Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nikki's Testimony ~ Guest Post!

Today I'd like to introduce you to one of my best friends, Sis Nikki. Sis Nikki has been a HUGE blessing in my life and has helped me overcome some really hard battles. I know God brought us together to help encourage and strengthen each other. I am so happy that she has agreed to share her testimony with you all. God has used Sis Nikki to heal so many scars in my life. I pray that He uses her to bless your life as well. Here is her story ...

I wrote this testimony November of 2009. I wasn’t sure at the time why but I felt God wanted me to write it down; and when I sat down to write it, it was like someone else was using my fingers. I let my husband read it first, and it was the first time he found out about a lot of the things in my past. Then I let my sister in law read it and told her I thought maybe someday I would be sharing it with many more people, but I hoped it wasn’t soon because I didn’t want to do it! So then I did my best to tuck it away and tried to forget about it all. I testified one night at church (Thanksgiving time last year) and stated that I was glad that God reached down to the bottom of the barrel and took me out. After that service Sarah's Father-in-law came up to me to shake my hand as always and said “Sister Nikki, I can’t imagine you were ever on the bottom of the barrel”. Again I believe God was edging me in this direction to share what He had asked me to write down a year earlier. Recently I was talking to one of my “sisters” and during our conversation God revealed to me that I had been letting the enemy use my past against me and it was time to cut it out!  And to the enemy who has tried to discourage me from doing this I say:

Romans 8:31 "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” and 39: “ Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

James 5:16 "Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

HERE IS MY TESTIMONY:
 
            I am not writing this as a sympathy quest or pity party invitation. I only pray it will be beneficial in others healing, as well as perhaps my own.       
            I will start at the beginning when I was born; my father was 20 and my mother 2 weeks shy of 19. They were newlyweds with a 17month old daughter (Naomi) and now a new born (me).  At one point we lived in my Nana and Grampy's house, with total of 12 people living there. Then we moved into my great grandmother’s house.  As is always the case there are two sides to the story of why their marriage didn’t work, but whatever the reason their divorce was final the following year just before my first birthday. My mother was apparently awarded custody ("at that time fathers were not given custody" is what I was told). But being a single mother with no means to provide for her children, no support from her family, she would leave us with our Nana (my father’s mother). Most of the next little while is a bunch of he said, she said, no one takes responsibility bla, bla, bla. Looking back now I can see that it was God’s grace that landed me in my Nana and Grampy's custody.
            For the next 10 years I only have a few memories of either my mother or father. My father would show up once in a while with my little brother Vic from his second wife, a rented VCR from Sounds Easy and the latest Royal Rumble WWF tape. He did live there after his second wife divorced him, but not for long. Then he moved on and had several "long term" girlfriends before getting married to Sue Ann and adopting Alisha. 
            As for my mother, she also remarried, when I was 3 1/2 and they had a son DJ a year later. But I only remember seeing her on Naomi and my birthdays’, and around thanksgiving, and then Christmas Eve.  But other than that she was not around. She told me later in life that she was told she was not allowed to see us except for those times by Nana. And said she found out when I was 16 that in the custody agreement she was given rights to see us every other weekend. 
            Well my memories are few and far between. I remember falling off my pony in 3rd grade, cracking my head open, going to the ER for like  6 hours, laying on the table while what seemed like every doctor in the world poked their finger in my wound trying to figure out if my skull was broken or not. Finally deciding it was cracked, stitched it up and sent me on my way. The doctor wrapped the bandage around my head and then dipped 2 extra long q-tips in iodine and put them in the wrap like feathers, then I got up off the table (after 6 hours!) and threw up all over the floor! 
            To top it all off we were most upset about the fact that we missed the new episode of "High Way to Heaven", Nana's favorite. I couldn’t go to the field trip to the common ground fair because my wound got infected (just occurred to me, should of expected that with all those people touching it!) But I do remember I had to spend the day with my father because of missing the trip that Nana had promised to chaperon Naomi. So I actually got to go with him and I remember he made me homemade French fries. Other than slipping back in to the pool during swimming lessons and putting my teeth through my bottom lip, I don’t really have too many more memories. 
             I do remember fighting with my sister; doing lots of chores (milking the goats, working in the hay field, dusting, dishes). I had 2 different sets of cousins I got to play with once in a while. I really loved catching frogs in my pond in the summer and ice skating on it in the winter. 
            I know another time God watched over us when Naomi, Jennifer, Jason and I went to the stream behind their house in the winter and we decided to walk on the ice. I think 2 of them fell in, but we (or He) got them out, we got in a lot of trouble for that. 
            But when it was just us at home Nana, Grampy, Uncle Bart (their grown son with MR) Naomi and I, it was all work and no play. Grampy was always doing up keep for the farm, Nana was always baking something, Naomi was always watching tv. or reading, and I was always working or doing dishes or some other chore ( I know Cinderella). 
            I don’t remember Nana ever talking about God, I know she made sure we went to Sunday school at several different churches. I remember going to Vassalboro, Penny Memorial, Green Street Methodist and the Advent on rt.17. I actually went there last, until Naomi got in a fight with one of the men about not eating meat (he was a hunter). But Grampy always dropped us off, left, and picked us up later. But I don’t remember learning anything; I know that sounds awful.
            As we grew up she always said don’t do this, don’t do that, but never told us why not to. I can actually remember her telling me "don’t ever let a boy kiss you because, that means he wants to do other things to you, and that’s bad". I had no clue what "other things" were, I just knew not to let them kiss me!
            I don’t remember Nana and Grampy talking to each other, let alone showing affection. Grampy went to work, came home, worked, ate supper, sat down to watch tv, and fell asleep, I do remember an occasional outburst of anger. Nana did house work, cooked supper, sat down to watch tv. Supper was silent, tv time was silent. In that house children were seen and not heard, and seen as little as possible. I remember very few comments my Grampy said to me, but the one that sticks in my head was when my friend came over, I was like 11, and she brought makeup, and as little girls do we put some on and thought we looked beautiful. He said "take that stuff off, you look like a tv hooker" now at that time I didn’t even really know what a "hooker" did but I knew it wasn’t a good thing to look like. Of course looking back I am sure we didn’t look like he said, but it was very crushing to hear for a girl who just wanted to be noticed. 
         When I was 12 my aunt divorced her "abusive husband". She was planning on moving to Florida with her 2 children. My cousin happened to have a Ouija board game, which he convinced me to use with him. I didn’t know what it was, or what to do with it. But at the time we used it I knew he was moving to Florida and he didn’t, and neither did the board! So I knew that it was not to be trusted and no use in using it if it was going to give wrong answers. 

            Now the hard part comes for me to share. I can’t even remember the circumstances now but somehow my 14 year old cousin and I were left in the house alone. I was supposed to help him pack, because they had sold the house. All I can remember is him suggesting we play some strange game. I, being innocent and very naive, didn’t even know what was going on. And over the course of the next few weeks we had several encounters which were let’s just say inappropriate behavior for a 12 and 14 year old, let alone cousins. And I honestly think at the time the attention was a welcome thing for me, I really don’t think I knew at the beginning it was wrong. Until of course I realized if we were sneaking around it wasn’t right. It is all really sickening to me now still. 
            I think feeling that guilt and blame kept me scared from telling Nana after I realized it was wrong. Somehow I knew she would blame me. So I just kept it to myself. In fact I never told anyone until in my adult years my sister told me he tried stuff with her, but she told Nana, and Nana didn’t believe her, and told her it was her own fault.
See Naomi had a lot of “emotional problems” while we were growing up. She saw a lot of counselors and such; Nana was always over compensating for Naomi’s “illness”. She claimed she had brain damage from eating lead paint in my mother’s apartment as a toddler (which seems impossible since the story was Mum never took care of us). But I always felt it was spoiled child syndrome.
            The next big chapter in my life is when Grampy died. I was 16 and Naomi 17. And Nana, feeling free for the first time in 44 years just kind of let everything go. Naomi would get to go out till late hours, when she suspected anything Nana would send me along to "chaperon" I guess figuring she would behave with me tagging along. Naomi of course would take me, leave me in the car and go in and do I didn’t’ even want to know what!
            I always thought I had done pretty well at keeping out of trouble to this point. All that summer this boy form school had been after my sister decided he wanted me instead. And he would call and call and pester. So finally I agreed to start seeing him. Despite the fact he couldn't wait for me and ended up sleeping with my best friend, for some reason I became involved with him. He was a skater, guitar player in a band, but all in all (I had convinced myself) he was a decent guy for me. It turned out he was a real sicko, I had all kinds of people tell me stuff after the fact about him I can’t even repeat. And long story short I wasted my "false innocence" and 2 1/2 years of my life with him. Ironically enough he decided he didn’t want to stop dropping acid and getting drunk to keep me. And until that last month I had no idea he did any kind of drugs, he never invited me to do them with him in fact he didn’t even want me around them when I did find out.  
            So at this point in my life I am 19, trying to go to nursing school, working full time, I just got an apartment with my friend; then shortly after another by my lonely self. Trying to live the single life, all the while feeling so lonely and out of place. Despite boyfriend #1’s "occasion visits" I had sworn off guys, I just didn’t have time or the heart. Then I thought I had a spark somewhere, and almost on a bet to myself I think, I made another bad decision that fell apart and ended up in a "weekend stand" for lack of a better term; then there to comfort me why boyfriend # 1 of course. It is really scary how quickly out of control your life can spin when you don’t have roots to hold you down. 
            Well my newly found drinking buddy, I didn't drink with her at first, just hung out. Her boyfriend went off to "Job core". Her other friend started calling me and hanging around me, then seems like he was just plain stalking me! I remember taking a walk to the park near by one night and hiding in the playground till he left. He got the hint after that. 
            So her boyfriend decided "job core" isn't for him, too dirty and all, so he comes back to live with her, and brings a friend. So somewhere amongst the dying brains cells   all the drinking was causing his friend, having "nowhere to go" as job core was his last chance with his parents; ends up coming home with me. And we proceeded to live the couple years together, in a multitude of sins. All the while he was “cleaning up”, getting his GED, getting a job (or several, none lasted more than a paycheck or two.) Every time I threatened to leave he talked about getting married and taking care of me, bla bla, bla. He managed to keep me going for a while like that. 
            At this point I am still going to nursing school full time, working 60 hours a week, to make rent, two car payments, driving my Nana around because she had had a stroke and could no longer drive.  I am living in a slum neighborhood, taken to drinking regularly, and just buying cigarettes for him. Then one night he shows up with this cousin, who has no place to live, so guess where he lives now?? You got it with me. I think that is when he started to show his violent side. No he never hit me, just the wall an inch from my head, or kicked the dog, or throw the cat across the room.
             I think it didn’t really bother me because that is how Grampy got, I never saw Grampy hit anyone, but when he got mad he would throw stuff and yell a lot. My father tells me when he grew up he endured daily beatings from my Grampy. I had convinced myself that as long as he wasn’t hitting me it was ok. 
            Back at the apt: One night he was supposed to pick me up at work 11pm and he didn’t show (again) and someone gave me a ride home. I sat on the front landing and waited for hours. I smoked my first cigarette that night, well first pack actually. I smoked from that night on (like I needed another bill or sin in my life.) I remember one night his rampage got so loud one of the neighbors called the police and they actually came and knocked on our door. His cousin sat on the couch in the living room right next to the door, he stood in the hall and blocked it so I couldn’t leave the bed room and open the door, and I was too scared to say anything at that moment. The police just left, no follow through or anything. It wasn’t very assuring that they didn’t try harder to make sure everyone was ok, thankfully I wasn’t really hurt. 
            As a bargaining tool for that makeup the cousin had to go. So he took my car, and headed to Brunswick with him. Well they got stopped, he had been drinking, got a ticket, and his cousin got arrested for some reason unbeknownst to me. And somehow through this (after I paid off his speeding ticket) we went on with our merry messed up life. We moved to a different apartment (just in case the neighbors wanted to call the cops again). I had bought him a car along the way, it wasn't good enough for him so I went and traded it in for a Firebird (he probably got a lot more girls in it than the Toyota).
And the cycle of dysfunction continued till I got sick of it all, the lies, alcohol, pot, fornication, bills, wondering where he was, he wrecked one car, blew up the clutch in the firebird, till finally I told him the next night he didn’t come home his stuff would be on the front step in a garbage when he did come back. I guess he didn’t think I meant it, cause he didn’t come home again, and I packed all his stuff in a garbage bag and left it on the step and left. I made plans with my mother to help me move back home that weekend. And that is what I did. 
            I went and traded my dented up car for a new one. For some reason I still don’t understand I let him take my new car, I told him to fill the gas tank. That gas tank of gas cost me! He got in crash, messed up my car, got arrested for drunk driving. 
He kept after me for a while. I was working 11pm-7am and on two occasions came out and found flat tires on my car. I got an alarm for it and it went off a couple of times, harassing phone calls etc. Then finally they all stopped and he was gone, leaving nothing but a pile of bills behind! 
That is when I decided (at the ripe old age of 21) that I was never going to get married, never have kids. I had found these cute little animals at the pet store called chinchillas; I would just get me a couple of those and call it good! However God had other plans for me, even before I was even sure He existed!
            My mother, who I had become quite close to at this point, probably more than even realized, kept telling me about these friends she had and he had a brother. This brother was a nice, innocent, sweet boy, who was a hard worker, from a good family. I just didn’t think what she was describing was even possible, having seen what I had seen out there in the world. So I just kept putting it off. Then she got the friend (Barry) to get all the parts to fix my car. Then she set it up so I would watch their 5 year old son after she closed her daycare in the afternoon for like an hour and a half. Which I really didn’t have the time for but I had the bills for! So anyway I took the bait. And ended up meeting Barry and Kim, and they seemed like nice people. Became friends with Kim, and she talked me into going to the races to watch Barry race. Yes the mystery brother would be there, but no strings attached. 
           So I went the last week of July, and I never really believed in love at first sight, but I knew deep down inside that I was going to marry that dirty grease covered man. I had never seen a family work together the way they did. It just amazed me. So it took a while to get it all started, but I just knew if I could get him away from baseball games long enough, we'd have a good thing going! Four and a half months later we were engaged. Some where in that 6 months I developed an ovarian cyst, and the doctor informed me I would have to take The Pill for the rest of my life to avoid the cysts, and if I wanted to get pregnant it would be a race to get pregnant before the cyst came back. I also at some point that year had about of cervical dysplasia. So at that point I let Jamie know that I probably would not be able to have children, so if he wanted children he should look elsewhere. He said he would take his chances. So we got married the next July. I took my last Pill on the day we got married. We had Leann 11 months later and Jacob 22 months after that. When Leann was old enough Jamie’s mother started taking her to Sunday school. Then somewhere along the way she said "why do I have to go if you don’t have to?" So Jamie and I decided we were going to start going. 
          We spent about 3 years there. And amidst all the legalism and confusion that occurred there, there was a lot God did for me while I was there, that I don’t usually remember to tell people about. I gave my life to God there, I was delivered from cigarettes, and alcohol, and I was baptized in Jesus’ name there, I got the revelation of one God there. And I got close to my sister in law Stacy through working at the school there. If Jamie's family hadn’t been so strong, and determined to live for God, most likely none of us would have made it out of that battle alive for God. 
         But I thank God that we did. And I thank him for delivering me from generational curses, nicotine, alcohol, pot, fornication and all those strong holds I wanted to pretend weren’t there. And I thank him for bringing us to The Old Time Pentecostal Blood Bought Church. And I thank him for the pastors, and the sisters there and their testimonies. And I don’t mean to single anyone out or leave anyone out but, I believe God has put the body together, and set certain sisters here, to aid in each other’s healing. We can all relate in different capacities. From sharing knowing what it is like to have our trust crushed time and again, yet in that common thread we find the healing power of God. And it blesses me every time certain sisters give testimonies of overcoming the same hurdles I faced with issues with my parents. And I am trying to learn how to be a better sister, how to listen, how to love. Yet I know I am far from a finishes product. 

         A Brother told this story about a girl who was born with a deformed face. The doctor kept breaking the bones in her face over and over again. She asked him “why do you do that? I want you to fix my face not break it.” And the doctor replied "I need to break it so that I can put the pieces where I need them to be so you will be beautiful" So when I get to that place where I start felling all broken I try to remember that God has allowed this broken part to make it fit in to HIS plan. I thank God for picking up my pieces, and I am thankful He is still working on me! 

        Now I know that many of my past troubles were “self in-flicked” but most came from lack of having roots in God.  And I also know now that each situation could have been a lot worse with much worse results and the only reason they weren’t is because God has a plan for my life, He always has since the beginning and I am unable to put into words how thankful I am for His mercy and His grace. 
Romans 5:1-5  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation,  worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 
And several times He has spoken to me saying that He has washed away the pain and the past and will use it all to His Glory. I think that’s what it is all about, not to see who can get there first, but how we can help each other get there together. And that is why I thank God for this church, and these Pastors and their wives; because they have so much love to share and to teach us how to share:
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 

Romans 11:29-30 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 
1 Corinthians 12:22-26 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. 


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1 comment:

  1. Wow, I am amazed at the handiwork of God

    ReplyDelete

I'm so excited to have you visit Treasures of Faith! I hope you are encouraged and inspired by what you read! Thank you for taking the time to comment! I love reading what you have to say! We are here to encourage each other so please keep your comments kind! Have a blessed day! ~Sarah