- Religion and Philosophy
Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll...my life before Jesus
Filling the void
Sex drugs and rock and roll....from whom and when did that phrase originate? Maybe it was the 60's, 70's, I'm not really sure. One thing I do know is it became my personal motto during the mid 80's.
Looking back on my life, I ponder how I developed into such a rebel. Perhaps I was born that way.... My earliest recollection of an emerging 'wild child' was around the age of 5. At an early age, I was already sexually curious and experimenting. In the sixth grade at age 11, I smoked my first Marlboro cigarette. In the eighth grade my first marijuana. It was easy to help myself to to beer, wine and liqueurs since alcohol was constantly present in my home growing up, w/ my parents being what they referred to as "social drinkers." When I reached the age of 16, the phrase, "sweet 16, never been kissed" didn't come close to applying to me.
My dad and step mom taught me about honesty, manners, hard work, responsibility, to be respectful of others. As a child, I often feared expressing my true feelings to them since I saw them as strict and controlling. I began feeling very sad, empty and helpless. I often wondered about God and if he existed and sometimes I'd pray my life would get better since I seemed to be struggling so much. I wanted to be happy, to be comfortable with who I was instead of trying to be someone I was not. I longed to be popular and to fit in. I didn't have a healthy relationship w/ my step mom so I decided a change was necessary. In February of 1984, I left Washington and headed to Northern California to live w/ my mom and step dad.
I finished high school at Petaluma High but my partying increased. With this new set of parents, I was provided more freedom. Due to the nature of the drugs on my party scene, I was often out til dawn of the next morning. I'd graduated high school already but I'd only been 18 for 2mos when my mom said to me, "I love you and I'll miss you but I won't miss worrying about you - you have 30 days to find yourself a new place to live." A classic example of 'tough love.'
So I moved into a 4 bedroom party house and I rented a room. I lived there and continued to live as though invincible for several months. I was working as a waitress at a Mexican restaurant and making good money from tips. A 'recovering' heroin addict lived across the street and did auto re-upholstery. He also supplied crystal meth. I and one of my room mates were with him along w/two other people one night when one of the guys decided to pull a gun on us. I came really close to being the recipient of a bullet.
The next place I lived was in a 5 bedroom home w/ 3 - 4 men, all older than me, in their 30's. I say 3 -4 because three out of four were "comrades" having a similar language and culture being Russian, Ukrainian, Czechoslovakian (Antonin or "Tony," the Czech guy, often crashed there). Bogdan or "Bogie" was the homeowner and he worked as a long distance truck driver. They knew how to party and being 19 years old, I wanted to keep up w/ them. We were often up til wee hours of the morning, toasting 'nos da rovia' (sp?) w/ shot glasses full of chilled Vodka . One night I drove Bogie to the store for cigarettes, under the influence of course, and this time I totalled my 67 Mustang and went to jail (in my bathrobe!) for DUI.
It was between age 19 and 20 that the promiscuous nature of my character for the most part was put to rest. My choices in men however, still left a lot to be desired. I wanted someone to appreciate me, a man w/ a sincere heart who would commit to me and provide security, all of us have that need to feel loved. So I began to see Bogie in a different light, wondering if I could find all that in a man 17 years my senior. Bogie had a good heart but was an insecure man, not wanting me to have a social life outside of work, my mother and his friends for fear of my meeting someone else. I often accompanied him when he worked hauling airline freight up and down Calif. When he wasn't working, for recreation he wanted to drink, watch movies, sports, pornography. Sometimes we'd go for drives out to the coast. Porn led me to believe sex equaled power but it also made me feel insecure and inadequate.
There were a couple other dysfunctional relationships after that one. About a year after Bogie, I entered into a relationship w/ another older man, this time 12 years my senior. His name was Lon and he wanted me to move w/ him to Hawaii. So in 1989, a couple weeks after my 22nd birthday, we were on our way to paradise - that being the only positive result of our union. He'd warned me about his alcoholism and I just laughed and said I too was an alcoholic. After being on the Big Island and living w/ him there awhile, the disease reared it's dark, ugly head. He began attending AA meetings and I quit drinking for 9 months in support of him and to prove to myself that I could. He stayed sober for less time than I. During the 1 1/2 years together, in addition to his inability to stay sober, he lacked financial responsibility. He'd been physically abusive a couple times (there were a couple times Bogie had as well) and it wasn't long before I gave up hope for us and kicked him out.
A month or so after Lon, I started seeing a local Japanese guy, this time the age difference being 10 years older. Les was sweet, gentle and humble and he taught me a lot about Hawaiiana and local culture. He however used cocaine and we weren't together long when I decided I wanted to close that chapter of my life for good (although I did stumble a half dozen times or so after this when partying with other people). He was reserved and I behaved too crazily for him, always wanting to be the life of the party and inventing ways to shock, entertain and amuse people. There were others who didn't always appreciate my antics and I lost a couple of jobs as a result of some things I did. I didn't necessarily have to be under the influence to act like a rascal, which most of the time was inappropriate, definitely inappropriate in a professional setting (I'd waitress-ed at 4 and 5 diamond resorts).
In May of 1993, just before breaking up w/ Les, I met the man who was to be my husband. Thomas was only two years and four days older than me. We seemed to have much in common; a shared love of animals, travel, adventure, the ocean and all it has to offer. I noticed he liked kids and happened to be great w/ all his nieces and nephews. I thought I'd never want any. Growing up, my step mom told me I was selfish and those words were a fiery arrow which pierced my heart. I didn't think I'd be a good mom since I'd have to put another human beings needs and desires before my own. At age10, a palm reader said I wouldn't have kids unless they were step or adopted and a psychic I consulted at age 25 said basically the same thing. I figured I was probably sterile since there were many times I could have been pregnant yet it never came to pass. Anyway, Thomas was the first man I'd known who seemed to have it pretty together. He had a good job, great training and talent in the Culinary Arts. I loved his family - they were great to me. He could sit quietly back, reserved and observant while I couldn't stay quiet or still for long. It seemed together, we brought balance to the other. He lavished me w/ attention and affection, including an adoring way of looking at me. In September, we moved in together and in January of 1994, he proposed.
A month after the proposal, I was in a car accident that rendered me unable to work of finish my third semester at the University of Hawaii in Hilo. My truck was totaled and I didn't receive much for it. I needed treatment 3x a week at first and Thomas faithfully drove me back and forth to my appointments which were an hour drive, one way. I wallowed in self pity and consumed quite a bit of alcohol the first few weeks. My attorney caused me grief to boot. I felt the only person really there for me was Thomas, even though family and friends would call. Of course I improved with time and treatment but I was concerned my neck, upper back and right arm and hand would never be the same. Did I realize then it could have been worse?
On July 16th 1995 Thomas and I were married. On our honeymoon to Costa Rica I expressed a desire to have a child but reconsidered a few days later, thinking maybe we should wait another year. As is the case w/ most first time mothers, I was fearful, not knowing what to expect. On May 3, 1996 our son Makana (Hawaiian word meaning "gift") was born. Since The late 80's I'd thought of myself as a spiritual person. I believed in god, angels, other spirit forces and the power of crystals. I'd pray on occasion. I believed all should follow the 10 commandments. When Makana was born, my spiritual awareness experienced something uniquely different. I knew I'd been blessed, that in my arms I held a miraculous creation from God. In addition to feeling euphoric, I was struck w/ awe. When I was alone w/ my baby and all was still, I sensed God's presence in the room w/ us.
When Makana was 5 mos old, I'd been thinking it would soon be time to return to the work force part time. In considering a sitter for Makana, I didn't know where to turn since we didn't have any family nearby (Thomas' family lives on Oahu) and it's hard to know who you can trust these days. According to what I'm certain was God's plan, I ran into Lorna, an old friend w/whom I used to work. I hadn't seen in her in years. When I asked her what she was doing these days, she said, 'child care.' I immediately inquired about her watching Makana on occasion since I knew she was a Christian. I knew her to be loving, kind, gentle and patient. After about six months, she quit doing childcare since it was interfering w/ the needs of her family.
It was May of 1997 when tensions began to mount due to finances. Thomas' employer The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, closed for four months to do renovations. He received unemployment which wasn't enough to cover the bills. I wasn't working much at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel because during the summer, there wasn't as much work for most banquet servers. I was very critical of Thomas and had thoughts of leaving him. I was an emotional mess.
Things began to look up in September. He was back to work full time and I'd transferred out of Banquets into a full-time positions as a breakfast server. The hours of 5am to noon were perfect since Thomas usually worked 2pm-10 pm. There were times however, when I was expected to work a 7am - 3pm shift and again we needed to find a new sitter. I learned from our neighbors that their friend Martha provided childcare and discovered she was another Christian! So 1-3 days per weeks, she'd watch Makana for 1 - 3 hours a day. Now neither her nor Lorna ever tried pushing their faith on me and I never viewed them as threatening but rather began to consider myself a Christian too since I admired them so much and really didn't see many differences between us. I believed in God and that Jesus existed. I'd changed so much since my teens and early twenty's, I felt fairly certain that if I were to die the next day, I'd go to heaven. It wasn't until later that I understood the verse from Matt: 7:21 "Not everyone who says unto me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven."
And then there was the phone call to place an order w/ the acquaintance who sold Amway. I reached his answering machine and his message ended w/ Jesus' words from John 14:6, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through ME. That left me feeling a little uneasy.
May of 1998, Makana was 2 years old and we took a vacation to the mainland. We began discussing when we should plan to have a second child, even though I wondered secretly if our marriage would last til 'death due us part.' We did conceive soon thereafter and I went out on maternity leave after my 6 month. Prior to this however, a friend of Martha's named Cathy had begun watching Makana since we were "too part time" (Martha needed to fill the spot w/ someone who had full time needs since there is a limit of 5 in Hawaii, as to how many children one can watch). One day, Cathy and I had a conversation regarding our spiritual beliefs and we didn't see eye to eye. Although I felt slightly intimidated, I felt a need to attend church. Both Martha and Cathy attended First Baptist Church Waimea and I knew a couple other people who attended Mana Christian Ohana. I'd been out on leave a few weeks and hadn't attended either one. It was early December 1998, on a Sunday morning when Cathy called me and invited me to church. I showed up and most everyone embraced me, making me feel welcome. I began to hear about God's love and it didn't take long for me to realize I wasn't really a Christian after all. Due to my sin, I was separated from God - since sin can't enter into heaven. Even though I was understanding Jesus paid the price for my sins and rose from the dead, (the greatest example of a supernatural phenomena!). I had not asked Jesus to forgive me, cleanse me and come into my heart. I wanted eternal life and I knew I needed him so I began to let my guard down, not wanting pride to keep me from the truth. Questions arose that needed answering, after all, I didn't want to give myself to the Lord and be a hypocrite about it. For three weeks in a row, during the "time of commitment," I felt hot and shaky. So on January 3, 1999, having an overwhelming need to have my questions answered, I asked Pastor Ted if he and his wife Leah would come over. They showed up about 6:40 and I hadn't eaten dinner. Normally being 7mos pregnant, I would have been famished. I suppose my spiritual hunger took precedence that night. They did their best to answer my questions, taking me through parts of the book of Romans and sharing their own personal experiences. Aspects of Christianity which are difficult to comprehend do undoubtedly exist. I accepted the basic simple truths however. God loves me and has a plan for my life. I'm sinful but Jesus paid the price. With my heart in the right place, I decided to take a leap of faith and receive Him as my personal Savior and Lord. (and after having done so, scriptures that didn't make sense to me, became clear!).
Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him."
Some people say faith or religion is a crutch, it's something for the weak. I say it takes a lot of courage to admit we need someone or something. Jesus tells us his grace is sufficient and in our weaknesses, His power is made perfect - if only we are open to receive. I can't imagine not having Jesus Christ in my life and don't know how I went 31 years without him, now understanding He was what was missing for all those years when I was attempting to fill that void w/ drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy relationships. Walking w/ Him is exciting and He is my source of strength, comfort, joy and peace. I am thankful He is patient and during those times from my past when I was or could have been in a life or death situation, he decided I should live. Luck and coincidence are words which aren't a part of my vocabulary anymore since I know there is the Hand of God at work in my life. I'm thankful for all He's done, is doing and will do, knowing Him to be faithful, knowing He'll never leave me nor forsake me.
If you've been touched by my story and are wanting to have or renew a relationship w/ Jesus Christ, I invite you to pray the following:
Dear Jesus, I know I've sinned. I know you shed your blood and died on the cross for me and then rose again three days later. Thank you for doing that and please forgive me my sins, cleanse me Lord and come into my heart. I need you and I give you permission to be Lord of my life. In Jesus name, Amen.
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