I have been contemplating doing this for some time now. I have read the testimonies from others in the blogosphere, I have cried tears of joy for their victories in Christ, tears of understanding for the pains of others, tears of anguish for others who have been taken advantage of. I figured it was time I shared my story, because it just might help someone else out there. There is nothing I can do for anyone, but God has done some mighty things in my heart and my life and I know lives can be changed when HE works through His people who are willing to let Him. So, I'm going to attempt to begin at the beginning, or as far back as I can remember. You may want to go get some coffee or a beverage of your choice as this may take a while :)
A word of warning: I used to live in a very dark place and I am going to try to share some of that with whoever will read this. It isn't pretty and some of it could be quite blunt and will deal with a few issues that are of a sexual nature.
I am going to start around the age 5. I have memories from before that, but I will start here because I think this was probably a big factor that shaped my future. I love my family. They have been such a huge factor, outside of my own parents' relationship, in the way I see things. Having the family God gave me, I believe, has given me a strong sense of family. I have so many wonderful memories. But they are not what I would now call a very godly people. I do think they love God, but not enough to respect His name or His day. My precious grandmother was the one who took the children to church; my grandfather had some bad experiences with pastors a long time ago and will not attend because of them. So the discipling was mostly left to my grandmother. They had six sons, my father being the third-born. Well, for whatever reason, attending church was not something my father deemed very important, and to make a long story short, unless it was by my grandmother, and then only when she was warning us about where being bad would get us, was there much talk about God. We were basically being raised like secularists. And it should come as no surprise that if the holy name of our Creator isn't held as sacred, then not much else is. Movie-time would often include times to "cover our eyes" so we wouldn't see the intimate scenes, but that would do nothing for our ears. And there are scenes that have been burnt into my memory between my parents that were humiliating for me to walk in on wherever they decided to "partake" of each other. There were no lessons on how to react properly. So, essentially, aside from the embarrassment I felt during movie time, there were no real factors for me to know what was right or wrong. Children are lost sinners like anyone else, the nature at a young age is still sin nature.
This lack of Christian leadership would lead to many years of struggling within myself, my heart, and years of "make-believing" church. My first "interaction" came when I graduated kindergarten. I remember my uncles had killed a hog (that's when you know it was a big event in the south) and my grandfather's business at the time specialized in buidling farm equipment. I remember there were large metal tubes in the area. This is where I make a plea. Mothers, parents, if you are raising your children to be pure, if you want to spare them from horrible encounters, I beg you, PLEASE know what your kids are doing at all times. Especially if the other children are not being raised in a godly environment. It was in one of these big tubes I had my first "encounter" with anothe very young person. I think the saddest part was that this person was not much older than I was. I don't know how or where or who they learned this behavior from, and because they have passed away, I never will without bringing some horrible things out from others that I have no gaurantee would make any difference. I don't beleive children just pull these things out of the blue, but that they would have learned this from someone else, and that whoever got the whole thing started will have to answer for it eventually. So I don't pursue the answers. I don't need to anymore. Vengeance will be the Lord's and His alone. This experience stirred up unnatural desires. For the rest of my childhood and into my adulthood I would struggle with bisexual tendencies. Now, lest I scare anyone who might have any doubts about their safety around me: I never was one who could just look at anyone any "feel" things about them, of either gender. For whatever reasons, I have never been a visual person in the sense of lusting, it would always have to be a combination of things...later on that combination would more often than not include alcohol or pot. I do, however, feel the pain that men feel when a sister-in-Christ thinks it is just fine to wear clothes that a Christian woman has no business wearing.
I guess I should count that as a sort of difficult blessing, that I feel sort of like an insider to how a man's mind might work and how hard it can be for them to not feel anger towards a woman who would have no more love for their brothers than they do. And in the house of God! That is a soap-box I could stand on for a long time. If you had known me more than a couple of years ago, I would have been preaching, desperately beseeching to myself. I guess I should back up. See, I was "saved" at a young age...I would say around 4th grade or so. As a result of VBS and wanting to please my grandmother whom I looked up to very much, I walked the aisle and was plunged beneath the water. I cannot say that I was truly saved, because my driving need to please my grandmother overtakes any other memories about that day. There was no discipleship that I can recall. This false salvation, as I see it, led to lip service but no real change. I still had the unhealthy relationship with my "sexual" self, as some would call it. I was still shoplifting and occasionally stealing from family members. I still had the hateful thoughts. There was no rebirth; I was unregenerate. There was no hate of all things worldly and unholy and sinful. There was no disgust or shame. I knew these things were wrong because I was going to church and had a Bible, but I felt no real conviction.
So, what happens when you are unregenerate but don't even know it because noone has ever explained it to you? You continue to sin without real conviction. And every now and then, you hear a message or go to a young christian get-together with christian bands and speakers and classes and "get emotion", or as it may have been, a real call to salvation and you rededicate your life. Over and over and over again. I have thought before that perhaps the Holy Spirit had really been calling me to salvation those times before and I even had a re-baptism. You could say I am a double-dipped Baptist. But then I think, no. I'm pretty certain that when the Holy Spirit speaks, you know.
Well, I need to get dressed. Here it is 1 in the afternoon and I am still in my pajamas and I am hoping we can do some organizing here around the house. That requires a trip to Lowe's to see their ogranizer section. And that requires me to not be looking like I look right now :) I will continue my testimony soon, I hope. I apologize as well, I am not the best writer out there and I tend to run-on alot and rambling isn't always easy to read. So bear with me and hopefully I will finish this before Christmas :) I hope this hasn't scared anyone off, I hope God can use this. I know He can and whatever comes out of it will be for His purposes, as scary as it may be to put all this out there.
Until next time...