This is My Life Story of How the Lord has Renewed Me
My name is Hailey Mills, I am a single mother of 20 years to 3 boys, 21, 18 and 9. I also have full time 2 beautiful grandchildren, 2 and 8 months. My story, my life isn't unique or different then yours. My story has a beginning and an end. It begins when I was 2 years old when my mother and father seperated. From that point on my mother would have us moving into a different home every 2-3 months. When I started school in Edmonton, I went to just as many schools as we moved. My mom was also an emotionally and physically abusive person so I grew up not trusting women, feeling insecure about the world around me, not feeling loved, I felt rejected and lonely, I had low self esteem which caused me to not talk to much in front of people and I withdrew emotionally. These events and feelings affected who I became as a young lady. I tried to do all that I could to not get into trouble. As a teen, I didn't swear, smoke, do drugs or drink. I was a “goody two shoes” as my friends would call me. They even paid me to swear but I wouldn't do it. I had a lot of fear within me towards my mother, I would think to myself “What if my mom was watching”.
At the age of 14 I moved out of my mothers home and moved in with my sister who was married and had a little daughter. This home, I felt was a stable home as they didn't move much and my sister was still with her husband. I also looked up to my sister as a role model. I remember watching her as a little girl doing her hair, when she lived with us and feeling connected to her in love. As a little girl she would be the one to comfort me and put me to bed. Well living with them, I went to the same school for 2 years, which never happened prier to this. Still, I felt insecure because of the things that happened to me in the home. Through the period of living with my sister, I was rapped at a pool. When I told someone, my responds back was “You must have done something to have caused it.” I wasn't believed and became even deeper withdrawn within myself. This led to a whole bunch of new problems. I started to date a young man who became emotionally and sexually abusive, instead of running, I moved in with him at the age of 16. At 19 I became a single parent to two boys. Before I turned 20 I finished my high school with Joey and Steven. Carried them everyday on a bus from the west end to the south side. I did it! I graduated and was the first to graduate from “Terra High School” with 2 children. That was a huge accomplishment in my life.
For my 20 birthday, I had my first drink. You know how it is for some people, one drink lasts all night till eventually you become an alcoholic. That's what happened to me. By the time I was 22 I became a weekend drunk. I did many stupid things and when I tell people of the things I did, they shake their head in disbelief and say “I don't belief you where like that” but I was. To keep my distance, and walls up, to not make a commitment in a relationship, I would date men who were in jail. If that's what you call dating? Worked for me! I could see them and talk to them whenever I wanted, without ever getting to close. Try to find security in a hug or to just have someone hold me, I would pick men up and take them home from the bar. O-my gosh, this led to trouble, with men who didn't know how to take “no” for an answer. Did I mention that I was naive as well. “Very Naive” So many times I was rapped. I felt such shame and quilt, I got to a point of not caring anymore about myself, or those around me. I was a ticking time bomb ready to be set off. My drinking got worse, I told lies to work, to family and my fiancee, to cover up the damage I was causing. Yes, I was engaged to a wonderful and kind man, who of course, had a track record of going back to jail every couple of months. He was a Christian man who wanted to stop drinking and start going to church, the condition he had was to not drink. He would come out to the bars with me, start drinking again, which led him going back to jail. This caused a lot of hurt, anger, resentment and more loneliness within me. I fell into depression which I didn't recognize, and my drinking and sleeping around became worse.
My innocent children saw the worse of it all, I took my frustration out on them. I physically, emotionally as well as neglected my boys. I fell deeper and deeper into depression, which I should have been hospitalized for. I lost more then 40 pounds in a month. I felt deeply alone, worthless, I was unknown to myself , I believed I was unloved by everyone. Over time I came to know that these are lies from the enemy. Through this time. no one knew what was happening to my family. No one! Not even my best friend. This was the year of 94
On June 28, 95 I stopped drinking, cold turkey. I have been clean and sober since. At that point I drank 4 nights a week. Subconsciously, I stopped after only remembering bits and pieces of a very bad night. Did life get better? No, it got worse. My depression got so bad I slept 22-23 hours a day, our home was bare of food, my kids went to school hungry. Then in Jan/96, Joey and Steven where taken away, for 3 months, until I could get some help and on medication. This helped a bit but I still slept alot, because the medication I was on wasn't being monitored. All the wonderful outings I took my boys on, we stopped doing. They were young, they didn't know or understand what was going on, they were lost in a chaotic world. No one to help them, as I didn't know were to turn for resources.
In June/06 something wonderful happened. As I laid on my couch, which happened most of the day, watching the vision channel, the Lord sent missionaries to my door. These sweet young ladies befriended me and my boys. They would come and help around the house. Take us out to different church events, they told us who Jesus was. I believe God brings people into our lives, for a reason, no matter their background or who they are. These missionaries helped save my life. In Oct of that year, I threw away my medication for depression, not to take another one. Again, my depression got bad, I became suicidal, had a plan and I was just waiting, hopping for Christmas to come and go quickly. I wanted to spend one last Christmas in our home with Joey and Steven.
Dec 11/96, God had a different plan for me. As I laid on my couch I was prompted to read a poem which I wrote 6 months prior, and open the bible that sat on my coffee table, which only got opened when the missionaries came over. That day, I opened it on my own. It fell open to Matt 7:7 which reads “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you”. So that's what I did, I asked, “God, help me” and in an instant, I felt every burden lifted off of me. That Christmas, I spent with my boys knowing all would be well. I prayed for forgiveness, excepting Jesus into my hart, and God washed me clean of all the wrong doing I committed. I was a new being. He gave me hope, grace and took away my shame and quilt, it felt wonderful. Was it enough at the time, to get me through what was to come. “No”. No one told me that I would still have struggles, that this wasn't the end all, be all for me. Struggles came and they came quickly. The man I was engaged to for 3 years, my boys came to know as dad, left us and moved far away at the end of Nov, to never return. Two months after Christmas, Feb 2/97 the boys real dad died. A month after Joey turned 8. The day after his funeral, my own mother served me with court papers, for adoption of my own children, so the next few months I was dealing with gathering things, getting ready for court as I represented myself. This would not be the last time she takes me, she took me to court 3 times in total. Two in which I represented myself and won the cases. My boys in the process, never did get the proper care they needed to grieve the loss of their dad. Not just one but two dads, that left in a very brief time period, to never return again.
The Lord through the process of court, gave me peace and confidence to know I had nothing to dread, and all would be well. I also learned that my family was loved, by many in the church we started to attend, and we were supported by family members.The Lord gave to us new friends and a place where we could feel safe. My depression has never returned and I started to look after my children again. I began a process of becoming closer with my boys and learning how to unconditionally love my children. As a family, we started to do many outings again, I started a fri night move night, which still continues to this day, and we started to eat at the table. I felt confident that the old me was gone, and I had to find the “new me”.
Summer of 98, a year later, I went to school to start a career in Addiction Counseling. Doing well, with following Jesus Christ, who became my prince of peace, our provider, redeemer and friend. Jesus was helping me become closer with Joey and Steven, we grew together, spending more time together, we were learning how to love one another, as a family. I was also finding new and wonderful friends. Live was good all around us.
In 1999, I met someone and became pregnant. OOPS! Still was very naive and vulnerable. Dec 4/1999, Dakota was born. He became what I call our miracle child, for he almost died at birth. He was also my child, sent to me from Heaven, to give me a second chance at raising a child. I missed so much of my boys, growing up in their early years, and now I had Dakota to experience it all over again. What a blessing and joy it was and has been.
Was the pregnancy easy? No. I fell away from God, feeling ashamed and guilty for what happened. The Lord through his grace and mercy, moved us to Mill woods, into a bigger home and more room for my family to grow up in. We lived in a two bedroom apartment which was getting to small for us. After Dakota was born, I had a “New Parent Lady” come to see us. She was a Christian lady, who invited us to attend a a single parent group at her church. Seven months later, we went to our first Family Camp where the Holy Spirit but a fire into me that I couldn't ignore. I rededicated my life that day. This was on May 20/2000. The following week we started going to church. Over the next two years, I would learn who Christ really was and how he fits into my life and the life of my family, In 2004, I was baptized and so was Joey. The next 6 years following, I learned how to really love my children, I became a mother they are proud of, came to know Jesus as my rock, strong tower, my provider, healer, my redeemer and friend. He healed me, and taught me forgiveness of all the things that happened in my younger years. He taught me that I am a daughter of a great king. I also became a much better parent doing it “Gods Way”. He gave me inner strength and peace, just as His word says “I will give you peace beyond understanding.” I also decided, I wasn't going to be a victim of my circumstances, or my past anymore. My life would be dedicated to following Jesus.
Dec 31/04, I married my best friend, someone who followed and loved Jesus as much as I did. Or that's what I thought. I didn't see the red flags of his anger, or that he would turn from God 2 months into our marriage. We were together for a year and a half, and In that time he was very abusive emotionally and physically. When I started to pray of what I needed to do, God helped me to get out. At this point my relationship with God was fading, my mind was messed up. I was going through a traumatic experience, which left me with nothing. I couldn't even remember my name ½ the time, let alone a simple grocery list. When he left, God started to heal my mind. Little by little, I started to remember. One day well listening to a sermon on the radio, the preacher said to allow God to hold you, when you don't know what else to do. That evening, I put worship music on and felt the presence of the Lord holding me. In his comfort, I cried and cried. I was relieved of bondage and pain, that I was holding onto. Over a period of three years following, the Lord taught me about healthy relationships and healed my mind. He restored me emotionally and spiritually.
These things couldn't have happened, if I didn't talk with God, read scripture, taken bible studies and listened to others, music was and still is a big part of the journey. Through all this God was preparing me.
My boys also grew to know and love God, as there Lord and Savior, as there Father. To not be afraid of what the Lord was doing in there lives. Through there struggles, hurts and pain, they knew to turn to God, and he would be there for them, no matter what. They had joy in their suffering. My son, Steven, always had a smile and loved to make others smile, especially if they were down. Joey brought peace to a lot of people, who he came in contact with. All because of Jesus.
I wish I could say that was the ending of my story, but its not. That would be to easy, a happy ending. I've come to know, that God takes us through a period of trials and struggles, of getting to know Him and to prepare us for the next chapter in our lives.
This is where my story differs slightly.
My son Steven, my 18 year old, was found on the road dying. Someone had just stabbed him, and some people driving by found him laying there. Thought he had been hit by a car. They didn't notice he was bleeding, because they covered him with coats to keep him warm. It was a cold, cold night. At 7:30pm it was -36. My son died at 11:50pm, that cold winter night. Was he alone? No, God sent people to help him, to keep him warm. One witness told me, before he closed his eyes, he was looking around at something above him. Their was one lady, who sat next to him, staring into his face, praying that he would be OK, and for the ambulance to hurry up and get there. She told me she felt Gods presence amongst them. My son, wasn't alone. He had Angels to take him home. A place of no more sadness, no more pain, no more tears, where he saw Jesus face to face. To be filled with the glories love of God.
Since then, our family has gone through every emotion possible, in the first year known to man. Sadness, trauma, grief, loneliness, shock, anger and so much more, such as unforgiveness towards ourselves, for not being there to safe him. We will always miss Steven, we will grieve for a very long time. The joy in our eyes, has now disappeared, to be found again. The laughter is coming back, little by little, the little things now in life, mean more to us then ever before, and the precious little children we hold dear in our harts, and in our home, are sweet and wonderful reminders of a friend, brother and son who died a cold winter night.
God is good, through His grace, love and mercy, He isn't going to let our pain, this tragedy go to waste. He's going to use it for His glory. The first year we witnessed 9 of Steven's friends, come to know God as Lord and Savior. We were blessed by people who Love us, and the overwhelming support given to us. We're learning to live a new beginning, to find joy and happiness again. I know this will be possible, through the love of God. He made a promise to my family, to bring joy where there is sorrow.
This year in Feb, I chose, as I have in the past, that I didn't want to be a victim of my son dying. Through prayer, music and journaling, God has been healing me. Through working out my grieve, I have come to a place where I don't want to be a victim. Just as I chose not to be a victim of the betrayal, loneliness, abuse and neglect of my younger years. As I started to declare, that I didn't want to be a victim of my son dying, Satan came along and tried to destroy me. He'll use anything to keep us down. I was quickly reminded by him, that I was suppose to drive over and see Joey and Steven, that New Years Eve. It was a night that I knew something wrong was going to happen, but just like in the past, I prayed for protection over my boys, I believed that things would be OK, and that they would come home. Why should this night be any different then any before, they had God's protection. The difference was that God told me to go, and see them but I didn't. If I went to see Joey and Steven, I would have gotten there 10 min before Steven left that house, if I was there, he wouldn't have gone to the store. I believed that he'd be OK, but he wasn't. He didn't come home that night. This is where I had to learn to forgive myself. I took a course in march of 2010 called “Life Healing Choices by Rick Warren”. Through it, the Lord taught me that I'm already forgiven, and I had to forgive myself. This is hard to do for many people, even when we know we're forgiven by Christ. Why? This is the answer I got, when I asked the question of why. “Because God is pure, he has no sin, he's a God of just and forgiveness. He himself looks upon us, with a pure hart. We cover that pure hart, by covering ourselves with a cloud, we look at all the bad we've done, and we don't forget so easily. God forgets as far as the east is to the west. If we looked at ourselves, as God looks at us, then forgiving ourselves would be easy.” I really took what God taught me to hart. Again, healing came and I took another stand, to not be a victim, for I know God has a plan to use me. He's giving me back my hope, I know I'll see my son again. I'm growing closer to Christ, allowing Him to work in my life. I'm learning from Him. One thing I learned when I made the decision, to not be a victim, is that even well Jesus Christ was on the cross, he didn't become a victim. In fact he finished unfinished work, that needed to be done. He saved a life, forgave people for what they did, and gave protection to his mother. One day I will dwell in the house of my Lord, I will see my son again. In the mean time, I've got work that needs to be done, that the Lord has given to me, and I can do it not well I'm on a cross, but right now walking, breathing, living on earth. I know they'll be times when I regress deeply into missing Steven, but I know that God has me in the palm of his hands, carrying me every step of the way, because that is His promise to me and my family. I have also learned that it is more important to live again. I don't want to go through live just coping or just as a survivor. I want to live, I want to be Free. Free from quilt, shame, grieve. I want the kind of freedom that comes only from Christ.
As I close, I can't help to remember Dec 11/96 when God saved my life with a poem, and a simple bible vs that reads, “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you”. Knowing in my heart God has, is, and will keep his promises to me and generations to come.
Conclusion - In 2011 I went on a fast for 3 weeks. During the fast not once did I pray for my joy to return. As I fasted, the Lord did a miracle for me and poured His joy over me. As I learned in Sept of 2010 when I took "Grieve Share" the Lord will turn mourning into joy. As He says there's a time under Heaven to be born and a time to die, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. The Lord kept his promise and turned my mourning into Joy. I now walk with reassurance that I can dance with Joy knowing that my Father in Heaven is an Awesome God.
Conclusion - In 2011 I went on a fast for 3 weeks. During the fast not once did I pray for my joy to return. As I fasted, the Lord did a miracle for me and poured His joy over me. As I learned in Sept of 2010 when I took "Grieve Share" the Lord will turn mourning into joy. As He says there's a time under Heaven to be born and a time to die, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. The Lord kept his promise and turned my mourning into Joy. I now walk with reassurance that I can dance with Joy knowing that my Father in Heaven is an Awsome God and I look forward to the next chapter of my life. Be Blessed.