This blog is unique.
It is not all about me, my wisdom, my cute crafts or successful recipes. In fact, most times this blog has nothing to do with me looking awesome.
I try my best to #KeepItReal and connect with other women, but I have only had so many experiences and can only reach so many people with them. Luckily, I am surrounded by moms/women with beautiful stories.
I have determined to use space to bless more women with the bravely shared stories of others.
There is something so beautiful in knowing that you are not alone.
Today I am proudly sharing this space with Charity Hoofard. I met Charity in bible study a few years ago. She lives in my hometown, off the grid with her hubby, 3 sons, and sweet baby girl. She is beautiful, brave, and about to make you cry. This story is filled with pain and suffering but the woman she is now will give you hope to persevere through the hard times.
(I am warning now, grab the tissues.)
I’ll be honest…I’m terrified of putting my story into cyber world. I have a hard time believing that anyone wants to read about me. But I’ve heard that someone’s story can change someone else’s path. That by telling you where I’ve been, I could help you with where you’re going.
This thought gives me hope and it makes me brave.
So here goes…
I was once told that I could win the award for the worst childhood.
I didn’t know what to say to that…thanks?
Everyone has their history. The stuff they avoid or don’t want to share. Your pain may look different than mine but there are others that have lived through stuff that would break me or you. My story truly is just one of many.
I have experienced every form of abuse; physical, mental, emotional, abandonment, and even sexual abuse. I’ve been picked up and thrown into walls and locked in confined spaces. I have stood over the bathroom sink and watched my Dad burn pictures I drew for him because he was drunk and mad at me. I can clearly recall making dinner for my brothers and myself but having to stand on a chair to reach the stove… not in a fun mommy and me way, but because there wasn’t anyone else home to do it. To this day I am terrified of thunder because an impossibly young age, I was left alone during a storm.
The man who sexually abused me was charged and spent time in prison. But as any parent knows it wasn’t enough. There are dark places in my heart and in my head that I hide from everyone including myself. From at least 5 years old until the age of 9 I lived a nightmare of fear and pain. I have been with my husband for almost 19 years and there are still bits and pieces about me he doesn’t know.
When you’re a foster kid you learn to keep things in. Don’t talk, don’t share, just be normal. Shove it down and be okay. If you’re not okay then just pretend because if you’re not, then you’re a mess. No family wants to take care of a mess. Also because as a foster kid literally everything in your life is temporary. Your clothes and your toys… even your bed. That will all be held on to for the next kid.
Worse than all the temporary stuff… is growing up believing people are temporary. Why invest in someone if eventually they’ll give you to someone else? It’ll get too hard for them to take care of you or maybe they’ll “move” and can’t take you with them. What’s the point of getting attached? I still struggle with this…I dread the day that my husband leaves because I’m too hard.
I feel the need to clarify. I had some wonderful foster parents. Two different families that I still have relationships with. I was lucky! The foster care system is broken. It will never be perfect because it will always be human. Even the greatest people will fail in a system created by humans. I would never want to disrespect my families by implying that they didn’t do everything they could for me but what I experienced was the nature of the system. Move the kids through and hope they’re “fixed” because there’s more coming.
My first family introduced me to God. They showed me what it was to be loved by a Heavenly Father and how I could be healed and made whole. MADE WHOLE. That’s something we say in church but I wonder if we really think about what that means? If you’ve ever been truly broken, if you’ve ever felt like you weren’t enough you know how hard it is to heal. It took a supernatural kind of love to heal me. I wrapped my feelings of unworthiness and my dirtiness around me like a blanket.
Only Jesus made me feel safe enough to let go.
I am loved.
I am clean.
I am a child of God.
That can never be taken from me even if I lose everything else.
I do still struggle. There are times in my life that I don’t want to get out of bed. When the darkness feels so close I wonder if I will ever find my way out. There was a time like this about two years ago. One day was really bad. I was driving to my children’s school and feeling very vulnerable when a song came on called “Overcomer” by Mandisa.
I stopped at a stop sign I started crying and yelling at the radio. I banged my fists on the steering wheel and screamed to God that I was tired of always fighting and feeling that I had something to overcome. Sometimes I just want to be normal…I want easy! Truly if someone I knew saw me (not hard in our town) they would’ve thought I’d lost my mind!
For some of us, “easy” isn’t the life we’re called to. Some of us will always be overcomers and fighters. I’m learning that and I’m okay with it. I will overcome. And I am a fighter. I am a fighter for God. I will always fight for him and the longer I’m in this the louder I’m going to be. I want to be more for God.
I write this on the day of my daughters dedication. This morning with my husband and our 3 boys stood in front of our church family and gave our daughter to Jesus. And as a family we all promised to raise her for God. My daughter will never experience what I did. My daughter will be raised with love and hope and Jesus. For me today was so much more than a dedication. Today symbolized a full circle from where I was to where I am. That makes my fight and “overcoming” worth it.
Charity, you are incredibly brave and I know that putting all this out there must have been very difficult. Thank you for shedding light on a dark place. My prayer is that someone will this and been encouraged to move past their past. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing the pain for His purpose.
If any of you sweet readers out there have a story you’d be willing to share… I would love to have you. Please contact me christen.spratt(at)gmail(dot)com