They say that when you don’t deal with issues from your past, they cause chaos and pain until you are ready to face your demons. It’s true. Bay lived that very life. Raped by a family friend at the age of 14, she didn’t want to face it. Her mother knew something was off and persuaded her to see a counselor. She was cutting, she was smoking cigarettes, and her outward self was screaming about her inner pain despite how hard she was trying to suppress her secret scars.
She didn’t know God then. In fact, she was on the complete opposite spectrum, dabbling in paganism and witchcraft. Had she known the healing that God’s love could bring into her life, she may have taken another path. Instead, she walked right into the darkness, and it was closing in on her. Not being able to bear the pain of such a terrible thing, she finally confided to her doctor. An investigation immediately began, and in a moment of guilt or perhaps fear of public humiliation, her perpetrator killed himself. But that didn’t make her feel any better. In fact, she didn’t feel anything at all.
She was cracking. Getting it off her chest helped, but she needed professional help. Bay was checked into four mental institutions but rather than making progress, she was raped two other times, began using meth, marijuana, and developed a few other unhealthy addictions as well. She was losing control, not that she had ever had it, but she knew that there was one thing she could control: her own ability to live. She attempted to kill herself. Fortunately, though, God had other plans for Bay, and despite her 2 tries at it, she lived.
Although she had been unfairly robbed of her teenage years, she was trying to do the right things: graduate high school then off to college in Independence, Kansas. The party lifestyle sucked her in though and some of her worse addictions came back to rear their ugly heads. Before she knew it, she was skipping class, and then not even going at all. It was during this time that Bay had met a new boyfriend. He seemed like a good guy, and before long, she was coming to Muskogee, Oklahoma to stay with him. It was this choice that would change the course of her life forever.
Love was in the air. And she fell hard for him. Their relationship was blossoming, and in the midst of this, he had inadvertently introduced her to God. He was showing her how prevalent the devil was in our society, and he even had video evidence to prove it. So, if the devil was real, then God had to be real too, right? She was saved on November 28th, 2016. This started her on a long journey of faith, questions, and eventually healing, but we’ll come back to that.
They had 2 children, but over the course of their relationship, he started to show a side of himself that made her uneasy. She had been in abusive relationships in the past, but the shame from a verbally abusive comment or the sting of a hard shove or slap didn’t hurt near as much as when this man did it. Her love for him was real, unlike the other times, so it made it very difficult to leave. She was a strong young woman though, and she knew she didn’t deserve to be treated that way. She gave him plenty of chances to change, but when he dug an elbow into her head and pinned her to their couch, she was done. But how would she survive?
A single mom, nowhere to go, in a completely different state: the odds were stacked against her. So, she packed her bags to go back home to Kansas. They agreed to share the children, so she took their 1-month-old baby boy, and he took their 1-year-old daughter. Apparently, that agreement was just one-sided though, because he filed for custody for both children soon after she moved. And as it always seemed to in her life, things just got worse. She received a devastating blow: her mom had been in a car wreck, and they weren’t sure if she would make it. Bay’s world was turned upside down, and although she had found God, she was still a baby in her walk of faith. This series of events was too much for her, and she turned away from God, feeling that He had turned away from her.
While her mother was in the fight for her life in the hospital, Bay did her best to stay by her side for the month before she was released, but all the while, her kids were on her mind. A week after her mom came home, Bay was headed back to Oklahoma to fight her own fight. She was going to see her kids. She got into Muskogee, stayed in a hotel and with friends, but without a solid game plan for housing, she eventually came to Gospel Rescue Mission. Here she was, homeless and losing more of her faith every day.
However, this journey was going to restore her faith and help her to grow spiritually, more than she ever could’ve imagined. She began working the GRM program, attending church, and reading her Bible. She loves praise and worship and enjoys singing at church. Sometimes you can even catch her singing, while another guest pipes in on the piano. She is still working to get on her feet and get custody of her children. She still finds herself messing up and falling prey to the temptations of this world, but she is still working on it. And that’s ok!
When we commit our lives to Christ, does he call us to be
perfect? Does he say, you can only come to Me if you are totally sinless? We’re
all completely imperfect, completely dependent on Christ Jesus. We look to Him
to heal our hurt, take away our pain, and give us unconditional love and grace,
even when we fall. This is where our story finds Bay (and all the rest of us,
even the church) today: an imperfect mess striving to “…go and sin no more,”
(John 8:11 KJV).