I grew up in a very difficult environment as I have mentioned before. I had to grow up fast, and a lot of times my role was reversed with my mom. I cared for my mom more than she was caring for me most of the time. I didn’t have the parental figure I needed to give me guidance, direction, or protection. My life started going down a bad path. When I was 13 I was raped while my mom was off in a drunken stupor. I didn’t tell anyone because I felt like it was my fault. To numb the pain I was feeling and to escape the reality of my life I began drinking. I started to follow the same path my mom was on.
When I was 15 I met a boy that would become my husband. He was an inactive member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but his parents weren’t. They dropped little seeds about the church each time I saw them, and they gave me my first Book of Mormon! I didn’t know anything about Mormons, and the book seemed like a foreign object. I tried to read it, and it seemed good in theory, but I was skeptical.
At 16 I was pregnant. Some of the adults in my life thought I should give my baby up for adoption, but I felt differently. I thought I could change my life around and raise my son. I had my first born in October, I was married in December, and I was baptized into the LDS church in January! It was like a door was opened for me to what was missing from my life. I finally had knowledge about my Father in Heaven and the love of a Savior that helped change my life around. I felt like I was in a place where I felt welcomed, and I cold feel the love of god surrounding me. A place where I didn’t need drugs or alcohol to numb the pain I felt because I had the Atonement of Christ to comfort me. A place where I could feel forgiven and loved.
Things weren’t always easy though. Financial struggles, marital struggles, and trying to raise a family-that was hard because I didn’t have a good example of what growing up. I didn’t know what a stable home was like, but I tried my best and asked for help when I needed it. I had 5 more kids, for a total of 6 wonderful kiddos! Then my husband started struggling, he left in 2013 after 12 years of marriage. So I had 6 kids and I felt utterly alone and hopeless at times. My faith, and continuous reassurances from Heavenly Father, carried me through some really rough day. As I look back on some of those days I know I couldn’t have gotten through them without the tender mercies of God. September of 2015 I remarried a wonderful man that has brought so much love and happiness in my life. Heavenly Father allowed me to be the one to introduce him to the church, and it has made a huge difference in his life as well.
There certainly have been plenty of tumultuous times in my life. I have asked why more times than I can count, but then I stopped doing that. I started asking “what am I to learn from all of these difficult times?” That has made a huge difference in my life. I have also been more concerned with using these tough times to help others. There were many wonderful people that have been a godsend in my life when I needed them. I hope to be there for others in the same way. Using our past to help others makes dealing with those things a lot easier.