Abuse is such a funny thing...
Its something that effects you, and continues to effect you for the rest of your life.
It shows up in panic and anxiety...Even when you least expect it, its there...
I have gone through more abuse then any child should ever have to endure. Ive gone through physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. I was hit, my bones were broken. The people that were supposed to love me unconditionally failed me. They hurt me more then I ever want to admit.
The pain sometimes still feels real, it still sometimes feels like I'm there in that moment. I still feel like they control me and their hurt continues to live inside of me. The people that were supposed to protect me, that were supposed to care for me, the people that were supposed to show me love, they broke me, they damaged me, they mistreated me, and they abused me. They left me heartbroken...
I am free, free from them. I am free from the pain and free from my past. They hurt me so deep that it still cuts deeper then I would like. Im learning and growing, I am not them and I will never be them. I have a new family that loves me and supports me. Im cherished, loved, supported, and excepted for who I am.
It's oddly comfortable to repeat the same destructive thought patterns, over, and over again. It's a place where instead of holding onto the truth of God's love, insecurity becomes our best friend. It's a friend that we rely on because in this twisted mind set we have a belief that, the so called friend, "self-worth" will somehow make us a better person, if we just listen and destroy and belittle ourselves in the process. If we tear ourselves apart, then at the end of the day we think, well maybe if I lost those ten pounds then just maybe I would be good enough, just maybe if my body were perfect then they would except me, or just maybe if I didn't come from such a broken past I would be enough.
Growing up in an abusive home these are the thoughts that are constantly entangling my brain, these are the thoughts that consume me. Because at the end of the day I fear that I will be worthless like the people that were supposed to love me as a child lead me to believe. At the end of the day I fear that I will never be enough and the people of this life will decide to walk away just like the people of my past.
The truth is, I quit. I quit quitting, I quit running away, I quite letting those insecurities take over my being and allowing them to paralyze me, because the reality is that we have a God that loves us so much that he gave his one and only son that died for both you and me. We have a God that gave us hope and a future, a God that knows every hair on our heads and loves us unconditionally. A God that when I hit my rock bottom once upon a time ago, he gave me a family, he surrounded me with support, and he walked through some of the deepest, darkest valleys with me. Truth is he never abandoned me...he was always there, and he showed me the way. This is my story of redemption, not my story of brokenness. This is my fight song, my take back my life song. This is my time to show what a powerful testimony God can provide if we let him. In order to get to the happy ending we first need to treck through the mucky waters of the past.
When you grow up in a broken home where do you even begin with your testimony? How do you put it all into words? How do you tell about all the times that your heart felt broken beyond repair, or all the times that you weren't sure how you would possibly make it through to the next day, let alone the next week. It's not easy but it gets easier when you have a God that has taken his clay and sculpted it into his own creation. It's easy when our God loves so deeply that he's given me a story to tell and he has taken my life and made it more than I could have possibly imagined.
Before I get into the deep mess of life, for starters I'm Kayla. I have a family that loves me richly and while it wasn't always that way, I wouldn't change it for the life of me. I'm adopted, messy, quirky, talkative, creative, loud, emotional, and occasionally I have a slight attitude (you can ask my mom about that). In a nutshell, overall what I am most is blessed. I've walked a long journey in my twenty-theee years of life but believe in a God that loves me so richly that he has given me life.
How do you thrive in a place when the people that are supposed to love you abandon you emotionally, physically, and spiritually? You don't because you shut down and you stop processing all of the bad, all of the hurt, and all of the pain.
The first memory of my birth dad that I have is at the age of four, at the age of four I had made some sort of comment and I knew that I was in the wrong. I ran away in fear to my room as he ran after me. Before he could grab me, I locked the door behind me, and rocked back and forth in the corner with so much fear instilled in my soul. He pounded on the door until eventually he broke the door off of the hinges, I remember his face, his voice, and his anger. He had a big ring on his left hand that before I could say anything he smacked me across the lip with. I remember fighting to get away but the more I fought, the worse it became. I remember all the bruises, all the scars, all the broken bones, and all the pain. How could a man with so much hate in his soul have children? How could parents bring children into the world and not love them or care about them?
At the age of five, like all kids I started kindergarten. Every time another beating occurred from that point forward would become another "story" as to how I was clumsy, another "story" about how the bruises all over my body occurred. From that point forward I would be called a klutz, and to this day that word cuts me deeper than most. I was told that if I told anyone what was happening, that I would be the one punished, that I would be the one taken away. So, I believed them and I kept my mouth shut. My mom stood in the background and never said a word, while I know she was a victim as well, to this day I question why she never protected me.
From as far back as I can remember my father called me everything from fatass to the c word. He told me that I was worthless and that I would amount to nothing and I would never be anything. Many nights I laid awake in my bed listening to my father and my mother fight. One night I remember him holding her against the wall by her neck. I lived in many different homes and in each home I always asked to take the room that was located next to their room, that way my younger siblings never had to listen to the arguments. Sometimes when I can't sleep, I swear I can still hear the arguing.
My birth parents were never there for me emotionally. Most of my childhood I spent alone, I didn't have a Dad to tell me he loved me or a Mom to tell me how proud of me she was. We didn't go on family vacation, we didn't have family dinner together, and I never had someone to catch me when I fell. I frequently questioned as a child why I was placed in a home that nobody wanted me. Words don't express how much it hurts to grow up in a home where you feel, unloved, unwanted, and not enough.
My birth Mom spent most of my childhood in a deep depression, with lots of fear and anxiety. I remember her packing her bags and saying she was leaving and never coming back. I remember her sitting in her room sobbing her eyes out hysterically. What I remember most is the terrified look she constantly had on her face, I remember how afraid she was of him. I remember him controlling her every action and her every move. He told her when to eat and how much to eat. She wasn't allowed to have friends, she wasn't aloud to carry money, she wasn't aloud to go anywhere or do anything unless it was with him. She didn't have a voice. When I was around six years old she would secretly take us out, we weren't aloud to let him know and if it ever slipped we would all be in trouble.
I had a "big brother" growing up, I always thought that him and I were supposed to stick together, that he was supposed to protect me, that nothing bad could happen with him. I should have known that at this point in my life those words were meaningless, I should have known that I shouldn't expect anything, but I was a kid how could I know? At the age of eight my nine year old "super hero" brother started molesting me (I had no idea that, that's what it was at the time). I can replay the first time it happened over and over again in my head. It was dark and close to bedtime, my room was in the process of being rearranged so my mattress was on the floor, he told me that we were going to play a game, he called it the lava game. I remember him telling me to take my clothes off and I remember him forcing himself on top of me. I remember being confused and having no idea what just happened. This went on until I was thirteen years old. As I got older, I knew something felt wrong, I knew this wasn't normal, and yet he instilled so much fear into me that if I told, somehow it would have been my fault. I remember telling him that this is wrong, I remember telling him to stop, I remember the one time him shooting me with a BB gun because I told him no. One night he told me that I needed to sleep in his bed with him, I remember telling him that I didn't want to and he told me that if I didn't our house would get robbed and I would be the first one killed. I remember growing up and at this point not only being terrified of my Dad but terrified of my brother as well.
At the age of five I thought that I would always be Granddaddys little girl but only time would tell as every man in my life up until this point had harmed me, he would too.
Initially as a kid (until five or six anyways) I was always Granddads little girl. I used to sob hysterically when I had to go home to my parents, so much fear instilled in me in such a young age. When my sister was born he pushed me aside and belittled me most of my childhood for how I looked, how I acted, and how I felt.
From a young age I shut down emotionally and learned how to not feel my emotions. Occasionally I would slip up and as my birth father would put it, he would give me something to cry about. There are lots of details that I could go into, but getting to God's story unfolding is the most important part. I have stories about what I've gone through coming out my ears, and maybe one day, in time I'll tell those but for now, let's fast forward to eighteen.
At eighteen I had endured abuse for the majority of my life. I went through many trials and experienced all kinds of abuse from physical, to emotional, and sexual. At this point in time I was done. I had been accepted to go to Penn State main campus for Art Education, however I threw away that dream. I had attended church during my high school years but strayed as I went on a journey of my own. This journey was messy and hard to handle, however it's the journey and the path I needed to take to watch God's story unfold. From the age of eighteen until the age of twenty one (when I found my forever family), I lived in a grand total of fourteen different homes, including my car and an apartment that I could hear gunshots in the middle of the night. I hit my rock bottom and my life seemed broken beyond repair.
That night I was scrolling through Facebook and commented on a picture of a past teachers kids, she then reached out to me asking if I was interested in meeting her kids to babysit, I said sure! She invited me over but had a doctors appointment, so I stayed with her kids and her one friend (who would have thought that today she would be my big sister). When she returned home, she asked me how my life was going and I remember breaking down emotionally. She invited me to go to her church and I thought to myself, uhhh we will see about that. Weeks had passed and one morning I decided I was going to go. I met her entire church family one time, and in the process of that one time the pastor of her church and his wife asked me to move in with them. I was hesitant (as any person in my shoes would be but agreed). Little did I know that God had planted seeds in my life from as early on as seventh grade, after all he does know every hair on our head.
Our God had a bigger plan for my life, he walked through so many trials and tribulations with me. He upheld his plan, and he alone gave me a hope and a future. By accepting the offer to move into the house of my pastor and his wife at the time, little did I know that my entire life would change. When they retired, I was asked to move in with, at the time "JoAnne and Ed," I accepted and took the leap to move in. This time was different, it was the first time in my life that I felt like I was at home, I painted my bedroom for the first time, I emptied out my car fully which the ongoing joke was that I lived out of my car but truly it was because I never felt that I had a place to call home. When I moved in walls started to come down, I ran from every person that cared about me up until that point, I used to leave house to house unexpectedly with no explanation, I never had the intention of hurting anybody it just seemed easier to leave them before they could decide that they didn't want me, but this time it was different, this time God gave my a community that stayed through the hard, that pushed me to become all that I am, that loved me unconditionally even though I wasn't their own. When my own blood was supposed to love me and couldn't, God gave me people that would.
November of 2015, they asked to adopt me. I told them that they obviously didn't know what adoption meant, as they looked at me and said that they know what adoption means and they wanted me to be forever theirs (I'm totally typing this with tears in my eyes because I still can't believe that this is my life). They asked my sister and both of my brothers if they would be okay with making me theirs, and they agreed that I was the missing piece to the puzzle. On May 25th, 2016 we stood in front of a judge and legally I became forever theirs. The moment that my Dad stood before the judge and promised to love me like his own for the rest of his life, I knew that I was meant to be forever theirs.
This past year adjusting to being a daughter has been good for me. Its taught be stability and its taught me how to love unconditionally. While these two incredible God given parents did not give me breath, they most definitely gave me life. I still struggle, I have baggage, but who doesn't? Im 23 and I sometimes think that I have my life figured out, but reality is that I don't, our God has a bigger plan, and I for one can say when I figure out what his plan is for me I will let you know.