I was born in Ohio and from the start had to fight to live.  I was born blue with the cord wrapped around my neck.  My mother was clinging to life as well.  Little did I know, it was only the beginning of the life I would lead and the fight or trials I would have throughout my life.

 My father worked on a horse race track, so he traveled a lot and was not at home much.  My mother worked double shifts at the hospital to make up for the money my father spent on gambling, womanizing, and living expenses in other states.  So between my Grandmother and older sister, they helped raise me until I was old enough to take care of myself.  When my father was around he was very emotionally and mentally abusive, which turned me into a very angry and bitter child toward both my parents.  So when my father went to prison when I was 12 I felt some relief, but at the same time blamed myself because I felt that if I had been better, I somehow could have prevented all of it.  So I became even more bitter and angry towards myself and everyone around me. Everyone I went to school with found out about my father from a local newspaper, so I was ostracized and at times made fun of because of the situation.  By high school I learned how to use men and get what I wanted from them, but that also came with a price.

I was also into drugs and alcohol by then as well to try and numb the pain and guilt I felt.  My reputation in high school got around and before long I had guys lining up to pay me for one sexual favor or another.  That ended when I was raped at 16.  I sought help from a counselor but was told that what happened to me was not a priority and was turned away.  I blamed myself and turned my anger even more inward then it already was.

Speed ahead to when my father returned home from prison when I was just about to turn 17 and my home life got much worse.  By then I had learned to live without a father and I let my father know that. The abuse from my father started to become more physical and shortly after graduating high school, I moved in with a guy across the state and found a job at a local pizza shop. That lasted a couple months before I ran out of money and had to come home.  I returned home to my father who was now a new Christian, and my mother who was now working as a housekeeper. The verbal abuse continued on so I went off to college locally and got 2 jobs, one at a local restaurant and the other at a topless bar.  I worked at the bar for about a year and decided to leave after being offered a position as a dancer.  I still used drugs and drank.  I met my first husband when I was 21 and we partied together every weekend so it wasn’t long before I found myself pregnant and from that moment I decided to stop my wild life style.  Unfortunately, my “soon to be” husband did not.

 We got married a month after I found out I was pregnant.  Marriage was great at first.  We talked about how it would be once my son was born and about maybe even having another baby a few months after. Unfortunately, physical and verbal abuse started a few months into what I thought would be a “perfect” marriage.  I found myself fighting for my life and the life of my child. We ended up getting evicted from our apartment due to my husband’s rampant drug and alcohol use. So we moved into my parent’s house where the abuse continued and got worse. By now my husband was also having multiple affairs.  I sank into a very deep depression. It wasn’t until after Gabriel was born and a couple months old that I decided to file for divorce. I was terrified because my husband had threatened to kill me and my family if I ever did so.  A few months after filing for divorce my husband moved out and my depression continued to worsen. Speed ahead to a year after the divorce.  Thirty days after the divorce was finalized my first husband married his mistress and within a few short months they were expecting their first child, a little girl.  I snapped!  I hit rock bottom and from that point felt that God was punishing me for all that I had done in my life.

I let the voices get in and start telling me what a bad mother I was and that I was a horrible person…how I would be better off dead so those around me could lead better lives without having to worry about me. So one night I borrowed my parent’s car and decided that I was going to drive off the overpass onto the express way.  As I started to drive I was crying and crying out to God “WHY????”.  I don’t remember what happened to me but once I started to drive over the bridge, the next memory I have is of me in the church my mom had introduced me to so long ago, crying and not able to speak.  I sat down in a chair next to a woman but didn’t say a thing.  I listened to the testimony of a man who had a story different, yet similar to mine.  After the sermon, I felt I had to go up and speak to the pastor.  So I did, and I let everything that had happened to me spill out as I was crying.  He sat quietly listening and then told me his story which was like mine.  He also told me that God loved me no matter what I had done in this life and that by asking for forgiveness it would all be washed away and I could start a new chapter.  Then he had a group of women come around me and pray and offer words of encouragement and love. That was the first time in a very LONG time I had ever felt love and compassion from other people. They gave me all of their numbers and information for the counseling center at the church. They took me out to dinner and just loved on me.  I knew from that moment that I wanted a relationship with Jesus and didn’t want anything else. The next day a counselor called me and I was immediately brought into counseling.

Speed up to present day. It has been 5 years since that night and I am so grateful that God literally saved my life that day as I would have missed out on so many beautiful and wonderful things!  I did get remarried and divorced again but it was nothing like what I went through the first time. I clung to God the whole way through it and he brought me through.   He gave me a new sense of renewal and a purpose to my life. He has introduced me to a whole bunch of loving people who I am honored to call friends, and he has “restored the years the Locust have eaten” (Joel 2:25).  He can Restore yours too!! 

 

XO,

Meredith

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