The Bible says: “And they overcame him (the devil) because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” Revelations 12:11
In my 50 years God and I have been through many trials and struggles, some that concluded in a joy filled ending, some that just came to an end and God used it all and worked it for good. Our lives are filled with testimonies of Gods goodness in our lives. He is always with us even when we feel all alone. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. In those moments when we feel abandoned, he is there working out his plan on our behalf. Our trials and suffering do not catch him off guard. He knows what’s coming and he already has it all worked out for us in advance. Our job is to trust him, hold on to him and keep our eyes on him and eventually, in his perfect timing, we will persevere. In my life I have struggled with both God and man/woman and overcome, like Jacob. It is because I have overcome that I can tell my stories of hope and give God the glory.
I was born into a family as number 6 of 7 children. I was the family scapegoat and had a hard time fitting in and being accepted by my siblings and with my peers. I was fortunate to be raised in a Christian home with amazing parents that have been married nearly 60 years. My mom was the “Martha Stewart” of moms but also worked as a nurse full time and that was hard on me. My dad was introverted and always calm and peaceful, he led our family through pray and the Bible through regular church attendance and involvement, bedtime prayers, family meetings and constant teaching moments. We had many adventures when I was a child on family vacations, visiting out of state relatives and church gatherings.
Junior High was my hardest school years. Fitting in, making friends, being bullied and tricked and betrayed. I was naive and trusting and loyal to a fault. I was also bold and outgoing in attitude and verbally, also transparent like an open book which allowed more people to know me and hurt me.
High School was interesting. It opened me up to more people who hadn’t known me before and I tended to make older friends. I had always been more mature than my age probably due to having so many older siblings. My friendships where hard, I was betrayed by those who were closest to me. I didn’t have many boys interested in me, but I met my husband my freshman year of high school. He was a senior. He was a typical “bad boy” and our relationship over the next 3 years was rocky and on and off. He proposed to me when I was 15 which I kept secret for some time since I wasn’t even allowed to date until I was 16. We lived together in our own apartment when I was 16 for about 6 months. During my senior year, I took my CHPE and left school at the beginning of the year to go to work for the company he and his family worked for. We were fired together, by his stepmother, for leaving work early for a holiday celebration with my family that she changed her mind about letting him leave for.
I was raped by a stranger in a mask when I was 17 which left me horribly traumatized at which time my parents allowed my fiancé to move in with me in their house to help me feel safe. We had to have my parents and a Judge give permission to marry at 17, which we obtained, and then got married 2 months after the rape.
My husband was 20 and I was 17 when we got married and we lived with my parents for the first 2 years of our marriage. He broke his leg and had surgery the month after we got married. Between his incapacities and my rape trauma, jobs were difficult and income was sparse.
My whole life, though, all I wanted was to get married and have lots of babies, which I had a mad passion for. We let nature take its course and I became pregnant the same month we married and our first of seven children was born 9 months and 9 days later.
I gave birth to and raised 7 children. We fostered 3 children somewhere in the middle of that which turned into a nightmare, each for its own reason. We separated after 2 1/2 years of marriage when I was pregnant with our third child (but didn’t know it). We came close to divorcing but God had other plans and miraculously changed our lives by restoring our marriage after 2 1/2 years of separation.
I lived with my parents during our separation and attended college, then nursing school. I graduated as an RN 6 months after being reunited with my husband and 6 months after that we bought our first house and got pregnant with our fifth child. (We had number 4 during our separation).
I worked as a postpartum nurse for my first year of nursing and then trained to become a NICU nurse, which I loved and stuck with for the remainder of my 20 years as a nurse. I was fired from 3 jobs for being outspoken, honest and having a tendency to take on a fight for justice head on. It made me a target. With my personality and strong opinions I often struggled with my relationships with co workers. I always felt misinterpreted and misunderstood. I felt like people couldn’t see through my outspokenness to see my heart. God had a lot of work to do in me. I was a force and often had to learn the hard way.
My husband was on and off disability for years due to numerous chronic health issues. Somehow we raised seven kids deeply involved in sports, theatre, dance, cheer, and numerous other activities. We bought a bigger house. We had 3 foster children live in and then out again of that house. We homeschooled for a time. We moved to Texas for 7 years, during which we filed bankruptcy for the second time and foreclosed on a house during the recession/housing market bubble bursting years. We had multiple surgeries between us on knees, shoulders, leg, feet, tonsils, gallbladder, and stomach.
We split our family in half after our kids started getting married and having kids of their own, to move back to California to pursue a job opportunity for my husband. I finally retired from nursing after 20 years as a perk of that deal. We’ve had kids move back and forth between Texas and California to be near us, to pursue job opportunities, for medical reasons and to try life on their own. We have raised all seven of our kids to adulthood. We have seen four of them get married including one being married by my husband who got ordained online. Minister Dan! We have many grandchildren and bonus grandchildren and have also been through the devastating loss of seven grand babies due to miscarriage and stillbirth. We don’t get to see our grandchildren very often, mostly due to distance.
I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at 46 years old and went through chemo, a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction and beat it. I’m 3 years cancer free!
I have gone through several weight loss and weight gain journeys. We have been the poster couple for the Daniel Plan health plan during a year of our life. I have led many Bible studies and womens groups. I have gone through biblical church counseling training and certification and worked as a church counselor volunteering my time for over a year. God really reshaped my character through that journey especially. I started a blog and enjoy writing and sharing what the Lord has taught me.
I currently continue to overcome life obstacles, relationship disappointments and rejections with friends and family. I continue to suffer from some residual symptoms of chemotherapy, though doing better. Cancer has changed me into more of an introverted homebody then I ever imagined I could become. I have taken on dogs for companions and gotten passionate about them and wanting to try my hand at breeding puppies. I have always loved babies. I currently own 7 dogs!!! I love them. They are loyal and faithful and gods purest form in creation of unconditional love.
My wonderful husband and I are best friends and happier than we ever imagined we could be. We are grateful to have each other and cherish every day and moment we get to spend together after 33 years of marriage. God has blessed us in incredible ways.
Joy and sorrow often coexist. And we have had our share of both. Without Jesus in our lives, I honestly can say we wouldn’t be where we are. My biggest word of advice is don’t try to make it through this life without Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. He’s got us!
There is hope beyond this, to God be all glory for all our stories and our life together!
Tell me which of my stories would you like me to write about in more detail?