I never dreamed that I’d ever thank God for my traumatic childhood, but now I actually do!  Weeping may endure for (sometimes a very long) night (season), but joy does come in the morning! God has a plan for every life – a plan that will give you more joy and fulfillment than anything you could plan for yourself.  And I didn’t know it, but He was guiding my path before I really knew Him personally.

I had a terrible childhood full of pain, hurt, anger, fear, and rejection. Before I was a Christian, what I experienced was working against me.  But after I got to know the Lord, He used what I experienced to give me compassion and understanding for hurting people.

As long as I could remember my mom and dad had screaming and yelling arguments continually.  There was constant fear and tension.  My father supported a mistress and her two children.  He would come home from work, change, and disappear.  He seldom ate with us.  I didn’t know as a young child that the reason he wasn’t ever home was because he and Mom didn’t get along.  I just thought that there must be something terribly wrong with me for him not to want to be with us. I felt ashamed, rejected, and abandoned.  My dad would drive into the driveway, and Mom would say, “Hush, he’s home,” and we would be terrified, wondering if he would be angry and drunk.

My biggest thrill was the few times my dad would take me to see our local baseball team play.  My mom would ruin it by saying, “He didn’t want to take you.  He phoned all his friends first.  The only reason he took you was because no one else would go.”  The momentary joy and acceptance I felt vanished.

When we were given gifts, the cards would be signed from Mom and Dad.  But Mom would say, “I put it was from him, too, but he doesn’t remember it’s your birthday.” And when I was around ten, Mom would often drive and park in front of the other woman’s house mouthing obscenities and saying what she would do if she found them together.  I would be cold and scared about what would happen if she did.  I just wanted to be home safe in my warm bed.

They had violent arguments. I remember the night my Dad nearly choked Mom to death. I remember the terror…my heart pounding wildly…my two sisters and I were in our rooms petrified. I remember the police coming and worrying what I would say if they questioned me. No matter what I said, one of them would be mad at me!  My mother decided not to press charges.  It would be too humiliating if the truth were made known.

I felt I had this big, terrible secret I couldn’t share with anyone.  We lived out in the country without neighbors my age.  Anyway I couldn’t have a friend visit.  I never knew what would happen next in our house. I didn’t feel really accepted at school either since I was the only minority in the whole school until the fourth grade.  They would be friends one moment.  Then the next moment I was the object of racial insults and ridicule. I felt very lonely.

In junior high, because Dad’s money was spent on “the other woman,” I wore my cousin’s discarded women’s dresses with dress sandals while my classmates wore cashmere sweaters, skirts, and angora bobby sox with oxfords.  The style for glasses was colored, angular frames, and I wore round, flesh-colored frames because they were cheaper.  Outwardly I looked the outcast that I felt I was on the inside.

I was never hugged or kissed or told I was loved by my parents.  They were so full of their own needs, they were blind to the needs of others. The only time I received attention was when I got straight “A’s”.  That carried over into adulthood.  I had to be among the best ones in swim class, bowling league, dancer, housewife.  What a strain!  I couldn’t relax and just have fun!  If I couldn’t be really good in an activity, I just wouldn’t participate.

I dated a lot but stayed a “good” morale girl and married a nice, stable man at 20, and a year later we were thrilled to have a boy first and then a girl.  One of each!  But I had an empty place in my heart, and I was still seeking my father’s love.

Since I always wanted to help people, I tried to fill that void by going as a volunteer to a nearby prison for monthly prerelease classes where we tried to prepare the men for outside.  I also attended post release classes weekly to meet with parolees to discuss problems they may be having. 

Then I selfishly divorced my husband because he was boring and really hurt him and my two children.  After that I lived an immoral life living for pleasure. I’m so glad God looks at our hearts and not what appears on the surface.  He saw the hurting little mixed-up girl and had mercy on me. I was dating a lot and enjoying what I thought was the “new morality”. Now I know there’s no such thing.  It’s only the “old immorality”.  I thought it was all right to have sex if you were in love.  So I was always “in love”.

I quit the volunteer work and went back to being a secretary for Corrections, Youth Authority, and Parole taking tests and advancing. Then they started hiring women as correctional officers. I was among the first women at California Mens Colony, and being a pathfinder was extremely difficult.

You see, I had been running away from God.  Because I had such a bad father image, I thought God was this huge Being in the sky with a lightening bolt ready to zap you if you get out of line.  I thought being a Christian would be dull, difficult, too hard, and no fun.  And I was living for pleasure.  But God kept bringing Christians to me to witness to me away from work.  Then it finally dawned on me that He had a plan for my life and it was better than anything I could plan for myself!  But I knew giving my will meant giving up my birth control pills, giving Him control of my checkbook, and marrying who He wanted for me.  So 1-1/2 years after I started working at the prison, I surrendered to His love.  His love took away my fear of His will for my life!  And it’s been exciting almost daily adventures with Him ever since!

God baptized me in the Holy Spirit when I was alone with Him in a gun tower at 3:50 am!  Then He put me all over that prison showing me who to talk to and what to say.  And inmates and staff started getting born again and later baptized, healed, and delivered all over that prison!  It was worth all the ridicule and persecution from staff as usually two a week and sometimes as many as eight in a day came to know Jesus, one by one. He also brought my husband to me supernaturally through dreams, vision, and Word of Knowledge. But the amazing prison experiences and my God-arranged romance are another story for another time.


Honey French


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