How did you grow up? Was it a Christian household? How did you grow close to the Savior?
Thankyou Niccy for your question!
What a wonderful question...one I often times wonder of others! I did speak with my mama about this question and as I unfold the story behind my childhood, you will see why I needed to do that. She has given her blessing on this post.
I don't remember much about my childhood with married parents, most of my memories begin with their divorce when I was 7. I was oldest of three children. I had a sister whom at that time was 5 and a brother that was 2. My sister and I went with my mother to live and my brother stayed with my father.
Although I believe our family had a general concept of who Jesus was, it was actually a home of addictions...pornography, alcholism and drugs were a part of everyday life.
My mom was a bartender and so we were often times left to fend for ourselves...this meant even getting ready for school in the mornings. Thankfully we lived in a town of about 300 people and to walk to school was a piece of cake. We lived right across the street from the school and only had to cross the football field. (We had to walk in front of my grandma's house to get there as well, and I can remember many times she would holler out her front door for us to go home and change into different clothing ;)
My first job at age 12 was cleaning a bar and stocking the beer ;)
I can remember a few times when my mom and step dad came home from the bar which was conveniently located across the street from us and they would get into an argument or just rough house and it ended with someone passing out. One time, my step dad came to get me so that I could help him carry my mom to bed. He had urinated in the bathtub that she was hiding in. She slipped and cut her head open...she had passed out.
I thought she was dead.
Another time, she came home in a truck filled with her own blood and I had to run out several towels so she chould try to stop the bleeding. She had tripped and fell with a beer bottle in her hand. It was 30 miles to the hospital...
the wait was horrible!
We were also very close to poverty...to the point that some winters, our source of heat was a blowtorch that my step dad would take through the trailer house to warm it...that was until he could afford to purchase a kerosene heater for the living room. We used a toy to plug the drain in our tub and we had to stick a sock in place of a doorknob on our front door to keep out the draft.
My sister and I were actually laughing the other day remembering that we had mushrooms growing in the house...real mushrooms where there had been leaks in our roof!!
My mom made so many sacrifices for us then as well. She taught dance as a 3rd or 4th or 5th job (she had so many jobs) and we had to drive 30 miles (Winter in Montana can be a little chilly!). Our car had no heater nor did it have a stereo. So, she brought a little radio that she would put on the dash board and have us all sing at the top of our lungs, The Judds, to stay warm.
Christmas most of the time consisted of Spaghetti O's, Pickles and Olives...my sister's and my favorite treats...we couldn't afford them on a regular basis.
My mom was so creative. Candles weren't in the budget either, so she would cook cinnamon in the stove for a nice smell when we were expecting company.
I do remember one year when we came home from somewhere, there was a large box waiting for us...it was full of Christmas presents and food for Christmas dinner. It was so wonderful!
My mom has a powerful testimony to share (one involving abortion) as well and I am hoping that I can have her do another guest writing.
The list could go on and on for our childhood and these memories, but that is not what we choose to dwell on. Rather we all look back and see God's hand on our family even before we knew Him! My sisters, mom and I all know that we are today who we are because of what God did for us then. We are proof that even when we are so undeserving and even unaware, He is willing to reach into the pit of hell to save His children.
The funny thing is that these are the memories I have looking back as an adult now.
Then, as a child, I never remember feeling poor nor feeling that I had a bad childhood.
I do remember that my parents were always clever with how they did things, and we learned to value and take care of the things we had.
I learned how to cook and care for myself and that "stuff" is just "stuff" and it felt good to share it.
We learned that our dinner table was never too small for a couple more bodies.
I remember spending lots of time camping even though one time I did find a bag of "Italian Seasonings" in the jockey box of the truck ;)
Bottom line was that my parents were good people...good "lost" people.
When I was 14, I was invited to an Assemblies of God church camp. While I was there, I went up to ask Jesus to be the Lord and Saviour of my life. The man whom came to pray with me for some reason included asking for healing for an eating disorder. He did not know that when I was 7 I was diagnosed with an eating disorder similar to Anorexia (It was not anorexia because I didn't think I was fat, it was a way to control something in my very chaotic live). I was healed and have never struggled with eating again!
After this, our family had a healing...we all started attending the Assembly of God church and soon, we were all serving the Lord.
Until one day...
my mama brought home an Amish video, gave us all King James Bibles and told us she was pulling us out of school.
That is where I decided to draw a line in the sand. I was only willing to hand over the things I wanted to and so I did a very dumb thing.
I ran away.
For 2 dreaded long weeks, I turned my family upside down. I broke my mom's heart and told her I would only come back if she put me in school.
She held her ground...thankfully!
Finally, God had His way with me and I came home. My mom homeschooled us and we continued serving the Lord as a family. We even went to be baptized in the Missouri River as a family!
Very funny that now, I would love to be Amish, I only use King James and I homeschool my children!
When I was 16, my mom went with me on a mission trip to San Francisco, CA. I told her that I felt God was calling me there. So, she brought me home and I worked very hard to finish my schooling in 6 months. This is when my family budgeted to get me there and pay for me to stay there...they even drove me there!
I thought I went there as an inner-city missionary in the San Francisco Worship Center, but God had even bigger plans ;)
I married the pastor's son when I turned 18 and the rest is history!!