I have often used this term to describe myself. As it so total encapsulates what my teen years were for me.
Moving to ontario from eastern Canada came with a chance to start over. Life with my mother had been at best, unstable. At its worse abusive and definitely not safe.
My dad in the intervening years of my birth, to the age of 12 had been non existent. At 12 my mother I think sensed I needed to know my father, and possibly saw him as an out for herself and my care. Something that never occurred to me until today. We had serious issues my mother and I, I was placed in foster care at one point. So maybe she thought down the road she could send me his way? Who knows.. but in any event at 13 I arrived on his door step! I could go into the hurt around my mothers decision to chose my abuser over me, but I realized many years ago, she did the best she could. And while it was not nearly enough, it was her best. And I would NEVER have become the person I am today had I stayed with her. NEVER. So in a strange twist, I’m actually thankful she sent me away, and I was given a chance at a different life. Forgiveness came for her in that realization, and I’m thankful to her.
There’s much to be said about my father. I lived with him for 2years. And at 15, became a foster child again, and on my own, renting an apartment at 16. I haven’t heard from him since I was 21. At the end of the day though, I recognize 2 things. First, him opening his home changed the course of my life MAJORLY. Two, no matter what happened after I came to his home, he supported my choice of faith, always driving me to church and counselling. He was a huge disappointment, if I’m honest. Despite that, I have to give credit to the fact without him or those two years, I would NOT be here, who I am today. So I’m thankful to him as well, for that.
So onto the Jesus Freak years.. I was immediately upon arriving in Ontario brought to church. A Pentecostal Holy Spirit filled church. Overwhelming and nothing like I had ever seen. I spent about 6 months observing and not buying into it even a bit. I was attending Sunday services and Friday youth nights. I think I had attended church a grand total of maybe 2x in life before this! A girl in my youth group who had befriended me suggested camp for a week. I’d never been to camp, and figured that could be fun? Ever seen the documentary Jesus Camp? Pretty much what I saw & experienced! Mid week as I sat back and reflected on what I saw around me, and the love for God those youth had, life changing love, I decided I wanted in. I made my way up to the front, and accepted Jesus. This changed the course of my life. To this point, my up bringing so messed up, I assumed things like, teenage pregnancy, affairs, abuse, multiple marriages etc were all part of my future. Crazy eh? That was the normal around me.. so I expected that to be my life. That fateful night I chose to make a different life and path. I chose healing of my heart, counselling, forgiveness and a life nobody expected for me. Every time the doors opened at my church I was there!
My childhood had been colored by the fact I was an unexpected pregnancy and very often unplanned for. Passed around by family members, and abused because nobody was paying attention. Although my mom wanted me and chose to have me, she at many crucial times chose others and other things. I was told I wasn’t wanted by my dad etc. However, I was planned by God, and very cared for. That gave me immeasurable healing, and gave me purpose to embrace life with a certainty and purpose.
Through foster care & living on my own, I kept strong in my faith and trusting God to care for me, and guide me. I didn’t do the usual teen experiences, no drinking, or partying, saved myself for marriage etc. I went to school, work, church, counselling, repeat! I was blessed with a great support network of friends & church.
I look back on those years and am profoundly thankful for their effect on my life and who I am today. It was radical faith, but it provided a sharp turning from all I had learned was normal. I have explained it to people, as the only way to change the course so drastically was to go so opposite! Today my faith is a much more balanced faith, and real life faith. I identify as a believer.
At 17, I met my first husband, and the father to my two daughters. I was married at 19.. craziness! But waiting til you are married to have sex, kinda pushes that to the forefront. At the time I would never have recognized that, but today I definitely think hormones push those decisions in churches! No regrets though.. none at all. Those years all led to today.. and today’s a great day. A very blessed day.