Here is my story of my life and the trials that have made me who I am. I will start in my early teens and work to where I am today. As I start the story, I was not a Christian.
My parents were always very supportive of us kids. At that time I had one brother and two sisters. When I was 14 years old, I started dating a guy from a different school who was 16 years old. He was a very nice guy at first. Then he started bringing his friends with him whenever he came to visit me. Right before Valentine’s Day in 1990 we went to dance in a nearby town. While we were supposed to be at the dance he decided that we needed to go for a walk. I was more than half an hour away from home with no transportation. We wandered around for a while and ended up in the local post office to warm up. While we were there, he grabbed me and laid me on the floor. He threatened me with a knife he had in his pocket and then he raped me. I never told anyone about this until I was in my 20s. I hid it and, now that I know that it was really rape, I have had a lot of time to heal from the emotional and mental wounds that it caused. I have forgiven this person, since I needed to move on with my life. I have had a lot of nightmares and memories of that night since then, but they have died down now. I plan to use this to help other women and girls who may go through the same thing.
In September of 1991, our house burned. I was 16 at the time. We had no electricity to the upstairs where my brother and I had our rooms. We were running a spliced extension cord up the stairs to run our radios and were told never to leave it plugged in. That morning, I had my radio on and my brother yelled upstairs that we had less than five minutes to get to the school bus. I left the house without thinking and left my radio plugged in. The radio shorted out and set my room on fire. I lost everything and my brother lost almost everything. We lived in a small town and everything in the downstairs of the house was pulled out by our neighbors. I felt guilty about this for many years because I should have unplugged the radio. I have since started to forgive myself and let myself let go of the guilt.
I graduated high school in 1992. On December 23, my grandfather got sick and ended up in the hospital. He had a brain tumor that could not be removed. He grew sicker and sicker. On March 18, 1993, he died from the tumor. I was very close to him and had been in college for most of the time that he was sick. When he died, I felt bad because I hadn’t visited him as much as I would have liked. He was a WWII veteran, so he had a full military-type funeral with the 21-gun salute. I was very depressed after the funeral and stopped eating for a week. My boyfriend at the time (now my husband) stood by me and convinced me that my grandfather would not approve of the way I was grieving, so I pulled myself out of the depression very slowly, and I did start eating again. I had some trouble with college that semester.