The Story of Katrina D
I grew up in a home with a weak mother and a drunken abusive step father. It was hard for me because I am by nature a loving and very forgiving person. I can remember crying and longing to know my biological father for years. There was just no justification for evil things I had to tolerate. I made it my duty to try and protect and look after my three younger siblings. This only made me get it worse. I was a smart child. In 3rd grade they wanted me to be in the gifted and talented program, but my mother told them no. All through high school I was in honors classes with a 3.9 GPA. School was something I was praised for by teachers and other like peers. It was the only praise I ever got in life. I loved to learn. It was like a thirst you could never quench and still is. The praise was an added bonus. To make it work in my head I had to believe there was a higher purpose to it all. The older I got the more I believed everything happens for a reason, and ultimately shapes who I become. I had good wholesome morals and I have no idea where they came from. It wasn’t my parents and it wasn’t religion. It was something just woven into who I was. By the time I met my current husband I had three children. Their father decided to desert us and move states away, after cheating on me over and again. Shortly after he left I began dating my best friend of five years. He was the nicest guy ever. Until November 30, 1999 when I woke up to the nightmare. At the time my son was 2 years old and my twin girls were just shy of 3 months. He had squeezed one of them so badly that she ended up having a concussion, a skull fracture, a lacerated liver, a punctured air pipe, four broken ribs, and blood surrounding her lungs. She was in ICU for some time and is the only miracle I believe in today. I found out through having my other two children tested that her twin had 7 broken ribs dating back three weeks prior. There was never any bruising but three weeks before I did take her into the E.R. for fluctuating fevers. They admitted her for pneumonia and somehow completely missed the ribs. The following year was like living someone else’s life. All of it a blur of people in and out of my home every day. I didn’t even hurt my children, but I had to take part in countless programs to keep them. It seemed no matter what I told myself I was doomed to fail at everything. After my children were abused I decided to leave men alone. For about two years I had not been on so much as one date. And then I started using them. I called date lines and would lead men on for money, dates, diapers, blank checks as long as I could. Once they realized I was not going to sleep with them they eventually left. I just called and found another sucker. This continued and is the way I met my current husband. He was one who never left and I am so grateful for that today. I used to accuse my husband (boyfriend at the time) of things my old lovers had done. I certainly did not trust to leave him with my children. My insecurities were so vast and huge that if there had been no intervention I am afraid of where I would have ended up. My self esteem was at an all time low. Needless to say, he and I fought constantly. I never thought at the time about how that affected my children. I suppose that like religion anger is something you are taught and no matter how wrong it can feel it almost feels right. We ended up having a baby together, and were now raising four children. We didn’t even know how to raise ourselves. We both came from such abusive pasts and clung to the baggage for so long. One day we got into a huge argument. I pulled furniture down the stairs and packed bags. When the kids came in the door I told them we were leaving. They were confused and asking questions. I was too upset so I went to my room and shut the door. That is when I heard my daughter ask her sister, “Who are we going to love on when mom is busy now?” And my heart dropped to my feet. For the first time I realized what an effect I was letting my past have on my entire life; including my innocent babies. So I decided to stay. I ran a hot bath and cried out to god for an hour. I begged him if he were real to become real to me. And for some time…that is precisely what happened. But what I once believed to be god proving himself to me I now perceive as the power of a fragile mind clinging to a last thread of hope. All I ever wanted was to be loved. And I had heard Jesus loved me a few times in my life. That it was unconditional and I would find freedom. I wanted that so bad I would have done about anything for it. I could never have prepared myself for the journey I was about to embark on. It seemed god spoke to me through everything. I watched Christian programs and answers to specific questions would be answered as I had them. Something would come to mind and a family member would call at the precise time with a relevant question. I would pray for food because we had none and food would come via family or the pastor without me having to ask. I had myself convinced that if I only believed enough god would always answer. I now believe the mind is just a very powerful tool we have not fully grasped yet. Eventually we realized we were living in fornication. So the children and I left our home to stay at a Christian women’s shelter until he and I could be married. We attended a Nazarene church because that is what my husband was brought up in. Every morning I would go back to our home so the kids could catch the school bus, and back to the shelter when they came home. One night I remember the kids falling asleep. I was crying because I missed him and my home and feeling comfortable. The shelter had so many rules. We did have a private bathroom and I went in there to pray. I told ‘god’ that I did not think my husband was taking him seriously enough, and I asked him to speak to my husband in an audible voice to leave no room for doubt. Nobody knew I prayed this. The next morning when I went to our place he was sitting on the side of the bed crying. When I asked him what was wrong he said that while at work the previous night he kept hearing a voice telling him god loved him. This affirmed god in my mind, and became one of the biggest reasons it took so long for me to leave the lies behind. Eventually we got married and the kids and I went home. One thing that struck me was how hard it was not to have sex when we thought it was sinful. We just seemed to want it all the time and it took great restraint not to fornicate. Yet, once we were married the great restraint was no longer needed. I mean we had a healthy sex life. There was just no taboo point to it any longer. So there began my first issue. We are told not to sin but the things considered sin are only hard to restrain from when labeled as such. If fornication had never been labeled a sin we never would have had such an issue. However I was taught you cannot question god. I would watch a program called Ask the Pastor often. I laugh now because it was a panel of five different pastors all from five different denominations. And now and then they completely disagreed on the answers. How I ever reconciled those disagreements I cannot recall. Only that whenever doubt creeped in I told myself I just needed more faith and continued. I decided that I really wanted to please god. This began my journey of reading what they said was his word. Only I could not really understand or get into it. So I prayed for my eyes of understanding to be opened. Shortly thereafter I could write you sermons. Which I contribute, once again, to the mind power of getting what it wants and not god. At the time though it was all about god and I continued to praise him. I wanted nothing more than to please him and would have given up anything to do so. I knew the Old Testament was full of atrocities. But like most Christians I believed that when the morals of god were questioned it was I who was in the wrong. Who was I to question god with the very brain cells he gave me to do so? So I believed that no matter how evil something appeared if god did it that act was good. The first passage I could not overlook was this: Mark 7:1-13 reads, He answered and said unto them, well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, this people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and any other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. I was afraid to worship in vain and be sent to hell. So I had to ask what are these traditions? I researched it and found out that Easter and Christmas had pagan origins. And as much as I loved the holidays we gave them up. We also learned that Sunday was pagan worship as well. That the Catholic Church had changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. So we began keeping the Sabbath in our home on Saturdays. Some of the most boring days of my life to date. Next I ran across this passage: Matthew 12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand. And I thought to myself how odd that the very kingdom of god is divided against itself by denominations, and all of them call themselves the house of the lord. So I began to research denominations. My mouth literally dropped when I read that there are over 34,000 denominations. And rather than give up on god I figured it was my duty to figure out which denomination was right. This journey led me to believe none of them were and that the ‘true’ churches were those meeting in homes and giving it all up for god. The more I learned the more my friends and family thought I was nuts. Which only fed me more into thinking their persecution meant I had it right. I began to rid our home of anything with a cross or a picture of Jesus to follow the second commandment. I learned the original Greek and Hebrew as I studied. This included the sacred names, so that I wouldn’t be taking them in vain. I went as far as to throw away my snowmen figurines I had collected. I felt at the time like anything in abundance could be seen as an idol. Long story short I began to learn that the yoke was not light, there was no freedom in god but slavery like none other, and the love he offered was the MOST unconditional love I had ever worked to obtain. I tried asking pastors, I read all the apologists, etc. I am too intelligent to believe it. Why should anyone have to apologize for god? And when my pastor told me that he knew the origins of the holidays and it was okay because god knew our hearts I called him a liar. He knows nothing of the god in the bible. I am an all or nothing kind of girl. And everywhere I looked people were hypocrites! They were picking and choosing what they wanted versus doing what the book said. So I began preaching to them all. Telling them they were going to burn in hell if they continued in their vain worship. I felt responsible for all the souls of those around me. I began to show them how ignorant it was to tell their children there was a Santa, when lies were an abomination to god. I explained how Christmas had nothing to do with Christ. They cared not at all for my proof. They were happy staying the way they were. Via my own fear I became a fear-mongering fool. I met an older woman online through my poetry site. She knew much of what I knew and then some. She sent me DVD’s and books through the mail. She preached often of hell and brimstone. Told me I couldn’t be so wishy-washy. Jesus was coming any day now and few are chosen. She had me scared to death. She told me all the time I needed to be ye therefore perfect as god is perfect. And no matter how much I gave up there was always something else to give up. I could in no way be perfect. And she had me convinced that because of that I was going to torture and burn and live in torment for all of eternity. If I had been allowed to continue down that path I would have either killed myself or joined Westboro Baptist. Here is where I began a journey that led me to spend my nights smoking weed in a bathroom until I was so high I would pass out just to shut up the voices in my head. It was as if god and Satan had taken up residence and decided to duke it out. Or emotion verses logic if you will. For the first time in my life I wanted to die. I just wanted it all to end and didn’t have the guts to kill myself. So I waited for all to fall asleep and got as stoned as I could. I had not smoked weed in a very long time before this. It was something else I had given up for god. But there was no other way to not lose my mind, and so I rationalized it to myself. I know this turned out to be quite long. I promise I am almost done. Much of what I wanted to write I posted on my poetry site. This is where a very dear friend of mine, Raychelle, asked if she could add me on facebook. She said she was very interested in religion and would love to know more of what I was talking about. Little did either of us know it at the time but she saved my life; quite literally. She did so by becoming a loud voice of reason and logic in my life. She was patient with me. She did not argue or make me feel stupid for what I believed. She just patiently questioned, offered other points of view, and convinced me to just set information aside as I learned, rather than just believe it all as I went. She eased the fear and gave way for logic and reason to settle in its place. Such as geographical gods, contradictions, etc. I began to see gods and religions as a cop-out. Far too often we do not want to do things ourselves. We want change dropped in our laps. There is too much opposition in life as we strive to obtain our goals. There is so much called sin in this world that we think if we just seek god he will take away the bad things in us, and we will be saved from what was never bad to begin with. A magical genie whose lamp we can rub for granted wishes. Wishes we would never wish if someone had not told us we were bad. I had such a low self esteem already, and becoming a believer took that to levels I never knew possible. The journey was extremely long and horrible. I felt as if I was losing a best friend in Jesus and it was all his evil daddy’s fault. The transformation from believer to non-believer came in many stages. But I am so glad that it came. Since that time in my life I have learned so much. The biggest help to me is knowing now that not everything someone says or does to me is my fault. That nothing is really ever as personal as it feels at the time. This allows me to forgive more than god ever did. I had thrown all my children’s secular movies away and praised them reading an awful book I knew was not good. I had taken things from them, their very innocence, that I could never replace. All because I believed something that allowed a gripping fear to control my life. And this is the problem I have with believers today. Either shut up or try to live by what the book actually says. Don’t tell me to study the bible when I did six hours a day for a year. I know your book better than you do. And could preach you a million sermons if I wanted to. Keep your fear-mongering foolishness to yourself. I set out to prove a god I thought I loved was real. To read a book he is credited with writing. To have an answer for my faith just like that book says. And I learned the book is nothing more than a barbaric bronze-age fairytale. That logically concludes the god is the same. No need to study other religions. Raychelle had been there, done that. We still talk today and I don’t know what I would do without her even now at times. Today I am glad to say that I am freer than I have ever been. I began to study positive thinking and mental health. I applied things to my life, such as replacement thought therapy, and the changes have been tremendous. The power of the mind is limitless. And I believe whether we are negative or positive most certainly affects our lives and what we will believe at the end of the day. If we are not positive and happy we often find ways to fill that gap. Be it god, drugs, sex, or food. Thanks for reading my story. There is so much more to it than this, even. I hope that someone comes along who may be where I was at and this may help them.
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