Girl's got issues
If you read my About Page, you already know why I’m here writing this to you. I want you to know our story. I want to invite you in to our very real lives. Not because we are awesome or anything but because we know what it is like to fail. We know what it is like to struggle and fall flat on our faces in defeat. We know the raw pain of rejection and loss.
And we’re honest about it.
But we also know the power, grace, and love of an almighty God who never once left us in the mess. I mean, yeah He did let us deal with the consequences of our choices as any good Father would, but He sure loved us through it. And when it was time, He picked us up, dusted us off and said now let’s try this again, but My way.
We want to share Him with you.
Let me tell you some of our story…and we’re going way back.
We’ll call this Our Backstory: Part One…because I can’t think of anything catchier.
Jeff and I both grew up in loving, yet very dysfunctional families. Neither of us know our natural fathers and that has been a cause for insecurities in our lives although we hadn’t always known it. But we’ll talk about Jeff later…Me first!! (Once a brat always a brat I guess).
Anyway, I was born to a young single woman who already had a little boy just about to turn 2. And being that our birthdays are only 12 days apart, I see it as my brother got an awesome baby sister for his second birthday. I have no doubt he sees it that way too.
I remember Mama always working at something. A guard at the jail, a babysitter, a seamstress, cutting hair. She was a tough one. Still is. My brother and I spent a lot of time with our grandparents. They were the best! That was my first real idea of a “safe place”.
Mama did her best with us, but I didn’t always make easy for her. Thankfully my big brother was more easygoing and quiet. I on the other hand was loud and opinionated right out of the womb. My older cousins tell stories (quite exaggerated I’m sure) of babysitting me when I was little.
My Grandparents house was made into a duplex so that our little family could live next door and Mama would have help just a holler away. And of course being the smart, resourceful child that I was, I used this to my advantage. When I didn’t like what was going down on my side of the wall, all I had to do was scream for Granny and help came running (insert my sassy smirk here).
My success in that was only temporary however. You see, my mother was also a very strong willed woman and once my Grandparents were done making sure I was happy and feeling like the princess I thought I was, they eventually went back to their side of the house and I was left with my Mama Bear. I can still see that stern look she’d give me when she was mad and I knew what was coming. She would, as we say in the south, tan my hide! That woman had a way with a hickory switch that would make that joker wrap around your legs about 40 times in one swing!
Yeah, she had skills.
Fast forward to when I was around 8, Mama met my stepdad and before long (like literally the next weekend or something) they were married and I was moving out of my safe place. I was not happy about this at all. I had only known living right beside my favorite people. We didn’t move more than maybe 30 minutes away but to me it was like leaving the country. This was a hard transition but my sweet Paw Paw with his limited education would write letters to me.
Our world changed a bit living with my stepdad. He had served in the army and pretty much ran our house like a boot camp. And when my brother or I missed the mark on any given task we knew it quickly and painfully. His spankings were particularly hard but it was his words that did the most damage.
Even at school I dealt with one aggravation after another. My brother and I are biracial and in the 80’s, that wasn’t an easy life to live. We were the “mixed kids” or “half breeds” or “Oreos” and other racial names that at the time I did not even understand. We were not fully accepted by many of the white kids or the black kids. My brother usually just stayed quiet and got through the day fairly unnoticed. Me? Well I managed to stay out of trouble with people until about middle school. That’s when it got rough and I became a very angry girl. I started to fight with my parents and it got so bad that for a while I moved back to that little duplex where my Aunt now lived to ease the stress at home. I was 14 and angry at the thought of me being the one to leave instead of my stepdad. Between the stress of home and school I soon developed my sense of identity around being dumb, fat and unworthy of affection from anyone.
Many years I lived under a hard hand and harsh criticism. I carried these wounds into my teens which led to many bad choices as I searched for love in all the wrong places. I set my mind on finishing high school and working as much as possible. Being at work and doing a good job was where I felt accomplished. I worked as much as the law allowed at 16. I started out at a grocery store and worked my way up to front end supervisor while I was taking classes to earn my CNA. I was going to take care of myself and get out of there. That’s when I met Jeff. We started dating when I was 17 and he was 21. I just knew I had found my escape in him. I just knew he would take me away from that horrible heartache and being with him would fix everything.
I was very wrong.
I’ll share Jeff’s story in the next post.
Let me leave you with this for now…
In my heartache and pain God was there. I just didn’t know it yet.
If you are in a hard place, He is with you too.
If you are struggling with your own sense of self-worth, remember this,
Psalm 139:14 says you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I don’t care where you come from or what you look like, you were created in His image and He loves you.
Love who you are!
My favorite thing about ME