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Age 23


I had a pretty good job selling appliances but I was getting frustrated with my future. Although I had built a relationship again with my family, I was still pissed at my mother for not helping me get into college. Now I had too much debt and bills to consider taking on anything else and just needed to work and make money. Most of my friends were getting married, having babies and buying houses. I lived in a little house with a roommate who was going to be graduating college in two years so I needed to think about being a full-grown adult. Even thought I had debt, it was good. It was getting my credit score up and I was making more money in sales so I knew being completely self-sufficient wouldn’t be a big deal.

23 wasn’t really exciting until right before I turned 24. My life pretty much consisted of work, church and friends. I went to visit my family at Christmas, Thanksgiving and once in the summer. My mother came to visit me once for a weekend. She was proud of me despite the fact that I didn’t do what she wanted. She seemed to warm up to the fact that I was trying to be a responsible adult. That year she was relatively pleasant and I didn’t have any major drama with her.

There was a guy at my work, Joel, that I had a crush on. He was hot, hot, hot. Ok, he was very handsome! He was such a gentleman, too. He was also a Baptist. As much of a crush I had on him, I knew that it wouldn’t work out with my pentecostal background. Crazy right? A mutual friend of our was getting married at the beginning of June. I had just accepted a job at a higher-end appliance company so we weren’t working together anymore. He got a hold of my phone number and called me out of the blue one day and asked if I wanted to go to the wedding with him. Of course I did! The wedding was outdoors and just beautiful. I was so nervous too! Truthfully, though, I was bored. He didn’t drink (which was fine because I wasn’t a big drinker either) and he didn’t want to dance. So, we left after the cake. I wore a girdle under my dress so I could look my best and I got super uncomfortable.  On the way home I had to have him pull over so I could go to the bathroom. I was in so much pain from that damn thing! I also didn’t bring a big enough purse to put it in so I came walking out of the bathroom with my girdle and had to explain that I was really uncomfortable. He chuckled. He didn’t call back again either. I’m pretty sure it was the girdle incident. As much as I had a crush on him, this ended up being ok. A week after my date with Joel, there was a knock on my door. I quickly looked out and noticed it was a hot guy. I didn’t recognize who it was at first. It was Todd! I couldn’t believe that I thought he was hot! I was a little embarrassed but it had been a while since I saw him last and he “blossomed!” The “reason” for his visit was because my roommate and I were moving into another house and he was there to take a look and ask how I liked it. I had seen him about a month before at church. I did notice that he was paying more attention to me but I was so caught up in other people who I didn’t really pay attention back. A few days after his visit, I went to Starbucks with a friend. I thought it would be funny to hit on him. I had a very co-ed group of friends and we all hit on each even though it didn’t always mean something. I told my friend, “hang on a sec. Watch this…” He didn’t notice that I was there. I sneaked behind him and grabbed a sugar packet that said “sugar” in big letters. I dropped it on the table in front of him and said, “hey, I think you lost your name tag!” He looked up at me a blushed a little. We chatted for a few minutes and then I went along with my friend. A few days after that, my friend Ginger told me that he asked if we could go on a double date. She was engaged to Todd’s roommate but her and I had also been friends for a while. We went on the double date and had a blast. I felt so comfortable around him. I had always been nervous when it came to dating. I really never dated until this point either. The sexual abuse always came up in my mind and made me feel awkward. Even though I had been asked out, I always turned guys down or I’d go on one date and then no more. I was nervous about sex, no doubt. My brain was so messed up that I felt I couldn’t function around guys unless we were just friends. I felt comfortable around Todd. That surprised me.

A week later, we went on our own official “date.” He asked to kiss me goodnight. That never happened before. All of the kisses I ever got were always forced and unexpected. He was a gentleman and polite. He was also very caring and deep. Within a few weeks, I opened up to him about Dave. I explained that it’s weird because I still talk to my parents and I really didn’t know what to do. I never got therapy or counseling. I was still confused. I told him mainly because when and if sex were to come into the picture, I wanted him to know that if I was weird about it, it wasn’t him. He was gracious and understanding of me. He was the one. The more I got to know him, the more I knew he was exactly what I needed and the man I wanted.


Ages 21 & 22


I turned 21 soon after moving in and getting settled. I didn’t speak to my parents much after that big blow out. I was also pissed at Dave. He had told me in a phone call a few months before that he thought I would be making a good decision not to move back in with them. He was very familiar about my mother’s poor money management and knew that I wanted to get away from that and her of course. When it down to it, I put him in the hot seat about it because I needed a buffer between my mother and myself. He denied ever saying that and sided with my mother. He later told me that he had to shut her up because she would just rant about it all night. Any contact I had with her was pretty limited. I grew up a lot in those two years. I learned a lot also. My job was going well but the store was going out of business. It closed its doors right as my one year anniversary approached. I ended up taking a sales position at Lowe’s full-time. It was paying me a little more and working around my church schedule. I stayed pretty devoted to being a youth leader and deepening the friendships that I was making. When Christmas approached, I decided to open the doors of communication with my parents. I didn’t want to be alone for Christmas either.
I went to visit for a couple of days at Christmas. Nothing eventful happened. I think she was learning to keep her mouth shut around me. It was weird being back home though. I had to rent a car anytime that I went down so it was financially burdening on me as well. I only went to visit a couple of times a year.

I did try to enroll in college for the fall that I was 21. I found out that in order for me to fill out the FAFSA form without my parents information, I had to be at least 24, or married, or have a kid, or be a veteran, or be an orphan. I was neither. I asked my mother if they would do it but she refused because she wanted me to come home and go to school with her. It was very vindictive. That spring I paid out of pocket to take an English class at the community college just to see if I even wanted to pursue college. There was no way that I would be able to pay out of pocket for my education so I opted to keep working and do the best that I could.

It took everything within me warm back up to them but as a Christian, I felt that it was my duty to forgive any wrongdoing and try to be as pleasant as I could. I felt that we could get close again as long as she controlled her outbursts. As far as Dave was concerned, I was going to just have to let it go. There just wasn’t anything I could do at that point.

When I was 22, my mother was fed up with me only being able to come down a couple of times a year because of my car. She came to visit for a few days and decided to help me apply for a car loan. I pretty much had zero credit. The highest credit limit that I had was only $300 so getting a car loan was next to impossible on my own. This was sort of retribution for her not helping me get into college. She didn’t have very good credit either so we sat at the car dealership for 4 hours by the time they found a creditor that would finance me. She was only a co-signer so the note was still in my name. She also didn’t foot any of the financial burden. I ended up having to pay over $700 in taxes later for it that I had to borrow from a friend. Owning a newer car was completely foreign to me so this was a learning experience. It was a mini-suv, a Chevrolet Tracker with a convertible top. It was super cute and a lot of fun.

I was making a lot of friends and was busy being social quite a bit. I really wanted to date but everyone that I was interested wasn’t interested in me back so I got friend-listed several times. I did get asked out a few times but those guys weren’t Christians or not Christian enough for me. I was 21 when I met Todd, my husband. He was 18 and was roommates with a mutual friend. I was at their house frequently for get-togethers. He was 18 and seemed really immature to me but that’s because I was almost three years older than him. He also had just been kicked out of bible college for getting caught having sex with his then girlfriend. At that point, I had no interest in him but we were friendly and acquainted with on another. I had so many friends that were getting married and having babies in my early 20’s. I was bothered a lot about not having a boyfriend. I was also told by the youth pastor that I was desperate. He was a jerk. He also implied that I was fat. I wasn’t. I also wasn’t desperate. If I was I could have had a boyfriend but I had standards and wasn’t giving in for someone that wasn’t for me.

The In Between Summer


The summer after Master’s Commission was insane. We were at each others throats. It wasn’t entirely her fault. I was so brainwashed that I pretty much couldn’t live with anyone that wasn’t under the “spell” of this discipleship program. In Master’s we were taught to be so separated from the “world” in order to be more full of the holy spirit. This was such a load of horseshit. The only thing that did was make me a worse bitch than my mother. I was difficult to be around. I know in part that I really didn’t want to be back at home. I was restless. I needed to get a job but I had such an attitude about taking a “worldly” job. I really wanted to get a job at a church. However, it couldn’t be a Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, etc, etc. Those denominations were all cults and rejected the activity of the holy spirit. I was seriously full of it. Shit that is. I was full of shit. At least I admit it! I was hard on my to get a regular job. I felt like I was compromising myself and selling out. I had been called to greater things- not activating Sear’s credit cards at a call center.

I now know that I was suffering from depression as well. I couldn’t tell you if it was chemical or situational. I don’t know but it was definitely depression. I just wanted to hide and cry all the time. I felt like I was being held back. I needed to jump into ministry and get to work. I just couldn’t get anything done that I wanted to because of the lack of money and a car. I was at the mercy of my mother. She stopped demanding my paychecks, so that was good. I was able to start saving up a little but I was never taught very good money management skills so it seemed like my money dissolved pretty quickly.

Not too long after coming back from Arizona, we went to a women’s retreat. I thought it would be great. I was so will and open to the holy spirit and I really wanted the Lord to speak to me. I just needed direction. My mother was very irritated with me. We were constantly bickering. Much of it had to do with her unforgiving spirit. She held so many grudges and was just a toxic person. She just couldn’t give anything to the Lord. She spoke deeply of her faith and read her bible and devotional every morning but she definitely didn’t pray hard enough. This was my worldview from Master’s Commission. Basically, if you didn’t pray like a raving maniac then you didn’t love Jesus. So now you can see why I was just plain rude to other people around me. My relationship with God was very calculated. This is just my personality though. I’m not a very spontaneous person. Dave and Scotty just didn’t give a shit about being as fervent and full of shit the holy spirit as I was. I pestered everyone constantly. They all felt comfortable where they were in their Christian walk and didn’t need someone else, other than the pastor, telling them what to do. I really can’t blame them now. At this retreat, the main speaker had us all line up at the front so she could pray over us and speak a word into my life. I was hoping that my word would be some direction on what I would do next and where I would go. Nope. Instead I was told to stop pretending to be like other people and just be myself. That just wasn’t what I needed to hear. I felt that I had worked really hard all year “being myself.” I left the room and curled up in a big chair in the foyer and cried. I wanted to kill myself. I felt like I couldn’t live. There were things that I wanted to do with my life but I felt like I was in shackles. At this point I really didn’t want to go to school for computers because I thought that I was being called to ministry. Christian colleges were expensive so there was no way that I was going to go. Besides, my mother was only going to fill out my financial aid if I went to school for computers – with her. Yes, she wanted us to go to school together. Funny thing about this woman… she has always tried to play me out to be her best friend. I never wanted that. Now that I was an adult, she thought that she had a shopping buddy and someone to bitch about her marriage to. What the actual fuck. Yes, bitch about the guy that molested me. She wanted a “girlfriend,” and wanted me to fill that position. I didn’t want that. This was another thing that made things very tense between us.

Another issue that was screaming at me in my face was dating. I was 19 almost 20. I honestly never had a boyfriend other than that pathetic two month stint with the guy that my mother hooked me up with and the tryst I had with a guy that was engaged. The only social outlet that I had was at church. Work wasn’t one since it was a call center. There was absolutely no socializing there. There were a few young men at my church but I wasn’t really interested in any of them. There was a couple of brothers that went there before I left and I had a huge crush on one of them but he started dating Melanie’s sister and didn’t attend our fellowship anymore. My mother was fucking hell bent on hooking me up. I swear to everything under the sun, she was almost pimping me out. It was so uncomfortable, awkward and fucking rude. One guy was actually very good looking. He had just graduated from Texas A&M and was a gymnast. Is biceps were amazing, he had sandy blonde hair, piercing blue eyes and a nice smile. He also dressed well. He was also gay. My mother didn’t get this. Dave picked up on it right away and then I learned that other people in the church new. He was undergoing gay-to-straight therapy. Dave said that his father asked for prayer at a men’s breakfast because he had a son that was gay. We knew who it was because one son was engaged, the other had a girlfriend and the other was just flaming obvious. I feel sorry for him now. The other guy was like an 80 year old man in a 25 year old’s body. He was nice and courteous. He also wore his jeans above his navel with his polo shirt tucked in very tightly. I’m not all for judging a book by it’s cover but it was very obvious that this guy was a hard core mama’s boy. He still lived at home, never went to college and was working a job making minimum wage. I needed more than that in a man and I just couldn’t stand the way that he dressed. I didn’t know enough about relationships but I did know that you should be attracted to many aspects of a potential lover because you will not change them. Changing people wasn’t my M.O. I wanted someone that was “made” for me and none of these guys were it. Ok, so what did my mother do that was so horrible? After Dave got through to her about guy A being gay, she stopped with him. She didn’t stop with navel jeans guy. She kept striking up conversations with him after church and then would interrupt me by yelling across the sanctuary to come over to her. I’d get there and then she would just sit there and stare at us. I’d say hi to him but we had absolutely nothing in common worth talking about. After about 15 seconds of her bullshit I told him that I’d see him later and got out of that situation. She did this a few times. Then there was the church luau. Everybody got to get a picture taken. I just wanted one with my brother. That wasn’t good enough. She got navel jeans guy to come over and take a picture with me. I’m still embarrassed by her and it’s been 14 years. I finally had to tell her to stop. She got offended and her feelings were hurt and of course she had to tell me all about it. I basically told her that I would NEVER date a guy that she picked. I didn’t care if it was Brad Pitt. It wasn’t going to happen. That was something personal to me and I deserved the right to choose a mate for myself. “Fine then…” was her reaction. Besides, I had my head so far up Jesus’ ass that I couldn’t even think of dating.

I thought all the abuse from Dave was behind me, especially since I had to forgive him and move one. One day my mother and I were heading down the hallway to her room. My room was the first bedroom and theirs was the last. As we passed my room, Dave was hunched over my laundry basket with a pair of my underwear in his hand. My mother and I both blurted out, “What are you doing?!?!”

“Nothing. I was just looking for something.” And then he left my room. My mother asked him one more time and he wouldn’t answer. I think it was pretty obvious what he was doing. One more opportunity for her to see how much of a pervert he was. One more opportunity that she passed up to do the right thing.

September came around and I was starting to consider moving out. The problem was that I had nothing to fill a house with other than what was in my room and even though I was working, I barely had anything to show for. The other problem was that I really wanted to move far away. I knew that if I got a place near my parents, that would just be the end of anything I ever wanted in my life. She would officially control everything because it would be mostly her effort in getting me set up in an apartment and what-not. One evening we got a phone call. They spoke to my mother while I wasn’t there and she took a phone number. When I got home she gave it to me and told me it was some people from Master’s Commission. I was confused because I thought they didn’t want anything to do with me. Turned out to be a couple that did the program and graduated the year before I went. They were starting their own Master’s Commission in Springfield, MO. They were interested if I wanted to come out and do my second year with them and help them start up. Yes, yes I was. “Get me out of here, I’ll do anything,” I thought to myself.