My name is Katherine and I’m 16 years old. My story begins in Oklahoma where I was born and have been raised my entire life. I was the third child in my family. My mother did small jobs here and there but was mostly a stay-at-home mum while we were growing up.
My father a construction worker was hardly home and paid small visits. Being the youngest I didn’t understand the meaning of God and I didn’t understand loss. At the age of 7 I lost the most important person in my life, my grandfather. At that age it was too hard to understand why he left, all I knew was fresh tears poured down my face and for the first time in my life I felt emptiness in my heart. It wasn’t easy moving on from the loss but even then, when I didn’t know God, I knew everything was going to be ok and my grandfather was safe.
At the age of 8 my oldest sibling Matthew started sexually molesting me. I was a child, and I didn’t understand what was going on. I can remember though the pain I felt when a finger would penetrate my body and the fear that developed in my heart. The restless nights of waking up and seeing him in my room and remembering my moments of hope to escape for one day by placing a chair against the door.
Even now I can’t recall what finally gave me the courage to speak out about what was happening, nor do I recall what my parents did. To me now it seems like not much really was done. Outwardly I chose to act as if nothing was wrong but inside my heart was weeping and I was scarred for life.
Time flew by though, the scars forever remaining. I shielded myself from contact and became cautious of my surroundings. It was about a year and a half later I remember seeing my father for the last time. My brother you see, was going to work with him and I went to see him off.
My father the one man I thought I knew stood before me with a past of his own that I would have never imagined. I wasn’t aware of him lying to me and doing things that would later cause damage to my family and myself personally. It’s at these moments I wonder why I never realized how he yelled at my mother and upset her so much. That the reason he hardly ever was around, was because he didn’t ever want to be home.
It was at that time in my life I discovered my father had multiple affairs with different women. My brother who was with him not only witnessed seeing him having intercourse with a woman but remembers our father offering him drugs. Turns out on top of the cheating he was a cocaine addict. It was at the moment my mother decided to divorce my father. She has always had her suspicions but now was clearly the furthest she could go being married to the man. He hurt her more than I could ever imagine and left us in a sore spot.
We were out shopping and a lady notified my mother that a large sum of money had been spent at JcPenneys and my mother knew it was not her. Turns out my dad was with a woman and knowing my mother’s social security number had this woman pose as her and they bought stuff using her money. Not only that but he cleared out our savings accounts and took the money for his cocaine addiction and lifestyle.
It wasn’t until I was around 11 years old that my mother finally got the divorce finalized. The man just wouldn’t sign the papers and was running from the law everywhere he went. At one point even he wasn’t allowed to enter Oklahoma without being arrested on the spot. He never even paid child support and if we died, I could honestly say he wouldn’t care.
It was at this point in my life that I was confused and broken inside. I hated life and often was depressed and thought of suicide. My mother had a way of always yelling at me and I never understood why she did and when it would all stop.
At times I’d cry myself to sleep, and think would the world really miss me if I just left. I never had the courage to kill myself though, for some reason there was something holding me back. The yelling continued and I didn’t know who I was anymore. I hated my family and hated God for giving me this life of pain and anguish.
But the summer after 7th grade, my friend Kelsey insisted I try going to church camp with her. I took her up on her offer and came to see God in a whole new light. Praising Him was beautiful. I didn’t understand why I suddenly felt complete and forever satisfied but I did and one evening as the pastor spoke to us and offered the chance for us to finally give our lives to Christ. I was moved by something deeper and at that point in time.
I got up from my seat and moved towards the front of the crowd. God was pushing on my heart, and I finally understood that night, when I hated and gave up on Him, He never once left my side and loved me all the same. I came to understand forgiveness and mercy and accepted Christ into my heart that night. I bowed my head and looked deeper and found that I could forgive people for what they had done, and I knew my place was to be living my life for Him. From that night forth I have failed and failed again but through the years I’ve found myself connected so deeply to God.
Pain continued to thrive in my life, but I had faith for the first time in my whole life. It was this year shortly after my 16th birthday that someone I never thought I would see in my life again came back. My father showed up out of the blue offering my brother work.
I was terrified and shaking and began to have an anxiety attack. I panicked and stayed next door shaking and letting the tears fall. My brother said some harsh words and as he left with my father, my dad gave me a hug. I didn’t want him to touch me, no matter if I had forgiven him or not, I didn’t have a father most of my life and the man in front of me was no father to me. It was a terrifying experience and one I never expected to occur.
See. I have the option of not wanting to see him until I’m of age and I fully plan to uphold that. I may have forgiven him, but there was no trust there and I waited for something to occur. Lately things had been getting hectic in life. Only a few months ago my sister was hospitalized, my grandmother had a stroke, and a cousin of mine hung himself. Everything was taking its toll on me and this made it severe.
Since that day back a few months ago I’ve kept a look out. My brother who had left to work with my father was stranded in Arkansas and this didn’t surprise me. Turns out my father was still the same man and very much so still a cocaine addict. His drug dealer was in his hotel room and they both fled in a rental car. I’m not sure what’s happened to him but my brother has returned home again and my mother hates to say this, but he isn’t allowed in our home, and she has always known in the back of her mind that he has so many qualities just like my dad.
It saddens me to see this happen and know the truth, but I’ve come to accept what God has put in my path. My mother is now dating and it’s awkward to say the least, but I’m blessed that she has found a happiness that’s been lacking for the better part of over 20 years.
I still have down falls and bad things have still been occurring. People are hounding as again about being in debt. The debt which my father caused. My grandmother is uptight and has been complaining about everything and my mother and sister are two individuals who spend most of their time away. My grandmother is the soul source truely of our living and without her love we wouldn’t be living the nice lifestyle we have.
My mother is still a strong single mother who strives to help her children even when she too forgets what is important. Though she still remains that woman times have changed. There are no family dinners anymore and to say in the least I feel as if I’m living on my own.
There are lonely nights and times when I still feel my soul weep, but my soul isn’t empty anymore. God has been my strong fortress since that summer, and I’ve continued living my life for Him. I have struggles but I know that through God, I can overcome them.
I’ve found passions and strive to make a life for myself and others successful. Each day is a beginning and a chance to make a difference. More so I know God has a plan for my life and when I cross each bridge, I’ll be thankful and remember things happen for a reason. I’m blessed to be the strong young woman I am today and praying and reading my Bible continue to serve as important parts of my life.
More importantly I’ve come to love my family for who they are even in times of anguish, and I smile every time someone finds God. I’m not the only broken soul out there and I may have had a simple life compared to some but deep down I am a broken person, but I’ve found God and found a reason to live my life for once. I pray God continues to work through me and I continue to help others find God so that they can know the light I found years ago when I was broken.