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Fellowship => Testimonies => Topic started by: heatherchelle_2000 on March 21, 2008, 02:28:33 PM

Title: Heather's Testimony
Post by: heatherchelle_2000 on March 21, 2008, 02:28:33 PM
Heather's Testimony: Part One
    I had an unhappy childhood.  My health was not the best.  Physically, I was OK back then, but emotionally I was a wreck.  I've had social phobias for as long as I can remember.  My first bout of depression happened in the first grade.  My first suicidal episode was in the second grade.  I was clinically depressed every few months throughout my childhood.  But I wasn't diagnosed with depression until the eighth grade.  I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when I was 28, and Social Anxiety Disorder when I was 30.  But I've had all of those problems since early childhood.
     I came from a broken home.  My parents had only gotten married because Mom was pregnant with me, so their marriage was never very strong to begin with.  Mom and Dad argued a lot, Dad started sleeping around, calling in sick at work so he could be with his mistress, and coming home less and less often.  Finally, when I was two, he stopped coming home.  Dad lived out of his car for a while, and then got his own apartment.  When I was three or four, my little brother and I started visiting Dad and his girlfriend at his apartment.  Then Dad got a new girlfriend and decided that my little brother and I had to come live with them in a house trailer.  For whatever reason, Mom allowed Dad to take us away.  We spent weekdays with Dad's girlfriend (we hardly ever saw our dad) and weekends with Mom.  When Dad's girlfriend got pregnant, Dad filed for divorce from Mom and built a house.  Dad and his girlfriend got "married" (I found out later that the "wedding" took place before the divorce was final.).  My brother and I were not invited.  Four months later, my little half-brother was born.  A year and a half after that, I had a little half sister.  Twice a week for much of my childhood, my brother and I were shuffled back and forth between my dad's house (week days) and my mom's house (weekends).  I never felt like I had a home.  There was "Dad's house" and "Mom's house" but there was never any "my house".
To be continued...

Title: Re: Heather's Testimony
Post by: heatherchelle_2000 on March 22, 2008, 05:17:30 PM
Heather's Testimony: Part Two
     When my parents' marriage was coming apart, the Christians in her life told Mom she had to stay married to Dad, even though he was committing adultery and was emotionally abusive toward us.  They blamed Mom for the marriage being in trouble, saying that Mom wasn't doing enough to please Dad.  These people wounded Mom so badly that she not only turned her back on them, she turned her back on Jesus Christ as well.  Mom became a New Age Spiritualist.  She believes in reincarnation, spirits, and psychics.  Since I spent most Sundays with Mom, I rarely went to church as a child.  My dad and stepmom always said they were Christians, but they didn't act like it.  I never saw them pray or read the Bible, and they really didn't act in a loving, godly manner.  During the fifth grade, I lived with my mom and spent every other weekend with my dad.  I found out then that Dad and my stepmom were only Christmas and Easter Christians.  They always dropped us kids off at the church for Sunday School.  And they made sure we had money to put in the offering plate when we sat with our grandparents at the service.  But they didn't come to the service with us.  My dad's parents were involved in their church, but Dad and my stepmom were not.
     My mom was a pretty good parent.  But at Dad's house, there was quite a bit of emotional abuse and neglect.  After years of therapy, I have forgiven my dad and stepmom, but I'm not at the point where I can tell you most of what happened, at least not coherently.  My siblings and I spent far too much time alone without adult supervision, and at an early age I had to act like an adult and take care of the little ones.  Both my dad and my stepmom tried to convince my brother and me to stop loving our mother.  They put us kids squarely in the middle of the divorce.  My stepmom honestly and sincerely believed that little girls were evil.  My dad practically worshiped the daughter he expected me to be and hated the real me because I'm not that thing he made up in his head.  Dad often blamed me for being forced to marry my mom and work full time when he was going to college.  He never let me forget that I was a mistake.  My dad, my stepmom, and I didn't get along well.  I was thrown out of the house twice (fourth grade and eighth grade), the first time after Dad took a rifle into our dining room and threatened to kill our entire family.  I felt completely unloved by my dad and stepmom.  I learned at an early age to hide my feelings and tell adults whatever I thought they wanted to hear.  I was a mess.  I used to be a very accomplished liar and a thief.
     A few of my friends when I was growing up were Christians.  My best friend, Diane, lived almost next door to my mom.  I spent quite a bit of time in her apartment with her mom and two little brothers.  I never went to church with Diane's family, but we sometimes used to watch Christian cartoons at an old theater.  At the time, I thought Diane's mom was really wacky because she wouldn't allow Diane to listen to anything but Christian radio or wear make-up and she only allowed 3 TV shows at their house (Nova, Highway to Heaven, and The A-Team).  But wacky or not, I'm glad I had Diane's family in my life.  At school I had a few Christian classmates as well.  They always seemed so kind and thoughtful.  Of course, there were probably a lot of not-so-nice Christians as well.  But all of the people I wished I was a little more like turned out to be Christians.  That made a big impression on me while I was growing up.
To be continued...

Title: Re: Heather's Testimony
Post by: Brother Jerry on March 24, 2008, 02:01:19 PM got me hanging by a thread dear....... I am eagerly awaiting part 3 :)

And until then I will simply pray for you and your family, one and all.

Title: Re: Heather's Testimony
Post by: heatherchelle_2000 on March 25, 2008, 11:50:27 AM
Heather's Testimony: Part Three
     After high school, I attended a Lutheran college my dad had fallen in love with, not so much because it was where he wanted me to go, but because they had a female physics professor.  I had always felt a bit like a freak because I was a girl who liked math and science.  It was nice to know that I'm not the only one.  The campus was lovely, with century old maple trees and limestone buildings that looked like castles.  Academically, it was a very good school, but it was a bit of a culture shock.  About half of my classmates had never worked a day in their lives, because their parents were wealthy.  Quite a few of them, including my first roommate, were spoiled brats.  But there were a lot of wonderful, lovely people there too.  My friend, Carolyn, talked me into signing up for an IVCF outreach group that held overnight Bible parties for kids.  Carolyn was one of the group leaders, and I hoped I would be in her group.  No such luck.  I liked the people in my outreach group, but the two young ladies who lead it tended to use prayer like a club.  They would pray for folks who disagreed with them because obviously these people needed God's help to see the error of their ways.  As soon as I noticed that behavior, I kept any questions or concerns I had to myself.  I didn't want them praying over me that way.
      I noticed during our Bible studies and skit rehearsals that I started crying every time I heard the words "father" and "love" in the same sentence.  My earthly father has never loved me, so I couldn't imagine God loving me either.  That was a huge problem for me for a very long time.  But I was afraid to talk to anyone about it.  And too afraid of rejection to mention that I wasn't a Christian.  I just followed what everybody else did: sang the songs, acted in the skits.  I went along to get along.  But my heart wasn't in it.  I was terribly lonely.
     Academically, my college experience started out pretty well.  Then in the second semester of my sophomore year I got sick.  I was so tired that I was sleeping half the day and had trouble leaving my dorm room.  I was only eating one meal every two or three days.  I went to the nurse's office and she told me it was just a virus.  Drink lots of water, get plenty of rest, it'll go away.  But it didn't go away.  At this time I was also going to the counseling office, trying to find someone I could talk to.  Most of the counsellors were bloody awful.  One man talked like Mr. Spock from Star Trek.  Another man kept looking out the window or down at his watch when I was talking.  One woman took one look at my chart and how often I had been coming in and decided I was a hypochondriac.  I would have been better off talking to the receptionist!  My grades dropped from A's and B's to D's and F's.  Finally, after suffering for a semester and a half, the dean of students summoned me to his office.  After talking to me for less than five minutes, he diagnosed me with depression, and got me an appointment with the director of the counseling service so I could start taking medication.  Unfortunately, by the time the medication kicked in, I had already flunked a second semester.  For some reason, the college didn't care to take my undiagnosed illness into account during their decision.  I was academically dismissed from the college.
To be continued...

Title: Re: Heather's Testimony
Post by: heatherchelle_2000 on March 31, 2008, 03:51:16 PM
I'm sorry it took so long to get back to writing.  I haven't been feeling well.
Heather's Testimony: Part Four
     I lived with my mom and my brother after I flunked out of college.  I was depressed.  I wasn't able to get treatment anymore.  I felt like a complete and utter failure.  I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die.  And then my dad had one of his little "talks" with me.  He was so disappointed that I had been able to go to his dream college and had "thrown it all away."  Dad managed to convince me that I didn't deserve to breathe the air on this planet.  I went from horribly depressed to actively suicidal.  I believed everyone would be better off if I was gone.  I had my death all planned out.  There was a bridge a mile from my house that was having construction work done.  I planned to walk up there after the workers were done for the day.  I was going to find a place high enough up that was still over land instead of water.  I was going to jump off of the bridge.  But I couldn't leave a messy house for Mom.  She would have enough to deal with after I died.  I didn't want her to have to sort through all of my junk.  So I started cleaning.  I was starting to feel a lot of stiffness and joint pain, but I kept right on cleaning.  I cleaned up everything I could think of, except my room.  Something kept me from ever finishing my room.  And since I believed I couldn't kill myself until my room was clean, I'm still alive to write this testimony.
     During this time, I was also so panic-stricken that I was practically agoraphobic.  I couldn't answer if someone knocked on our door because I was frozen with fear.  I couldn't mail anything, not even my student loan payments.  Not only could I not make phone calls, I couldn't even answer them anymore.  I used to leave the phone off the hook for hours at a time because every time the phone rang I had a panic attack.  I could still leave the house to walk the dog, visit my grandparents, and occasionally do some shopping, but that was about it.  I didn't go out unless I absolutely had to.  And I started watching this really ridiculous television show on NBC called the 700 Club.  Some of the news stories were OK, but that Pat Robertson guy was a total nut.  And these "Word of Knowledge" stories were really out there.  I had never seen anything like it.  It was totally bizarre; I didn't like the show, but I couldn't stop watching it.
     After I don't know how many months of being too terrified to pay my bills, the bank that owned my student loan sent a collection agency after me.  It got to the point that I had to pay back the entire loan within 24 hours or else.  I was finally able to ask my grandmother to help me sort this out.  She called my mom.  I was in big trouble until Mom figured out just how depressed I really was.  My grandparents loaned me the money to pay off my student loan.  Mom made some phone calls and arranged for me to go back to school at our local community college.  That way I would have to leave the house and talk to people when I was in class.  I would be back on Mom's health insurance until I turned 25.  And the college had a health and counseling center, so I could get treatment for my mental health problems.
To be continued...

Title: Re: Heather's Testimony
Post by: David_james on March 31, 2008, 05:19:15 PM
I look forward to reading the rest of your testimony. Hugs to you sister

Title: Re: Heather's Testimony
Post by: nChrist on March 31, 2008, 08:34:04 PM
Hello Sister Heather,

I'm sorry that I missed it when you started writing your testimony. You have a captivating writing style and are really quite accomplished in your writing. Sister, it crossed my mind that GOD may have much work for you in helping others.

In the meantime, many of us will be praying for you every day. I look forward to reading your posts and having fellowship with you. As Christians, we have a BETTER - in fact PERFECT HOPE in the PROMISES OF GOD TO US!

As we find out more about this HOPE, we also learn that it is based on ONE who never changes, always keeps HIS Promises, and Never Fails. When HE becomes the focus for us in this life, HE starts putting things in the proper perspective for us. WHAT WILL BE FOR ETERNITY is without the failure or manipulation of mankind around us in this life. There is also a LOVE that ONLY HE is capable of. Our Life will be in HIS Life, so HIS LOVE and PERFECTION is what we will know for Eternity!

Sister, I look forward to your next installment.

Love In Christ,

Ephesians 1:18-23 NASB I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.