He Hears My Prayers – Colbi’s Story
My grandfather was a successful businessman and my father continued his legacy. As far as material possessions were concerned our family had it all, expensive homes, the latest European cars, designer clothes, jewelry and the latest and greatest toys. From the outside it looked like I had the perfect life, but behind the walls of our beautiful home it was a totally different story.
Our family was in chaos. My parents were addicts. Both my mother and father were addicted to drugs and alcohol and that addiction ruled all of our lives. Somehow they managed to keep their business running but that left my brother and sister and I to look after ourselves. We tried our best to do that but it was a lot of responsibility for children to carry.
I don’t remember how old I was the first time we were sent to foster care.
Fortunately we were placed in a home together but it was still incredibly frightening. Thankfully my parents had the money to get the best attorney and so we were back home within a month’s time. Sadly, within a short time we were back in foster care, only this time I was separated from my siblings. I didn’t know where they were and I don’t even know the name of the town that I was sent to. All I can remember is a white picket fence with a long dirt road leading up to the house.
Eventually we were all returned to our family home and back in the care of our parents. It was good to be home but life was still very messy. I am the middle child but for as long as I can remember I felt the responsibility of caring for and protecting my family, particularly my siblings. Despite the chaos and volatility at home I was determined to succeed at school and become independent from my parents as soon as possible.
Even though my family was wealthy I got a job at the local Dairy Queen when I turned 15. I did all honors and AP classes, planned homecoming and prom, played sport, was cheer captain and homecoming queen. Meanwhile my brother and sister slipped into the addictive lifestyle of my parents.
It was now four against one.
I think that this is when I really had to grow up. I had made a commitment to Jesus when I was a child and my relationship with God became the anchor of my life. One of the best things my parents did for me was to send me to a Christian School. I knew that prayer worked and in the face of my families crippling addiction it was also all I had to bring to the fight. I struggled under the weight of my family’s expectation that I would be their rescuer. I knew that I was not strong enough for that.
There were many days when I fell to my knees in prayer, crying out to God to give me the strength I needed to face each day. I knew that I couldn’t do it without him.
After high school I was accepted into my dream college, The University of San Diego. Unfortunately, after my first semester, I was home during the winter break when my dad had a cardiac arrest as a result of his meth addiction. By 26 January 2015 he was on life support. My sister was in jail, my brother was in rehab, and my mom had just had a baby. I was the only one in my family in a position to take care of things.
I was 19 years old and had to make all of the medical decisions concerning my father. In addition to this, I was left to manage all of his business interests including a multimillion-dollar company that I didn’t even know existed. I could walk away and let it all fall apart or I could make my dad proud and continue the family legacy. I worked day and night to understand the business and learn how to lead the company. It was exhausting. In the midst of all this stress my boyfriend of four years decided it was all too hard and left me and then on 3 July 2015 my father passed away. I was shattered but I look back now and see that it was God who carried me through that time.
It was only by the grace of Jesus that I survived.
One of the greatest blessings of my life has been the loving support of the church family that I found at C3 San Diego. I became part of a community of people who cared enough about me to both challenge, and encourage me. I had never experienced a culture as welcoming and empowering as this one. Every service was so refreshing that I could not wait for Sunday. I found healing, hope and a new family at C3.
It was at church that I also met the man who is now my husband. Isaac is an absolute Godsend. I have always had Jesus, but Isaac has modelled God’s unconditional love to me in a way that I have never expereinced before. He believes in me, champions me, leads me and loves me. Isaac is the most faithful, hard working, loving, and supportive man I know. I am so grateful for the beautiful life we now have together.
In 2016 I sold my father’s company and that has enabled me to establish a solid foundation for my family’s future. I am now on staff at C3 and I love my job! I have the most incredible Pastors and friends in my life. I have begun to heal from the death of my dad and the dysfunction of my family. I choose to share my story not to focus on the sadness and challenges of my life, but to show the power and grace of God. Through every hardship I look back and see Jesus carrying me. He is good, kind and faithful.