Hi everyone, today I am going to get more personal about my life than I think I ever have on a public site. However, Thursday night I was blessed to have the opportunity to share my testimony in front of a lot of my colleagues which was equally terrifying, exciting, and rewarding. There are parts of this testimony that are difficult to read and this will not have perfect grammar, or whatever. However, this is, at the core, who I am. It’s raw and if you feel so led, I encourage you to read through the hard parts and take what you can from my story. Thank you in advance, and God bless.
When I was born, I came from what a lot of people would refer to as a broken home which meant my parents were not married. I am not extraordinary for that because a lot of kids parents are not married. However, I think what slightly sets my life apart from others is that my dad was addicted to drugs, alcohol and was in and out of my life for several several years. He would say things like “Hey Lil, I will pick you up for the weekend and we can hang out, and then he would never show up and I would never get an explanation as to why. He just wouldn’t show up which was hard and quite honestly, it totally broke me down. I mean that's a man who was suppose to protect me and show me how a man should treat me, so for many years, aka I still struggle with this, I had a distorted idea of how any man in my life should treat me. This is not to say that I have not had amazing fatherly influences in my life like my papa and also my step dad, whom I have a relationship with as if we were biologically related. However, it still sucked that a person whom I had half their genes, seemed like he did not want to be part of my life. A couple years ago, I cut my biological dad off, we don’t speak and I don’t plan on changing that. I am happier with my life where it’s at now. This put a really big impact on my preteen (or middle school years)
Which kind of brings me into the last parts of middle school and then into the lovely mess that is high school. In middle school, specifically 8th grade, I really struggled with self image issues and also depression. Which was hard on myself and my family and my friends too. For a few years I struggled greatly with self harm, this went from 8th grade till about sophomore, maybe even part of junior year. Around this time as well I started to really seek attention from boys. Not the good kind. A memo to all ladies out there- you do not need a boy to validate your self worth and you don’t need a boy to feel important or significant and you have a plan, and it’s not the one that the boys are telling you. It’s the one God is telling you. I digress and continue my story.
Then Freshman year started and I knew about God, I knew when to shout “hallelujah!” in church, when to sing and dance, when to listen and when to comfort others. I knew it all. In my heart, however, I didn’t really feel anything. I didn’t understand why people were crying in church. Small flashback: when I was six, I was told that you feel Good on you when there’s coldness and no vent around. I felt that at 6 years old and have felt nothing since. Resume story. I continued to look to boys at school to fill a void that I didn’t know how to cope with. Around the middle of sophomore year I started dating a boy, very very sweet to me at first, he knew all the right things to say to my family to make them like him, he went to a different high school than me which presented difficulty but that was okay. I was on cloud nine. Then things took a bit of a turn for a total disaster. Like one time, I was frustrated with him and asked him to just not speak to me for a little while, I was at a football game with my friends just trying to have a good time and get my mind off of him. He texts me, maybe 20 minutes later and says “hey are you here because I think I am at the right football game.” My friends all told me to break up with him right then and there, but I didn’t because at this point I was embarrassed and also scared. He may have started to change but he was still giving me attention. It was not good attention but it was still attention that I craved more than anything. I just wanted to feel loved and he said he loved me. So I took that and ran with it. He began to get controlling, telling me what I could and could not wear, who I could and could not talk to and even told me I needed to block certain boys on instagram because they would compliment me. I started only spending time with him because if I ever was with my friends he would blow up my phone with calls and texts asking where I was and who I was with and if he could come. Then it got even worse. Then the emotional abuse started. I felt trapped and like I couldn’t get out and I didn’t know how to talk about it because I was genuinely scared that if I tried to leave, he would hurt me. I was lost and scared and confused and felt so alone. Thankfully, a few friends knew what was going on. He would make remarks about how I dressed and the people I would hang around, all round made me feel very insecure in who I was that I eventually lost myself and I lost God. I was hopeless and sad and terrified and everyone could see it. He would call me and scream at me while I was with my friends and there was one time, I was at a friends house and I just went into her room by myself and let him yell. However, this friends mom had enough of this and could hear him yelling from downstairs, so she came up and took my phone and told him to leave me alone or she would come after him. I had never been so thankful for someone stepping in. A little over a year ago, it was right after graduation in 2015 at my highschool, I went to the pool with three of my best friends, who all knew what was going on. He called me, screaming and yelling and demanded to meet me to talk. One of my friends could hear what was happening and could hear him screaming while she was in the pool. So naturally she came over to tap my arm and I swatted her arm back and said no because I didn’t want her involved. So this friend called my mom, told her everything and said that I needed to break up with this guy now, said I was in trouble. My mom called me and told me what to do to break up with him. That night, before I said anything to the boy, one of my friends who was there prayed over me, asked God for healing and for strength. I genuinely think that's when I met Jesus. I saw how my friend trusted God to heal me and I wanted to trust someone that much too. So, from that summer and on I dedicated myself to serving God. I, for the first time in my life, picked up a bible and started reading. I really tried to dig into what God had planned for me and that, I believe is what led me to UMHB. I leaned into the word and into God’s arms. This isn’t to say that it's been an easy year because it has been so hard, but I have found a purpose, the purpose God laid out for my life, a calling that God has carefully crafted for me. He loves me so much that he made this whole plan for me. Just. For. Me. This past summer I got involved in a church back home, helping to lead worship at a little coffee house thing once with my current boyfriend and our friend and look after kids at the church and just endlessly pressing into God and searching for that fellowship and I am finding it everywhere I turn. So I guess I will end it saying this: Crap happens in life. You will mess up, you will feel lost and broken and pathetic and worthless and as if your life has no meaning and friends I have news for you. YOU ARE SO WRONG! God has an AMAZING plan for him if you will just drop your pain and drop all the things that tear you away from God and then lean into his strength. He has more planned for you than you could ever imagine for yourself. No matter how much you mess up and fail and sin, He always loves you. Agape love. That is what God has for you. So when the going gets tough, lean on God. The world will fail you, but He will not. Ever. If you only lean to yourself, you will fall. If you press into others only, you will fall. However, with the Lord and his strength and guidance and love you will not fall and he will carry you. Drop all of your brokenness and let Jesus pick you up. Stop trying to carry a cross that Jesus already took care of.
Thank you everyone for reading. I hope someone could take something from my story. I am blessed where God has taken my life and I would like to thank my mom and my dad for supporting me in every way they could. Thank you to my nanny, papa, and my aunt and uncle and all if my family and friends and my boyfriend and his family and friends. Thank you, thank you. God bless.
I've been thinking ever since you told this at WITQ, and your testimony really reminds me of the worship song, "Trading my Sorrow." Especially because you state the hardships- "I'm trading my sorrows, I'm trading my shame.." And say that they don't define you because God has a plan- "and I'll say yes lord, yes lord, yes yes lord, amen."
Shirley and Don Armes
10/11/2016 07:59:39 am
Lilly, my sweet sweet Lilly. I absolutely hate that you had to go through so much pain to get where you are today. You are and have always been such a loving, caring child. Anyone c an definitely tell that you are a child of God by the way you live. I love you and appreciated you sharing your testimony.
9/9/2017 11:05:07 am
Reading this gave me the chills. You know that I have some of your same problems. I have been told that a person on drugs & alcohol make people lie. You are not the only one that your Dad lied to. Many times He told me he would be here in 20 minutes & never show up. Keep up the good work. Love you, Granny Inez
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wife // local kids pastor // mama to my heaven boy + my rainbow girl