My Testimony, a chronicle of my life...
I want to present this to you. Lay this at your feet. So that you may know my character and the struggle I have faced. That it may help, inspire, and lift you up if you need a hand.
God bless you and your life; To whomever reads this.
From the beginning-
I was born to parents who were young and irresponsible. My father was sent to prison for running a meth lab shortly after I was born. I saw him once when I was five. I did not know my father. Though I still remember what he looked like that day...
I was raised in poverty or near very poor situations most of my life. I remember apartments we lived in, in St Louis Missouri, mice, infested with huge cockroaches, and we slept on the floor. My mother fed us what little food we did have while she went hungry. It was one of the best Christmases I'd ever had though. I told my grandma I wanted to be a doctor. She didn't live close so she sent me a Doctor Barbie through the post and some fluffy bright white vinyl boots. What I remember most; Barbie came with a lab coat and and roses...and I loved those shoes so much I wore them everywhere.
My parents used drugs. We were always either struggling to make money and pay bills or on welfare. So I know why and I can sing that song talking about, "It's the first of the moooonth..."
My mother and father were divorced when I was young because of drug use and affairs. (step-father but still the closest thing I ever had to a real dad who took on a responsibility of rasing a child that wasn't his) My mom went through boyfirend after boyfriend, after that, whom also used drugs or pills or alcohol. I can commend, however, that she did keep us partially removed from the situations.
When I was ten years old I started my love of art with drawing. I really wanted to draw the - X-Men! From the cartoon on FOX. After that I got into comics and that made me want to study art, to get into the more technical aspect and really grow. I would put on my headphones and sit at my desk drawing in my own little world, creating new ones, adventures, and characters.
I was partially home schooled and the rest was public education. I was an A student. My school attendance was poor. I did not finish school in the proper course. Though I did graduate with a general education diploma. Which I achieved because I was on probation around 15 or 16 years old for petty theft. Lifting art supplies, big surprise, at a store with my friend who stuffed her pockets full of clothes. (Don't give into peer pressure. Don't be a lemming. Try to use your best judgement if you're facing this or any situation breaking the law. You're so much better off not doing it, trust me.)
Shortly after I started attending church regularly with my grandmother. Following soon after I accepted Jesus into my heart. Best decision I've ever made.
I also met some great people through a friend working with me at an arcade in our local mall. Who became like a second family for a short time. They blessed my life with some experiences I'll never forget. Tried swordfish for the first time and it was awesome. Mrs. Donovan also encouraged (pushed me through the doors lol) me to go to college. She saw my art and said,"You have too much talent to not do anything with this." I was about seventeen/eighteen years old by that time.
It was great and things were looking up.
I didn't make it very far though. Money. Money was always so scarce. My mom was always just trying to survive. Just trying to keep her head above water. I bought a car with some of my loan money to get to class. That didn't last long. No money for fuel or transportation otherwise and I hadn't made any friends yet that I could ask for a ride. By that time Mrs. Donavan my other other mom, had moved away. No help as far as the eye could see.
I got a part time job to make it through. We lived in a bad neighborhood. Drug users, drug dealers, and poverty. I worked at a convenience shop situated between a strip club and a porn store, eighteen years old, third shift, looking like Britney Spears. You can't tell me it's not a miracle I made it through that time unscathed.
In my 20's...I've moved out of my mom's house. Things are looking up again. I have a nice car, a reasonably good job, all my bills are taken care of and I've started a savings account for the first time. That lasts for a while. I had two different apartments and sets of roommates. Then the second situation it was just time for my roommate and I to part ways.
I moved back in with my mom.
It was a nice apartment with a spacious floor plan and the grounds were beautiful and serene. We had lots of wonderful comforts for a while. Then we started to sink. We had to cancel services. I had to pay more of the bills. The engine blew in my car. I did not have the extra savings to replace it. I got in an accident with hers that totaled the car. I tried to rectify it by giving all I had in my account to help for a down payment on a new one. Even Though we were going through some tough things it is also a time I've been closest to the Lord. It started with me just saying little prayers for other people. It was a Glory that I'd never felt before. I was so close to Him I didn't feel like this was my home anymore. Like I already had one foot in heaven's door.
We down sized apartments. One bedroom and she was sleeping on the couch. We would argue when she ran out of money for "cigarettes and tea". I'd sit down with her and plan out a budget for each month. We got to a point where we couldn't pay the rent. She was going to live with her boyfriend. He was abusive. He loathed me because I stood up to him for her. Obviously, I couldn't stay there.
I was facing homelessness at 23.
...But I had made a new friends...Roxanne and Tyler. Overlapping that period of being a sinking ship she became one of the best friends I've ever had, who is now a sister to me. They had a room available in the basement. The Lord came through for me. He came through for me in the most wonderful ways. These people also became my family. The Lord provided not just a place to stay, but a HOME. In a place where I've never felt at home. In a place where I've always felt like a vagabond.
The Nightingale/Hershberger family provided for me and lifted me up with love and fellowship...and they still continue to do so. Such great people.
Still being young ,a free spirit, and not having the privilege to party and be irresponsible. I drifted down that road. I started drinking. It was fun and exciting at first. It sneaks up on you. It went from dressing up and going out to clubs...to being thirsty for alcohol and ruining personal relationships. I was pulled over one crazy night. You guessed it. Arrested.
I was so drunk I couldn't see straight as I was escorted to the intake area. Surprising the things I remember, most people wouldn't, but I'm gifted with an eidetic memory. (partial sarcasm, all truth) The officer was relieved that I was a "not combattant" female. He had explained to me how he had quite a bit of trouble with that lately and I rambled on with him about comic books.
It hurt. 3 a.m. Sitting in a freezing cold hard cement and metal cell.
Coming down from the drunk high. No answer from everyone I called. I sat. I got sober. I couldn't sleep. I prayed for "morning". When people would be awake and I could call for help.
I faced a year of probation. No licence. Drug testing. I spent two days in jail. Which really ended up being three. I had my clothes taken away. I could not properly keep my self clean. The things that are provided in those places are just to keep you breathing and that's it. I slept on a metal cot with a hard pad. I'd laugh at you if you asked about a pillow. A rough small wool blanket. It got very very cold at night. I told someone I could draw. Every one was coming to me with paper and pencils to use. It was a blessing. It helped me pass the time. I was offered a "happy meal" (ramen noodles and a snickers candy bar) for some art. I could see how excited she was when she said it. I only accepted a piece of the snickers bar, she insisted.
I got out.
Ask Roxanne, she remembers the look on my face. Desperation and happiness...complete and utter relief. When I left she took me to get my favorite food. I came home to sleep in a real bed. After you've experienced that you're like, a real bed, real toothpaste, real FOOD! ...and good feels overflow.
We are in the home stretch coming up to the present day.
I made it through probation successfully. I had a good management job. I was still drinking and having a tumultuous personal situation. Eventually that job expired. I got one at the botanical gardens shortly after. All the while still attempting to pursue a career with art at the center. It's an "on call" job at the gardens that dwindled to nothing over the course of the last few years. After 10 years of dreaming about a job and working with people who I deemed to be an amazing team. Who I admired and wanted to work with...I changed my career focus. After hearing some advice from a good friend already in that profession, regarding how lucrative it is, it became a solid direction.
Three months into the beginning of this year. The Lord brought me out of alcoholism. I wanted to be sober, for good. He helped me where I couldn't help myself. He gave me the strength to say, "No". He helped me break the habit of drinking 2 to 3 times a week. (That is better than when I was at my worst.) I've lost almost all of the extra weight put on by drinking. Which was also starting to cause me other health problems.
I've been in Bible study, in prayer every day, and I'm a member of The Potter's House Dallas via internet church. God has and is providing hope and a future for me. Preparing me for what He had already started by a few years, I needed to catch up! lol
2016 has been my most productive year. With the biggest, best, most incredible opportunities. Opportunities I'm looking forward to putting my all into.
He has brought me out of those deep dark places to be a Champion for Him.
I look forward to what lies ahead. I look forward to meetings and social events. Where I can get to know new people and see their character...and they mine. Where I can look them in the eye and shake their hand.
I posted this so you could get to know me. Some of these things I'm really not proud of...but I lay them at your feet.
God bless you. I love you. I hope this can help you or bless your life in some way.