Ashley's Story

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When I was young my parents divorced, so I didn’t grow up in a house with two parents. My Mom decided after the divorce to move to California, so she moved us off the reservation away from our family. Soon after she moved, she remarried. My Stepfather sexually abused my sister and me.

My mom had a choice to make.  She decided to stay with this guy, and give up custody of my sister and me to our father. At that time we moved back to the reservation with our Dad.  Both of us thought that our lives were going to be happy with this new arrangement.  Our dad remarried, and then had two more children from this new marriage. My sister and I always felt that we took a back seat to everybody, and never really felt like we had a place in this family.  

My stepmother was very emotionally and physically abusive.  At the age of fifteen, I decided that I couldn’t live like that any more.  I left home and went out on my own. When I was sixteen, I got a boyfriend.  Then I got pregnant.  Around that time I also started drinking.  I continued to make a lot of bad choices in my life.  I found my comfort in alcohol, drugs, and men. By this time I was really feeling a lot of my childhood issues: abandonment, shame, guilt, and hurt. After years of drinking and pursuing a lot of sexual relationships, my life was falling apart.

When I got married, my husband was an alcoholic.  He would binge drink a lot.  He’d leave for days, and even months at a time.  We moved to a new state, and found ourselves surrounded by neighbors who loved Jesus.  One neighbor in particular would always come over and visit me.  I was pretty cool to her, because I knew she was Christian, and I felt like that wasn’t for me. I knew that Jesus was part of the white man’s religion. My dad was very traditional, and really was very outspoken against anything having to do with Jesus.

I continued to put off my neighbor, but she would always ask if she could pray for me.  Even though I was resistant, she would pray anyway. No matter how poorly I treated her, she was always loving toward me. Through her consistency, kindness, and love, I realized there was a peace and a joy about her that I really wanted. I wanted to feel whole again after feeling robbed of my childhood and my innocence. So I started asking her a lot of questions about where that peace that she had came from. She told me that peace came from her relationship with Jesus.

I decided to start going to church with her.   Eventually, I decided to give my life to Jesus.  I found that Jesus was able to restore all of my hopelessness, and all of my guilt, all of my shame from my childhood.  He restored me and made me feel whole again. I still go through hard times, and my life is far from perfect.  But I know when I go through trials or hard times I can give it all to Jesus.  When I give it all to Him, I know everything is going to be okay.