8 years ago this month, my entire life changed. I was 18. I was out of control. I was struggling with a drug addiction, alcoholism, and a million other things. I had recently been diagnosed bipolar, and I was out. of. control. Then in January of 2002, I met Eric, and my life has never been the same. On Valentine's Day that year he kissed me for the first time, and we began dating exclusively. He made me feel like a person, and not a thing to be passed around for every one's pleasure. I was in love with being in love and I wanted nothing more than to get married and start a family. I wanted nothing more than to get out.
I had just moved into an apartment with my brother, and things were rough. Eric and I had only been dating a few weeks when I made the absolute biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. I decided that since I had a week off of school I was going to go to Montgomery. I had gone to college previously there for a few months, and I wanted to go visit my best friend and surrogate big sister. Boy did those plans go awry. As I pulled into Montgomery, I pulled up at a red light next to a guy that I had... liked.. while I was at college the previous fall. I followed him on to campus and directly to his apartment. We went up and hung out. It was nice to be with old friends. And then, well, life went to hell in a hand basket. His room mate walked in.
I had known this guy since I was 14. That's a whole other post, how we met, but he was one of
my.. heroes, so to speak. One of the guys I looked up to. He had been there for me through some really rough times, and I thought the world of him. But then I began to see just who he really was. We immediately started 'dating'. I stayed there with him in his apartment. It was like a whirlwind. After 4 days I was in his bed. After a week he was talking marriage. He had me call Eric and tell him I couldn't be with him, that I found someone I could love forever, someone I could marry. I was in over. my. head. He was the most manipulative person I've ever met in my life. Everything he did was better than me. I was weaker than him. His car was better than mine. He was a better volleyball player. He was stronger. He was smarter. I was inferior in every way. It drove me insane. After two weeks, the night before it was time to go home we were wrestling around in the living room of his apartment. We had been drinking, and he was out of control. It didn't end well. The next morning, I left. I drove the 12 hours home, mostly in tears. It took me two or three weeks of emailing and phone calls to tell him to leave me alone. It wasn't easy, as he was very possessive, and obsessive.
Luckily for me, God is amazing and so is Eric. He was waiting for me when I got home at my brother's apartment. He wasn't happy with what he saw, and after weeks of talking and being together, we finally started "dating" again. I do not deserve him. I did not deserve for him to take me back, to forgive me so unconditionally. But he did. And he amazes me every single day, and I am so grateful.
A few months later I moved out of my brother's apartment, and back to my parents house. I couldn't deal with that, either. I started spending more and more time at Eric's house. He had just bought his first house, and I was basically living out of a bag. I was living my fairy tale, though. I had my own house, with no one to tell me what to do, or where to go. I was free, and it was amazing. I ended up moving in with him full time in the summer of 2002. My parents were not happy about it, but they didn't stop me. Not that they could have. But they didn't try. I am not proud of the fact that we lived together before we were married, but I needed out. It was live with my brother and endure that abuse, or live with my parents and endure the emotional abuse of my mother (which I'm still not really capable of getting into). I just wanted to be loved, and with Eric, I was. So very much so.
I was still struggling with the drug addiction, but I kept it very well hidden. On Valentine's Day 2003 Eric proposed. We were married May 10th that same year. Some time between the engagement and the wedding the drug problem had spiraled completely out of control. I was using cocaine and Ecstasy and a fairly regular basis. I remember that I got high at my bachelorette party. I got high once after we were married too. I could spend hours telling you my theories on why I was so messed up at that point, but I'm sure you all can extrapolate. Then.. then life really changed.
6 weeks after our wedding I found out I was pregnant with our sweet girl Ali. I remember going into our preacher's office and sitting down in the chair in front of his desk. We spent 4 hours talking about almost everything. He knew I was holding out though. He kept trying to get me to tell him, but I couldn't. I promised myself I wouldn't ever tell anyone. But getting the rest of it off of my chest was like a weight lifting. From that day forward, I was a new person. I have been clean since June of 2003, and it's an amazing feeling. I have had alcohol several times since then, but not in excess, not like I used to.
And now I here I sit, married for almost 7 years, mom to two beautiful children. I teach Sunday school and lead women's Bible studies. I am a lover, a giver, and a loyal fierce friend. All because God placed this wonderful man into my life. All because he orchestrated events in such a way that I would get my happily ever after. And I am so very thankful that he did.
Looking back now I can see God's hand in almost everything that happened. There really wasn't any reason for me to wake up and decide to quit college one morning. But because I did I met Eric, and I am safe and I am loved. And it is such an amazing feeling.
So If you've managed to make it through these posts, if you've managed to read your way through all of this, know that there is hope. There is hope that with God you can come out on the other side. There is hope that you can discover peace and joy. That you can turn you life around. God can bring beauty out of the ugliest of things, and I'm beginning to see that I am living proof of just that.
I'm a wife. I'm a mom. I'm a photographer. I'm a lover of Jesus. My house is a mess, my kids are dirty, we eat take out more often than not. My life is loud, busy and crazy. And that's okay with me.
This is Eric, the man you've been praying for. He's a paramedic. He quilts in his spare time. No, I couldn't make that up :) He has NASH (a form of liver disease, non-alcoholic) and diabetes, but those things don't define him. He's a man of God, an insanely wonderful husband, and the best daddy in the world.. Just ask these guys..
Our daughter Ali, she's 9. She's fiercely opinionated and strong willed. She's a Daddy's girl, but the umbilical cord hasn't but cut from me, either. She's a gymnast, and proud of it. She spends more time upside down or turning flips than she does walking. She's crazy smart, and absolutely sure of it. She is my insufferable little know it all.
Our son Dylan, 7. We lovingly refer to him as Chubs. Or Chubby. Or fat boy. Ahem. He is all boy, as you can see by his crazy wild energy. He has the highest pain tolerance of any child I have ever met. He plays soccer and does gymnastics, but truly he is a gamer, a nerd. He is an avid reader and loves to climb. Not to be outdone by his sister, he's a drama king, but to him, I'm the best mommy in the world.
I'm here to use my voice. So many people can't. In a world of darkness, I just want to help God's light to shine through. I pray that my words are His, and my love is His, as well. This is my journey through the darkness. To start are the beginning of the story, click here.