Tharina’s Story

 

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I buried both of my parents by the age of 13. They were never married to each other, and both lived dramatic lifestyles. Drugs and alcohol were interlaced into my earliest memories: the smell of wine on my mom’s breath, the weird smelling smoke in the air while a Fleetwood Mac album blared in the background, my father’s constant battle to stay sober enough to be able to pick me up for a weekend visit without the police being called.

I had a secret, the biggest, most horrible secret a little girl could have. I felt horrified and shocked the first time someone asked if my grandfather had ever touched me. These feeling were like an ambush to the cold hatred I tried to feel concerning any random thoughts of HIM.

Confusion … “No one will believe you” … “Everyone would hate you if they knew what you were doing with me” … “I know you like it” … “You want me to do this” … “This means I love you” … “I will tell them what a dirty liar you are” … “Who would they believe?” … Confusion …

I spent every summer there in Kansas on my grandparents’ farm. Just as my grandfather sowed the seeds of milo and corn into the ground, he sowed the seeds of shame and mistrust into me. Just as you couldn’t see the results of the crops right away, some of the seeds in me would not manifest for years.

One day I ran away from the guardian I had after my parents’ deaths. I headed for Phoenix to live with an aunt who was a meth dealer. From the moment I met crystal meth, I was addicted. It took all the pain away and cleared out my mind, but most importantly, it cleared out all my true emotions.

I began dating a guy named Brandon. He was so different from anyone I had known. We fell deeply in love and moved in together immediately. He was such a great guy, who had a good job and came from a strong family. He encouraged me to live a better life and told me what an incredible person I was.

Brandon knew about my grandfather and was so patient and loving, but I sabotaged the entire thing by getting wasted and cheating on him. Two years into the relationship, I moved out one day when he was at work. I had tried to be normal, to keep a good job, to stay clean and sober, and to have a nice apartment and a wonderful man. I just didn’t understand normal.

I moved from Brandon’s into an apartment with Monica, my best friend from high school. One night, she took me to work with her. Monica worked as a private room nude dancer. She wore pretty negligees and sat around with the other girls in a living room type setting. She told me how much I could make and how it all worked. So I did it.

I felt so dirty and embarrassed at first, but when I saw the control I had over my first customer, it strengthened me. After he left, I went into the office to collect my cut and realized that I had just made $60 in 5 minutes. I felt HIGH. I sat down and laughed. I had found a way to take my sexuality and use it for me. These stupid men, these perverts had hurt me and abused me all my life; they were all the same, and I would show them.

I spent the next 10 years on a roller coaster, having to get really high and drunk to be able to work, making lots of money, and buying lots of things. I had to use more drugs and alcohol to maintain my habit, but my habit would make me lose my jobs and things! I felt broken into billions of pieces inside.

My whole world had morphed into a monster. I couldn’t stand to be naked anymore. I felt vulnerable, used, worthless. What else was I good at? Who would hire me? Every time I took off my clothing, I felt that I had removed another layer of self-worth and any chance of a normal life. All this power I thought I had taken from those men, I realized that I hadn’t. I just gave mine away.

And then I got pregnant on July 21, 1997. It was technically a one-night stand, but with a really nice guy I knew. By the time that I realized I was pregnant, I had spent the first trimester drunk and on massive drugs. How could this baby be alive inside me? I was barely alive. I couldn’t go through with an abortion so I had the baby. Frightened and feeling guilty that I had done irreparable harm to this child, I cried out to God for help.

I had a vision of this little baby surrounded by a circle of angels. I felt a spirit of peace wash over me. God answered my cries that night. He answered all my cries and has dried all my tears. God used my beautiful daughter to show me what real love was. I never thought I would be able to love or be loved as much as I love her, but my beautiful Father revealed this kind of love to me.

I gave my life completely to Him after she was born. I surrendered it all to Him: everything I was, everything I am, and everything I am going to be. I have spent the last 10 years seeking Him, and it is in this search that I have found myself. I am His beautiful daughter, His treasured masterpiece, His protected princess, His valued lover.

Through His grace, forgiveness, love and patience, I have been able to overcome my past. I have been strengthened to confront those things in me that needed to come out and to accept those things that needed to be put in. Self-pity, guilt, shame, condemnation and hatred are gone. I swim in an abundance of love and forgiveness for myself and for others.

I look into the eyes of my amazing, talented daughter and know that no matter what it takes, I will pass on a good legacy to her. The old family demons stop with me. A new bloodline has been started. It starts with us, with our Jesus and His death that makes all things new.

I am a new creature, imperfect but forgiven. Grateful and striving, and praying … praying for YOU who are reading this, to you out there in this world, who are hurting and broken. Hear me, precious sisters. He is waiting for you to cry out to Him. He is all you have ever needed and more than you ever wanted!

I love you,
Tharina Petersen