Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Should I feel ashamed?


Should I be embarrassed? Should I feel ashamed?

Some people ask me how I can be so open and honest about my life. I tell them it is who I am. I am honest to a fault.

I feel no shame for who I am, I have come a long way in seeing to it that I turned out okay, and truth be told I was never alone in my journey.

I grew up with alcoholics for parents. We never said ‘I love you’ and I don’t remember too many hugs being shared unless one of my parents were drunk as drunks often feel the urge to give you a big ol’ hug. My family life was wrought with dysfunction. Yeah I know, I sometimes think dysfunction was the normal way of growing up. All those other people who had caring parents, loving families, they’re the rarity in life.

I was sexually abused, I was an alcoholic myself by the time I was 15, maybe even younger. If alcoholism constitutes a craving for the ever-bold drink (whiskey), then yeah I was an alcoholic at 15. A drug abuser too by the time I was seventeen. Pregnant at sixteen, married at seventeen. I lost my baby boy, Christopher, nine months into my pregnancy. Seven months later I found myself walking down the aisle to marry the guy I thought was going to take and ease all of my pains in life.

I was fifteen when I met him, 17 when I married him. We endured twenty years of marriage. A marriage where I was his substitute mother for all those years. He had been physically, mentally and emotionally abused as a child and never knew who his real father was. His mother had kept ‘the real father’ a secret, and took it to the grave with her four years ago. Isn’t it ironic how we are drawn to people who are most like us?

After leaving this plane of existence, dying of alcohol consumption at 20, I decided to take stock and look around at my life since I was being given the second chance. I gave up drugs and alcohol at 21 and by the GRACE of God,to this day I remain Clean and Sober!

So why am I telling you all of this? Because, it is my story. The weaving of a blanket lay over me and by telling people my story, maybe one of them can say, “Hey, I had it bad, but not that bad!” or maybe, “Where does that girl get her strength from?”

As my son would say (and many others,) here comes a Joni sermon.

I was raised Catholic. Imagine that. My parents wanted to give their six children the best education they possibly could, so they struggled to send each and every one of us to Catholic school. Imagine my father’s disappointment when I converted to Christianity at age fourteen.

Not that they were a religious family by any means but I found in Christianity a reason for living. I was now living for God and no one else. Everything that followed after was mere experience preparing me for the Heaven that was one day going to be open to me.

At twenty-one I struggled to stay alive. Materials were not something I craved and to this day, I don’t like shopping or diamonds or fancy anything! I look at it this way, I wasn’t born with holes in my ears, or red hair or brown hair so why would I change what God deemed perfect when He created me?

Did you know that God made each and every one of us perfect in His eyes? Well He did. That is the way I see you, as a perfect human being. We’re all alive and struggling to be the best we can be. Some of us wonder whom we’re trying to be our best for? We do it unconsciously! We’re trying to be perfect for our Creator that’s who.

Whether your God is the God of Abraham or the God of Buddha, we all try to aim our sights on perfection in our deity’s eyes.

To you I offer HOPE! The hope that you too can change and become perfect in the eyes of the one you believe in. Strive to be the best you can be not for yourself, but for the very Heaven that awaits your journey’s end.

4 comments:

Transparent Christian Mag. said...

Joni - To answer your question (and you already have) Heavens NO! You should NOT feel ashamed. I love this post, and your honesty. I think there IS a healing power when we can share our journey with others.

I interviewed a guy, much like you not too long ago. His name is Todd, and here is a link to his story. I hope that it provides some comfort to you to know that he is growing and found God as well.

I'm digging your blog!
Jason
Transparent Christian Magazine
http://www.transparentchristianmagazine.com/2008/11/12/todd-abernathy-freedom-and-a-tank-of-gas/

benning said...

A confessional writing, while cathartic, can also be a wallowing for sympathy, in our modern, everyone's-a-celebrity Age. Your writings have never been that. Perhaps instructional, but more, as you imply, a "here's-where-I've-been - if-I-Can-make-it-so-can-you" missive. Nothing wrong with that, and why should shame be applied to this? Shame is between you and the Lord, and He's forgiven anything you may have done wrong. Anyone else demanding or expecting shame is being pushy, judgemental, superior, and a doody-head.

;)

Granny said...

Where we've been is often why we are who we are. There is nothing shameful about growing, learning, and finding the strength to become the best person you can be.

Your strength and courage is an inspiration in itself and only shows the mircles God can accomplish if we only have the faith!

I agree with benning, also.

:-)
Your friend always,
Granny

joni said...

Thank you all for your support!

It is because of people like you that I can be a success story. You lift me up to the arms of God and I soar with the wings of an angel!

I'm never ashamed of my story. I lead by example and tell by His truth. Was Jesus ashamed and embarrassed for embracing the lowly?

Not for a second!And nor shall I!

God Bless you all!

Joni