So, if you've been following my blog for the last 3-6 months, you've been following really only part of my story - the part that's been happening in this "season" of my life, which is the story about my marriage and divorce, and how that's changed my life for the better. What you DON'T know is the history that led me into that marriage. Now, for the record - I am not claiming that my story is any more dramatic or worse than anyone else's. I know it's not. It's just mine. And I'm giving you the succinct version, not the long drawn out one :)
My story really begins when I was 10 years old. That's when life started become real to me - when the hard things start to hit and you're not just going through your days as an innocent child anymore. My parents separated when I was 10. That was followed by my mom's severe depression and multiple suicide attempts over many years. My dad began a custody battle after the first one and other unhealthy situations arising, which my father won. My siblings and I moved to NY, which at that time was one of the hardest moments of my life. All I remember was looking out the back windshield and crying as we were driving away. Not as many children end up with their fathers in those situations, and I had an insane bond with my mother back then. We're still close now, but it's not the same. Her illness has forced me to keep myself at a healthy distance in order to prevent myself from getting too affected by it so that I could still function healthfully. Even though my mother was still alive, I spent all of my teenage and college years without her playing a pivotal role in my life, simply because of the fact that we were separated. That felt wierd to me, and it was sad.
The first few years after moving to New York were spent enduring some tough adjustments. My dad was a single parent who was working his butt off, and we saw him about 2 hours a night during the weeknights. He tried a couple of nannies, but we were largely independent. When I turned 16, I was responsible for being the family chauffeur in his absense. Turning 16 also marked another significant event in our family timeline. My father met and became remarried to my current stepmother very quickly. At the time, it seemed wonderful. We bought a new car, she redecorated the house, and we got a dog, a step-sister, and a step-grandmother to round out the package.
However, that happy picture quickly turned sour, as it became clear that my stepmother was emotionally abusive. She was mean to all of us (my siblings and I), but for some reason I received the worst of it. She broke me down till I could not have possibly broken any further. Also during high school, both my sister and brother went through times of cutting themselves. All of those experiences culminated in about a decade of painful and dark times for me.
It was during all of these other events transpiring that I began looking to relationships for the love and affirmation I wasn't receiving at home, and I began settling for any relationship that would come along, just to satisfy that need. - which eventually led to me settling for a man that I was never meant to be with, marrying him, and then finding myself in an emotionally and physically abusive marriage.
It was THIS that led me to dream of doing what I plan to do today... which is to carry out the vision God's given me of ministering to youth going through similar and other equally difficult experiences, because the only thing that enabled me to survive the brokenness I felt through that decade was believing that through God, I would find happiness someday.
And that's why my life verse is Psalm 27:13, which in some translations says it the way I felt it: "I would have lost hope if I hadn't believe that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."
I'm living to give other teens that exact same hope - because that is what saved me.