I’m not sure where to even begin with all of the memories that I have. I guess I should start with explaining the fact that when I say “memories” I don’t associate those with good times, but instead with heartache.
My young life growing up was spent with my mom and my brother. My mother was estranged from my father by the time I was two which meant I have no memory of him. It would be an understatement to say that over the years of being raised by a single mother my mom became very bitter with a hardened heart and unrealistic expectations. I can see now as an adult that she was abusing prescription drugs and was emotionally hurting and if there is one thing I’ve learned from this world it’s that “hurting people hurt others”.
With that being said, my life growing up was not the carefree typical life of a child. My brother and myself were subjected to many years of both physical and verbal abuse at the hands of our mother. My brother who was four years older than myself was my rock then and is still my rock now. When you go through something traumatic together for years on end it creates a special bond. One that cannot be broken even when our mother has tried.
I won’t go into all of the specific details of our trauma, but I will let you know that by the time my brother was 16 he had left home because of the abuse. My mother had several men come into our life over the years as she sought acceptance and love. Again, only recognizing this behavior as what it was now that I am an adult…she was hurting. I was a stellar student and had already made up my mind that I would do everything in my power to get out of this life. My brother was gone now and so I became the main recipient of her rages.
This story is one of an entire childhood, but I will focus on the events that happened when I was 15.
One night my mom’s rage was out of control. She began her typical routine of yelling and shoving which then quickly escalated to her forcing me to drink a cleaner. The only thing I can even begin to explain is how I felt. I knew not to do what she was asking of me because it could kill me, I also knew if I didn’t she would kill me. I think that fear forced me to react in a way that meant I had to fight for my life, so I ran!
While I had been a Christian for many years, I had become quite bitter during my teenage years wondering why God wasn’t saving me from my situation. After all we were just kids, but that night the Lord knew I needed him more than ever. By the grace of God I had managed to get to another room and (graphic details ahead) while my mother was sitting on top of me strangling the life out of me my alcoholic stepdad came in and pulled her off of me. You read that right, my alcoholic stepdad saved my life!
The Lord showed up in a mighty way through a broken person and saved MY LIFE! I was able to run to the neighbors for help and when the police arrived, I was removed from the home and I spent the next few months living in a Baptist Home downtown.
The events that followed were not anything like what would happen in today’s time. I was returned to the home after her “mandated” counseling had been completed. No consequences for her actions, no support for me, no one to help me. The next several years were continued abuse until I was 18 and my brother helped move me out while my mother was at work one day. I had to leave everything I had ever owned behind just to get out.
The following years I spent on friends’ couches. I made horrible choices and any hopes of a normal life had dissipated. God wasn’t even in my thoughts by this point.
I was struggling with finding a way to make a life for myself and so I asked my brother to help me contact our father. I would love to say that we were able to become close, but his life was cut short due to heart problems. After his death I learned that my mother had kept him from us for all those years by lying to us and telling us that he didn’t want to see us. Yet another form of her abuse and bitterness. She took my dad away from me on purpose!
It took me years to understand how someone could do the things that she had done to their own child. I’m not sure that I’ll ever completely understand, but over the years with the help of many Christian women mentors and counseling I learned that I can be who I was created to be and learn from my past. I learned that even when I had turned away from God that He was still protecting me and kept me safe from many other bad choices I had made along the way to becoming who He knew I would be. A mom. A wife. A friend. A Christian.
I took that abuse and I used it as the power to become the best mom I could be! I made the choice to have a family that showed love. Supported each other and who stayed around. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I did everything right by any means, but I made sure that every day my kids knew how much I loved them and how grateful I was to be their mom! The Lord sent a man to me that never raises his voice or his hands to me. Someone that supports my crazy dreams and is my biggest cheerleader.
I have a past. I have a redemptive story. I have been saved and I have been given many blessings.
I have raised our kids and maintained our home and now I run my own small business.
When life gives you a mess you make a masterpiece!
For those of you wondering. I do not have a relationship with my mother. While I have forgiven her many years ago the level of toxicity that she still maintains all of these years later is just not something that I can subject myself to anymore. However, I am at peace with that now and I have had many other women placed in my life to help fill the role of a mother. My brother struggled for many years in his adult life because of the abuse, but I am pleased to say that he is doing well now! We have a wonderful relationship and are so thankful for each other. He also does not have a relationship with our mother. Some folks don’t understand that, but we have learned over the years what we can handle and what we can change. We can’t change her, but we can walk away from any future hurt.
Submitted by: Machelle, Owner of House of 5
Thank you Machelle for sharing your beautiful story of redemption! It is truly a testimony to God's unwavering love and how he can use the most unlikely people to move through!
If you would like to learn more about Machelle, you can check her out HERE.
Love and lemons,