The first thing on my heart to share with you is my personal testimony. It is rather long so I am going to do it in two parts.
I always think about what I would tell myself if I could go back in time and warn my teenage self about all the bad choices I would make before they happened. Maybe it’s the Doctor Who fan side of me, but I think about it quite often. I also think about what I want to share with my own girls now that I’m a mother. Everything boils down to this…
God loves you, and that really is enough.
I cannot remember a time when Jesus wasn’t a part of my life. My aunt led me to the Lord when I was 3 1/2 and Jesus was Someone I knew would always be around. My parents raised me with the knowledge of God, and I knew every single Bible story… even the one about Herod being eaten alive from inside by worms in his stomach. That one obviously had quite an impression on me. Even as a young girl, I was a perfectionist. I thought if I did things well, I would gain love and adoration. It never occurred to me that my parents would love me even if I didn’t do my very best. I really feel it was satan blinding me from a young age and building up my pride.
When I started junior high, I remember being in state of constant fear. I was definitely not a popular person. I was desperate for the approval of my peers, and my parents. By this time my parents had steadily declined into worldly behaviors and didn’t go to church anymore. My grandmother would still take me every Sunday. I really enjoyed going with her, even though I felt very far from God. If you read the introduction to this website, you know that I remember everything. I have very vivid memories from this period of my life that I wish I could forget, but God knows. I learned very quickly that it was impossible to please everyone. If I did too well in my studies, my friends would call me a nerd. I developed very early (as all of the women in my family) and I wore a sports bra all the time to hide it. I got made of fun for that constantly. The list goes on an on. You can imagine that being an 11 year old girl was one of the most difficult trials I ever faced. I wish someone would have taken me aside at this point and said, “Kristin, God made you and He loves you! Of course it is good to try to honor Him by doing your very best, but He is going to love you no matter what. He will love you when you fail. He will still think you are beautiful no matter what changes you go through. He made you the way you are on purpose, and He doesn’t make any mistakes!” But no one ever did that, and I started to make observations about my world that told me the opposite.
At this point I started to notice that my mom ate less food than the rest of us. She is a small woman, and my father is a large man, so at first I just accepted that she wasn’t as hungry as he was. But eventually I noticed her eating patterns were based on how she thought she looked. She was always making observations about how she didn’t like how she looked, and her portions got smaller and smaller. Looking back as an adult, I can see that my mother suffered from disordered eating. My mother is one of the most beautiful women I have ever met. People still tell me how beautiful she is after they meet her for the first time and she is over 50 now. We have always been close, and I wanted to be just like her. I thought if she didn’t accept her outward appearance, then maybe something was wrong with me too. I followed suite by limiting my food intake. At it’s worst I was eating a single pudding packet a day, and lying about eating the rest of the time. My parents never understood how bad it was, even when my friends would tell them I hadn’t eaten anything all day. I constantly wore oversized clothes to cover myself. At this point I was also trying to fill the emotional void in my heart with boys. Even though I wasn’t allowed to date I emotionally invested my entire being in teenage relationships. But I still wouldn’t do anything physical. I didn’t understand God’s love for me, and I was so desperate to feel loved. I knew Jesus died for my sins, but it felt like after that He forgot all about me. I knew He didn’t want me to have sex before I got married, and to be nice to others, but that was about it.
Things at home started deteriorating further. My father started verbally abusing everyone in our family and he and my mother would fight constantly. I wanted to be strong for my little brother who is two years younger than me, but inside I was terrified. The truth was, my father was feeling guilt for various affairs he had been having while working out of town, and his guilt manifested itself by yelling at us. Around my 16th birthday my mother finally figured out what was going on, and my Dad told my brother and I separately that he had and affair with someone else while he was away. He then told us he was going to move out. When I should have been celebrating a special birthday, I was losing everything I cared about. It was too much for me to deal with. My extended family members did everything they could to help me, but they were hurting too. I felt betrayed in ways I never knew I could. Not only was my father gone so often, but he was choosing to be away from us, and he hurt my mother so badly. Soon after that I gave away my virginity. I remember praying during the very act begging God to feel something, anything, even though I knew God couldn’t hear me because I was in sin. I don’t want you to think I am excusing my actions. I knew I was sinning, and I did it anyway. I defied God’s plan for my life, and I have definitely paid serious consequences because of it. I am only trying to help you understand the events that took place in relation to my testimony. What I did was wrong, it was definitely a sin against my own body and against the Lord, but I know that God has graciously and lovingly forgiven me. Eventually my mother and father reconciled. My mother told me, “If Jesus forgave me for all the horrible things I did, how can I not forgive your father?” I learned a valuable lesson in forgiveness that day that I have carried with me throughout the rest of my life. Forgiveness is so important, and bitterness is the worst poison your soul could ever encounter.
Throughout this time I continued to place my value in human relationships, and when my high school boyfriend of a year and half broke up with me, I was completely devastated. “But you told me you loved me? Did that just go away overnight?” His answer was, “It’s not all about you.” Looking back I can see the Lord’s hand orchestrating our break up. Even during our relationship I was still occasionally going to church and trying to figure out if God really loved me. I never would have broken up with him, so God worked things out so that he suddenly got sick of me. It was really shocking to me, my family, and all of our friends. We had been seriously talking about getting married straight out of high school. His mother had cancer, and I remember I was going to go over to her house and tell her not to worry about her son because I was going to take care of him. She died that morning and I never got to make that promise. She was so young and her death was so tragic. The worst part was that I knew she wasn’t a Christian and I never shared the gospel with her. On top of that I was a bad witness for Christ. Those are regrets I still live with. Looking back now I am glad God prevented me from promising to take care of her son because that wasn’t His plan for my life.
It was then that God started stirring my heart to go to church again, and since I had my own car and could drive, the fact that my parents didn’t go no longer effected me. It was then that God did an amazing work and I rededicated my life to Him. There were still some sinful habits I was holding onto, but God mercifully worked through each thing with me. It was amazing and refreshing, but there were still a lot of broken pieces of my heart for God to put back together.
This concludes part one of my testimony, please check out part two which covers the last 12 years of my life up until now.
Love and hugs,