Chelsea’s Story Part 4: A Time for Everything

If you’ve missed Parts 1-3 of Chelsea’s story, click here before reading Part 4. I hope you are blessed by reading her story.

Chelsea met her first love when she was fourteen years old. As a freshman in high school, she rebelled against her parents. Trevor consumed her life. She gave up everything for him, spent all her time with him and fell in love, even though her parents didn’t like him. Chelsea did what she had to do to be with Trevor, sneaking out and lying to her parents regularly. She stopped hanging out with her friends and sacrificed all other extracurricular activities for her love.teenagers His interests became her interests. Chelsea’s identity became completely entangled with Trevor’s. They dated all through high school, she knew he was the one she would marry. Her parents warmed up to him. Finally, Chelsea felt happy for once in her life.

When Chelsea’s nephew was born, her life became even more joyful. She loved her sweet nephew like he was her own. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for him! As her grew, the family started taking vacations together. Chelsea longed to go, but many times she would stay home with Trevor. He was a homebody and didn’t like to do anything Chelsea wanted to do. And, he didn’t like her family. Chelsea missed out on many good family memories, something she regrets today. She began to think being with Trevor was a bad idea, but then she would talk herself down.

“I thought he was the only one who could ever love me and I felt stuck.”financial-planner-red-flag

This is what you’d call a Red Flag. Red Flags are often underrated and ignored. How many of you can look back on a previous relationship and see clearly that there were indeed, Red Flags, everywhere? I know I certainly can. Ladies, don’t ignore the Red Flags! It will save you a lot of heartache in the long run if you give the Red Flags the consideration they deserve!

Once Chelsea graduated high school, she enrolled in nursing school. Her mom really pushed her to do it. Unfortunately, Chelsea’s heart was not in it and she failed the first year. With her mother urging her, she re-enrolled. Then, mid-semester, Trevor proposed. She immediately said yes and school dropped off her radar as a priority. She had a wedding to plan! She barely squeaked by her first two semesters of nursing school, but she did pass. That summer, she and Trevor were married.

“It was a fun wedding. We didn’t have our own place yet, so we still lived with my parents.”

Chelsea went back to school and started making decent grades. I’m starting to feel happy for Chelsea now, aren’t you? Finally, she is in a place where life seems to be going good for her. She seems to have some happiness and peace, right? Wait for it…

On a Friday in September, she received a call that her dad had a heart attack and was being life flighted to Pittsburgh. Chelsea’s world came to an abrupt halt. All her plans, school, married life, everything, went out the door. Her only concern was her dad. A triple bypass was performed and he came home three weeks later.

“By then, my grades had slipped so low that I couldn’t come back out of the hole. I quit school and stayed home to help take care of my dad.”

Once again, Chelsea assumed the role of caretaker. The theme of her life.

Chelsea’s father gradually got better. He quit smoking and began eating healthier. Finally, Chelsea could breathe! She and Trevor started to look for their own home. By the time they found a house, Chelsea was five months pregnant with her first baby. They were all elated, especially Chelsea’s dad. A baby! What a blessing after all that had been happening! Her dad helped her work on their new house every day. They spent hours upon hours together working on that house. Everything was so great! Chelsea’s dad was finally healthy and working, Trevor and Chelsea finally had their own house, a baby was coming…such happiness! Are you sighing with relief? Is this where the happy ending comes in? Not quite yet…On a chilly November morning…

“He had just got home from working a night shift. He grabbed a cup of coffee, then went over to my house. He completely finished the kitchen cabinets that day. He came home to lie down. He had to work that night. While he was sleeping, my mom and I went to a Home Interiors party. Funny how you remember all that stuff. We wanted to leave early so we could see dad before he went to work, but we didn’t make it home in time. We watched “ER” and went up to bed. My brother-in-law was a fireman and had a radio. Right around 11:13pm, we heard the call for an ambulance to the gas station where my dad was working. We knew it was him. We ran to the car and drove there as fast as we could. They had my dad in the back of the ambulance and were working on him. They wouldn’t allow us in to see him so we went to the hospital to wait. He was pronounced dead upon arrival.”

I’m not even going to pretend to be able to imagine what this was like. My mind cannot even fathom losing my father. I know many of you have, though and understand exactly what Chelsea was feeling.

“Automatically, I thought it was my fault. If he wouldn’t have been at my house that morning, he would still be here. Once again, my world was shaken.”

Why does Chelsea blame herself for every bad thing that happens in her family? Her father’s heart was bad from years of not taking care of himself, for years of smoking and drinking, for years of unhealthy eating and no physical exercise. Chelsea: if you’re reading this, please know that your father’s death was NOT your fault! Would anyone else be willing to comment below and echo my sentiments? Let’s verbally wrap our arms around Chelsea today. I’m sure after all these years, there is still pain in her heart because of her father’s death.

If you’ve lost a loved one, find comfort and understanding in God’s Word. He says there is a time and season for everything. Ecclesiastes chapter 3 says,

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:  A time to be born,  And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;  A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones, A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.”ecl3.1

We can find peace in knowing that everything we go through, everything that we endure is only for a season. All things come to an end in time. But there is one thing that never ends and is always present with us…God’s love. We can be sure that through every season we go through, the love of God is there to comfort us, guide us and reassure us that we are going to be okay. Look for His love in every situation you find yourself. You can feel His presence with you, even in the darkest of trials. Deuteronomy 4:29 says,

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

What are you facing today? You do not have to face it alone.

If you’ve been touched by this story, please tell me. It matters to the women who are being so brave in sharing their precious lives with you. YOU matter to Chelsea. She wants you to find hope and healing through her story. So please, contact me at the email address below. All correspondences are confidential.

themystoryseries@gmail.com

Chelsea’s Story Part 3: Fire and Forgiveness

Have been enjoying reading my friend, Chelsea’s, REAL life story? I know I have thoroughly enjoyed writing it! What an honor to be entrusted with such a task! The grace and mercy of God is evident everywhere you look, even in a life that seems to be full of nothing but tragedy and sadness. If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, be sure to get caught up before reading Part 3 in today’s post. Be blessed as you read the continuation of Chelsea’s story and remember to share it with friends! Thank you for reading!

In Part 2 of Chelsea’s story, we read how Chelsea’s beloved grandfather suddenly passed away. Now we find Chelsea living in a single parent home with her 3 siblings, fending for themselves entirely. Fast forward one month after the funeral, yet another tragedy strikes. Chelsea’s mother was awakened by the family dog in the middle of the night. Their house was on fire! They all escaped the fire, thanks only to the dog.

“If not for her, we would not be here today.”

Unfortunately, Chelsea’s dogs and cats died in the house fire. She still gets choked up and sad when she talks of this. Chelsea has a sweet spot in her heart for her animals, just as she does for everyone who is in her life. I often wonder how such kindness and love can come from a person who has endured such hardness and sadness in her life.

Chelsea recalls this time in her life:

“Now we were homeless. My grandma offered for us to live with her, but she only had a small two bedroom apartment. We couldn’t afford to pay for a place to live, so we had to divide the family. I lived with one aunt, my sister with another. My mom lived with my gram and my brothers lived with friends. We got to see each other on weekends. I hated living with my aunt.”

Do you remember how the kids at school would make fun of Chelsea for being overweight and ugly? She was also ridiculed at home. Her aunt would tell her she was fat and shouldn’t eat so much.

“I cried myself to sleep every night.”

Have you experienced an overcritical family member? Was/is your mother or grandmother constantly telling you to watch what you eat? Calling you fat or “heavy?” Ugh…I hate that word, “heavy!” “Warning” you about your “problem” area? Mothers and other female family members: please stop this. You are NOT doing your daughter a favor by being “honest.” You’re being a you-know-what. Period. By being overcritical of your daughter’s appearance, you are creating an insecure, paranoid, self-depreciating woman. Just please stop. Like Thumper told Bambi, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” What if, just WHAT IF, mothers started modeling themselves after the Proverbs 31 chick? Proverbs 31:26-27:

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

thumper can't say something nice

When Chelsea’s dad started coming around again, she was very suspicious of his motives. She thought he was coming around for money or something. For Easter, he brought them all presents, attempting to make up for not being there for them.

“I pretended I hated the presents, but at night I would sleep with the stuffed bunny he got me. I wished everything would be normal again.” 

Soon, Chelsea, her mother, siblings and father all moved into a new place together. Chelsea was still very leery of her father’s motives and what was going to happen. Her trust had been broken and she was still hurting from her father’s abandonment. During this time, Chelsea’s father tried mending fences with his children. He drove them to school every day. He turned a blind eye when Chelsea stole his cigarettes. He even allowed she and her friend to smoke because he didn’t want to tell her no and make her more angry with him.

One night, while Chelsea’s mother was at work, her dad called her in from playing outside. She says she looked at him, said “No,” and walked away. She didn’t have to listen to him! When she finally went inside, her dad yelled at her for disobeying him. Beside herself with anger, her true feelings came gushing out…

“When you left us, you gave up your parental right to me. You have no authority over me anymore. That hurt him and I knew it would.”

A few days later, Chelsea’s dad came to her room and they had a long talk. He spoke from his heart for the first time in a very long time. He sincerely apologized for not being the dad she needed and for not being there for her.

“That night, I was Daddy’s girl again. I was still a little hurt, but I was able to forgive him.”_67091638_hug2

Forgiveness. Have you tried it? It clears away the bitterness and sets you free. Forgiveness is NOT a feeling. It’s a decision you make. Who do you need to forgive today? Forgiveness is not for the person who has hurt you, it’s for you. I’ve even written an entire post about my experience with forgiveness. Click here to read it when you’re done with this post. You’ll be glad you did. And, here’s what the Word says:

Matthew 16:5 “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”forgive1

Forgiveness is a pretty important thing. Just sayin.’ You better forgive…that is all.

As you continue reading about Chelsea’s life, you will see that forgiving her father was just one incident where forgiveness was needed. There are times in her life where she seeks forgiveness for herself, from others and even must ask for and receive forgiveness.

Tomorrow we will delve more deeply into Chelsea’s life. She’s growing older now and meets the man of her dreams. Another tragedy strikes her family, a baby is born, an affair, divorce, more abuse, and more loss. But don’t worry, this story has a happy ending! Keep reading and share with your friends! You don’t know who’s life will be touched by Chelsea’s!

If you’ve been touched by this story, please tell me. It matters to the women who are being so brave in sharing their precious lives with you. YOU matter to Chelsea. She wants you to find hope and healing through her story. So please, contact me at the email address below. All correspondences are confidential.

themystoryseries@gmail.com

Chelsea’s Story Part 2: Abandoned

Yesterday, we heard about Chelsea’s early years. Suffering at the hand of a sexually abusive friend of the family was only the beginning of her bad experiences with men in her life. Man after man in her life abused her, abandoned her and used her. Tragedy and loss have been a common thread in Chelsea’s life. Her story continues today…

Right around the time legal proceedings ended surrounding the sexual abuse, Chelsea’s parents began having major problems in their marriage. They fought all the time and fought loudly.

“We had those old lawn chairs outside and when they fought, my sister and I would cuddle together in one and make it like a teepee so we could escape. I remember one night, all four of us kids just hugged each other in my bed while they were screaming at each other for hours.”

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That very night, her father left them. Her mother became barely functional. Guess who the burden fell upon to manage the household? Yep, Chelsea.

Now the age of 12, Chelsea became the woman of the house. Every morning, she would make breakfast and get her sister ready for school. She made sure her mother was awake in time to go to her classes that she was attending to further her education. She even went to class with her mom and helped her study. She made dinner daily…all the while keeping up with her own schoolwork. On weekends, her mom had a side job cleaning construction trailers and of course, Chelsea helped her mom with that. Are you seeing the pattern? The daughter became the mother. The friends that she had, she never spent time with. How could she when she was being an adult and a child at the same time? Chelsea still struggles with feelings of responsibility for her mother to this day. She also has a hard time accepting friendship and love from those who call her friend. I can understand why, can’t you?

Chelsea’s father was gone for a year, his family not hearing even a single word from him in nearly as long. Chelsea couldn’t understand how her daddy could just leave her and not even miss her. She was so angry with him and thought of ways to seek revenge on her father. During visits to his apartment, she would steal his cigarettes, pee on his toothbrush and shred his girlfriend’s daughter’s coloring books.

“Whatever I could think of to do, I did it.  I was hurt by yet again another man who was supposed to love me.”

She associated her dad’s actions with the actions of her abuser. She viewed both men with the same hate and disdain. Older now, she understood a little more about life and decided to completely cut herself off from her father.

“I was bitter and angry and wanted no parts of him.”

Chelsea was blessed with a wonderful grandfather. He held the family together. He was their rock. He took his grandchildren to church every Sunday and made sure everyone had anything they needed. Chelsea adored him. But he had a bad heart and he died during this very hard year.

“I was crushed. Why were all the men in my life hurting me? Why did they have to leave me? What did I do wrong? Why was I even still alive?”

These were questions Chelsea wrestled with daily as a preteen girl.

She continued to cope with her feelings by overeating. It was the only thing that made her feel better, in control. Kids at school called her fat constantly and told her she was ugly.

“They said I was a loser and asked why I wasn’t cool like my brothers.”

Kids can be so cruel. Did an adult ever ask Chelsea if she was okay? No. But, she was making sure the adults in her life were okay. Is your heart breaking for Chelsea the way mine is?

Chelsea became even more withdrawn and depressed, only mustering a little happiness here and there with her family. Even that became a struggle. And once again, her mother became dependent upon Chelsea to keep her motivated and going. She was reeling from her father’s death. She wanted to give up, but Chelsea wouldn’t let her. Always taking care of her mother…she was 12 years old!

Chelsea felt rejected and abandoned by the father figures in her life. When her father left them, he left a permanent wound in Chelsea’s heart and emotions. I’m not sure all fathers realize the impact they have on their daughters. I read one time that the way a woman views God is directly related to her relationship with her father and how she sees him. So, if your father abandoned you, abused you, ignored you, etc., you may end up thinking that is how God is. I have seen it happen many times.  It’s only by the grace of God that Chelsea understands and accepts her heavenly Father’s love now as an adult.

If you could sum up your relationship with your earthly father, what would it be? Distant? Abandoned? Hated? Absent? Disinterested? Though your father on earth may have let you down, treated you poorly, rejected you or worse, you can rest assured that your heavenly Father will never let you down. He will never reject you. He loves you so much. I have taught my own children that no matter how their father or even I let them down in life, always look to God. Know that He is with them, no matter what. Will you hear that today, too? God your Father loves you and is there for you always. God’s Word says…

Psalm 68:5 says that God is a father to the fatherless.father-to-the-fatherless

Psalm 89:25 says, “You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.”

Isaiah 9:6, in reference to Jesus…”And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  EVERLASTING FATHER!!!  I love that! That means He is there all the time, through any situation, no matter what!

Galatians 4:6 says we are sons (daughters) of God and we can call Him, “Abba, Father.” That’s the same as calling Him “Daddy.”

iStock_000002218181SmallAnd your Daddy wants to shower His love on you today. I John 3:1 says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God!” You are a child of God! How more awesome can that be?jesus-hugging-girl

Chelsea has experienced the love of her heavenly Father. She knows that He is with her always and loves her so much more than her father or grandfather ever could. She now looks to her God her Father for validation, adoration and love.

 

If you’ve been touched by this story, please tell me. It matters to the women who are being so brave in sharing their precious lives with you. YOU matter to Chelsea. She wants you to find hope and healing through her story. So please, contact me at the email address below. All correspondences are confidential.

themystoryseries@gmail.com

Chelsea’s Story Part 1: Stolen Innocence

Our first story is about a daughter, mother and wife named Chelsea.* She is a people-pleasing caretaker. You know the kind…always worried about everyone else’s comfort and problems. Not ever wanting to make anyone mad at her or disappointed in her. Sound familiar? It sure does for me! I can totally relate to her on many levels. For years, I struggled with trying to make everyone in my life happy and afraid of saying, “No,” to anyone. Why and how does this happen? Life circumstances, as well as our God-given personalities frequently create a host of “issues” in our lives. We’re going to spend the next week reading about Chelsea’s life and understanding why and how she is where she is in her life today and how God has radically changed her life. Maybe you’ll see yourself in her story, as well.

Chelsea’s story begins even before she was conceived. After two very hard labor and deliveries, doctors told her mother she would never conceive again. But God’s plans and doctors plans don’t always agree. Aren’t you so glad for that? Five and a half years later, Chelsea was born. As the first girl, she was the pride and joy of the family. Her dad, who had struggled with alcoholism, suddenly became a “family” man and never drank again. God even blessed her family with another precious little princess 18 months later. Though they had little money, Chelsea remembers her early childhood as happy and content.

Because of the family’s limited resources, both parents needed to work outside the home during Chelsea’s elementary years. By the time she was 8 years old, she was waking herself up in the morning and getting she and her little sister ready for school…all by herself. After school, she was required to come home and get dinner started for the family. She happily performed these duties for her family…here’s where the role of caretaker entered into her life. She remembers feeling happy and didn’t mind these responsibilities…except for when her sister didn’t listen to her! Imagine that…she was only in second grade!

Life was going great for Chelsea when she finished up her 2nd grade year. Then, the unspeakable began to happen. It pains me to even write it. My heart breaks for her and every other girl this has ever happened to. There was a friend of the family, a friend of her brother’s. He spent every day of the summer at their house. One day, he tells Chelsea, “Let’s play hide and go seek.” He convinced her to hide under her brother’s bed with him.

In her own words, she writes, “That’s when the molestation began. He would touch me daily, then tell me that I couldn’t tell anybody because he would get in trouble and he knows that I wouldn’t want him to be in trouble.

It wasn’t long before this trusted family friend began having full-on sex with little Chelsea. She was confused. She knew it didn’t seem right, but he was family to her…why would he do something that was bad or hurtful to her?

“Some days, he would want to touch my sister. I know he got to her a few times, but most of the time, I would tell her to go do something or distract him so he wouldn’t hurt her. At the time, I felt like that was all I could do to protect her.”

Let me reiterate what’s being said here. Chelsea absorbed daily sexual abuse to protect her sister…at the age of 8…for an entire summer. Once school started, it happened only on the weekends and then eventually stopped. The damage was done.

As I write this, I think about my own daughters. Imagine Lily trying to protect Emma…it’s too much. It saddens me. It sickens me. It angers me. Where were the adults who were supposed to be protecting my precious friend and her sister? Let this serve as a notice and warning to all parents reading this story. Protect your children, no matter what it takes. They were given to you by God to love and protect. Don’t be a lazy or preoccupied parent! Know where you kid is and who they’re with AT ALL TIMES!

Chelsea closed herself off to everyone around her. She didn’t feel like she could go to anyone about what had happened to she and her sister. Food became her coping mechanism and comfort. She began to eat and eat and eat.

She says, “I ate to drown my sorrow and confusion.”

By fourth grade, she was the biggest girl in her class. Other kids made fun of her all the time. Can you see how Satan was heaping the oppression and condemnation on this little girl? Her happy disposition disappeared and she loathed going to school. Another sign that something is wrong with your child!!! Pay attention to your child!

Chelsea eventually confided in a friend who lived close to her and the friend told her mom. The friend’s mother convinced Chelsea to tell her mom. She was so afraid of what would happen to she and her sister when she told the truth of the rape. The process of speaking to the police over and over, painful, embarrassing doctor’s visits and counseling began. Chelsea didn’t want to open up to anyone.

“By that time, I was so embarrassed and ashamed that I would let that happen and that I didn’t protect my sister better.”

These words are the thought process of a person who has suffered abuse. Deep down in her heart, she thought it was all her fault. Deep down in her heart, she felt like she had not taken care of her sister like she should have. Anyone can see that she and her sister were preyed upon by a disturbed teenage boy, left unsupervised by absent parents.

Chelsea had a breakthrough with one of her counselors, finally, after several sessions. Her counselor was a kind middle aged woman who was soft spoken and allowed her to talk when she was ready. Chelsea really loved her and began to completely open up to her. Then one day, a new counselor was there. She was devastated. That was it. She never spoke to another person about it again until she was an adult..she continued to stuff her pain and shame. She was required to go to court and identify her abuser.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”

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Are you identifying with Chelsea’s story? Do you feel her heartache as you read her story? Have you been sexually abused? If you have been, please know that YOU are not to blame. You do not deserve what has been done to you. You are not a bad person. How are you coping with the wounds from your past? Have you, like Chelsea, found comfort in food? Or maybe it’s drugs, alcohol or men? It does not have to be like this. You are meant for more!

Chelsea has found complete healing in her life with the help of trusted, Godly mentors, friends and pastors. And of course through the restoring, redeeming, cleansing power of Jesus Christ. As you continue to read her story over the next few days, you will hear how God has transformed her life into a truly beautiful masterpiece for His glory.

Now it’s your turn. Seek out a trusted friend, counselor or pastor to talk to. Begin your healing process. Cry out to Jesus. He will hear you and meet you where you are. Cry out to Jesus today and receive healing and restoration for your broken heart.

Psalm 61

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

 For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
 I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah

 

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

And if you do nothing else, please, listen to this song. It will minister to your heart.

If you’ve been touched by this story, please tell me. It matters to the women who are being so brave in sharing their precious lives with you. YOU matter to Chelsea. She wants you to find hope and healing through her story. So please, contact me at the email address below. All correspondences are confidential.

themystoryseries@gmail.com

*Name has been changed for privacy.