I wish I could say that my childhood consisted of a great family, where love abounded and life was sweet. To say it was, would be a lie. I grew up in a home that was cold, abusive, and riddled with alcohol and drugs. Needless to say, my childhood was a hopeless mess.
I became promiscuous at a very shockingly young age, and started using drugs and alcohol to cover the pain of my emptiness. No matter how much alcohol I drank or drugs I used, I would always wake the next morning feeling even emptier than before.
Since the pain would not leave I started using other methods to ease the pain. I started cutting myself. This would only bring temporary relief, as the guilt of my shame would wash over me. I constantly contemplated suicide. Then something incredibly profound happened to me.
I got pregnant. I was seventeen years old and was halfway through my senior year in high school when it happened. When I told my boyfriend, we decided that it was best to get an abortion. Deep down inside, I really didn’t want to… “this was my one chance at real love” I would quietly tell myself. I desperately wanted to be loved!
After a month of lying to my boyfriend about getting an abortion, I told him the truth. I figured if he left me, at least I would have someone who would love me no matter what…my baby! However, he didn’t leave me, even after we found out that we were having TWINS!!
During my senior year, I was invited to a church youth group by a girl who intimated me. She was beautiful, popular, and so nice! She befriended me when everyone else seemed to mock me and tease me. I was so scared to go! I was pregnant for heaven’s sake…people like me didn’t go to church! I was never taught anything about God growing up, I never even saw a bible before…and here I was thinking about going to church!
I ended up going, and to my surprise no one teased me or looked down on me for being pregnant. Everyone was really nice and they were real…it was foreign to me. I didn’t know how they could be so happy, and full of joy…I wanted that same joy!
A few weeks after I started going to the youth group, they announced that we were going on a youth camp. I was really excited, but immediately became discouraged when they announced the cost. I knew my dad would never give me money to go to a Christian camp…He didn’t even believe a God existed!
I mentioned it to him, and he came back with the usual sarcastic remarks about money. The following week when I was headed out the door to go to youth group, I listened to the usual taunting from my brothers about becoming a “holy roller”. I stopped at the kitchen counter to tell my mom I was leaving and looked down to see a check made out for $100 and in the memo was written “youth camp”!
I was overwhelmed with emotions and wanted to run and kiss my dad and tell him “thank-you”. However, in my family we didn’t do such things. I grabbed the check and walked to youth.
A few weeks later, I found myself on the island of Kauai at youth camp. (I was raised in Hawaii on the island of Oahu if you were wondering how I got to Kauai on only $100)
Throughout the time we were at camp, we played games, swam in the ocean and hung out. We also had nightly services where we gathered and listened to the youth pastor preach. I don’t remember the sermon that he preached or the songs that we sang; however, I do remember the one thing that counted the most: In the midst of all that was preached and sung…I acknowledged that I was a lost sinner and needed Jesus. I raised my hand to accept him as my Savior.
The next day we had a baptismal service. I will never forget being baptized! It was an overcast day, and the waves were a little rough. The sky was covered in gray and clouds. I stood on the shore letting the waves crash against my feet, pondering on the decision I made the night before. “Could I really have found what I have been searching for?” I thought to myself. The youth pastor waved to me to enter into the wash and I made my way into the ocean. He was saying a bunch of stuff about God and Jesus and I just kept thinking, “God, do you really love me? Have I really found true love?” I was immersed into the ocean in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and as I came up…the clouds parted, the grayness melted away and I saw the light.
On June 18th, 1992 I found someone who would love me through it all, no matter how messed up I was! Through the years God has shown me more and more how madly in love He is with me, and I no longer feel empty. I will never forget the day I got saved…for on that day, my hopeless mess was turned into messy hope!