When I was young I remember the long drive to Tioga Texas, I remember that huge park where I used to play with my brother, I remember the watermelon and all the glow bugs we would catch. I remember the most important detail when I was in Tioga Texas, and that was I felt safe, and free. I would go there with my brother during the summer and stay with my PaPa, he had a farm and there were horses and plenty for us to do, no worries and no troubles. The car ride home however would start with my mom and step dad yelling and screaming, sometimes he would reach over and smack her across the face and lose control of the car for a moment, then finally there was silence but only for a brief moment before she would curse him out again.
My mom was a drunk, my step dad was an enabler and abusive. My mom and him were never married, they got together when I was around 3 years old. When I was 6 we found out my mom was pregnant with boy. Things were okay back then, but when my brother was born the fights started. It was always over money or the fact that my mom wanted more booze. Then it started when I was about 7 years old. I remember his shadow and the smell of gasoline on his hands. The stale cigarettes on his breath. He would come and whisper things in my ear, that made me want to puke, but in a way made me feel like I was valued. He told me about secrets and that this one was ours. I should never tell my mom because she would never believe me. I remember when he left that room that night, I cried. I felt gross all over and knew this was wrong. He would touch me and whisper how much he loved me. After a while I assumed this happened to all girls my age, however it did not stop until the day I ran away from that place.
Over the years things got worse, we were always moving from apartment to apartment, I would have to go into the store and my mom steal meat so we could eat dinner that night. I would watch my mom passed out on the floor and cry, wondering if she was still alive or in some kind of deep dream. I would cook and clean and watch over my brother until the screams would start again. I then would wonder outside and find a safe place to sit there and think until I would hear the screams stop, or see the police cars. I remember one fight they had I went inside and ran to my room. My mom opened the door and screamed ” This is your fault, you are a rotten daughter” I was stunned when I saw her. She was black and blue, every inch of her. her eyes and lips swollen. I cried that night for a long time. That was the first night I prayed to God. I remember I asked him for a normal family and for new clothes and for a house. Things would only get worse, she would start slapping and hitting me. Locked me and my brother in our room so her and my step dad could sleep in till noon. I remember I had to go to the bathroom so bad so I banged on the door. She never came. I went in the closet and peed on the closet floor, I was scared if she would find out, but I had to go so bad. I remember the next day she screamed my name ” Angela!!!!” I ran upstairs and there she was looking at the floor with the meanest look on her face. I knew I was going to get it, but I tried to explain the best I could.” Momma, I had to go pee so bad, I knocked on the door but you did not answer…” She slapped me and pushed my down where I peed on the closet floor, she rubbed my nose in it and screamed, I forget all the things she called me, I just remember shaking all over. When my dad came home she told him what happened, oddly enough he came to my defense. She did not buy it. In this duplex where we lived we had upstairs and downstairs, I remember the black iron rods that lined the stairs and went all the way to the top. She carried my downstairs and told me to stand in front of the staircase. I did as I was told. I remember I looked back at her and she had 2 bandannas in her hand. She grabbed my wrist and tied them to the iron rods on the stair well. I remember feeling the belt slap against by bottom, and hitting my back, my legs were shaking and I screamed so loud. She told me the more I scream the harder she would hit me. That was the second time I prayed to God. I prayed for a different mom, and that this pain would stop. I don’t know how long I was up there getting hit with the belt. It must have been a while because I stayed home from school for 2 weeks. Mom told me I would go back when the bruises went away, that was the first time my mom told me she was sorry.
I remember we finally were able to get settled into a house, and my mom got a job at a telemarketing office. I remember we still had family over to watch the cowboys play, mom would cook and there was laughter as if everything was fine. I was 12 years old. I remember I met my friend Stephanie and she was aloud to spend the night, and I sometimes were aloud to stay at her house. My step dad would still touch me sometimes when my mom was passed out, but it was only about 3 times a month. I was getting older and I knew it was wrong, something inside me would tell me ” This is so so so wrong” I still cooked and cleaned up around the house, went to school and hung out with my friends. Things were becoming normal for us all. The fights would not be every night, just every weekend.
I was more independent and told my mom I wanted to learn about God and go to church. There was a white baptist church on the corner a couple blocks over and my brother and I would walk over there every Sunday and learn about God. I remember the pastors wife gave me my first Bible. I wanted to tell her about what my step dad did and was doing, I wanted to tell her that my mom wasn’t really a mom, and that I wanted to play with my friends more and be normal. But I never did. One time the pastor and his wife came up to the door and I was so excited, I jumped up and ran to the door all smiles. My mom pushed me out of the way and asked them what they wanted. I vaguely remember hearing them talk about camp, and something about ice cream. Then mom screamed at them ” We don’t believe in God, I am a devil worshiper!” She slammed the door and I just looked at her crying because she was so mean and rude to the 2 nicest people I had ever met. ” They are evil Angela…. God is a vengeful God and hell is real” I just sat there and wondered what she meant by that, everything that I learned in Church was the opposite, she took away the time I had with God, and told me that I was not aloud to go there again.
A couple years passed, my mom and step dad would fight. I was going to school and working part time at the telemarketing place to help out with all the bills. My step dad would still come into my room, but this time my mom walked in and turned the light on. He was laying beside me and moved his hand from my breast and she screamed ” what are you doing?” he stuttered for a moment trying to come up with a reasonable lie ” She had a headache, I was rubbing her head and back” that was the last time he went into my room. The next day my mom asked me if he was touching me, what he was really doing in my room. She told me that she suspected it before, she would wake up and see him leave my room. I just sat there, not really knowing what to say. I started to cry and just told her no. She knew. For a moment she looked sad and angry, a bit hurt. She never really showed emotion before. She walked up to me and stared at me for a moment. She then slapped me across the face and told me to stop acting like a slut.
Right then I knew I had to get out.
I stayed the night at my friend Stephanie’s house and I remember I finally came clean. I told her parents what Mike had done to me, I told them everything. For the first time in my life I remember Stephanie’s mom held me, she held me so close in her arms that I did not know what do to but cry, cry that I was scared, that I finally felt safe, I cried that I would finally be able to get out. I felt bad for my little brother, however he was always treated differently. He was not around much. Always playing outside or staying at a friends house. He never got slapped or spanked. My mom would tell him all the time how much she loved him, and looked at me and told me to get the laundry. I still felt horrible that I could not get him out too. I went to the police station, gave my report. I was given a lie detector test and a drug test. I passed everything. Mike was finally arrested however I really wanted my mom in there too, for all the beatings and name calling, for all the stealing and all the drugs she had done. I wanted her arrested for being a bad mom.
I met awesome people at this time in my life. I went and stayed with families that would take me in so I would avoid a foster home. I was 15 when I finally was able to escape that house and my parents. The police officer that was there when I told him everything, told me about Jesus and God. He prayed over me and told me that I would be just fine, and God is with me. I started rebelling, doing drugs, dropped out of school and sleeping with different guys just to feel accepted. I was blaming God for everything and ran so far away from him.
I met my husband in 99, we started dating in 2001, he is Christian and told me about God, and forgiveness. His parents really helped me and I got clean and decided to turn away from my sin and turn back to God. I have been married to him for 10 years now and we have a beautiful son. I have talked to my mom a couple times on the phone since, but she has never been able to meet my husband or my son. Mike went to jail, served 5 years. From what my other family members tell me, After all that happened my mom and dad Got married soon after he was arrested. I think it was so my mom did not have to testify against him. My little brother dropped out of school and I have only seen him once since all this happened. That visit did not go well, he blamed me and called me a liar. How much pain those words caused me… I still love him dearly.
I pray for my mom and step dad and I have been able to forgive them. I love God with all my heart and it is a miracle I am still here. He has blessed me with an amazing family and a testimony that I can share with others. I pray and praise God every day and I am so happy that I decided to stop blaming him for what happened. There are evil people in the world, God gave us all free will. It is God who was able to get me out of that house, it was God who showed me love and blessed me with everything I have. How amazing forgiveness is, and how amazing God is. I am proud that I was able to endure everything that I did, I am proud that I turned to God. It was the best thing I ever have done.
Mathew 11: 28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”