God never wastes a hurt: I borrowed that line from Celebrate Recovery because it is SO true!
I was born inPensacola,Florida. I have an older sister and brother and a younger brother. I was also blessed with the most wonderful parents a person could have, too. When I was in the first grade, my parents moved us all to Bay Minette,Alabama. I finished first grade there and continued through third grade. Then, we moved again during the summer and I attendedCrossroadsSchoolfor the fourth grade. During those years I don’t remember being really introverted. I guess I wasn’t what you would call extremely ‘outgoing’ but I had a lot of friends and enjoyed spending time with them.
Then it happened. We made what would turn out to be our last move for many, many years. During the summer before my fifth grade year we moved to a very small town, which wasn’t so bad until school started. That is when everything began to change for me. It’s true the last school I had been in was a small school, also. However, everyone was just as friendly as could be and it was not a problem. This new school was very different though. If you didn’t have one of a few certain last names or if you weren’t there from Day One, you were considered a nobody and you were treated as such by most of the kids. That is when I experienced what Sheri Rose Shepherd calls “Identity Theft”. (If you don’t know anything about Sheri Rose, please go check her out by clicking on her name.) I allowed the things they said about me and the names they called me to define who I was. I realize now, that I was not ‘outgoing’ enough to stand up and defend myself against the verbal attacks, so I chose to withdraw instead. Since we didn’t move any more, I attended that school through the ninth grade, which was as far as it went. In tenth grade, everyone that lived in our area attended the high school in Bay Minette. I was happy to be going back to that school. I had loved it when I was there in elementary school. Unfortunately, things weren’t like they were when I attended elementary school. One bright note, though, was that in tenth grade I reconnected with a friend from third grade. She actually remembered me (though I’m not sure I remembered her – lol) and we became very good friends and still are to this day, even though she now lives far away inVirginia. I miss you, Denise!
I guess I should also say that at some point in my junior high years, I asked Jesus into my heart. I can’t remember exactly how old I was or what grade I was in and I don’t remember the exact date; but, I can tell you to this day who was standing beside me because I remember asking her if she wanted to go with me. She was afraid to go; but, I went anyway. Back then the only thing that was talked about was ‘getting saved’, being baptized, becoming a member of the church and then a long list of DON’Ts! You didn’t hear anything about having a RELATIONSHIP with Christ like we do now.
I graduated in 1977 and was sure life would get better once I could be out on my own. Wrong! It’s sad to say, but like so many others, I was still suffering from my identity theft. I had been treated like I didn’t matter and been shown that I wasn’t wanted around for so long, that I believed that as truth. I naturally assumed that I wasn’t wanted anywhere and that no one, other than family, wanted me around.
In November 1980 I met the man that would become my husband. He was in the Air Force and on his way to Japan when we met. He came to visit me in February 1981, asked me to marry him and we were married that same month before he had to go back to Japan. Yes, I did love him and still do; but, I didn’t really have a relationship with the Lord then and I never even thought about asking Him if this is what I was supposed to do. I went to church and called myself a Christian but, as I said before, I had no clue what a relationship with Him was like. Anyway, even though I was ‘in love’, I think the main reason I agreed to marry him so soon is because I was surprised that anyone would even want to marry me. After all, I thought I was “not wanted” for so many years that I think I was truly afraid that no one else would ever ask me and I wanted to be married and have children. That’s what most young women want, right?
So, we were married and he went back to Japan until September. Then he was assigned to a base in Georgia and he came home and we moved to Georgia. We were married for ten years and had a beautiful daughter in the fourth year of our marriage. Many things happened that led to the death of our marriage but I am glad to say that God has brought us back to the place where we can be friends again.
I moved back home to Alabama in July 1990 and my Dad helped me find a house for myself and Jessica (my daughter) and it was just us two for the next fourteen years. Jessica graduated in 2004 and after that she made some not-so-wise choices that eventually led to her moving to Georgia to live with her Dad and Stepmom sometime in 2006. On July 20th of that same year, God FINALLY got through to my heart. If you want to read about that, just go to My Testimony page and it is there. For this posting, I will just tell you that is when I had the most wonderful experience that I can EVER remember. That is the night when I finally understood that God TRULY loved me for ME and that it was okay for me to love me and that He just might have someone else out there that would love me.
In April 2007, He introduced me to Jeffery Champion. We became friends and that is all I was interested in being. One night as we were talking on the phone, Jeff said something that I didn’t react to very well. He said something along the lines of he just might have to “court” me. I let him know in no uncertain terms that I was not interested in that. However, that night as I lay in my bed trying to go to sleep, I was reminded of the prayer I had prayed back on July 20, 2006. I told the Lord, “I’m open to whatever it is You have in store for me.” And I really felt like He was asking me why I had been so quick to reject Jeff. Like He was asking me if I meant what I said to Him in my prayer. So, the next time I spoke to Jeff, I apologized for what I had said and told him I would be open to the idea, if he was truly interested. As you can tell from my name, he was interested – lol. This time it was totally different for me. I truly felt that the Lord had put us together. To this day, I still believe that. However, I also know that the Lord is a gentleman and will NOT override man’s (or woman’s) free will. One month before our first year anniversary, Jeff decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. Instead of celebrating our first anniversary on April 8, 2008, I was served with divorce papers toward the end of that month. I went through all the emotions – anger, sadness, guilt and I even grieved for a time. We didn’t actually go to court for the divorce until over a year later. The day before our court date, I spent the entire day in the prayer room at church and asked God to show me what I needed to do. I pleaded with Him to save my marriage, if it was at all possible. He gave me words from many different scriptures that day and through other means, also. I knew what I was to do. The next day at the courthouse, Jeff and I were given time to talk with each other, alone, to see if we could come to an agreement on our own. I had several things I shared with him that I felt led to share and I also offered to quit my State job, only five years away from retirement, and move to Georgia with him, if he really felt that was where he was supposed to be. But he wanted no part of it – or he wanted no part of me anyway. Once again, I was being rejected. It seemed no matter how hard I tried or what I did, I just wasn’t good enough one more time.
There was one thing a little bit different this time, though. The month after Jeff left, God began showing me that I was not alone. He used many different ways to let me know there are SO many hurting women out there. So many of us that have believed the lie of shyness and “you’re not good enough” from the enemy for many years. This gave me a strength and a courage that I never had before. I began to feel that He was calling me to do something. I had no idea what, but SOMETHING. I felt He was getting me ready for a new direction in some type of ministry – women’s ministry maybe. I’m still not completely sure what He has in mind, but since I began going to Celebrate Recovery, it may be something there. I always joke and say the Lord ‘tricked’ me into going to Celebrate Recovery (CR) because I went with someone else to support them. I thought I didn’t have any reason to be going to CR since I’d never had a problem with drugs or alcohol or anything like that. I did not realize that it was about so much more than that. It’s not just for people who have had or have addictions – it’s for ANYONE that has ever suffered a hurt or hang-up as well.
Just want to insert a little note here – when I was growing up, my family, and everyone else for that matter, called me Kathy. Well, the first job I had in Georgia was in a small office (three people) and there was already a ‘Kathy’ that worked there. They asked would I mind if they called me Kathryn to keep everything straight and I said I didn’t mind at all. Then, the next job I took in Georgia had a similar situation so I continued to go by Kathryn. I never really thought much about this until I was working through the Step Studies with CR. The Lord showed me that the reason I like going by my given name, Kathryn, instead of my nickname, Kathy, is because I associate the nickname with the rejection I received when I was in school. Yes, my family mostly still calls me by my nickname and that doesn’t really bother me so much, but it’s nice to understand why I now prefer to be called by my given name, Kathryn.
God is where I get my strength but He is helping me learn how to do that even better by going through the step studies at Celebrate Recovery. He has surrounded me with people that I know truly care about me. Even though I had a church where I was happy and ‘comfortable’, He wanted me to grow even more. He wanted to ‘stretch’ me and He gave me a new church family at Grace Fellowship. As I look back, I believe that was just the beginning of Him continuing to give me the strength needed for my journey.
Anyway, that’s kind of where I am today – still trying to be available to Him and be sensitive to where He is calling and leading me. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I’m “over it” now because I’m not. I still battle with my automatic assumption that people don’t want me around, though I am working on it and making some progress. I still battle the enemy when he starts telling me his lies such as, “You don’t need to go to that gathering. They don’t want you there. They’ll never even know if you don’t go. They certainly won’t miss you. A blog? What? You really think you have anything worth saying? You’re not a blogger. You don’t write every day. No one cares what you have to say. You don’t even know how to explain or express yourself very well. Why would you even want to try that? A leader? HA! You have never been a leader. What in the world would make you think you could do that? You aren’t good enough.”
But now it is much easier for me to recognize his lies and now I have scriptures and songs stored up to come back with. One of my favorite verses to come back at the enemy with is: Out of all the people on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen ME to be His treasured possession. ~ Deuteronomy 14:2 (NIV – and I changed the word ‘you’ to ‘me’) and my favorite song to come back with is “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns.
I am learning to count my small victories – every Sunday that I make it to church instead of giving in to the enemy’s lie that no one would miss me if I didn’t go, that is a victory for me and Jesus! Every time that I attend a gathering with the church or even with family, that is a victory for me and Jesus! Every time I go to a Life Group (or small group) meeting, that is a victory for me and Jesus! Every time I attend CR and plow through yet another CR Step Study, that is a victory for me and Jesus! I may get to events or gatherings really early, because I have learned that it is easier for me to be there ahead of the ‘crowd’, but as long as I make it there, that is a victory!
He is doing this for me and I know He can do it for you, too! Do you have anything that you are strugglinig with? Give it to Him and He will show you the way through it. If you’ve never accepted His gift of salvation to you, then why not do it now? You will see that, while life won’t become easy all of a sudden, it is much easier WITH Him than without Him. I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know if my story helped you in any way or just to know that you even read it – lol (oops! Yep, guess the ol’ enemy tried to sneak in there again and make me wonder why I think anyone would even read this anyway!) But, you know what? Even if there isn’t one single person that reads this, it doesn’t matter. It has helped me just to be able to write it and get it out there.
For those of you that did make it through my story, thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you have any questions for me or comments, I would love to hear them.