Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Live a life worthy of being followed after is the subject I am about to type out. Now, please do not take offense here, I am merely sharing myself and I struggle in this area as well, so bear with me and read until the end. The above photo is one I use when I share my testimony and it displays the two sides of my personality while I was in the middle of my struggle with a drug addicted husband. This picture depicts what I was and what I have now become. I was depressed and terrified. I was without hope and hurting. Since then I have become positive and hopeful in all areas of my life. I have learned to lean on God for all provision in my life and it has brought me to a place where I feel more stable in being a good example as a parent. You need to become what you want your children to be. How can anyone expect their children to be shining examples in society when behind the scenes they are continually exposed to a whole different world?
I grew up in a home where my mom and dad constantly were at war. They screamed and swore. My mom threw things at my dad. My mom had a nasty name for every minute of my dads’ existence. When I was 16 my parents decided to finally get divorced and as I was having lots of problems with my mom at the time, I chose to live with my dad. On that day after we left the court house, my dad, whom I had never really gotten to know, began a journey of becoming the person I was to follow after. My dad quit drinking. He quickly learned he was now the parent completely responsible for a teenager. My mom went to live with my grandma in a nearby town and I rarely had contact with her until I became pregnant with my son. Without my mom in the picture I began to see how loving my daddy really was. He took care of my every need while teaching me life lessons along the way.
He showed me how to be responsible and helped me buy my own car and keep it running. He taught me to be honest and trusted me to make the right choices for my life while not being too harsh. After mom left I did not hear the swearing any more and I tried to eliminate it from my life. I admit I was doing things my father would not have been proud of me for like drinking and smoking and out of what I thought was “respect” I hid these things from him. When I met my husband, dad paid for lots of things like our trailer and things for the kids without having a clue that most of our money was going for my husbands drug addiction and that’s why we struggled so badly financially. If anything my dad taught me how to be patient and loving. He showed my that no matter what, he would do what he could for me and my family.
Then there came a time when dad began to see what was going on and now that I am separated from my husband, he tries even harder to help out. My dad would give his last dollar to someone if they really needed it. I find it hard to understand why my mom had such hatred for my dad, it is not the side I see. As I am a single parent for now, I have some strengths but I also feel as though I have failed my children in so many ways. As I was in the process of writing my book Addicted to An Addict I wrote the chapter about the bulk of what we went through and though I had forgiven my husband for what we went through, I was overcome with guilt about what I allowed my children to see. They never really got to see what a real family is like. Now I know there is no perfect families out there, however, they could have done without the screaming matches and the swearing. They should have seen more love and less violence in our relationship. Not that I wanted to spoil my kids, but they could have had so much more if our money had been spent properly.
I have two wonderful children that I wonder sometimes how they survived the wreckage of our marriage. What example did we give them for a normal family life? Have they gleaned anything worthy from our lifestyle? Or did they just learn what “not to do” for their lives? As I grow in the things of God, I find myself desiring to be better. I try so hard to keep swearing out of my vocabulary and it is hard when I get upset, yet I have come a long way from three years ago. I am not aspiring to be a perfect parent, I just want my kids to be loving and kind to all they come in contact with. I want them to learn patience and how to argue without hurting. I desire for them to be happy and not be walked on by another person. I want them to find careers and do what they really want to do in life and not settle for second best. If I want this for them, I must also want it for me.
My son struggles with how a loving God could leave me in such a predicament for so long and I had to explain to him that I went through what I did because of my own choices and that I had become trapped and thought I had no way out. He fails to see through the hurt just how God pulled me from the pit I had fallen into and gave me a second chance to change my life. After writing the chapter in my book and realizing the damage I may have done to my kids, I could not even open my computer to work on the book for three months. The pain was too bad. God had given me my children and He trusted me to take care of them. I felt as though I had let God down in the process. I since then have found forgiveness and am working on rebuilding myself. In discovering myself, I have begun to set a bar for my kids. I have learned a few things along the way and each day I grow closer to God’s destiny for my life. I just pray my children will follow after me and not the world and its’ ways for I love them with all my heart and always will love them no matter what, just like my daddy who adopted me so many years ago does to this day.