As I was driving to work this morning, I was worshiping in my car and asking God to tell me what to share today. There has been a lot going on in our family which, if I know anything, means that we are on the right path. When I started writing this Blog, I knew God would eventually ask me to share some of my personal journey and pray that the person(s) who needs this will read it by the Holy Spirit’s direction. In His name, by which I can do nothing apart from, Amen.
Our family was, I mean IS, meant for great things. I didn’t realize this as a child or even through my young adult life. You see, our family has been marred by spiritual attacks as far back as my Grandfather, probably even further but my family never shared family history very well so I can only speak on what I have been told by my Momma and my Aunt D.
My maternal Grandfather was a musician. He loved to sing and worship the Lord. He played guitar and my mom would tell me about how she loved to listen to him sing and told me about the band my Grandfather was in for a time. My Grandfather wanted to serve the Lord. The sad part of his story is that he suffered and was attacked with severe depression and FEAR.
The reason that I say spiritually attacked, is because God tells us in 2 Timothy,
“For God hath not given us the spirit of FEAR; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Now this is not a post on medication vs. prayer, or chemical imbalances vs. spiritual attack. BUT…I do believe that with PRAYER, God will lead you to the appropriate treatment through faith, and this may or may not include medication. I believe that God is the Great I AM (physician, counselor, insert anything here) and He will guide you if you depend on His wisdom. He does not forsake us.
Now, back to my story. 😉
Back in the 1950’s they did not talk about depression, they did not treat depression, and they certainly did not understand it. My momma remembers attending the local pentecostal church in rural Arkansas and my Grandfather being filled with the Holy Ghost. She also remembered my very conservative Grandmother not being amused in the least by my Grandfather’s outward expression to God. My momma loved God from a very young age. She said that she would worship and sing to God. But you see, what worked on my Grandfather, moved to the next generation link in the chain.
My momma suffered with severe anxiety, depression and FEAR. She later recalled how she would lie in bed and she would feel something in her room. That in fact, regularly for a time period, she felt something crawl into the bed with her and she lived in constant fear that this “thing” would come back. Now some would say this is a child’s imagination running away with them, but my mom lived in the 1950’s before there were any “demonic” images or videos or games or TV shows for that matter. People in the 50’s did NOT talk about demonic possession or what that would appear like.
Later in my Momma’s life, her parents threw in the towel. They divorced. I don’t know what exactly happened to cause the divorce. My Grandmother may have been completely justified in divorcing my Grandfather. You see, this in itself is an attack from the enemy. His goal is to steal and destroy what God has meant for your life and by breaking down marriage vows which are promises before God, and breaking apart the family this is destruction. The divorce in the 1960’s was extremely shameful for my momma. She recalled being full of shame.
After the divorce, my Grandmother became part of a religious cult. I use the word cult after many years of asking God about the salvation of this group since many in my family were part of it. It is a “works based” faith and is driven by FEAR. You see that is one of the Devil’s most handiest tools….FEAR! It works great on us. Especially, on those who do not have a strong relationship with Jesus and are feeding themselves with TRUTH!
This was the case with my family. The cult that my Grandmother took my momma and her younger sister to, preached God, believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but didn’t stress the importance of a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. In fact, later I realized that they do not preach that Jesus was the Son of God!
A fundamental TRUTH to salvation! How does the cross work if Jesus was not the SON OF GOD?!?
The spiritual attacks on my momma continued into her young adult life, into her marriage and into her early years as a mom to us children. She took us to the meeting place as children, we walked after church to “earn” our place in the kingdom. She lived in fear that we were not doing enough. We were shunned because we played with “outsiders” and were friends with “outsiders” which drove my momma’s depression and feelings of shame/unworthiness to a whole other level.
My whole childhood I thought my momma didn’t love me. She NEVER told me that she did. I am not making that up……she literally NEVER told me from the time my mind can remember up until I was 19 or 20 years old, that she loved me. She told me often that she didn’t “like” me. She never said she hated me, BUT that she didn’t “like” me.
You see I was different than my mom. We couldn’t have been more opposite! HA! I laughed, I was energetic, I loved to be around people and was always on the GO! I was also very opinionated, a leader, and STUBBORN.
How does someone who doesn’t even love themselves, express love to a child that they do not understand?
This was the dilemma for me and my mother. I know now that she loved me very much but she did not know how to love me. This was a LIE, that I took a hold of, for my entire child through teen years. I was like my momma and my Grandfather, I was a singer. I begged my momma to let me join band, take piano lessons, join Chorus, but she would not let me because she was still living in the FEAR of not doing enough or not following the rules. You see, the cult she was brought up in, discouraged this type of activity based on the fact that the public schools sang Patriotic and Christmas Songs at their recitals. So as a child my natural, God Given purpose, my gift, was set aside and I felt completely empty.
My life was also “defined” at this time, by the attacks of a sexual predator. This was done by a family member, someone I trusted and loved very much. That person took the weakness of not being “loved by my mother” and used it to their advantage. This went on from the 6th grade until the 8th grade. My entire Middle School age. The most difficult time of a child’s life. My relationship with my mom at the time deteriorated even further because she “allowed” me to be a victim and I almost blamed her MORE than the predator. She of course was being taken deeper and deeper into depression because of what was happening.
At this point, I walked completely away from God.
I didn’t know it at the time, but my mother continued to pray and read the Bible in her alone, private time. I never saw my mom actually read the Bible but it was always out when I can home from school as if it had been read. We children were not going to church, our parents did not have Christian friends, and we were not being taught the Word of God. We were wandering around without direction. Without a moral compass and the only representation of Jesus and God was a JUDGMENTAL, SHUNNING, UNLOVING, HYPOCRITICAL version of a collection of FEAR DRIVEN Christians. I did what I wanted at this point. Any destructive behavior I could get into I did.
I guess this was the 80’s/90′ kid version of cutting. Destroy myself because I am not worthy to have the love of anyone.
There was a spiritual war waged on my life. The Devil knew about me and I think that he possibly knew the plan that God had for my family for generations that he was able to thwart and destroy by lies. You see, God had a purpose for me and my life. HIS plans will always come to pass. The GREAT I AM has a plan for all of us and the Devil is ready to try and steal it by putting awful, terrible, Job-ish trials and tribulations or temptations in our life to trip us up!! Anyone who has come out the other side with God can vouch, give me a high-five, yell a testimony themselves. You see because God uses even the bad things to bring GLORY to himself and so that we RECOGNIZE WHO HE IS for HIS GOODNESS once things are revealed to us. I am who I am now because of Him and looking back HE NEVER LEFT ME!!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
– Jeremiah 29:11
Thank you! Amen! High-five! And all that girl! God bless you as you continue to share your story and walk in the glory of the Lord.
Jennifer – I Give God All The Glory
Thank you for your willingness to share such a difficult upbringing. All of our stories are different–but God desires that every single one of them lead to new, abundant and everlasting life in his Son.
Yes He pursues us with great anticipation. Thank you for your kind words. I am not quite finished with the story. Hopefully you will consider reading the next post. 🙂 God bless!