Even a Girl Like Me

JCP-9884I am amazed daily by the truth that God can and will use a girl like me…scarred and wretched. But on the mend.

I grew up a P.K. You know…Preacher’s Kid.
I was pretty darn “holy” and “good” until around age 13. With boys, hormones and the fact that I was filling out my bra, well, things changed.

I began to dream of living somewhere other than my small town. No one ever left that town! They grew up and worked for their dad. They all played the same part and I wanted to break away. I didn’t know exactly what that looked like, but it wasn’t to stay there and be a naive trophy wife! (No offense to arm candy. It just wasn’t for me)

JCP-1344So I set out on this quest to really “live”. You could not have prepared me for what I would encounter on this journey. I would not have believed you if you had told me the compromises I would make and lack of self-respect I would wear.

Yeah, I know you want all the gory details, but you’re going to have to settle for the abbreviated version and a decade jump forward.

After surviving a beating from the world. You know, that place where I wanted to “live” so much?! I had limited choices as to where to go next. So I finally surrendered.

I know, I know, surrender sounds like giving up. For me, it was not until I surrendered that I found true freedom.

I had grown up hearing about God. Heck, I’d been hearing about Him since the womb! The big Being in the sky, passed the clouds, waiting for us at church on Sunday? “Who is this God and why did I need to pursue a relationship with Him?!”

Little did I know, He was silently pursuing me.

At age 25, after getting knocked up, beat up, locked up (not JCP-11necessarily in that order), abusing my body and mind through choices that I never thought I would make, getting divorced and growing sick of hearing myself ask, “Why am I even here?!”, I had to find a God that I could relate too.

You know, One who didn’t care if I was used and broken. One who would say, “In Me, you find rest…safety…eternal security.I needed to be redeemed.

Did He even exist?

I am still seeking, but He shows me everyday, in tangible ways that He does in fact exist. He more than exist. He is working and moving in ways that completely blow my mind.

God willing, on October 19th, I will celebrate 9 years of sobriety. Not just from alcohol, but from many other substances and ism’s that I used to numb the pain.

When the substances, food, shopping, whatever, stopped working and the love of my life sat me down and encouraged me (through a pretty harsh reality check) to admit to myself that I was a hot mess and he was not going to join the “pity city” that I was trying to create, things began to change (slowly).Love

So, here I am, just turned 35, which I considered geezer age just a few years ago. And the most miraculous things have happened. The craziest of which, being that instead of waiting for a door to open, God has knocked down a wall.JCP-1901He is using my story of shame, in ways that I never thought possible.
I am doing workshops, radio interviews and talking to women from all backgrounds of life. I was the girl who hated other women! Now, I support them in their struggle. WHAT?! Only God.

Only a God who has been in the trenches with me… the bars and back alleys (don’t read into that) and bathroom floor at 4 a.m. and then turned me into a mother of 3, wife to a stud and a productive member of society. Only that kind of God could use a girl like me to bring others back to Him.

People want real…they want scarred…they want hope…even from a girl like me.

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This Man

Okay, okay, I get it. You want the story. The Chris and Joy “Happily Ever After” story.

An entire book could be written on this subject alone… How we met when I was just 16 and he was 18 and though it would be years before we would consummate what had only grown stronger since that first meeting… our lives… from that day… would never be the same.

And those of you who know me well are right, I cannot get much further into this blog world without talking about the man who stormed the gates of hell, picked me up and carried me home.

More times than not, when I don’t do something, it’s rooted in the fear of failure.

In this case, it’s the fear that I can not do our story justice through my menial writing ability. That I do not have the words to paint an accurate picture of the way that God used this man to change the course of my life. That because of him, I have been redeemed. And because of his faithfulness and pursuit of my heart, I have a better grasp of Christ’s love.

The man that I see when I look at him is one who has sacrificed much and fought tirelessly. This strong and beautiful man has saved me from myself more times than I probably even know. He saw promise in the brokenness. He was able to see what I could not see and he has spent the last decade helping me uncover and bring into the light who I really am.

Christopher is the first man, the first human being that has ever had a front row seat to my heart and soul. It’s a scary thing. He, however, sifted through the lies of darkness, broke down the walls of self loathing and established residence. It was no easy task. His persistence paid off and after, not months, but years of diligently championing my heart, I began to see what he saw. Possibilities from within.

There is a song called Bless the Broken Road.
The first time I heard it while driving, I had to pull over as the tears kept flowing, stinging my eyes and blurring my vision.

Here is the part that most resonates with me…

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I’d like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You’ve been there you understand
It’s all part of a grander plan that is coming true

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

Now I’m just rolling home
Into my lover’s arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

Though there is so much more to the story…so many details and tangible evidence of forgiveness, struggle, passion, pain and beauty… the truth that I know, that I will always know, is this…

God created me. And while forming and shaping my being, He already had Christopher in mind. He then made him to fit me exactly. Or maybe vice versa…either way, we are like puzzle pieces… Each completes the whole. We were created with the other in mind and God’s hand is on us still. Of this, I am sure.