Manaugh_Selfie2Let me tell you about a stubborn girl and her amazing God!

I was raised by a single-mom and her parents until I was 7. My Grandparents were the most loving and kind caregivers a girl could ever ask for. I remember my early years in a positive light. My Grandfather was essentially my “Dad”.

I looked up to him; he was my best friend. My birth father was never a part of my life. Grandpa filled that gap and it hurt less with him caring for me.

I believe that God gifted me those years, and my grandparents, to carry me through the storm I was about to enter. How I wish I would have had this verse before the storm.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” ~ Isaiah 43:2 ESV

In 1996, my mom and I moved away from my grandparents, and within a year, she married. I was adopted by her husband and was so excited to have a “Real Dad”. I felt so lucky to be loved by him and obligated to make him happy. I felt our relationship was determined by me. Soon a little sister and twin brothers joined the family. They were another gift from God that pulled me through the storm.

The dysfunctions began to enter our family from the beginning. It wasn’t more children that caused the change. It wasn’t money, it wasn’t work, well, human work anyway. The facade of a happy family began cracking almost immediately. The assaults from Satan began and slowly dysfunction took control of the family.

Over the years, I was neglected and physically, emotionally, and verbally abused by my mother and was sexually, emotionally, and physically abused by my adoptive father. I was groomed for this abuse over the years, and my siblings were the leverage that kept me quiet.

My mother struggles with severe depression which made the grooming that much easier for my adoptive father. I was constantly told negative things about my mother, and eventually, I believed them. My relationship with my mother was more of a power struggle from then on.

To escape, I followed my adoptive father anywhere I could, and that made working with him even more appealing. We lived on a secluded ranch and I loved horses. My childhood horse, Bones,turned out to be another of God’s gifts during my childhood.

The abuse from both parents escalated and became particularly bad in my adolescent years. I endured hours of counseling to “fix” me, overdosed on medications, cut on my wrists, and engaged in inappropriate relationships with “boyfriends”.

None of it worked, and neither did the occasional church visit or singing about God. I was sure He had abandoned me. I had no idea what I had done wrong and was sure I was the naughtiest and dirtiest girl on Earth.

I cursed God, I shook my fists at Him, I questioned Him, and I dared Him to prove His existence.

When nothing spurred Him to action, I swore that I was not fit to be loved by God And that I wouldn’t love Him either. I spent the next chapter of my life hating the God that had not saved me, and hating myself.

When I left home, I thought I could take control of my life. I made my plans, I tried to do things “right” to follow the rules, and I called myself a failure when things fell apart over and over again. I purposefully distanced myself from my parents, following my marriage and the birth of my daughters, for the safety and well-being of everyone involved.

After years of pain, anger, and hurt, I hit rock bottom with severe depression and anxiety. I sought out counselors and medications for relief. It wasn’t until November 12th, 2015 that I heard and listened to God speaking to me. He used my childhood friend, Bones, to open my heart.

Bones was put to sleep, by my adoptive father,on November 11th, 2015. My heart was broken. I hadn’t seen Bones for years. I had shed many tears in his mane, told him my deepest secrets, and when the dysfunction was too much, I rode away from it on his back.

He saved me. He kept me from ending my life, and now he was gone.

The day after he was put down, I kept hearing, “Go to the church. Go to the church.”spoken to me in my mind. The voice spoke repeatedly and fervently that afternoon.

I was skeptical.

Four years of counseling and two months of anti-depressants hadn’t fixed me, why would the church? Further more, what church was this voice referring to?

On my drive home, I told my husband what I had been hearing. He was confused as well, but with his support and nothing to lose, I took the girls home to him and went to the church.

Journey Church was the only church I had visited in regularly, and to set the record straight, I wasn’t visiting there to get to know God. God’s plan for me in that church turned out to be much different!

On that evening, God set His divine plan for me in motion. He put special people in my path to support me, encourage me, and educate me about God and the word we live in.

He was calling me back to Him.

I was barely able to talk through my emotions by the time I made it to the Church. I walked in, shaking, and asked to talk with anyone available. It was late on a Thursday, and I was sure no one would be there, this trip would be for nothing, and I would have more proof that God didn’t care about me when I walked right back to my car alone. But that’s not what happened.

The Leader of Women’s Outreach walked in right after I asked to speak with someone, and I was handed off to her. My emotions were spilling out. Hurt, sadness, anger, disbelief. I looked at her and knew she was safe, another gift from God, and all I could do was cry.

 She said, “Oh sweet girl, let’s go talk.”

Sweet girl? I had been called a lot of things in my life, but sweet was not one I had heard often.

God changed me forever that evening! I learned about spiritual warfare and God lit a fire in my belly to learn more about Him. He began healing and enlightening me, my husband, and my children. I began looking at my past for perspective instead of affirming pain. That has allowed me to recognize the gifts He gave me to nurse me through my storm.

I now see that he never left me alone or unloved. He carried me through and strategically placed beacons of hope and safe harbors along the way. He didn’t leave when I cursed Him or when I shook my fists and fought Him. He didn’t turn from me when I questioned Him, called Him a liar, or tested Him. He only held me tighter.

On January 9th, 2016, I was baptized again. I have never felt the presence of God as strongly as the moment I came up from the water!

“Suddenly a sound like the violent wind came from Heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.” ~ Acts 2:2 NIV

I was clean, it was a sign of my commitment to live the rest of my life differently. I received a new name. For weeks following my baptism,I felt that I sparkled from the inside out, and I still do.

I love and admire my True Father and strive to never doubt Him again. This story, my story, God’s story, is proof of the greatness of our Lord and proof that He truly paints beautiful sunrises following the worst storms!

 

Mrs.Cameron Manaugh

Mrs.Cameron Manaugh

"God is within her, she will not fail; God will help her at break of day" (Psalm 46:5).