My Journey In The Lord’s Hands ~ By: Kristen

?So for the past two years I have been on a pretty intense journey of learning about Jesus. Learning more about the man who gave me a second chance in life. Learning who I am to Him and just falling head over heels in love with the Word of God. For the past couple of weeks He has put it on my heart that I need to write my story. That others need to hear this and to know that what He has done for me, that He wants to do for them as well. I’m definitely not all the way where I should be but all I know is that I’m a work in progress and Hes going to lead me deeper in truth as long as I continue to abide in Him. So here goes… I will never forget being a little girl and just loving God with everything inside of me. Its like its just embedded within us; a knowing of who He is. My heart was so pure and genuine and my mama always asked me to pray in times of need. When I was maybe 10 years old or so, we attended this amazing church in Hattiesburg. Mama and daddy taught the five year old Sunday school class and me and my brother got to go to our class for our age. My Sunday school teachers knew that I had this love for Jesus and  they would let me take the Sunday school plan home and allow me to teach it to my class and oh my goodness I just loved that so much! One Sunday I was sitting in my mom and dads class waiting on time to get to go to my class and this lady walked her daughter in the room. Little did I know from that day forward my life would be forever changed. This little girl that the lady brought in was the most precious child I had ever laid eyes on. My heart was just drawn to her! Her name was Hannah and she had down syndrome. Over the next few Sundays I made a decision to help tend to this little girl so that my parents could teach the other students. Im sure that my parents really didnt just have to have my help but they knew I wanted to spend time with Hannah. One Sunday after church and eating at one of our favorite pizza restaurants, I told my mom and dad that I hoped that one day that God would give me a child that was just like Hannah. All I can say is the words we speak are extremely powerful! Growing up I would say that I had a typical childhood just like all other children. In my eyes in that time of my life, I had a very strong, beautiful, amazing, God fearing mother (I could really just go on and on about her but Im trying to keep it simple) and she was my everything! My brother who was the coolest kid on the planet and was my first best friend (Bless his heart I really aggravated him a lot) And my daddy was my absolute first love. If it would have been possible I would have spent every second of every day with my daddy. Just like most other families, I watched my mama and daddy start drifting apart. My daddy would stay gone for days at a time and I watched my mama just cry her eyes out with her bible always open. I felt like it hurt me just as much as it hurt her. Shortly after that I came home to see my daddy with his things packed in a bag and getting ready to walk out. I grabbed him as tight as I possibly could and I cried and I pleaded and I begged him not to leave me. But he grabbed my little hands and pulled me off of him and he walked right out that door.  My little heart was completely shattered. Life as I knew it changed that day for me. So anyways maybe a year later or so, might not have been that long daddy finally called and eased his way back into our life. At this point my heart was so hardened that deep down it was just whatever. I spent the rest of my teenage years turning to every bad thing I could find just to numb the pain and feel good. No matter how high or drunk I got in the back of my mind I always knew that it was wrong and I was sinning against God. But I felt like He forgot about me. At the age of 17 I found out I was pregnant so at 18 I got married and gave birth to the most beautiful 7lb 4oz little boy I had ever seen. He was perfect! At that moment I decided that I was ready to make changes in my life and be the mother that he needed me to be. Six months later I got the phone call that no mom wants to get. The doctor told me that he had down syndrome. I cried and I grieved and was in denial over that for a small period of time. As I was sitting outside on those steps of the trailer that day where mama and daddy were staying due to work I looked over at my mama and said…. Mama do you remember that day when I was little what I said? She said yes and we cried together some more. Sitting here reading back to what I just wrote keep in mind that I always on my own tried to be strong. Patrick became an absolute joy in my life! I believe apart of me just added that to my list of things that made me feel that God forgot about me. Patrick was my little angel and my life saver! My husband at the time wasnt ready to grow up. He continued to want to party and hang with friends and I was so torn because I was still a child myself and I wanted to hang out with friends too but also wanted to just be at home with my Patrick. We were married for a total of 8 years and throughout that time he broke every marriage vow there was to break. Im not saying I was the perfect wife either. Didnt break the vows but would cause arguments because of my own unhappiness. Five years after Patrick was born I gave birth to another beautiful little boy. My sweet Gage! He was just as perfect as Patrick.  So their dad never did keep a job so I was the one that had to work. I got a job working at the post office that I was extremely proud of. So worked their and also had another job I did also. Well my marriage continued to get worse and finally my husband got mad enough to fight me like a man. There were times where he had pushed me down before and punched me in the back of the head but this time it was a little different. I became afraid. I was afraid that if I stayed with him that my children would eventually see their father put his hands on me and hurt me worse. And I just didnt want my children to have to see that or hear their father continually call me names. I had finally reached the end of believing that he would change or that God would answer my prayers. Marriage was a big thing to me! Watching my mother my teenage years after her and daddy got back together I wanted to fight for my marriage and make it work just like she did. And so finally after a short few months of trying to keep peace in my home, so he wouldnt have a reason to jump me, I finally found my moment to leave! He had bowed up at me for the last time and me and the boys left and I just never returned. In my mind I still felt like God had forgot about me and just didnt understand. Didnt he still love me? Had I really sinned that badly against Him throughout my life that He didnt love me anymore and allow all these things to happen in my life? I felt like I just needed a break from this world! It was like one hit after another… Anyways my sister in law let us come stay with her until I could get on my feet and provide a home for me and my boys. Few months down the road I moved into a decent little trailer park that I later called the trailer hood. Still through it all I kept my silly sense of humor and my best friend wound up moving into the trailer right next to mine. Things started for once looking up for me! For the first time I was able to enjoy spending time with my children. It was so peaceful and just trying to do it all by myself with hardly any help made me feel so good! Had my money budgeted down to the last penny but I was doing it. So life starts looking good again and out of nowhere while vaccuuming, I got a phone call from this guy that wanted to meet me. It sounded nice but at the same time I wasnt real sure if I was ready to meet anyone. And with a good bit of peer pressure from a friend of mine, she talked me into meeting him. I can still to this day replay that first moment in my mind of him walking up to me and introducing himself. He most definitely had me at hello! There was just something about this guy that was different. Now Ive dated in my lifetime several decent guys but not one like this one. And yeah it was still kinda early to talk to another man because I was still going through my divorce and I warned him from the beginning how chaotic my life was and he still decided to talk to me. So anyways Wayne was not taking us being a part that easy. Neither was I but I knew it was right. He became very angry and started threatening to take the kids from me and even tried to burn his trailer down and come find me and kill me. Like I literally had a cop sitting in my driveway waiting on me to get home and make sure I wasnt harmed. Had protection orders filed against him and then finally after a year of pure craziness my divorce was final. Through all of that Kee stuck by my side. By this time things started getting serious and he asked me to marry him and move in with him. I said yes and packed our things and we moved to Brandon. Before I met Kee though I was laying in my bed one night praying to God and I told Him that I could do this on my own and that if He had other plans for me to meet a guy it would take one heck of a guy to even get my attention. I already turned away so many that were trying to talk to me and I just wasnt impressed. But the more that I got to know Kee the more impressed I was! I couldnt find one thing about him that I didnt like. And I just knew that if I didnt snatch him up that I would spend the rest of my life regretting it. So we finally got married October 24, 2009. Finally life was absolutely amazing and I had the perfect life! I contiued working for the post office and my husband was in the oilfield. After moving here I kinda got lonely. I didnt know anyone except the people I worked with and I was married to a man that was gone half the year. I started noticing Gage was really having a hard time. He was three years old and a little further behind than most kids his age. At first I just tried to ignore it and deny anything could be wrong with Gage. After getting kicked out of daycare and a couple preschools I then got a second opinion and just like that they diagnosed him with high fuctioning autism. Looking back I believe this was truly a breaking point in my life and I was just so sad and didnt understand why both of my children, whom I love dearly had to struggle like this. They already had a father that wasnt in there life much and not helping financially either. So after a year or maybe even closer to two, between the doctors, counselors and psychiatrist and combining different medicines together we finally found the perfect combination that worked best for him. At this point I was just tired mentally, emotionally and physically. And once again I felt like God just forgot about me because of my past and I thought in my mind that I had made so many bad decisions against Him and God had to just be absolutely ashamed of me. And I think I even convinced myself that everything bad Ive went through I deserved. My mind went into overdrive researching autism and trying to learn different ways to help Gage to overcome the struggles he was dealing with. I learned real quick though that the autism spectrum was so big that when you have met one child with autism, youve met one with autism. I was so limited resource wise. After studying many endless nights and crying I just gave up. One thing I need to express here is that I love my boys more than anything in this world! I always thought that there was so much I needed to teach them but man was I wrong! They taught me way more about life then I could have ever possibly taught them. And even though I sometimes struggle knowing that I cant take their struggles away from them and make their life easier, one thing I can do is love them through the trials that are stacked against them. And even though its hard for me to take them places on my own, I just keep turning to God to teach me how to walk this out without failing too miserably. Disabilities are tough but to see them kick tail and overcome struggles, I cant even express in words the happiness that comes from within me. All these things I have wrote about so far, keep in mind I held all these things in on the inside my whole life and never dealt with. On the inside I was about to explode with hurt and anger and sadness. But  I continued to wear a smile and put on this front of trying to present myself as this strong woman that had it all under control. So I continued with my job at the post office here where I live. And man this office was way different than the one I transferred from. There was way more routes than subs to relieve the regulars. I was working anywhere from three to five days a week. And I sure was enjoying the money that I was making. I was working this one route back during the Christmas holidays and I noticed that my leg felt numb. I figured it was just from it being so cold. As the day went on the numbness intensified to the point to where I didnt even feel my foot pressing the brake pedal down. I think it probably took a few days before I could feel anything in my left leg. Then I noticed my back started hurting pretty bad. It kinda scared me but I was really too busy to deal with it. Several months go by and Im still having issues with my back that finally brought me to tears. I then decided it was time to have it checked out. Had an MRI done and my doctor referred me to a pain clinic to get the care I needed. The dr told me that the reason I was in so much pain was from a bulging disc and degenerative disc disease. So they started me on pain medicine. In my past when I was a teenager I loved taking lortabs just for a buzz and liked them a little too much. But this time was different. No buzz, not even relief of the pain that I had going on. After getting treated at that clinic, shortly after I decided to find a new doctor. I felt like they were treating me like someone wanting to just abuse pain medication and at this point in my life I was sober. So I then found a doctor that actually dealt with back pain and was also a surgeon.  Throughout this time period the pain only got worse and the worse it got, the more I was sinking into a deep depression. Here I was with two children that needed me to be a mother to them and a job that all the sudden I was working five days a week and I had a husband that was gone for two weeks at a time so I really didnt get much help with the kids. I started trying to put the blame on my ex-husband. The last time he fought me I blacked out as he came toward me and I came to laying face first on the floor, crying and begging him to stop, while he continued beating me in my back. My back was covered in bruises weeks after our big fight so thats why I felt like I was dealing with these new set of problems. Once again I felt like God had forgotten about me. Here I was trying to do all the right things and take care of my special babies and it got to the point to where it took all the strength I had just to give Patrick a bath. One of Patricks biggest struggles is self help skills so I have always done everything for him. In my mind it just didnt seem fair that after everything else that I went through that I had to go through this too. It was like all throughout my life it was one hit after another! Some of the things were because of making wrong choices but then there were also hits that I had no control over.  And then theres that famous saying that everyone likes to say when they cant think of anything else to say: You are so strong and God doesnt give you more than you can handle. I despised that phrase because I knew deep down I was the weakest person I knew! For the next four years of my life, the pain intensified, the dose of medicines doubled, I started getting shots in my back, dealt with a hole in my spine and leaked out spinal fluid for a week and here I was trying to put on this fake smile and try to act strong until the pain finally took over and completely consumed me. I fell into more depression and began drinking more than I ever have. Started making wrong choices that then caused me to hurt the ones that loved me the most. And once I realized just how much I hurt those few certain people, I then began to hate myself in a very unhealthy way. Not only did I hurt them but I once again felt like God would never love me for real this time. I just knew I purchased that one way ticket that would send me straight to hell. Well the dr continued to monitor my back and continued further testing to finally find the extent of the problem. I had a ruptured disc that was leaking out into my back that caused inflammation that was pinching down on a nerve. All together I can honestly say that I might have had a total of two or three weeks worth of relief from pain in a four year period. Out of complete desperation of wanting to fix the problem I allowed the dr to go through with surgery. Immediately after surgery I could tell that my pain was not there anymore! FINALLY!!!! So I started enjoying life once again. It was summertime and we had a boat and we stayed in the water all summer; swimming, went hand grabbing for the first time and enjoying friends and family. Although my pain was gone, I had this huge knot right where they performed the surgery and it continually got bigger and bigger. Talked with the dr about it and he said he would like to go back in and just make sure everything was looking ok and so I agreed to let him open me back up. Keep in mind this was only three months after the first surgery. Hours later, after I woke up, the pain was worse than it had ever been. I went and had another MRI done so that they could look and see the results from the second surgery. Before my first surgery, I had one disc bulge. After the second, I had every disc from my L1 to my S1 bulging out, permanent nerve damage on my left side, arthritis and failed back surgery syndrome which would cause my back to continually break down. My doctor told me that if I kept working the job I had that my back would break down that much quicker. I lost my health, I lost my job, I lost so many things that I loved. I lost everything I was proud of. Everything that I felt made me who I was as a person. Scared it would get to the point to where I couldnt even take care of my children…. Felt like I would lose my husband… I began grieving deeply. Had suicidal thoughts. I was in a dark place I couldnt come out of…. So the pain just got worse and this one particular day I was up and trying to do for the boys and I was struggling pretty bad. So finally I just cried outloud and said “Why? Why me God? Why now when you know I have these boys to take care of?!?!” Little did I know He was right before showing me just why!  I have to admit that I never felt comfortable going to church. Maybe it was because I went to the wrong churches. The churches I went to always said that if you loved the Lord, He would bless you in every area of your life! And there were always those people sitting in the churches and its like these people didnt struggle like me. They didnt have the things coming against them as I did and they just made it look so easy to do life perfectly. Even though I felt these feelings inwardly I would still go to church here and there. I tried to read my bible but I just couldnt comprehend it. So I really didnt know that many teachings in the bible. One Sunday morning my husband talked me into going to church with him. I agreed to go so we put on our Sunday best and off we went. So while I was sitting there listening to the pastor he read this scripture outloud that completely caught my attention. One that I didnt even know existed in the Word but it hit me pretty hard! And we know all things work together for the good, to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose Romans 8:28  By that following Wednesday, this same verse was either told to me by someone or sent through text to me. I even randomly opened a book (which I never do) and it was right there! So five times within that time period! I finally felt like God was trying to get my attention and so I opened my bible and was trying to understand exactly what he was wanting to say to me. Didnt get the understanding at first, but after reading the whole book of Romans maybe 10 times or so it started making sense to me. So I started praying and talking to Him! Kinda how it is with one of your best friends. How you can go months, even years without speaking but when you do, you pick right up where you left off. I started asking him about my healing and to begin with I wasnt sure if he wanted me to receive that from him. One morning I got up and was headed somewhere to go do something. Cant remember exactly where but anyways I stopped before leaving and thought to myself well maybe I should take a pain pill before I leave that way I want have to deal with my pain. And all the sudden I had this thought enter into my mind. Why would I continue taking this medicine when first of all, it doesnt help with my pain and secondly, why do I allow this pill to dictate my every move? I then realized just how much control this medicine and my pain took control over my life! I then decided I had enough! After 4 long years of taking this medicine I chose to just completely stop taking it. My husband left for work and I laid in my bed and allowed myself to go through withdrawals and prayed my way through it. The pain was still there and one evening while I was cooking dinner, Gage told me that he was sorry I was in so much pain. I looked at my boy, smiled at him and said, “I might be in pain but my pain will never come before you or your brother” I turned around and continued with my cooking and all the sudden I had this vision…. A vision of me bent over…. It was the most powerful feeling I had ever experienced! I didnt even know it was possible that God could give someone a vision! After sitting there and trying to take in what I just saw I called my mama and she told me that not only did God give me a vision but also that there was a woman in the new testament that Jesus healed who was bent over! I went to the book of Luke and found the story and I just sat there in awe. That same night while I was laying in that bed, I closed my eyes and said, “God have your way with me” That night Jesus came and visited me. Laying in that bed that night not even having any understanding of what was taking place, its like he just kept taking all these different things out of my heart and showing me what he was taking out. I laid there all night long with tears pouring out of my eyes uncontrollably and all I knew to say was, “thank you so much God” He showed me that night that for the past 32 years that I had carried all these things inside of me and that I had been trying all this time to protect my own self and not giving it to Him. He also showed me that I had to forgive myself for hurting the people I loved the most and let it go and give it completely to Him. And its like all the sudden I felt His presence so powerfully and its like He was just filling me up on the inside with His love and peace and contentment. Finally at 3 in the morning I fell asleep and I’m pretty sure that was the best night sleep I ever experienced! For the next two weeks He continued radically delivering me! I even woke up most mornings with songs of Him going through my head that I never even heard of. Even though I still had this radiating pain running in my legs because of my back I just continued reading His Word. I would sit and just read the gospels until my pain would ease up. The word became my medicine and I allowed Him to be my Physician. I was still at this time wondering if He was going to deliver me from my pain and suffering. I read the gospels so much that I just got sick and tired of seeing all the people He healed while He was here on Earth. I started meditating more on Him healing people and its like I had this random thought that come from out of nowhere saying if I’m to believe the bible is true and its alive and its meant for today just as much as it was then, He doesn’t favor those people more than me and so I just started claiming it! And I told Him that very same day, that it didn’t matter if He chose to heal me or not that I would continue to praise and serve Him for the rest of my life. For the first time in my whole life I finally understood just why all these things happened to me. Why not me when there are so many people going through things that I went through and still would even be going through if the Lord didn’t deliver me! In his timing I received my healing from Him. A healing of the soul that manifested itself outwardly! I can honestly say that I am so glad that all these things in my life happened to me. If they wouldn’t have I wouldn’t have been able to experience His love for me as strongly as I did and do to this day! Throughout our lives things are gonna come against us. That doesn’t even matter because we all know that for a fact. Its all about how we choose to handle those trials. If we wholeheartedly gave all these things to Christ, then we could at all times live in absolute perfect peace. To whoever reads my story just know that things can get better! He loves you just as  much if not more than me and wants to just be your father! If you will put all your trust in Him and just let Him take control of your life He will help you with everything that comes against you! Always choose no matter how busy your life is to put God first. Its so important because all these other things that the world continually keeps us busy with can be taken at any moment. The way I see it, if I cant spend my personal time with God first then why should I even get to enjoy the things hes blessed me with? He laid his life down for me and for that reason I choose to lay my life down for Him as well and spend the rest of my life trusting him and living out His will for my life.

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