I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, in what I thought was a normal family. Brother and sister, mom and dad, lots of friends, things were good. We never went to church, except for funerals. I attended a youth group in junior high for a few months, but just didn't "get it." Who was God? Who was Christ? And what is this praying stuff? I was too embarrassed to ask someone and no one asked me about what I knew. I knew my dad wasn't my "father" but he was my dad. That's ok, but the older I got, the more apparent it became that I was different and so was my life. My dad and I aren't close, he's a man of few words...I am clearly a woman of too many words sometimes. I think he did the best he could without stepping on anyone's toes. He worked hard, put food on the table, and had a roof over our heads.
I soon found that I was trying to fill a void, the void of a father-daughter relationship with other things and people. My first real relationship out of high school was with an older guy. An older, controlling, double life kind of guy. He helped me find my biological father who left after being married to my mom and after she became pregnant with me. He left and never came back. I didn't know a thing about him until I was 16 and asked my mom about him. I met him for the first time when I was almost 19.
The relationship with my father was great...at first. His wife didn't and still doesn't want to have anything to do with me. I have yet to meet or speak with her. I understand her anger and think of her often. My communication with my father is almost what it was before I knew he was, except a lot more painful. This disappointment led me to try and fill that void again.
More horrible relationships with men, buying things that ended me in nothing but massive amounts of debt and unpaid bills, and this time, alcohol. I was fun with alcohol! People liked me! The world was carefree with alcohol! No bills existed with alcohol! Neither did my pride, self awareness, or conscience. I would drink myself into oblivion. A big black hole. I would cause scenes, pick fights, thought I was invincible.
I met someone who was, again older than me, but didn't sugar coat it for me. I had never had anyone be as honest with me about the way I was living my life like he was. He wasn't afraid to shoot it to me straight. He told me how lost I was, how disrespectful I was, how entitled I was, and honestly, what an idiot I looked like. (No one likes being told they look like an idiot.) It took a loooong time for me to accept the things he was saying. It took me drinking too much (again), passing out in his home with all of the doors locked and the key in my pocket, while he stood outside trying to break into his own home. It took my car being repossessed. It took me losing my job, apartment, and any dignity I had. I was homeless, car-less, and money-less. He showed me the love and grace that no one else had ever extended to me. He showed me the love of Christ.
Until then, I hadn't ever opened the Bible. Never. I was always embarrassed when my friends would talk about stories from the Bible. I had no idea what they were talking about, but I played along and always hoped I would never get caught. I cleaned up my act, but it was a few more months until I accepted the Lord as my savior.
I grew up in a small town with a church on every corner, but this man was the only person who had ever shared the love of Christ with me. This same person is who bought me my first Bible. This same person is who I was baptized with at the age of 25. This same person is who I now call my husband and father of our son.
I cannot imagine where my life would be without the Lord. He saved me and He rescued me, not my husband. He just worked through my husband, which I am eternally grateful for. The Lord has filled that void I was always trying to fill. He provides the Father-daughter relationship I was looking for. He fit that empty mold like a glove. I have a Father that loves me, protects me, helps me, guides me, celebrates with me, cries with me, and advises me.
I'm not perfect, by any means. I lived 20+ years by the World's standards and those are some tough habits to break, but with the Lord's help, I will become the woman He wants me to be. I have been in an extremely dark and lonely place before. A place of despair and with no hope. It's an awful place to be, but it's a place I needed to be to truly understand what accepting a savior means. I needed that dark place to remain grateful on a daily basis.