Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Through Hell and Back

I'm going to tell you a particularly dark and tragic story from a time in my life to help get a point across. This story is about my childhood, but before I began to tell it, I have to first go back a generation.

My mother has had a rough life, to put it VERY nicely. Her real father was a mean and cruel man. I don't know the full details but he wasn't kind, but to to get the idea though, when he was dying in the hospital, my mom, who had been taking care of him up to this point was late getting there. Some of his last words were cursing her not getting there in time. That should give you an idea of him. He and my grandma got a divorce when my mom was very young. She remarried to another man. This man was nice, but he abused my mom for years. I'll leave that part at that, I think you get the picture.  My mom at 16 ran away from home and hitch hiked barefoot from either Arkansas or Louisiana up to South Carolina.  By 19, I believe, she tried to commit suicide once. My mom had some demons, most of them she managed to hide away and lock up tight. Fast forward a bit and she meets my father, and marries him. Fast forward even further and I'm born. Finally fast forward to about the time I'm 4-5 years old. This is where things get real ugly.

Now before I jump in though, I want to put a disclaimer, this is only a portion of the things I dealt with, the full story would be a novel. Also I don't remember everything that had happened as it went on for such a long time and started at such a young age. For the most part though this was a weekly occurrence with many nights a week having episodes. 

Anyway, when I was five, a neighbor up the road was walking down our road. Her name was Liz, she had alcoholic tendencies and a partying lifestyle. She met my mom that day, and this sis the moment things changed. My mom started going over to her house to party and drink. Some times she'd get so wasted, she would just stay the night, Dad and I would have to fend for ourselves those nights. Occasionally,  she would pick me up with Liz, from school, both drunk. The alcohol clearly brought back those demons. My mom is bipolar and very possibly schizophrenic. From the age of 5 until I was nearly 15 these occurrences were a normal thing. If we got out of school early, I'd wait for hours because my mom got drunk and would forget. My father tried every thing you could imagine to get her help. She ran from counselors, refused to take the medicine etc. My parents fought a lot. My mom knew how to push my Dad's buttons just right., my dad didn't have the patience or the ability to deal with that. There were nights where my mom kicked holes in the wall, shattered plates, spat at my father, scratched him until he bled. Most of the time, I would hide in my room. Other times, I'd be yelling for my mom to stop. Usually that would result in me crying near the stairs. My mom was so sure that everyone was against her and that I was being brainwashed by my father. She use to call me so many horrible things when she was drunk. Usually after the fights she would make a quick getaway, yell I'm leaving, grab her keys and purse and make a dash for the car (while usually drunk) and fly down the road to a friend's house to party. Sometimes she would instigate these fights so she would have an excuse to leave.  We started making it a habit to disconnect the battery early on if one of these fights occurred.

Her driving record wasn't the best,  she managed to get two DWIs and a year and half suspension of her license in total (a year being the longest at any one time). This made getting to school difficult and embarrassing. When I was about 13 or so, my mom ran off to her mom's for the weekend to go party, late that Sunday she called saying she had, had a wreck. my mom had been drunk with an open bottle of gin in the car. She ended up in the other lane on an S-curve and ended up rolling the car three times when she tried to correct. The car had settled upside down.  My father and I got to the wreck before anyone else. We managed to crawl in and get the gin bottle out to avoid her losing her license for good. She ended up cited with Public Intoxication.

There was a night when my mom tried to commit suicide. She swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills and she went around the house smiling and telling us what she had done. We called 911 and they pumped her stomach at the hospital.  I still don't know if this was for attention or not.

Another night, she held a knife to keep my dad back from getting her keys. She was yelling and waving it everywhere. My dad realized this wasn't going to end well if he didn't get that knife away from her. When she threw her hand up in the air, my dad grabbed her wrist to keep her from swinging the knife anymore. She then looked him in the eyes, smiled and then grabbed the blade with her other hand. I still remember the loud "POP" when the skin bust and blood started running. I doubt I'll ever forget that. There were more "typical" nights though, those without dinner where my mom had left. Holidays where she would leave.  I had ulcers all through my childhood and I missed school quite a bit, due to anxiety.

The worst fight I remember though, was when my Grandfather's death occurred.  My grandpa died on a Monday, my Mother's birthday was on a Wednesday, and my grandpa's funeral was that Friday. I was heartbroken over losing the man I considered a second father, my dad was bottling up all his grief. That Thursday my mom was upset because we hadn't done anything to celebrate her birthday. She started arguing with my Dad while he ironed shirts for the funeral. She antagonized him until finally the bottled up grief ruptured and with tears he cried and yelled. Grief mixed with anger filled my father while my mom continued on with her arguing. I was in 6th grade at the time, and had seen quite a few fights, but to see my dad in tears and his voice hoarse with grief and his words of anger at my mom's equally angry words, it brought me to tears. I bawled so hard. Eventually I became scared and I dialed 911. My dad was mortified by it all and tried to hold his composure through the grief. My mom was still very angry and defensive. The cops told my mom to stay somewhere else that night. However, my dad couldn't find his wallet that night. He wouldn't find it for a year or so when my parents divorced and my dad was moving her dresser into an apartment and it fell out of drawer. She had hid it from him that night. I think that was the hardest moment for my father.

The hardest for me though was when he left to go on business. I didn't have my protector, my superhero daddy. Mom would get drunk and I'd either be in the woods hiding, or there was the time I hid under a HUGE thing of blankets and prayed that God wouldn't let her find me. Thankfully God answered my prayers that day. Other times, I would be so scared that I held a screwdriver so she wouldn't come near me and then took the first opportunity to run to the neighbor's house and hideout. After negotiations between my Mom and my Dad in Baltimore, I went home. I brought my dog to bed with me that night though for protection. (Dogs are superheros, you know.)

Now this is a good point to make it clear, I LOVE my Momma. She had two sides to her, One side, she was the greatest cook, awesome playmate and when it came to mean teachers and bullies, NO ONE messed with my momma. She had such an amazing good side. Her darker side, tore her heart to pieces, you could see in her eyes she hated what she would become. Even if she didn't talk about it. The other side though...ugh. It's as close to the idea of a demonic possession as I've ever come. It was like flicking a switch. The look in her eye changed, she walked differently, carried herself differently, smiled differently. It was literally two different people. Scary.

Now I didn't tell you all of this to have you pity me, so don't . I don't pity myself.  I did this because people ask: Why does God make us suffer? Why do we have pain? The simplest answer is: To serve a larger purpose. I've been through hell, I've suffered more than any child should ever have to suffer. I lost quite a large chunk of my innocence far to young. Those 10 years were awful.  I have every right to be bitter, resentful and angry for what I've gone through. I'm not though. Quite the contrary, I'm, thankful for what I've been through. Much like Christ embraced his cross, I am thankful for the hardships that I've faced. I've walked through the flames and rather than coming out burnt, I've come out of it tempered and resilient. Crisis', panics,  and fear no longer take grip on me like they would've. I've seen how deep the valley can go, I've passed through it, I'm not in fear of anything else to come, because either it won't be any worse than what I've already faced or I know that I will rise to the challenge and with God's help adapt and survive it. Before I was saved, when I knew of Christ, yet still did not understand him, he was still sheltering me.  Why shouldn't I expect this as a man now who knows Him as his Lord and Savior? I continue to laugh and smile. I know that the Lord plans to use those skills and attributes to to serve Him. The Lord usually doesn't just give you skills and tools free of charge. He has you earn them, so you can learn them. In fact, I'd say nearly everything in life one way or another is earned, except for grace. If you are going through suffering, you may have done nothing wrong. Look at Job, he was a godly man who endured great suffering. It may be that God is simply trying to make you rely on him more, draw you closer to him. It could be he is preparing you for something. He may be trying to tear you down so that he can build you back up more than you were. In the end you will find that suffering will prove to serve a purpose greater than you or me, or this world, or this life. It serves something real, pure and eternal. These next few verses I lay out. I stand out as a testimony to there truth.

Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects: therefore despise not you the chastening of the Almighty, for he makes sore, and binds up: he wounds, and his hands make whole. Job 5:17-18

The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Psalms 9:9-10
Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
Ecclesiastes 7:3

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
1 Peter 4:12-13
These verses, I don't have to look at and dwell on to understand. God wrote those verses on my heart. I'm a better man today for it. Rather than being hindered by what I've been through, I feel as though God blessed me with an advantage over others by what I've been through. It's safe to say, If I had to go through it all over again, I would, because in the end it works all to God's glory. If you have gone through something tragic or are in the midst of suffering. Talk to God, he will be the shelter to your heart. I promise you, he will always give you a silver lining in whatever you are facing in life. All you have to do is call upon his name. If you need someone to talk to, feel free to email me at the address in my profile. I check it daily and would love to talk.

Much Love,

"We are always in the forge, or on the anvil; by trials God is shaping us for higher things." -Henry Ward Beecher


Patrina said...

Amen! Luke. You are a blessed man. you are definitely ministry material. Wow! what a powerful testimony. I hope you have a chance to give it publicly in your church or where ever God opens the door. Very powerful! I'm honored that you have chosen to share it here on your blog. I pray that those who need to hear will be guided to your spot to be ministered to. I pray for you daily, Luke. For you and your ministry in Christ. May God be glorified through your testimony.

Peace ~

Patrina <')>><

Luke said...

Thank you very much. =) I'm waiting for God to give me oppurtunites to share my testimony. It's like what our guest speaker at church last night, Alex Himaya was saying last night: Two things bring a end to Satan in Revelations. "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." I'm really excited to see what God will do with this blog. I've actually managed to get an entire class period devoted to just this. My first class of the day, I spend reading the bible and writing for the blog. I'm hoping through the Truth in this blog to bring others who will find something they are needing. =D As always, your words of encouragment are a highlight to my day. =)

Patrina said...


Actually, that very scripture came up in my spirit as I was writing about sharing your testimony, but I didn't know the address :) I knew you would though! Thanks for sharing. And I'm excited that you get to spend more time devoted to your blog! I'll be right here to encourage forward!


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