The story of a girl who became a woman

In just a few hours I will turn another year older. Sitting here watching tv, I heard the familiar voice of Crystal Lewis (one of my favorite singers) coming from a commercial. Her singing always takes me back to my teenage days, which were really some of the most defining moments of my life. That is when I became a Christian and became "lost in the purple haze of Jesus," as I've heard someone snidely say. Faces, events and music floated through my mind and I decided that I would write a short version of my life and various things that are important to me to commemorate my birthday--the day that God allowed me to take my first breath--the day that he used me to turn my mom from just a girl into a mother.

January 7, 1973 at 1:29 pm, I was born in Elyria, Ohio. My parents were young and newly married. Unfortunately for my mom, my dad was no good. Frankly, he was a big jerk who didn't know how to be a husband or a father. Within a few years she had divorced him and he had met up with another young girl and married her four days after she turned 16.

For several years, it was just my mom & I until I turned six and my little brother Joshua was born. Oooo honey! I was not happy! I was soooo jealous! lol Bless his little heart, I just wanted him to go away. The closest thing I had to a sibling up to that point was my cousin Michelle. I was practically raised with her and we spent every possible moment together.

As an adult I can look back and see how hard my mom tried. She was a hard-working single mother and she still read to me and made sure I went to amusement parks. I always had great Christmases and a bike to ride. I had plenty of my favorite Barbie dolls and toys. Even when she was tired and lonely, she still did her best to be a good mom. I didn't know that for a long time, but I know it now.

As far as I can remember, I pretty much hate all of the 80's. So many bad things happened during that time, that I just have no use for it. To not go too far in-depth, there were situations involving molestation and rape, frequent moves and school changes and then the big one... my mom got remarried. It's not as simple as it sounds and I won't go tarnishing any reputations because he's a good man now, but it just was not a good situation for a long time. By the time I was looking at high school, I was depressed. Very depressed. Then my new step-dad did something that would end up changing my life, but at the time all it did was make me angry...he decided that it was time to turn our lives around and get into church.

We tried a few churches here and there, but couldn't really settle in one...until the day that we visited Tower Baptist Church in Lorain, Ohio. That church changed my life in so many ways that I don't even know where to start. Nearly every person that I can think of who is ingrained in my heart and soul has a direct link to that church. That's where I learned about the Lord, that's where I learned about surrending my heart, how to become a Christian and what that even meant. That is where I learned the importance of fellowship through our youth group-- Mr & Mrs. Stearns, Allison, Tracy, the evil one, Randy, Paul, Angie, Fred, Mike, Tommy, Erroll, Missy, Nikki, Cindy, Steve, on and on and on. Some of those names I now really hate and some are sweet, but all mean something. And all were there during that time. Other last names such as Crabtree, Hughes, Pritchett, Scoles, Searles, Strock, Davis, Bailey, Henry, Arnold, Mick...they will always mean something when they fall on my ears.

Tower Baptist is where I married my first husband... and fell on the alter when I found out that he was committing adultery. It's also, unfortunately, where I married my second husband as well.... and is where I cried an endless ocean of tears after I found out what horrible things he had done to my little girl. I dedicated my babies to the Lord there and I wept at the funeral of my beloved Pastor Chris there. I entered those doors a girl and I left them a battle-scarred woman. But everything I really need for a successful life I learned behind those doors, surrounded by those people.

After the evil one went to prison and I found myself single again, I spent the next few years becoming me. I had never been allowed to be me before and I faced a bit of rebellion and sowing my wild oats. I fell in love a few times and had my heart broken a few more. I had some meaningless sex and got drunk a few times. I met someone who I will never forget for the rest of my life, but won't get to be with. I also did a few things that I am not very proud of. All in all though, I didn't stray far.

In 2004, I decided to buy a house with my ex-husband. Yes, I know...but it sounded like a good idea at the time! My logic was this: we are both single and don't plan to get married. We work opposite shift (he was days and I was nights). He can have a bedroom at one end of the house and I can have one at the other. We can split the bills and help take care of the kids. I don't have to worry about child care, my bills will be less and the kids will be able to see us both regularly. Sounded perfect! Yeah, don't ever do that. An ex is an ex for a reason. It didn't turn out well, especially after I decided that I did want to get married again.

Needless to say, he stuck me with the house and has now been foreclosed on. I decided to pack up and move to Dayton because that is where Allison (my friend since my first day at Tower Baptist) and all the other friends I've made through her live. I figured if the majority of my support system is in Dayton, then I'll give it a shot. It's okay here. I'm glad I get to see my friends more, but I am terribly homesick. And the fact that I now am out of a job and can't seem to find another one isn't making me any more attached to this place! Hopefully it will all turn around and we will live happily ever after, but we'll see. This really is a nice place to live, it's just not home and I'm having trouble adjusting.

I've live so much life for 36 years and have learned so many lessons...and have so many to go. Hopefully, I have as many years ahead of me as I have behind me. I want time to travel, lose weight, get my book(s) published, have money in the bank, see my kids get married, see my grandbabies... I could go on forever. Yep, I have a lot yet to see and as awful as some parts have been, I have had so much sweetness. Here is an excerpt from one of my blogs from several years ago and it still rings true....

I got saved when i was 15! I have friends (old & new) that have been awesome and so much fun. I know what it's like to laugh so hard I've peed myself or snort. LOL I've held four of my own beautiful newborn babies in my arms. I've held the hands of many beautiful people as they slipped out of this world.....and I've even managed to lead some to Christ on their deathbeds. I've graduated from college. I've sipped martini's next to Pepe while he told me I looked like Marissa Tomei until the wee hours of the morning while he kept smoothing my hair back over my face (he loved to touch my hair), and then we had our picture taken by total strangers who had cameras....I wonder what happened to those pics. I've swam in a beautiful, warm aqua sea. I've stood in a parking lot and held up cue cards to the person I loved because I wanted to make ammends with him, I've stood at the base of the statue of liberty and I've stood in the hole of what used to be the world trade centers. I got to hear Chris Hughes preach the gospel, I got to see justice prevail in our courts, I've been there when all four of my children were born and then born again in Christ, I've told perfect strangers that they are handsome or beautiful, had one one-night stand, but I've had so many passionate, beautiful kisses. I've had sex where I shouldn't, when I shouldn't with whom I shouldn't...and loved every minute of that broom closet! lol I've felt so much passion and love that even the memories of it are sometimes too much to handle. That's my perfect, beautiful life. Sometimes messy, sometimes noisey and sometimes way too quiet. But there's never been a dull moment. My life has been a rollercoaster ride. You wait around for what seems like years then you get on and buckle up. You wonder how bad could it possibly be? But you're scared. What if something happens? You could fall out of the seat for cryin out loud! At worst you just might look really silly from all the screaming and your hair is all windblown and you might have a bug or two stuck in your teeth.......but you had a great time....and you want more!

Thank you Lord for every single year of my life, thank you for every breath that I take, every friend that I have and every one of my children. Thank you for my family, my parents and my nursing degree. Thank you for my salvation and for all of the love that I have had in my life. Thank you for the free will to make every bad decision that I have made and thank you most of all for the knowledge that you are faithfully there to pick me up and give me another opportunity to do better. You, God, are an awesome God and I love you more than pork chops. Amen.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 41:10


Gail said…
Happy birthday!
Love you, my sweet and wonderful you! Happy Birthday! Thank you for sharing you and yourself! I am blessed to have you as a friend!
Gibby said…
A very moving, open, and honest post. I hope you had a happy birthday!