Tone’s Faith Story
Dear Home of My Past…
Home of my mourning.
Home of physical, psychological, and emotional abuse.
Home to a mother and father yet to break their own cycle of abuse.
In you I felt not wanted, a mistake, an accident. Thankfully my siblings made it clear there was some value in me, although it took over a decade for me to discover what that meant. As a result of feeling worthless, self-regulating my emotions was not my strong suite. As a result of being quick to anger or fits of crying, abuse quickly flew my way. Besides being beaten for the smallest infractions including spilling a gallon of milk or saying I was sorry too much, there were the verbal attacks. At the time I could not comprehend how anyone could save me from this past nor did I conceive home could be anything but you.
With Regard for What Has Shaped Me,
Dear Home of My New Beginning…
You came in the form of my brother-in-law, Mike. He, too came from a past that was less than desirable and yet he had a hope I had never known. He married my sister, Gina, while I was in middle-school and shortly after his family took me to church.
I remember going into the service and hearing a very passionate message given by the pastor. I cannot remember all he said, but I do remember feeling at peace with the message: if I turned from my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I would have everlasting life with God. This good news was so clearly portrayed, I prayed Jesus would take over my heart. At 11 years old He did and I have never been the same. But when you are raised without understanding of your self-worth and become a Christian, the new journey can be bumpy.
On the journey I dated a lot of guys, drank my sorrows away, and lived like a chameleon. I forgot who I was and whose I was. Deep down God had a hold of me, but like a parent of an unwieldy toddler, he could not get a hold of my life. It would not be until the next decade of my life that I would walk confidently with Him in the Home of My Present.
With Gratefulness for This Time of Growth,
Dear Home of My Present…
Thank you, Lord, for the Home of My Present. After a life changing trip where I recommitted my life to Christ, I met my husband, Brian. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, and at the time was sensing a call to become a missionary and pursue the single life. So when Brian, my husband, and I were placed on the same RA staff in college and that spark was there, you can imagine I was very confused.
How could this God who was showing me my self-worth could be found in Him place a relationship in my life once I had finally learned to lean on Him and Him alone? It’s because that’s what God does. He brings love to the loveless. He brings hope to the hopeless. He brings home to the homeless; I mean this in the physical and spiritual sense. I don’t think we ever really come home until we join God in heaven, but He gives us little glimpses of what that future might be like on this side of heaven.
God helped me find my people. God led me to understand I am worth something. God shows me through His people I am loved beyond my wildest imagination.
I am so thankful for my husband who shows me what it’s like for Christ to love his church and for my kids who demonstrate that it’s possible to grow up in a healthy environment. And, honestly, I am thankful for my parents. Even though they got a lot of things wrong, God broke the cycle of abuse with each of my siblings and I think that’s a huge praise. And it’s beautiful because it illustrates what I think coming home really means. It’s not about places, it is about people. God uses people to help us find our home in Him.
With Gratitude and Hope for My Eternal Home,