Introducing a Friend & Kindred Spirit....
This is not the first time I've correspondence worked with Ms. Peace. I met her while participating in the same support group for adoptive families. She is real to the core and can unabashedly talk about herself knowing she is a redeemed and priceless soul.
Now for the Word-Smithing of
Graphic Credit: According2Meredith.blogspot.com, words of Catt Peace
The following are her words with my editing, formatting, brackets and headers:
You have to be a Christian to have
your prayers answered. Right?
A bit of luckWhen I was a young teen, maybe even preteen I attended a Christian camp for a holiday. Having been loosely involved in Church activities (as a clause in my mid childhood adoption from an Evangelical Christian family to an Atheist one), I didn't feel unease at being enveloped in the week-long camp. I had been encouraged to begin attending a lunch-time prayer group at my Catholic school to make friends, and this lead to an unexpected opening to the camp as a friends sister had paid up her holiday and was taken violently ill quite suddenly.
I went along to the camp, and the girls I roped in with weren't particularly overjoyed at having me hanging around. I was anxious, socially awkward, clingy, bizarre. I have always been good at spending time alone though, or making one particular intense 'special friend' for any needed amount of time. Almost like a hunter, pick off the weakest or friendliest in a group and claim them for my own.
My history at this point was as follows, the first few years of my life were spent living with my alcoholic biological mother, who was incapable of looking after me and moved me around a lot. She had a lot of boyfriends. My biological father would follow us and rage about her behaviour. She was in and out of hospital, like I was in and out of foster homes. I was adopted aged 7 after a few years in a more stable environment. I moved to a suburban housewife's paradise, a world away from the poverty and trauma I had experienced with my bio-Mum.
It's still the same world with same dangers
However, despite the shiny appearance of my new environment, I learnt some things transgress environment. In fact, a lot of things do, just in some sectors of society certain things aren't discussed. My 7 year old neighbour's sexual exploitation of me was previously been described as 'innocent.' But with my (repressed?) grooming, it just felt like my entire life I was exposed to peoples privates, and they had a right to mine.
My Social Niche
I always felt I was too posh for the poor kids, and too 'real' for the posh kids. So this idea of Christianity with its membership free to all appealed to me. We had a lot of fun, barbeques, water fights, ball games. The church I attended [was filled] with Christians and non. [Older teenagers made me part of their group to the level where I felt like I belonged and was protected.] There was a real community family feeling that I enjoyed.
During one of the seminars, I think it was a standard one about Jesus and who He is, I suddenly grasped the message or concept that was being portrayed. I remember thinking in the voice in my mind "Ok, I get this God, so if I follow You, You can magically erase all the hurt, guilt and shame I feel from being a worthless plaything all my life". I thought about the memories that came to mind so easily, and I sat and cried. I screwed up my eyes real tight and kept thinking "Any minute now I just won't be able to remember any of this. Any minute now."
The Seminar Fuzzies wore off
And as I sat there and still could feel what I was feeling, and see things in my minds eye I didn't want to see, I thought "I'm not doing this right, I don't have enough faith." I tried so hard to be a good Christian in the time following the camp, I wanted nothing more than to leave my past behind and be a new creation like all the happy 'normal' Christian kids who had been systematically and carefully brainwashed from an early age in their happy shiny Christian families. Of course, it's never quite like that, and so many of these kids slid off the wagon too.
Advice: Make fellowship a regular thing
The same Christian teacher who was like a mentor to me, a true honest picture of this Christ person, seeing the good in me behind my awful behaviour in and out of school, encouraged me to attend a local Christian-run youth group.
Trusting Man, Blaming the Big Guy UpstairsAgain, with a mix up in my values of excessive maturity [precociousness] in all the wrong things, and a complete innocence that all who say they are Christians or Christian associated are nice people, I ended up being raped, at 13 or 14. And with that, as a middle finger to God, off I went straight off the wagon, on the Highway to Hell, and everything got worse. "You never gave me what I wanted, I never got amnesia, and now You have abandoned me, no more playing Believer for me." My parents were overjoyed, they found my new found zealous preachiness annoying and overbearing and would take the mickey out of my 'Bible-bashing'.
But in the time when I was in the wilderness, lost without a cause, the 'Footsteps' poem came into play. When I would sleep rough instead of going home to my hated parents, at the same time the schoolgirl Milly Dowler was brutally kidnapped in broad daylight, and then brutally murdered. She was my age, and my parents were beside themselves with worry. I was oblivious. The time I stormed out of the house with a backpack "I'm having a bath and then I'm running away." Dressed in 5 or 6 layers of woolly jumpers, I walked 30 miles and got lost in the local prostitution district.
The Creepy Encounter
I was followed by a man in a car who stopped and asked if my 14 year old sweaty, tired and disheveled self needed a lift. I haughtily replied no. He drove away, stopped, and when I'd caught up with him he asked again. My response was the same. He sounded confused, annoyed, and drove off into the late night.
When God "fails you",
people failing you doesn't hurt as much
When at 16 my boyfriend was being groomed with cocaine in hopeful exchange for sexual favours by a gay drug dealer, I thank the Lord daily that that man was gay. These occurrences happened nightly, over a period of a couple of years. My parents didn't think I would live to be 18. I had no-one to reign me in. No church, my family and I were estranged, my friends were usually just people I got drunk and went to parties with for many years.
I'm not saying nothing awful happened to me, awful things happening to me became a way of life, but I survived. And when I got to an age where it was sink or swim, I made the decision to swim. No-one else made it for me. It was all me, all the time. I had worked at improving myself, I had done the groundwork, no divine intervention here thank you very much.
So Called Coincidences
I found myself (again by a series of strange coincidences) in a actual proper full-time Horticulture job, in what I had studied. I was [auspiciously and] spectacularly fired from my immediately previous job in a local shoe-shop. There was a lovely big argument where I got to tell my old employers exactly what I thought of them. [Maybe it was inappropriate, but it was oh so cathartic.] This new job presented me a chance for actual growth, development, and maturity. I ran with it.
New Love, New Life
I had a new boyfriend who was determined to take me in and straighten me out. He arrived like an angel at a time in my life when I was falling into old habits. I removed myself from any trace of my old life. I threw away anything with the wrong sentiment, that reminded me of who I didn't want to be, and I forgot [repented of] my past. I glossed over it and moved on. I took up volunteering and practiced being a kind and loving person to all I met. I stopped drinking, I stopped drugs, and I stopped smoking. I embraced life.
New Work, Old GhostsAt my new job in my childhood vicinity, I realized although I had erased the old me, I was always going to have connections and a reputation from an old life. [It felt like a small world where everyone knows my skeletons.] The owner of the company I worked for had been on the decision making panel for my childhood school. Furthermore, I was in class with his grandson.
When you were a child who made hell for all and sundry, I guarantee that child becomes known for all the wrong reasons. A colleague's now wife, was in the year below me at school. The same school I was renowned for setting fire to and being physically violent at, quite often drunk or high in and out of lessons.
Full Time with Believers
But the long days spent in a small team, I found myself with two Christian colleagues. These two were chalk and cheese, two very different people with a shared faith. Both had had the typical 'brainwashed' Christian upbringing, they had no concept of 'real life' as I saw it.
I argued with them day in day out that their blind faith and beliefs were just nonsense, I'd been there done that, I knew better. I was bitter. I would start into arguments with the two of them, attacking their faith, and they would not argue back, would not change their perspective. [They would] just wish me peace and (probably) pray for me in private.
To Be Continued...