When I reminisce about my childhood through adult eyes, I suppose my parents did the best they could with what they hadbeen dealt in life. I know they made some really bad choices but they came from extremely dysfunctional families, were riddled with alcohol and pill addiction, got married young, and had four small children before the age of twenty-five. I couldn’t really see it that way when I was a child. I just always wondered why I wasn’t good enough for them to love. I wondered why God would allow me to be born into such a hellish environment, a place where love was never mentioned and, the less you were seen the better off you were.
You may think my statements are a little harsh but let me give you a little more of my history as I remember it. My Mom, Dad, three older sisters and I lived in a run-down farm house that was literally falling in around us. We had no running water so we had to use an outhouse and draw water from a well. We had to work tirelessly in our huge garden from spring till fall…then pick, can, and freeze everything we could lay our hands on. We also had every animal you can imagine that we had to feed, water, and doctor and then we had to slay them when their day had come. (This was the late 1970’s)
Now, I know you are thinking a little hard work never hurt anyone and you are right… if only that was all we had to live through. Sounds kind of like “The Walton’s” don’t it? Just let me continue! My Dad had a good job and didn’t want my Mom to work so she stayed home with us kids. He worked from dusk till dawn and came home every evening about bedtime. Mom was there when we got up in the morning, when we got off the bus, when we had supper, and when we went to bed. When Dad got a day off work he always chose to go “help” someone else or spent time “relaxing” with his friends. Can’t blame a hard working guy for that, right?
My dad ruled with an iron fist whenever he was home. He beat my Mom often and left her bleeding and bruised for us kids to take care of. When he left—our night-mares began. My mom would gather us girls around her like a hen gathering her chicks and would tell us she was going to kill herself. She would tell us if we “begged her enough” and “she thought we meant it” that she might not “finish the job”. She often cut her wrists, pretended to take an overdose of pills, or held a loaded gun to her head while we begged and pleaded and told her how much we loved her. Some of my earliest memories are of these “save Mom” sessions which would last for hours on end- until she passed out!
During these “suicide sessions” Mom told us how she hated staying at home with us girls while dad was out having all the fun. She told us how he longed for a son and how disappointed he was every time he had another daughter. She told me he nick-named me Bobbie because I would be the last child they had and that might be the closest he got to a boy’s name. We were forbidden to talk to anyone about the suicide sessions—or else we would suffer a beating from our Mom. We learned very early in life to stuff your emotions, put on a happy face and act like everything was grand.
Almost every memory that I have of childhood years are tragic as I have explained. I often wondered what it was like to live in a home…a real home, a place where you felt safe and secure. A place where love abounded. A place where a kid could be a kid, instead of having to be the parent while the adults got drunk and acted like children. I promised myself that when I grew up, I would have that home. I would get married, have a big family and it would be everything that my childhood home wasn’t. I didn’t want fame or fortune, just happiness. That would be enough for me.
A lot has happened in my life since then. I was alone and on my own by the tender age of 14. I was married by the age of sixteen, betrayed by infidelity, divorced at 18 and on my way back down the aisle at 20. When husband #2 got drunk and hit me in a jealous rage, I was done with love, done with men and done dreaming for happiness or a home. I was content with being single and doing what I wanted, when I wanted and with whom I wanted. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy. I was very lonely and I was very bitter at God. I couldn’t understand what purpose I had in life, why I still wasn’t “good enough” for someone to love or why my life had to be so endlessly miserable.
I turned to my next door neighbor for support and a shoulder to cry on and wound up in a homosexual relationship for the next year and a half. I rationalized with God and myself that this relationship was what I had longed for all my life. I felt loved and I felt needed. But I also felt more condemnation and shame than I had ever felt in my life. I had given my life to the Lord at a young age and was enraged at God to feel such love and such self-loathing at the same time. Some say that same sex attraction is a choice, but I was addicted and powerless. I was also depressed and suicidal. The relationship didn’t last long but the power of same sex attraction had a hold on me for many years to come.
I started attending church, trying to find a semblance of a normal life for myself. I rededicated my life to God and tried to make new friends by joining the softball team and attending the ladies meetings. I decided to remain single and gave up hope of a family and a home that I had so desperately wanted as a child. Within the year, however, a new friend on the church softball team pursued me and I fell back into the homosexual lifestyle once again. We went to church together, played softball together and convinced each other that our love was from God. We were both miserable because of our convictions and had an intermittent relationship for eight years. I begged God to take away these attractions that held me prisoner for so many years.
In 1996, I was coerced into a blind date and met a man who would change my life forever. He was different than anyone I had ever met in my life. He was a true man of God. He loved the Lord with all his heart and it was obvious by the way he lived his life. I broke off the physical relationship with my partner and we decided to continue on as friends. I insisted Eddie and I stay pure to each other, determined to do things the right way for once in my life. We dated for 4 years as I sought out Gods will for my life. I struggled less and less with my same sex attractions and felt like my life was becoming “normal.” Eddie asked me to marry him and after several proposals I accepted but brought my ex-partner and best friend into the marriage with us. I thought that being married would fix everything that was broken in my life!
We became a family quickly with the adoption of two sons and soon enough I was pregnant with another son on the way! My childhood dream of a happy home and love abounding was within grasp
until I allowed distraction to get in the way. I didn’t recognize the depth of co-dependency and emotional enmeshment that my friend and I shared. She was involved in every aspect of my family life and we saw each other or spoke on the phone multiple times per day. I rationalized that everything was ok as long as we weren’t physical. I couldn’t see how deeply it was wounding my husband that our relationship wasn’t as meaningful and deep as it should be.
My life that was built around lies and half truths soon began to unravel. I wanted more children but after 2 long tears of complications from my pregnancy I had to have a hysterectomy. I was in a very dark depression over the loss of my fertility and couldn’t regain control. My same sex attractions came back with a vengeance, but I managed to white-knuckle through them in an effort to keep my family together. Eddie started complaining about my best friend always being underfoot and too involved in our family. My children adored her, however, and she was a tremendous help to me when Eddie was gone on his all too frequent business trips.
As my life spiraled out of control I reconnected with my first female partner and we had an affair. After six months I broke off the relationship, trying to regain control of my life. I turned to my “best friend” for support and repeated the infidelity once again. I begged God to take these desires away that had been awakened by my transgressions. I couldn’t look my sweet innocent children or my husband in the face and struggled with suicidal thoughts and consuming depression. My relationship with God became non-existent and once again I blamed Him for all my sins.
Shortly after ending the 2nd affair a mother’s worst nightmare became my reality. My 4 ½ yr old son was diagnosed with leukemia. I was convinced it was my fault because of my transgressions. It did, however propel me out of my selfishness and into super-Mom mode. For the next 3 ½ yrs we battled cancer and in the end God healed our little boy. As bad as the cancer was it did help me to sideline my same sex attractions and focus on the beautiful family the Lord had blessed me with. My family grew with one more adopted son and my betrayals were never exposed.
In 2009 I started attending a Celebrate Recovery program to support a friend of mine who battled alcoholism. She quit going shortly after beginning but God used the program as a stepping stone to get me on the road to recovery from my hidden life. My sponsor did some research and after several weeks of prayer and sleepless nights she escorted me to Meleah Allards’ office for my first of many counseling appointments. She even let me “borrow” her name until I became comfortable enough to reveal my true identity.
Meleah quickly earned my trust and we have been working together for quite some time now. Her wise counsel and constant prayer have helped escort me down a long, dark, and bittersweet road. It has been a hard one to travel and at times I have sat down right in the middle of it, just hoping the next car would run over me and get me out of my misery. But, I wouldn’t trade this journey for any amount of gold because it is leading me into a freedom I have never known. I have learned that the roots of my addiction came from my dysfunctional childhood and the tools I used to help me survive it and I’m in the process of digging them up one by one. I have cried more in these last two years than I have ever cried before. The tears have been refreshing like rain and have washed away my tough exterior that I had worked so hard at building. I have learned that my broken childhood, the inability to bond with either parent , my own terrible life choices and the influence of the devil himself have lead into this bondage. The secrecy has kept me there way too long. I learned very early in life not to trust, to hide secrets in a dark place and that love was always conditional. Through Meleahs Godly counsel I have learned that these things helped me survive childhood, but were hindering me in my walk with the Lord. I have learned that God loves without limit and that He is trustworthy. He wants the secrets and lies exposed so they want hold power over me. Meleah has held my hand while teaching me to crawl, and then walk and finally to run into the Fathers waiting arms.
In November of 2011, I told my husband my entire life story. I told him about my betrayals, my struggle and about all the half-truths and lies. I expected anger. I expected rejection. I expected divorce. Instead, I received love, comfort, acceptance, forgiveness, and a renewed vow of “until death do we part.” I have experienced the love of Jesus through my husband and I’m eternally grateful. We are working on our marriage and planning on telling our family in God’s perfect timing. We are leaning on our Father to complete the work that He has started in us. Little by little God is restoring my broken femininity and healing the scars of childhood. I am now resolved that even if God never takes away the thorn of SSA, that I will use it and all I have been through to help others going through the same struggle and to Honor Him with the rest of my life.
It has been a long journey and I have finally found a home, but I know my real home waits where my Abba Father lives and he has his arms stretched wide waiting on me there!!!!!