I was born in the Florida Panhandle and raised by my grandparents there. I had what I thought was a normal childhood. I went to church as a kid, so I knew about God. I had a large family- grandparents, mom, dad, brothers, an aunt, 2 uncles and numerous cousins. We were a pretty close family.
I quit going to church when a teacher in elementary school said I didn’t have to go to church to go to heaven, as long as I believed in God. Well, duh….everybody believes in God, I thought. So that ended my church days and left me more time to play!
When I was about 8 I found out that my dad wasn’t my dad. He was my step-dad, which led to a lot of unanswered questions for me. At the age of 14 I began engaging in all kinds of behavior that got me in trouble. I experimented with everything. During those rebellious years my stepdad was killed in a tragic accidental shooting. My youngest brother was holding the gun when it discharged. Instead of getting counseling and help with it all, I avoided my emotions and jumped even deeper into my rebellious behavior- partying, smoking, and using pot.
I had my first child at 18, got my high school diploma and went into life as a single mom. At 21 I was introduced to meth. Soon after that my grandmother died of a massive stroke and my uncle died of leukemia. I was devastated by the mounting losses in my life.
By the age of 27 I was pregnant again with my second child and 14 months later, I had my third child. At the age of 30 I met and married my husband. A month later he left me and I picked right back up with using drugs. Another death in my family, my aunt, was followed quickly by the death of her husband, my other uncle, and I was reeling out of control altogether. It seemed I was losing everyone I loved. My choice was to do more drugs.
At 37 I lost yet another beloved person in my life and I was barely hanging on. Someone I thought was a friend came to my aid, but in the end, my being with him landed me in jail. The charges took all I had left as a means of livelihood. All of my work experience had involved handling cash. Who in the world now was going to hire someone with felony theft charges? I was already struggling to raise three children by myself with no child support and now I had no way to support us, either. Jobless, on probation and trying to get my life straight, I moved in with my mom.
In turn, she gave the house that had been given to me to my brother and in an hour he burned everything that belonged to me and my children. I was drowning in a deep black hole with no way out. My drug use continued in an effort to block out the pain. In 2016 I lost another relative to lung cancer, violated probation and found myself in jail again. This time God was waiting for me there. And the Titus 2 program. And a new life…….at age 39.