Friday, June 15, 2012

My Testimony Part 4: We had no idea what kind of place it really was.

PART ONE HERE: where-it-all-began-part-1
PART TWO HERE: along-for-ride
PART THREE HERE: can-anyone
Please note that the only glory I want to bring is to God. I am so thankful that He has allowed me to be where I am today. This series is going to serve 2 purposes.
 1. To glorify God, I feel like I need to tell it without shame and  
2. Hopefully to help someone come back, or decide to come, or decide not to go. 

The following words are extremely hard to publish, and I know they will get harder, but here they are- from my heart:

Our plans were great in our eyes, we were going to get jobs and find an apartment together and basically wait until we were too old for anybody to do anything when we went back. Right now, we wanted to party, so we could forget. 

We partied. But we couldn't forget. 

I woke up the next morning not knowing where I was. I had tried so hard to forget it all, but the sleepless night before told me I wasn't sure that was going to happen. My first rational thought was that it was Sunday. Would our parents go to church? Would service be the same as always?

Karen and I counted our money, realizing we didn't actually have that much left. We both blamed each other, and we ended up not talking the rest of the day. In the course of the next five days, we tried to have as much fun as possible. Except for the 50+ phone calls I didn't answer, we thought we did. We saw tons of movies, (most of them Spanish), went roller skating, went to the mall. Our naviete almost got us in trouble so many times. (EDIT: I still am in awe of what we saw and had no idea what we were being around. God is so good!) We saw people doped up, saw the paraphernalia, we went on drug deal rides, but didn't have a clue what we were seeing until months and years later. I wanted to escape, but there was seemingly no way out! (EDIT AGAIN: JESUS is ALWAYS the way out. He will make a way out of ANYthing!!!!)

We both realized we were out of money, out of time, and Karen's boyfriend was afraid of getting in serious trouble. He took us to the middle of St. Louis and dropped us off. We walked to a Dennys and slowly ate some fries. Not talking. Not knowing what to do. Could barely stay awake. A week of almost no sleep was staring to catch up with us. I could barely think straight. Literally.

We realized that we were living like homeless people while we both had beds to sleep on in warm houses in Las Vegas. "Lets go back," we agreed together. We cleaned out our pockets, we figured we had no choice, but to go back. 

We left outside and ran to a payphone in zero degree weather. This was one of the many times that we go to pray together for protection, and realize, we were running from Him too. We made our calls, and no one would come get us. "Turn yourselves in, " they said, "Call the police." We called and three police cars showed up to arrest us. My hand was almost frostbitten from griping the phone, and I was freezing in only a sweater. The police took us to the station. The policeman was very nice on the ride in. Then he sat us down in his office. He threatened to throw us in the tank, told us that he was arresting us, but must have had pity because he didn't put cuffs on us. Then they left the room. We waited and waited and waited. Then they took us to a youth halfway house of sorts. 

The police communicated with our parents and it was decided that we would go home by plane the next afternoon. We arrived at the airport nine days from when we had left. This time there were no stories made up to the driver. We still wondered why we had done what we had done. We wondered if we could ever begin to fix it. When we got off the plane there were hugs and tears. We had no idea what relationships we had changed forever.

We never really got in trouble for what we did. In fact, I remember stopping for Wendy's frosties on the way home from the airport. But it tasted like glue. There was no groundings, no curfews, no privileges take away. The pain we saw that we had made others endure made us feel like we had committed a much higher crime, and gotten away with it.  But there was also no trust. 

This was only the beginning, as life went on, and I returned to school, everyone knew what I had done. Out in public, I wondered who saw the MISSING posters with my pictures on them. I skipped school, spaced out at church, and really was destined to fail. Finally I had enough of all the trouble and regrets, so when someone offered me a refuge to get away in a place I had never been before, I willingly accepted. 

When I got out of the car the only thing I could smell was the ocean, I felt the cold air, and I saw the fog, but I sensed something greater. I had been searching, but I felt like I was finally coming home. 

I never want to glorify what I have done or where I have come from. I do wish I could keep someone else from making the same mistakes. The mistake of not seeing the danger sign, of not seeing that even over the edge it is possible to climb back up. The sooner the better! What heartache we would have saved if we had gone back after the first block away!!! The house we stayed in? Full of backslidders. All who didn't think they could ever go back to church. As we sat there consuming a beverage we thought would make it all go away, all we talked about was church. All we wanted was church. But somehow, we just knew we couldn't go! Oh! How I wish things were different for everyone there those nights. Last I heard they are all deep in the holds of sin. Thank God for where He has brought me from!!!

I welcome your feedback! Please feel free to leave comments. There is more to the story, but let me know if you want to hear it! :) Maybe the rest is something that will just unfold through my posts on this blog? Or maybe there is questions you want to know? If my story has helped you, let me know! Thoughts? You can also email me as well. Thanks to all of you who have come on this journey of my life's testimony!!!

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