Chrissy’s Story – Falling Up Stairs
I was 13 years old when my friend, younger sister and I experienced something that forever changed the course of my life. It was a hot day and so the three of us popped on our swimmers and went down to the local creek to go fishing. One minute we were innocently playing, the next, we were being confronted by a stranger who wanted to ‘help us fish’. What this actually meant was him holding a knife to my throat and threatening to kill us if we didn’t ‘play a little game with him.’ Without going into further detail, the ordeal scared the !@#$% out of me and scarred me with a wound that I still carry. What screwed me up even more though, was the way it was then handled by the adults in my life.
The three of us were interviewed separately by the police but were then bundled into police cars to join them as the searched for the offender. We were taken to club and pub carparks, back to the scene of the crime and then through the streets of our once safe little town, looking for the man who had robbed us of our innocence.
As was the practice in those days, my mum was told to refrain from mentioning the incident – the fear was that the details would get distorted and our testimonies would not hold weight in court. We were not to mention it again until he was caught and brought to trial – 45 years later this still hasn’t happened.
So the trauma, confusion and shame of this experience were ours to carry and process alone.
I spent the rest of my teenage years broken and hurting. Life had not been perfect before the incident but the sense of isolation and shame that descended on my life afterwards left me angry, resentful and mistrustful of others. I stumbled my way through many boyfriends, demanding so much from them that I eventually drove them away. By the time I hooked up with a live-in partner just before I turned 18 I was relying heavily on him for my self- worth. He was a drug addict when we met and often dabbled in dealing to help finance his habit.
We lived an ‘out of it’ existence, which was fun at times but for the most part depressing. Looking back I can see now why I was drawn to such a lifestyle. Staying wasted allowed me to avoid the harsh reality of people disliking me and rejecting me. I could pretend it didn’t matter.
Denial can be a wonderful thing until it messes you up!
I spent the rest of my teen years living with my boyfriend, drunk and stoned, struggling to pay our bills while we lived the ‘high’ life. Unfortunately underneath the haze of drugs and alcohol was the same girl, with the same unresolved issues. I felt unloved, unworthy and now, even more unlovely! I kept seeking new thrills and new highs, but inside was the same sense of pain, loss and emptiness. I was paranoid most of the time and couldn’t function under pressure. I needed to be out of it to handle life, and when I was out of it I couldn’t cope with anything. It was a vicious cycle. I was 20 years old and on a suicide mission.
One day I was feeling desperately sad so I got stoned, jumped in my car and started driving. Outside the rain was pounding on the windscreen and inside my tears were flowing freely. As I continued driving I contemplated all of the options that I had for ending my life. After more than an hour of driving in the rain I knew I needed to stop. I saw a vacancy sign outside of a motel in the NSW town of Nowra. I turned into the car park, checked in with reception and paid for a room. Once inside the room I got a little more stoned and then collapsed, crying, onto the floor beside the bed. It was from that position that I noticed a Gideon’s Bible on the bedside table. I couldn’t take my eyes off it and had an overwhelming urge to open it. To this day I still can’t recall what I read, but I do know that an audible voice spoke to me while I was alone in that room.
‘Chrissy, this is not the end of your life, this is the beginning.’
I couldn’t believe it. God had spoken to me, little ol’ nothing, me and was telling me he had a plan for my life! That experience completely changed my life. I slept like a baby that night, something I hadn’t done in a very long time. The next day I drove to my parents’ house. My relationship with my parents was rocky to say the least. Drugs and alcohol were not a part of our family upbringing and living with a boy was a definite ‘no-no’. When I announced to my mum that I was now a Christian and wanted to move back home and live with her I think she nearly died of shock. To her credit, she quickly recovered and embraced me with loving arms.
I wish I could say that we all lived happily ever after from that point on but it was never going to be that simple. The first thing I had to do was withdraw from drugs and alcohol. This was a traumatic and stressful experience for my mum and me. Those days and weeks were a blur of headaches, aches and pains and weird sensations throughout my entire body. I ended up being hospitalized and it was there, as part of some routine testing, I was informed that I was pregnant!
A baby was definitely not part of the plan.
My partner and I were in the throes of trying to go our separate ways. He had been brought up in a Catholic school and had zero interest in religion. My radical conversion was not good news as far as he was concerned but a baby changed everything. We whipped up a wedding on the cheap, and within a few month’s we were married and then parents!
The journey since then has been HUGE. It has not been an easy road but miraculously, my husband and I are still together. Slowly but surely after years of battling addiction, drug dealing and drug use we were weaned out of our lives. We popped out another four kiddies and went on to foster a few others along the way. My husband, Step eventually became a Christian and together we stepped into a life of undeserved grace. No longer do I dwell on negativity but have been so transformed that my glass is no longer half empty or even half full; my cup ‘runneth’ over. All five of our adult children and their partners are Christians and are raising our 11 grandchildren in the passionate love of the Lord.
Step and I live in our High-Ace van affectionately known as Buzz and spend much of our time traveling around Australia sharing love, joy and happy vibes. My mission is to help others shine!
‘A dream fulfilled is a tree of life’