Category Archives: My Story

My Story-Part 6

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Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with prayer, reading the bible etc, these are good things! My problem was that I had it all backwards. Obedience to Him is a result of a deep loving relationship. I cannot earn His love through good works, or following a set of rules.

By closing my heart off to God these things became nothing more than rituals, followed an OCD like pattern, a pattern that went something like this;
Oh shoot, I haven’t read my bible in a week, God is going to be angry at me, and come to think of it I have not prayed in a while either. What kind of Christian am I? I am not good enough. So out of guilt I would then pick up my bible, sheepishly start talking to God apologizing through a good part of the conversation, then making a new commitment to try harder, which incidentally I was never able to live up to.

Talk about a vicious cycle!

My world was once again shattered when in 1997 when after the birth of my daughter I started becoming physically sick. So sick in fact that I could hardly get out of bed.

I bounced around from dr to dr trying to find the cause of my constant pain, exhaustion and flu like symptoms. I was told it was all in my head and sent home with a script for zoloft and a mood stabilizer .

But within the next few years things only seemed to get worse. Finally after i was sent to yet another psychiatrist a full blood panel was run and I finally received a diagnosis.

I was told I had a liver disorder that would get progressively worse, and I may eventually succumb to chirrosis and liver failure. Could be in 5 years, could be 20.

And within weeks of that an mri showed I was also suffering from a rare neurological disease called Syringomyelia. A disease in which a cyst forms within the spinal chord, elongating over time destroying the spinal chord in the process. Debilitating in its end stage confining its victim to a wheel chair, paralysis and chronic painful muscle spasms, a disease similar to MS.

This was one of the darkest seasons of my life. The proverbial ‘dark night of the soul’ I once again experienced feelings of rejection and abandonment, this time by God. I envisioned my children losing their mother just as I had, and experiencing the same trauma in their lives. These children God had blessed me with, after given only a 10% chance of even having them in the first place, may very well have to experience the same hardships I had, was this a cruel joke. God why are you punishing me again?

I fell into a deep depression during this time, and experienced major panic attacks and a complete breakdown.. I was angry at God,consumed by fear, yet held on to His hem for dear life. I felt like a schizophrenic Christian…I would conjure up faith believe I was healed, then be slammed down once again.

I wanted to trust Him, but was afraid to open my heart.

I was completely broken, empty…

My Story -Part 5

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After my conversion I was once again filled with a renewed hope. I felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I no longer had to carry the load myself.
What I didn’t realize was I was still carrying much of the excess baggage, actually most of it. I gave God my purse while I carried 3 suitcases full of guilt, shame and condemnation, manifesting as anger.

I believe that if we look back, way back to a time of deep hurt and pain in our lives we will find a lie, an ungodly belief, an inner vow we made to ourselves that tries to keep us in this place of pain or disfunction.

My lie? Well there were a few. 1. When I heard about my adoption, when I lost my mother, when my father asked me to leave, the lie I told myself was “People will always hurt you, reject you, and leave you,so don’t let them close, keep them at an arms length” This lie spilled over into every area of my life. Not only did this affect my relationships with others, it affected my relationship with God in a MAJOR way.

I felt God could not be trusted. He was an angry dictator far away , up in the sky. If I ever upset Him, or screwed up, He would leave me. Or if I let Hm too close He would ultimately hurt me.

I was an extremely angry child, and used to have fits of rage. I never felt heard as a child so felt I needed to scream at the top of my lungs so my voice would be heard.

In my mind I believed for years after my mothers death, that because I was not a good daughter God had chosen to take my mother from me. This lie was only magnified by the fact that I was an adoptee. I believed the lie that my birth mother didn’t want me because I was flawed. In a nutshell…rejection and abandonment.

This led me into a vicious cycle of searching for love and acceptance in the wrong places, and in the wrong things. Addiction is rooted in a deep need to be loved.

The second lie I let myself believe was. “No one will be there for you, people will always let you down, so I must take care and protect myself at all costs.”

This lie lead to the construction of the biggest, thickest walls imaginable. This also led me to a place of always having to be in control. God knows what might happen if I relinquished that control. I certainly did not want to find out! I basically walked in a place of fear, fear of losing control and all hell breaking loose.

So back to the years following my conversion…I spent years in a dysfunctional relationship with Jesus. Made sure I kept him at an arms length, and summoned Him when I had a request…Can you say sugar daddy? Well honey there are no free rides in life, so how did I earn this love from Him? You guessed it..‘performance’

I am not worthy of this love, I am not worthy to have my prayers answered. Let me make it up to you God, let me earn it. Talk about exhausting!

I worked desperately at putting up a good ‘woman of faith front’ said all the right words, memorized bible verse after bible verse, set aside an appointed time each morning to pray. But eventually after years of this sick, vicious cycle my world was again rocked.

My Story-Part 4

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I sat anxiously waiting for the phone to ring. So many thoughts racing through my mind, so many unanswered questions, fears.
My birth mother would be calling at any moment. What would I say? What if she knew what I was really like? Did I have siblings? What nationality was I? The questions flooded my mind.

I grew up knowing I was adopted. I remember being told for the first time yet not fully understanding at the age of 5 when we moved to our new home in the San Fernando Valley.

The loud ring of the old rotary phone on the wall jolted me back to reality. This was the moment of truth.

The phone call lasted hours, questions flying on each end of the receiver. I listened intently as she shared with me names of relatives, and information about my birth father who was deceased. I also learned I was an only child.

She made plans to fly out to LA so we could meet. She was thrilled to know that not only had she found her daughter, but that she was a grandmother as well.

Our first meeting was surreal. We looked and sounded so much alike!
We spent her entire trip catching up, and drove up the coast of California together to meet my aunt and my two cousins.

Eventually it was decided it would be best for me to get away from my destructive lifestyle in LA and move in with my birth mother and her husband in NY. A fresh new start.

I packed up a few suitcases and Chris and I were on our way!

This was a huge transition for everyone, but one which also led me to a new life!
I started attending a small community church in Catskill, NY.

Oh what a mess I was! Inside I was still a street kid trying to survive.

In this process I came to know God, and started to slowly trust Him once again. I met some truly amazing people in that little church that to this day I consider my closest friends.

This is also where I met my husband Stephen.

Stephen and I were married in 1990, when Chris was 3 years old. He adopted my son and has raised him as his own.

Though I had begun a new life, there was still a part of me that suffered in silence. I still battled with a lot of unresolved anger and pain, but became really good at stuffing and putting on a good Christian face.

Back in those days and years after, the lie I let myself believe was that my past is under the blood, it was all done at the cross, so I no longer had to speak of my past, or think of my past. should no longer feel the pain, and when the pain did arise I got sucked up in this vicious cycle of MORE guilt and condemnation for even feeling the way I did, I mean where was my faith? It was done already wasnt it?

While I do believe 100% In His eyes my past failures were wiped away,and are under the blood, I felt a need to get to the root of these painful hurts in my life that were continually haunting me.

You need more faith, pray harder, rebuke the enemy…This led me into performance mode,I stuffed my pain, it became an exhausting battle, and I was losing.

My Story-Part 3

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Little did I know from the moment I set foot back into my fathers house that my world was about to be rocked big time!
I would like to say that the story ended there, and we all lived happily ever after…read on.

After being home for a week it was quite obvious that I was still carrying a tremendous amount of pain and anger. My father and I engaged in shouting matches daily, and I was struggling to find my way.

One evening while raiding my fathers liquor cabinet there was a knock at the door.

I was thrilled to find my friend Cheryl there, thinking all right, i’ll grab my coat and we go out and find a place to party! Hollywood clubbing maybe, or maybe just head over to the park and smoke some weed get drunk and start a brawl with some preppies.

“Amy” she said…I’m just not into that anymore…Hmmm, thats odd. Cheryl was always so much fun. Well what ya into now Cheryl?

Cheryl was one of my few Jewish friends. We loved sharing stories of stealing the wine from the seder cup on passover, taking over for Elijah whom the cup was left out for to begin with. We used to joke about temple and how foolish we had been to believe such fairytales.

“Amy come on out with me tonight I want to introduce you to some of my new friends.”
Hmmm, well any friend of Cheryl’s is a friend of mine! This should be fun.

I asked my dad to babysit for me, and he gladly accepted being that Cheryl was a good jewish girl, what could we possibly get in to?

She brought me to a small strip mall in the valley, as we approached the storefront I heard Israeli music blasting inside, tamborines drums and people singing as if they were celebrating…Hmmm a wedding? This is odd.

She brought me inside where to my confusion there were at least 50 people all dancing in a circle, clapping and singing.

I sat quietly in the back taking it all in. There was something different about this group.

When the music came to an end we all sat in a circle. A middle aged man began sharing. He spoke of his past, similar to mine, and my jaw dropped when he started talking about his relationship with Yeshua! Oi vey if my father knew about this he’d kick my rear right back onto the streets again!
What??? Are these Jews or Gentiles? I listened carefully. There was something very sweet about this group, but I dont know…They dont know what i’m REALLY like I thought to myself.

Cheryl and I talked on the way back to my house “Amy, believe me, you know what I was like. My life is so different now! Amy, I have so much peace, I feel as if I have come alive”.

Well Cheryl you dont understand, you just dont know. She hugged me and told me she was praying for me and that she would call me in the morning.

She continued to call, inviting me back to the small storefront, to which I repeatedly declined. “Thats ok Amy, I still love you.”

About a week later as I was laying on the couch crying, feeling alone, confused and lost there was a knock at the door.

As I opened it, a short blonde heavy set woman stood before me. “Are you Amy ”? Who wants to know I replied. “Amy may I come in? My name is Mary Jo and I have some news for you.”
You can tell me right here thats fine, I replied in a asty tone.
Amy she started hesitantly….”I was hired to find you… my head began spinning.
“Amy, your mother is searching for you, and hired me to find you” But my mother is dead! Is this some sort of cruel joke I said tearing up.
“Amy, your BIRTH mother is looking for you”.

My Story-Part 2

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The weeks following my mothers death were a blur. She died December 7th 1982, 10 days before my 13th birthday. My father allowed my brother and I to choose the inscription on her tombstone.

“A loving mother so gentle and kind
What a wonderful memory she left behind”

My mother instilled in me a love for God. She had a faith that was unwavering, and always saw the best in everyone. She volunteered at my school and acted as a ‘Mother Teressa’ of sorts’ loving the unlovable, and the abandoned. She opened herself and our home up to those in need.
She was a true representation of love in action.

She enjoyed the simple things in life…We sat in the warm California sun to air dry our hair together…She used to tell me Gods sunshine is the best remedy for the dull drums.

She quietly tended her flower garden, talking to God throughout the day, thanking Him for the beauty that surrounded her. She honestly KNEW God.

Unfortunately all the fond memories were not enough to sustain me. I was deeply grieving, and not sure what to do with the pain.

I was angry at God, angry at my dad for sending me away, angry at the world.

At 13 I attempted suicide twice to try and escape the pain, and started cutting myself regularly.
I started using drugs and alcohol which led to promiscuous behavior.

Eventually I found myself being moved to various mental health facilities as I was a suicide risk, and my father grieving himself had no clue what to do with me.

After trying everything he knew to do, he finally demanded I leave the house, and not come back until I had my act together.

I found myself alone on the streets of LA at 13. I learned how to survive there…

Friends snuck me into their houses for a warm bed, and I stayed in abandoned motels, parks and cardboard boxes in Hollywood. I learned to be a survivor. I was never going to let anyone or anything ever hurt me again. That was my inner vow.

I met a young man, a gang member at 15. He was charming, brave…my ‘knight in shining armor’ (so I thought) He protected me, loved me, adored me. Oh yeah thats when he wasn’t beating the living daylights out of me.

At 16 I found myself pregnant. Because of my previous loss, I just knew I had to keep this child…I remember thinking; This baby will love me unconditionally.

His father and I moved into a small apartment in a seedy part of town. I was only allowed to leave the apartment to go to work waitressing. I had a curfew and was expected to be home right after work. This was a dangerous neighborhood where drive by shootings were a regular occurrence, so he received no argument from me!

It was a rough 9 months for me. I literally had nothing to eat 90% of the time. I felt scared and alone.

However Christopher Anthony arrived 9 months later, a happy healthy baby boy. My life was changed. He brought me such joy! He was my world, my everything.

His father was arrested a few months after his birth for selling drugs, and once again I found myself alone and afraid. Eviction notice in hand I begged my father to let me come home.

He welcomed me home, I started attending nursing school during the week while my father watched Chris….but this was short lived. I still had much unresolved anger and pain, deep into addiction. I found myself making one bad choice after another.

I was asked to leave and found myself alone once again, living on the streets with my almost year old baby boy.

After months of trying to find food and shelter, bouncing around from place to place I plopped myself down on a bus stop bench, Chris sitting in the stroller next to me, I just started weeping. “How can I do this to my child” This is not the life I want for him. I looked down at his smiling face, it was a cold winter evening and neither of us even had a jacket to wear. God I cant go on, help me!

That’s When ‘she’ came up behind me. I felt a warm hand touch my shoulder…”Honey. is everything ok”?

Startled i turned around quickly to see this woman with the most piercing blue eyes staring down at me. She looked like a homeless woman. Heavy set, scraggly hair, filthy dirty nails and face, old torn clothes.
She sat down next to me. “Are you ok”?
I was a painfully shy child and teenager. I never shared my feelings with others let alone a complete stranger, but something about her made me feel ‘safe’.

I spilled out my entire story to her through tears, every ugly detail….Then I said…”Wait!” Are you one of those born again Christians? Because if so I dont want to hear what you have to say”

She laughed for what seemed like forever, then held my hand, looked me in the eyes and replied. “I’m Jewish honey” Ahhhh, what a relief, one of my people! We hugged. I found it odd that a jewish woman would be sharing a bus stop with me in one of the toughest neighborhoods in LA, but hey, maybe she was crazy.

Listen, she said. Go over to that pay phone and call your dad, he will let you home dear.
Oh no! I replied, you dont understand lady, he hates me and wants nothing to do with me. I had plenty of chances, and blew them all.
She looked at me smiling, and simply repeated..”He will let you home, call him now” She took my hand in her dry, cracked dirty hand and placed some coins in mine.

I reluctantly accepted and made my way to the phone booth. I dialed my dad, “sorry, he said, I have given you plenty of chances, you are no longer welcome here, you are no longer my daughter.”

I fought back the tears, and hung up the phone…The woman standing next to me held my hand, and said softly, “He will let you come home” Here is some change. Get on the bus, go to him, he will let you home.

What did I have to lose? I had nowhere to go. She followed me on the bus. It was a long ride, felt like an eternity.

All of a sudden everything started shaking, an earthquake??? Oh great! Just what I need. We all braced ourselves. The quake jolted me out of my deep thoughts and before I knew it we were approaching my stop.

The woman followed me off the bus, and said “You are going to be ok” Trust me. I turned to thank her, but she was gone, seemingly disappeared into thin air. I stood there crying for what seemed like forever.

Eventually I regained my composure and headed home.

I knocked on my fathers door, but he would not answer. Finally I resorted to begging…He eventually opened the door.. He looked at me, then at Chris and we both started weeping, and held each other tightly. Come in, you’re home now baby girl.
16 and 8 months pregnant with my son Chris

My Story-Part one: The Sting of death

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I’ll never forget that day my parents called me out of the swimming pool. It was a hot sunny Southern California summer, I was happily splashing away with the neighborhood kids.

They brought me into the house, sat me down and through tears told me that my mother had cancer and that the next few months of summer vacation were going to be filled with dr’s visits and various surgeries.

My 10 year old brain couldn’t quite comprehend the severity and depth of what they were saying.
“But mom is going to be fine, this is not a big deal”. With those words, although shaken, I was able to jump right back in the pool and continue on with my game of Marco Polo.

But things were not easy…mom was obviously not fine. As each summer day passed mom became thinner and more sickly. She lost her hair, and could not eat or get out of bed. Something was wrong, and eventually it hit me, mom may not make it, she could die.

Each Friday night at temple I touched the Torah as the Rabbi paraded it down the isle. With each passing I offered up a prayer to God to heal my mother.

It seemed as if the days that followed brought one bad report after another. I could not wrap my mind around the fact that God had not taken my mothers sickness away. Although we were never taught about healing growing up in the temple, something inside of me knew God was able to heal and ‘wanted’ His children well. This was confirmed as I sat in my bedroom one evening playing with my barbies.

I heard an audible voice so softly call my name…Amy…I jumped up, maybe my father was calling me? I went out to the living room, only to find him shouting at the big Zenith. “How did ya miss that D*&MN ball???” Dad, did you call me? He briefly glanced at me…”no, now go play im watching the game.”

I went back into my room…Amy…All of a sudden this warm presence filled my room, I felt safe, loved and protected…..smiling I continued playing, making Barbie fabulously gorgeous for her big date with Ken.

Thursday night came around and I was off to Hebrew school. We started chanting our prayers in Hebrew. As we were reciting the prayer over the wine;ברוך אתה ה׳ אלהינו מלך העולם בורא פרי הגפן- Barukh atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melekh ha-olam, borei p’riy ha-gafen Translation- (Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine)..this overwhelming sorrow came over me and I asked to be excused.

I ran to the bathroom, fell to the floor, and wept with EVERYTHING in me. I lay there on the tiled floor begging God to heal my mother….As an adoptee I had ready struggled with deep feelings of rejection and abandonment….Please dont take my mommy God, I love her so much, please God……IF you are REAL, if that was really your voice I heard then heal her God.

A few weeks later, I was told that mommy was sick and I needed to spend the next school year with my aunt and uncle in Cupertino, Ca. “Mommy is getting better, but she needs quiet around here so this would be best”

For a 12 year old girl this was a major disruption in my social schedule! But i reluctantly agreed thinking this whole mess would be over when I returned.

With each visit home that winter mom looked sicker, “I dont understand God, I thought you were going to take the cancer away.” At this point she had tubes coming out of her distended belly, no hair, and all skin and bones. Her positive attitude was gone, and all she could do was sleep all day. The smell of cancer filled the house, and my dads eyes were constantly puffy and red.

A few months later after settling back in at my aunt and uncles I received the worst news of my life.
Mom was in the hospital, she was dying and I had to fly home immediately. Dying?? What do you mean? God was supposed to heal her. No, they told me she was going to be ok.

I flew home the next day. As I walked into the hospital room, I did not recognize the lifeless, form in front of me. Nothing but a gray shallow shell of my mother….Eyes and mouth wide open…Mom was gone…I didnt make it in time to tell her how much I loved her, she will never know. They told me she was still alive and could hear me, but the moment I left the room the sheet was placed over her beautiful face and she was gone forever….

My Story Part 2