.
I haven’t stopped since. 🙂
I thank God for His relentless pursuit for this once wild child. He has captured my heart for good. God’s done a mighty healing work in my heart and I am free! I love to share that freedom with others.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1(NIV).
Okay, there you have it. A Reader’s Digest version of my life.
In December 2009, I had the privilege of sharing my story to 96 incarcerated teen boys and girls and 15 of them said YES to Jesus. Talk about joy!
(See my speaker and writing links for more about me)
I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado with my husband Derek and two teenagers, Justin and Hannah. Every day the view of Pikes Peak reminds me of the greatness and majesty of Almighty God.