Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Story

There have been so many people lately who have asked about my new ministry at church and I have shared this story in public with different forums of people but I thought it was time to share on my blog. I have shared pieces of the story but this is the bulk of my testimony and story. I don't share for any other reason except to let you know where God has brought me from. The story certainly does not end here...there will be more posts about where God has brought me and what he has done. I am so humbled and overwhelmed with God's goodness I could burst!!

Childhood

My mom had me when she was 18 years old. I had a 2 year old brother and then she had my younger brother almost exactly a year after she had me. Due to certain circumstances my mom felt forced to allow my grandparents (my father's parents) raise the boys and she took me to raise.

I was about 2 years old when we moved in with who I consider to be my dad, Gary. We lived with his parents, Granny and Papa, for most of my childhood. My mom, Gary, and I lived off and on in apartments and houses but never anywhere very long. My mom and Gary never married because she was still legally married to my biological father. When I was about 5 years old, I noticed that things were starting to be different. I don't know if it was because that is really when they became different or it was just when I started to notice things. My mom and dad argued a lot and I noticed that things were starting to get very violent. When I was 6, the house that we lived in burned down. Luckily, my dad was out of town that night and we "just so happened" to spend the night with Granny and Papa that night. I later found out that it was all planned for insurance money. I don't think it all worked out in their favor....just sayin....that seems to be what I remember as a turning point in my life...where things just really started to plummet.

As I mentioned before, we lived with Granny and Papa for most of my childhood. Both of my parents were REALLY bad into all kind of drugs and as I got older I started realizing what was going on. To make this part of my story a little shorter I will summarize....I was drug from hotel room to hotel room making drug deals; I was told not to tell anyone about what went on in my house because if I did "the big fat black social worker lady would come and take me away; I watched day after day as my dad beat my mother until life was almost out of her body; I ran with my mother more times than I care to remember only to come back a few days later; I went to school to escape my home life...unsure if I would come home to my mother alive or dead; I would go to sleep at night with the pillow over my head singing as loudly as I could so I couldn't hear the screaming and fighting in the room next to me or I would run down the hall to Granny's room so she could rub my back and hold me while I cried. I went to 17 different schools from kindergarten to the 7th grade! All the while, it was familiar, it was safe, and it was all I knew as my life.

Move to Arkansas

When I was in the 8th grade my mom came to my school and checked me out of school YET AGAIN! I was furious with her. I just knew it was ANOTHER time where we would just be coming right back a few days, weeks later...she would just disrupt my now teenage life for whatever it was she wanted. You see, this time it was different. My mom had stopped using drugs but my dad hadn't. This time he told her if she was at home when he got back that he would kill her. We left Grand Prairie, Texas that day for Hope, Arkansas and we did not return. It was THE LONGEST Greyhound bus ride EVER!!! I was a month shy of fourteen years old. I was so angry at my mom...for a long time.

My mom got a job and bought her first car and really was doing everything well, except taking care of her teenage daughter. Don't get me wrong...I am in no way, going to play the blame game in this blog...I am just writing my feelings. This was the first time my mom tasted freedom!!! She was having the time of her life! She was going to the clubs and having a great time. She was still going to work and paying bills and doing what she needed to do but I was low on the priority list. She didn't have to worry about me...I was a straight A student and I was pretty much capable of taking care of myself.

Accepted Christ

When we first got to Hope, I knew a lot of people there already. My grandparents lived there for a long time and I had lived there before (remember those 17 different schools? Three of them were in Hope)! I already had some friends from like the 3rd grade and they remembered me! I was invited to church and long story short THE VERY FIRST SUNDAY I went to church I asked Jesus into my heart at at back to school party at the home of Charlie and Christi Zumwalt on August 27, 1995!! God had a plan and a purpose for that little girl in Grand Prairie, Texas all of those years and was protecting me for something greater!!! The only problem, my family is not of the same mindset and when I was so excited about the change that had occurred, my family was not as excited. It was hard to live for the Lord in the environment that I was in.

When I was in high school, there was a lady that I went to church with that poured a lot of time and energy into my life. I was NOT an easy person to love at that time. I was needy. I was clingy and needed lots of love and attention. She was always there and willing to give it. After she came and picked me up one night late after my mom had failed to come home yet again, she said, "Why don't you just come live with us?" She had two children of her own. I asked my mother who really didn't give a second thought about it and I did. She supported me financially and treated me just like her own child. I will forever be grateful to her and she will always always be so incredibly special to me. I love her like a mother. Sweet sweet woman!!! She even drove me to college when it was time for me to go! I just cannot say enough about her.

Worst Decision of My Life

When I lived with the sweet couple I started dating a guy. He was a good guy - Church of Christ. He had never really dated anyone before. I had never really dated anyone before. There was quite an age difference however. We dated for a good long while before we really started arguing quite a bit and the lady I lived with would come tell me to get off the phone - he isn't worth it, etc. but we would just argue about stupid stuff and I would just think it was me being insecure. I would apologize, we would make up. We had a very disfunctional relationship.

I noticed one day that I was very late getting my period. I told a teacher and she bought me two pregnancy tests. I took them in the bathroom of the school and they were both positive. I was devastated. Beyond devastated. I immediately began weeping. My best friend was in the bathroom with me and of course didn't know what to do. I threw the test across the room and wanted to go home. My friend would not let me go home. So, I didn't. I stayed the entire day at school bawling my eyes out and telling every.single.person. I came in contact with that I was pregnant. I don't know why I did that. It was just something that I felt the need to do. Why does anyone do what they do when they are in the midst of grief and shock???

Fourth period came. We only had four period days so it was the end of the day. It was my "teacher friend's" conference period and she sent someone to get me from my class that I was in. I went into her classroom and there she was with her friend, who was also a teacher at the school who I didn't know very well...she was an art teacher. My teacher told me that the best solution for me was to have an abortion and her friend was there to tell me all about it. See, she had had an abortion too and she is doing just fine. It was a great decision. She has two kids now and it was easy, you just do it, forget about it and my teacher said that she would take me to get it done. I literally think I just stood there looking at her. That was not an option for me....until that very moment.

That evening I called my boyfriend to tell him to come over so I could tell him the news...no, he still didn't know...I was at school all day and I didn't have a cell phone back then!! I had been given advice from every angle about what I should do. I had at least 4 people tell me on different occasions that day that "the only thing for me to do" was to have an abortion. I was given many different reasons why it was best. My head literally was swimming.

On Saturday, my teacher's husband called to tell me that my teacher would NOT be having any part in this and called me a baby killer and then hung up on me. I am not sure what she told him. I talked to mom who wouldn't say much except that she would take me, she would sign for it but she couldn't afford to pay for it. I found someone to pay for it and my boyfriend ended up paying him back. I made the appointment on Monday and had the procedure in Little Rock on Wednesday...the day before Thanksgiving - November 25, 1998. My mom took me and my best friend went with us.

Because I had told anyone who I came in contact with at school that I was pregnant the previous week, I went back after Thanksgiving break and told everyone that I had a miscarriage. I never spoke of it again until college....almost 2 years later....

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2 comments:

Leslie said...

Rikki, I didn't know you had a difficult childhood and I never knew of your struggles. I am so glad you decided to share your story. What a testament you are of God's love and grace. I pray that many lives will be touched through reading what God has done in you and through you.

bellfamilyblessings said...

I love you, Girl! I know so much has happened but God always has a plan and you have chosen to be in His will and do so much for so many. I am so blessed to call you friend and for having you in my life. Struggles come and go but the love of God stands forever.



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