As a child l had always had what l think was a love for God. I am illegitimate and raised in a physically and emotionally abusive household, so love was in pretty short supply. But I always believed - and still do - that there is a God who loves me. lf I misbehaved l was told I couldn't go to Sunday school!
I loved to read and learn, and during my primary and junior years was always at the top of the class, this continued into the first year at high school [for 11-year-olds]. But then we moved house. I didn't want to move schools, the one I attended was not much further away than the one I was moved to. Mom reacted in her usual way, a thrashing with the warning that was a taste of [what was] to come if I messed about.
So off I went, trying to keep out of trouble, but I didn't fit in. Everyone knew each other, and when they tried to bully me l did what l was good at, I fought back. So all the girls in my class got me in the classroom at lunch time and virtually stripped me. I knew it was no use telling my parents. I couldn't see a future. I was alone-or so l felt. So l took an overdose, all the tablets l could find, didn't know what they were and didn't care.
But instead of not waking up next morning l started throwing up in the middle of the night. My mom heard me barfing. As usual l got another good hiding, and salt water until l started throwing up blood. Couldn't go to school for a couple of days, bit bruised and very sore. But back l went. l realised nobody cared. So out came the new me. I think there were maybe two girls l didnít fight [they were beneath my anger]
I walked into school and out again after register. Uniform went out of the window. That way I didn't have to play truant, the school sent me home. I began to understand that the worst that could happen was that l would get a beating and so what?
Eventually I was expelled, I left school with no qualifications. I wanted to be a nursery teacher, but the college wouldn't accept me. I went for a job interview; when I arrived there were other girls from my school, "good" girls with exam results, My heart sank, but in I went. An elderly man, turned out to be the managing director, interviewed me.
Did I know my exam results, or what did Iexpect them to be?
Didnít take my exams.
I was expelled for hitting a teacher.
So what would happen if I gave you a job?
It would depend on if you paid enough.
Would I work hard?
I got the job.
Things were cool for a while, I was able to buy good clothes, go nice places, and I was good-looking so males were plentiful. I loved my life.
When I met the man of my dreams and married him we had a son. He cheated on me with a girl from work. I threw him out, and got fat! Then I met another bloke, incredibly sexy, and very good at what he did. He
was an alcoholic. We had two daughters. Making arrangements to get married, found him in bed with someone else. End of another relationship.. So there I was, three kids and obviously unable to be loved. I used to go to bed hoping I wouldnít be awake tomorrow morning, but I would be, so I would go through the motions for another day, and besides, what would my lovely babies do?
I pulled things back together mostly, looked after my kids, worked part time and slept around a lot, got myself raped, looking for love in ALL the wrong places. Some of them wanted to stay, wanted to be with me, but I knew they would hurt me. I knew l couldnít trust anybody, people let you down.
Looking back I wanted to be wanted, wanted to be loved, but couldnít take any more rejection.
After a while I calmed down and started to go to church again. I was the single mom with three kids, give her your hand-me-downs and anything you don't need any more. I sound bitter, but experience taught me it was true.
Some one gave us a bed for the girls, a little while after that I started to talk to the witnesses. A man from another church found out and stopped me in the street to beg me not to get involved with "that cult". I tried to explain I was just asking questions that the church wasnít answering. He threw back "Are "they" going to give you another bed!". I asked the vicar to
discuss scripture with me. I baked a cake for his arrival, his wife turned up. Got out my Bible, she didnít have one, gave her one of mine. She pushed
it away, saying she really didnít understand the Bible. So she left, I left the church. The witnesses moved in.
I have to say that for a lot of my time I thought I had the truth. I studied hard, read all my literature, asked questions, I was probably an ideal study. I so wanted to learn - I was like a sponge. Young people came and courted in my house, I made friends with sisters in the ministry. I was baptised. I was still the single mom, my kids were "the fatherless". Really
for them [my kids] it must have been so hard. They didnít have any close worldly family, and for most part, were kept on the outside. Parties held for
witness kids were usually only the respectable elders kids, or ministerial servantsí children. I know this sounds so "woe is me" but it's true, and I made excuses for it, for them. My kidsí lives were made up of going to school, sitting out, and weekends spent either knocking doors, sitting through meetings or traveling to and fro from kingdom halls. When I saw
the unfairness, the double standards, not only for me and mine, but for others in similar positions, I either ignored it or excused it.
I met a brother from New Zealand; he told me that he loved me, asked me to marry him, but when his father found out, he used Proverbs 7 to sum me up. He wrote me telling me how his father was acting, how upset he was, I told him to forget it. If he couldnít defend me then he was not fit to be my husband. I was, and still am, right.
Time went by, and I began auxiliary pioneering. It was during the summer holidays that a sister and I knocked on the door of a man ... I have to say I looked at his deep brown eyes and listened to that voice, and well.
I was meant to call back with a brother, arranged to meet on the car park, but he wasnít there, waited a while and then went in on my own, yes ok I fancied him and wanted to see him, I can admit that now, but wouldnít then.
We talked, met on a number of occasions and talked, but the gossip- a friend of mine that I "brought along" told all and filled in the boring bits with
some thing far more juicy. The elders came, I refused to tell them any thing, I had nothing to admit or deny, I was not answerable to them. Then they tried to be nice. But I remembered how we had been treated, it all came back, we may not have been shunned but as a family we had been ignored.
So they went away and disfellowshipped me. The people I cared about, and some of them I dearly loved looked the other way, I knew that was what they were meant to do. I had done it myself.
Did I live happily ever after? Well, I did marry the guy. It turns out he's a depressive, nothing to do with me, honest. We are separated, we have a five year old son, and if Iím honest I still love him. There are times when I can't stand him, he acts up and I feel hurt all over again, but I forgive him. I know he can't always help the way he behaves, the way he feels. Will I have him back? l doubt it.
And God? I now attend a Pentecostal Church, I have been baptised again, I felt it was important to renounce my past beliefs. There have been times
when I've wandered far from God, but I know He loves me, and I know I still love Him.