I realized last night I’ve never written about my personal testimony on this blog. The footprints that led me to saying yes to a relationship with Jesus. I’ve obviously written plenty about my current relationship with Jesus but I haven’t gone back to the basics. So here goes…
We didn’t attend church often when I was growing up as a young child. When we did it was usually on Easter Sunday only. How many of us know that schedule well? No judging here, it’s all part of the journey. In any case, I knew about God as an elementary aged child because I chose to go to an after school bible club. I remember I loved to listen to the bible stories and the older women tell them to us, they were so nice and friendly. My Mom worked full time so I went to daycare after school and there was just something about staying after school that got me to do it. In hindsight I do believe it was divine because home life would unravel as the years went on for this princess. Back to bible club…we would learn about bible stories on a felt poster board with felt people, animals, etc…yes, because I’m that old and it was before the INTERNET! Oh my goodness, just dated myself there! HA! Back again to the bible club though, this was when I first remember saying yes to Jesus with the help of one of the adults at bible club. I was very young though and my family did not attend church so I didn’t quite understand what I was saying yes to and I didn’t do much with it.
Fast forward to the age of fourteen. We still didn’t go to church regularly as a family and after school bible club was a thing of the past because I was now in the midst of the best years of life right? On to high school! Oh my gosh, what a mess. LOL!
The Fall of 1990, the beginning of ninth grade when life came tumbling down for my family. For me, it all started with a late summer stay with my grandparents because I loved spending time with them and it did not matter how old I was getting, I loved being with them as much as possible. With school starting soon it was my extended time with them. My grandmother began asking me questions about things that occur, concerns that she had been noticing and it was then that I confided to her about what was happening at home. I didn’t even realize what I was truly confiding in until I began answering her questions and seeing the look of concern on her face. After all, this is normal right? How is a child supposed to know and though they intuitively do know, how do they stand up against an adult who they are supposed to trust? For me I pretended it was a dream, I was sleeping and therefore it was a dream.
My grandmother promised it would stay between her and I and this made me feel better about the conversation. Up until that point I kept this reality about myself tucked away in the back of my mind, almost as a mechanism to forget that it is happening. As you can imagine, adults hearing disturbing news about someone they love need support themselves and she decided to talk to her counselor about it. That counselor is required under law to report sexual abuse to the State of Michigan.
That is the precise moment the sky came crashing down. Home life was completely turned upside down, I was catapulted in to therapy and I just wanted to pretend it was not happening. When the first confrontation happened I was not around, thank you Jesus but I remember being terrified my school supplies would be destroyed with all of this coming to light. Seems silly but that was all I had in my mind to hold on to and at fourteen years old we are all a little shallow. I certainly didn’t have Jesus either.
Then came meetings with child protective services, district courts, the therapist. There I was having to retell this story over and over and over again. There came a point when I felt completely done telling the story. I’m not going to talk about this anymore, let’s just all get over it people! All these other professionals can decide what kind of fate the other individual involved with this mess will endure as a consequence and just let me be. You want to know if I want to prosecute them? Hell no I don’t want to prosecute them because then I’ll have to tell this story a million more times. That is how a teenage mind works, mine anyway. No, I don’t want to go to court but I also don’t want them to suffer and I don’t want my family hurting any more than we are already hurting. I just want to make it go away, the pain, the hurt, all of it. I need to make it go away for everyone involved. I will just be “normal.”
Just let me focus on school. I’m good, I’m fine, I promise. Nice one Aimee, you are very good at the princess routine. This mess has taught you the expertise well.
At some point during this year my younger sister went to church with her friend from school, her Dad was the pastor. It was a small church they had started and it met in a movie theater at The Livonia Mall of all places. I have no doubt people were praying hard for our family and those prayers brought us to this church, those prayers brought us to the most important message of Christianity…saying yes to a relationship with Jesus Christ. Not church politics, not Christian bureaucracy, not bible thumping, not we are all burning in hell messages I’m pretty sure many of us have heard and know well. Not if you are a good person and do this or that or don’t do this or that you won’t go to hell. Yeah, because that one is really tangible to figure out. WTF! We all screw up so I guess do’s & don’ts are gambling with logic. I mean chocolate is good, very good but it’s hell on the hips. You get my point, how are we supposed to figure that one out!
No, we are talking accepting a gift that we could never deserve or be worthy of ourselves, or be “good” enough on our own merit. Not a single person on this earth. Can you imagine how much love Jesus has for us that he walked that road to the cross? He is God, He could have escaped and said not a chance. But He did not want eternity without us, no matter how much we have denied Him and tried to do it ourselves.
My family was trying to do it ourselves and it wasn’t working out so well. It was dark, it was empty, it was ugly abuse. Guess what? That individual who abused me as a child is not defined by that abuse. They are defined by grace and grace wins all of it when we choose it. If they don’t choose it then that is an altogether different story. Forgiven and loved by grace is where I stand on this matter. Yes, I hate the abuse but I love the person and so does Jesus.
It has also made me in to the person I am and I will not change it. I have hurt people in my lifetime, I’m no better than anyone else.
Fast forward to here and now. I spent several years as a young Christian, meaning I had faith and I’m saved but I still kept at the endeavor of keeping trust to myself as if I had all the control over life. Control over life, control over death, control over EVERYTHING. Much of the time through my twenties and…oh that’s right I’m thirty-one now. The thirties especially were a time when I didn’t feel like I could hear God and I had three babies to keep alive so this control freak had things under control. Who needs God, he doesn’t say much anyway. I would go to church, try different ones here and there but that required being social with people and I’m exhausted from these children, I can’t do this, I can’t talk to people. I don’t trust people Jesus. See above, duh! I’m supposed to trust people? Hell no. I know it is going to be okay that I don’t go to church and I still believe in you Jesus. Life is busy so there is that little element in this equation. I got this thing called life. I’m good, I’m fine, I promise. 😉
Then life happens and all of a sudden you realize we are not in control of a single thing. Sure we can try our hardest but it’s not happening peeps.
I lost someone I love, love with the entire fiber of my being and I could not change that fact. I have to live every day with that reality and I’m sure as hell to blame for the loss. There is nothing I can do to change it except be accountable to Jesus and surrender my complete trust and life to His very capable hands. Grief has a funny way of growing us spiritually when we decide to surrender the pain to Jesus and nobody else. I’m not sure I can survive each day without Him so this connection to my Jesus is strong, iron clad strong peeps. I can’t do each day without Him, I just can’t. Otherwise I just want to be where you are and I can’t be so this Faith thing is all I have.
It is my beautiful hot mess loved by grace.
So Loves, I suppose I’m now what we might call a maturing Christian instead of a younger one but it will always be a journey for all of us. I still have moments when I feel clueless, completely clueless. Any guesses who I’m trusting to handle the blind parts when I can’t see?
You got it! Footprints in the sand. Because, Jesus is the best! ❤️
Loved By Grace,