Name: Ruby Punch
Share your story! Tell us about what God brought you through. You can share via poem, free writing, blog, etc.
A Prodigal Daughter by Ruby Punch
You might otherwise call this story, “a series of misfortunate events.” I thank God I am finally mature enough and strong enough to share it.
It is not pretty. It is extremely difficult to share.
It uncovers deeply buried, painful experiences and details the previously raw wounds from the gut-wrenching, down in the trenches, assignment, entrusted to me by God.
Molestation, a rape at knifepoint, and another at gunpoint occurred in rapid succession before I reached eighteen. The destructive effects of these attacks on my young spirit manifested themselves later in life as promiscuity, addiction, alcoholism, and other self-destructive behaviors.
The sexual assaults I suffered were not openly discussed during those years, (as they are today). I carried these ugly secrets inside of me for many years. Gratefully, women have begun breaking free from fear of judgment and are bravely sharing their stories of victimization. These heroic women give strength to others, like me, to release their pain as well and escape the tangled web of self-defeating shame.
The shame I experienced resulted from a lifetime of persistent, negative, and accusatory voices inside my head. These tormenting demons insisted if my secrets were revealed I would suffer condemnation for allowing these shameful events. This negative mantra was accompanied by another constant drumbeat: “I am nothing.
I am nobody.” After my decision to put my story on paper, the taunting voices became even louder: “You are not a writer.”
“No one wants to read what you have to say.
“Don’t embarrass yourself.”
But I stubbornly refused to listen. It was finally time. I recognized I was listening to the whispers of the ultimate deceiver, Satan. The Bible calls Satan, the Father of lies. When I began to reject his accusations, it became clear, his chatter was a deliberate attempt to destroy my potential as a child of the King of Kings. I am not junk. My life was shattered by evil and I was finally determined to expose the evil perpetrated against me. Satan would not be allowed to get away with continuing to blaming the victim.
I am healed by God’s grace. Everything is working together for good according to God’s purpose and plans for my life. I am sharing my testimony with those who may need to gain strength from hearing it. So they, in turn, will share their story to help someone else. These stories of victory will serve to continuously strengthen others who need it.
I’m a living miracle! The fact that I am here today is a testimony that God is alive and Jesus saves.
My restoration story represents the power of God over the evil existing in our world.
My life began in abject poverty. Neighborhood crime ran rampant. I experienced repeated, and devastatingly traumatic, violent crime. The Evil One, deliberately perpetrated debilitating attempts to destroy my potential to divert others from the path of darkness into God’s marvelous light.
With my father missing from my life, my mother raised her six children with high morals and a good work ethic. Her hard work and devout Christian walk exemplified godliness.
My life revolved around regular church attendance where the preacher delivered regular lessons regarding a loving God and eternal salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit entered my heart at nine years old. That day of innocent joy was soon overshadowed by the harsh realities of urban life.
Bullies tormented and attacked my siblings and me regularly during school, after school, and often chased us home from school. This ridicule continued throughout our childhood. It was our punishment for being “sanctified.”
This treatment was emotionally damaging. I descended into a deep depression. One day I remember making a deliberate decision to leave God behind. I didn’t want any part of this painful Christian life. Yes, I believed in God, but I didn’t think He cared very much about me.
I couldn’t see Him nor could I feel His presence.
I felt insignificant. Since I didn’t matter to God,
I really believed I was nothing and nobody.
At age eighteen, I was convinced leaving my mother’s God behind would bring me peace and happiness. I quit going to church. I became a prodigal daughter doing prodigal things.
If you recall, the Bible tells the story of a prodigal son. This son of a wealthy farmer said to his father one day, “Daddy, I’m not really cut out for this old farm work. Why don’t you give me my share of your money and I’ll move to the city.
I’m sure a smart fellow like me will be much happier there.”
Of course, this thrill-seeker got to the city and ran smack into a genuine dose of real life. Deceptive people, fake friends, irresponsibility, poor decision making, and naïveté left him dazed, confused, and face down in a pig trough. The pigs shared their food and I’m sure they did their best to show him a good time but he did not find his anticipated happiness in the pigpen.
This prodigal had gone from an arrogant, spoiled brat, to eating with swine so fast he quickly realized that he could not survive city life on his own. He soon understood he did not quite the know-it-all. He was smart enough, however, to pay his old man a visit and give that farming thing another try.
I wandered through life’s wilderness many years, like the prodigal son, searching for my utopia, in a fruitless pursuit of happiness. I eventually collapsed, disillusioned, deflated, defeated, and discouraged from a life of wallering with pigs. Just like the Prophet Jonah, who ran from God, I was trapped in a prison of my own making, in the belly of a whale, if you will. When I was awakened inside of a drug and alcohol treatment center, I glanced to the right and then the left. There was no way out! Graciously, He sent a counselor who reminded me that I was the child of the King and guided me back to him. I cried out to my Father in Heaven. He heard my cries, set me free, and placed my feet back on the path to eternity with Him.
Just like the biblical prodigal son, I was raised in a God-fearing home but I decided that God didn’t know one thing about happiness. I shoved all thoughts of him aside as I made my hasty escape from parental authority. I did not have the prodigal son’s monetary fortune to squander, but I squandered something much more valuable: I squandered my youth.
Many years of retrospection has clearly revealed that my Heavenly Father has always been with me. He allowed the attacks of Satan to build my character and create a solid soldier in His army. Those years as a prodigal definitely provided me with the test for my testimony. I am now assured that my Heavenly Father is like the patient father of the prodigal son. God is much wiser than his rebellious children. He allows us to “run away.” He gives us a dose of tough love when we need it. He allows us to run off without heeding his advice. When we ignore warnings and touch the “hot stove of life,” He quickly responds to our cries for help. He wraps his arms around us, heals us, and forgives us.
The theme of The Prodigal Son is that each person is precious to God, who celebrates the return of one each one who runs away and becomes lost. In this parable, the father is God; the good son represents the Righteous and the prodigal son represents Sinners. God gave the prodigal son the freedom to choose his life, and the son chose dissolution, but when all else failed, he returned to the Father.
In my own “pursuit” of happiness, I spent a lifetime vacillating between my form of happiness and deep disappointment. Like a drug addict, I would go from a high, high to a low, low. I would fixate on a person, place, or thing, visualizing how it’s acquisition would finally lead to a joyous emotional state. I would achieve that goal, something or someone would spoil my joy, then I would start the downward spiral back to sadness. True happiness eluded me.
My struggle to find “happiness” was much like a dog chasing his tail, he is never going to catch it. Anxiety and fear ruled my life. Anxiety about getting something I wanted, then the fear that I would lose it. Locked in a self-defeating cycle I did not recognize the problem. My definition of happiness was fraudulent. There is NO true happiness without God. Having God at the center of our lives gives us true joy and assurance we will spend eternity with Him.
Fortunately, God never turned His back on me— although I rejected Him. He is a gentleman. He allows us to choose Him or reject Him. He stands at the door knocking. He patiently waits for us to realize there is no true happiness without him.
Then we must open the door and invite Him into our lives. He enters and brings us His peace.
The day I made a conscious decision to allow him into my life as Lord and Savior, the cycle of fear and anxiety, was broken. That was the day I knew I mattered to God. He restored my soul. He welcomed me back into His fold. Like the loving father in the story of the prodigal son, He instantly forgave me for my transgressions against Him. Today I choose to walk according to the guidelines established for His followers in the Bible, where I learn all about God’s love for me.
I am a healed, happy, and restored disciple of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I have deleted the deceptive mental tapes and assumed a new mantra:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence. Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight. Don’t consider yourself wise. Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Then your body will be healthy and your bones strengthened.”
Proverbs 3:5-8 CEB