It was 1976 and I was 12 years old and I was heading into the 7th grade. Junior High. This was generally a hard year anyway, being a 7th grader going into their first year of junior high. That was only made so much worse by all of the other garbage going on.
Mom was getting sicker. We had moved into yet another different apartment but in a different town this time. We had to meet new kids all over again. We still moved from apartment to apartment every year for the next five years but since we lived in the same school district we didn’t have to change schools. That didn’t turn out to be a good thing though. The kids that hated us when we first got there just hated us even worse each passing year.
Mom was finally coming out of catholacism this year, because she heard the Lord tell her to get out of the catholic church as fast as she could. So she began her search for Jesus with everything she had. She started calling a few of the local ‘christian churches’ in the area and asking them if they had anyone who would come out to talk to her. Well she found a church that finally actually did have a couple of people that would come out to see her. They came out and they talked to her for a good while. She was finding Jesus. One time these people offered to pick us up and bring us to their church. It was a non denominational christian church. I remember the pastor so well. He was a Jewish man, who had come to believe Jesus as Savior. He was so nice, thoughtful and so kind to me. He was so joyous and bubbly. I wanted to live there. I never wanted to leave. I felt such a peace there. It was here, at this church, when I met Jesus. After going for some time, I went to the front on an alter call and cried right there and gave my life and my heart to Him. That was a stepping stone that day. A major turning point in my life. I was so happy when I was with Him in that church. I read my bible and took it everywhere. I took it to the school full of horrible mean kids and tried to save them all. Of course none of them listened, but seeds were planted.
One time though, mom was invited to go to a woman’s group at someone’s house. Mom brought me along with her. I had no idea what I was in for. We sat and talked for a little while. One of the ladies had asked me if I had ever received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I told her no. So before I knew what was happening, all of those ladies gathered around me laying hands on me, all over me, and started praying all at once, and praying in tongues all at once. I was so scared I started crying and ran out as fast as I could. From that moment on I was convinced that the “gift of tongues” was demonic.
But my whole brand new relationship would soon come crashing down. A giant separation would form between me and my Jesus.
I met a boy. Well I actually didn’t meet him at first. I met one girl who had become my best friend, just before that, and I was with her at a local park; one of the few times mom let me out of the house. This boy “serpent” was there with two of his friends. I was captivated. He wasn’t even that cute. But I made a vow that I wouldn’t stop till I married that kid. (Horrible, hu??) I left my beautiful relationship with Jesus for a relationship with “serpent”. I called across the park to him that he was cute. He called back and asked me to go out with him. I called back and said yes. That was at the beginning of the summer and I didn’t see him again until the beginning of that school year, 7th grade. I saw him when I first got to school that year and he would turn the other direction when he’d see me. I’d follow him till I caught up with him, and he’d finally talk to me. He’d never talk long though and was not nice to me when he did. But I hung on. I chased him relentlessly through that entire school year, no matter how he treated me.
Mom started getting sicker, more rigid and shaking more, and started needing so much more help than I was already giving her. She eventually became bedridden. I became her keeper, her nurse, her personal aide, her power of attorney, her maid, her chef, and so, so, so much more. My older sister was out of the house by this time because she had her own set of problems from her own abuse, so she couldn't help me with the responsibility of mom. She had gotten pregnant at age 14 and had a son at age 15. And my younger sister "had such good grades in school" that no one wanted to give her any of the responsibility, so it was all mine. “The dad from across the street” would do nothing but yell at me to take care of her. I had to cook for her, bathe her, clean her with bed baths, get up and scratch her itches. I had to hold empty coffee cans underneath her as she stood beside her bed so that she could go to the bathroom into them. I was made to become her power of attorney and make life and death decisions for her. I had to plan and schedule doctor appoints for her and I had to wheel her in her wheel chair to the appointments. I had to wash her hair in her bed and clean her private parts for her. (Not something a child that age should ever have to see or do…) I had to sleep on the floor right next to moms' bed with yarn tied to her wrist and to mine so that she could pull it to get me up at night to help her move or turn or to scratch an itch. I was being made to get up so often at night; many times I couldn't hear her when she would call me. They made me do all the family dishes that piled up from morning to night every day or “the dad from across the street” threatened me that he would put them all in my bed under my blankets. And they had to be spotless clean, no grease, or I’d really get in trouble.
Mom had so many fears. When “the dad from across the street” was gone out working, and someone would knock on the door, mom would make us all hide in closets and under beds and behind furniture and not make a sound, so that no one would hear us or be able to see through the curtains and see that we were home. Can you imagine this? Young children having such fear instilled into them. She did not want to answer the door for anyone. She wouldn’t answer the phone and wouldn’t allow us to. She wouldn’t allow us to go outside except for school and back. We were stuck in the house all the time, with no privileges hardly at all.
No one knew it then, but me having RLS myself, now, I know that what she had going on with her legs was definitely RLS. She would always sleep and have severe leg jumps, and would always tell me that she had electricity in her legs and ask if I would push down on her thighs so that they would stop. I never realized what it was until I grew up and got RLS myself. I finally understand why she would ask me to put pressure on her thighs. It relieves the feeling of electricity at least a little bit. She would ask me to say “one nice word” to her and if I did, it would help her come out of all of the stiff rigidity that she was in and she’d get some relief from it for a little while. I couldn’t even do that much for her. I stood there, after so much abuse and so much horrible things that she demanded of me, and she wanted a nice word? I prayed that I could open my mouth though, and give her one. But none would come out. I would just stand there and cry.