Over the last year several readers have asked me about my "before" life. Sometimes it is very difficult to talk about the hard things in life, but I do feel that it is time for me to share some of me.
In my growing up years, life was very difficult. My father was a very hard man. Our family did not attend any church. My brother, sister and I sometimes went to a church with the older lady across the street from us. Some of the live values I learned was to stay out of the way (away from dad) and that only you can make things happen. Very humanistic.
My father told me all of my life that no man would ever want to marry me. So of course, I married the first man that asked me. He turned out to be my father all over again, just 20 years younger. Why do we do this??? The only highlight of this marriage was my beautiful daughters, H and L. One night this man almost put me in the hospital (I ended up black and blue all over my legs and back, and had a black eye) I had finally had enough, and had developed enough strength and courage to take the girls and we left him. We moved from the south back up to NY to be near my mother (who had remarried) and a very close girlfriend. I should have left him years sooner, but you do only what you can at the time. I do still kick my self some about this.
In NY, I got the girls settled in school and found an apt. and started to learn to live again. I met a good man - He was my prince. At the time that I met him, I did not know that he had a very bad drinking problem. I was naive- and Bill was such a great guy. You have to understand that I had been around some really BAD guys- so drinking at meals didn't seem so bad to me at that time.
We got married, and I loved him so much. He really was a good guy. We ended up moving back to the south for his job. Than his company was bought out and in order to stay working we would have had to move to the mid west- He had kids in NY and I had kids in high school so we really did not want to move. He took early retirement and played golf everyday for about a year.
When he got bored of this, he bought our first restaurant. It was a NY style deli and bakery in a food court. We did have fun running this-- and after about 6-8 months, Bill bought a large full service, bar and restaurant. We had 40 employees and learned a lot about people and running restaurants. We however really didn't know what we were doing- The previous owner knew that a highway by-pass was almost finished and that new restaurants were going up out on the by pass that lead traffic around the city. We eventually had to close down the business and lay off all our employees. We didn't go bankrupt, and we paid off every creditor- (took me a long time). It was so difficult. Bill never got over this.
Between the 2 restaurants we lost everything we had- his retirement funds, my retirement funds, inheritances from his father and from his aunt, the money from our house in NY and from our house in Ky. We lost over a million dollars. I would love to have my retirement funds back.....
My first husband had been active in a church, but than would come home and was physically and mentally abusive to me. It did not give me a good picture of the church. My father gave me a horrible picture of a father. This made it hard to figure out where I really fit in this world. Bill was a radical atheist. He talked to people about it- He believed it. If all Christians would have befriended and talked to people like Bill did- boy what a difference. Our life style was very humanistic, NO God- No one who cared at all. With my background it was not difficult at all for me to follow right in Bills footsteps and become atheistic.
All thorough the years of the restaurants, Bill drank heavier and heavier. And it was easy, we owned a bar-- When we closed them, I took a job as an accountant. We needed the health insurance and the income. Bill never worked again. He started drinking first thing in the morning and I never knew what he would be like when I walked in the door at 5 after work. There were several Christians at my new job. Our life was hard- we had lost everything. I had lost my husband to the bottle.
I began looking for something that I could believe in. As I was questioning God, He sent lots of people into my life. Over several months, I was invited to go to a passion play (to a dress rehearsal). The minister of the church where this was held sat with me and explained parts of it as it went along. He talked to me about Christ and becoming a Christian. I decided at that time to trust Jesus as my Savior.
So, I went back to church on Sunday morning to do this! I put my full trust in Jesus on Palm Sunday 1997. After church, I went home and Bill and I talked about all of this-- I knew that it would make changes in our life. I really did not know how Bill would take my becoming a Christian. I do know that we loved each other. I also knew that I had a deep void in my life and only God could fill it. Bill listened to the plan of salvation (as much of it as I knew from that morning!) Bill did not accept Christ. He did not argue with me at all- He did say he did not want to be a church widow- and I said that I would not be in church everyday-- ;)
Monday, after Palm Sunday, I went to work and shared that I had become a believer. The beginning of that week was normal. Nothing different that I can even look back and see- Bill was drinking VERY heavy but that was not different. When I came home from work on Wed afternoon, I found my beloved husband dead. Unless you have been in this kind of place, you really do not know what it is like. I lost my best friend, my lover, my husband- yes, he drank, but he was a good guy. I still miss him. I am so glad that I found God in a deep real way before Bill passed away. I am not sure, I would have continued to "look" if I had not made that decision first. It is true, God knows what we need and what we can bare. That next months were almost unbearable. I was a new believer- so no Church family- I did have the Christians at my job, and I held onto that.
So, there I was a widow, broke, new empty-nester (my younger daughter moved to a city 5 hours south of me just a few months before Bill passed away) and my older daughter and my grand daughter lived in an apt several miles away. Empty condos are horrible. I am so glad that I had God, and I held onto Him.
After several months, Juan and I started to have dinner together- he was single and now I was, and we both had to eat. We had our first date more than a year later. We became really close friends. Juan had become a believer in his high school years. He was very stable in my big UPS and Downs-- Juan and I married in 2001. I am so glad that the Lord gave me another good guy- a Believer, my life is totally different than before. Juan is a bit younger than I am and he wanted children. That was the reason for our first adoption.Then the Lord placed on our hearts the great need to "take care of widows and orphans" and than the 2nd and 3rd adoptions just came as He saw fit.
Really, it is hard to write about years of "happenings" in a nutshell. I hope that this helps someone who is reading this. If you have been a reader of my blog, you know that I am totally open about everything- if you have questions or wonder about something- do not hesitate to ask me.
God is Good - ALL the time. I believe this and I am staking my life on this.
Blessings, Pamela Dawn