A God of Miracles
Trigger Warning: Sexual abuse, rape, and suicide
I grew up in a family of 11. It was a chaotic household. I experienced physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and neglect from multiple family members. My parents were never home: I felt like no one was ever there to protect me.
Despite these conditions, I had this longing since a very young age: it was like I knew there was more—like there had to be more to this life. My neighbour, Beryl, was such an integral person in my journey to healing. She brought me to church at the age of 13. That’s when I first met Jesus and accepted Him into my heart. I even got involved with choir and youth!
While I had this newfound faith and community, I still had to grapple with a dysfunctional and abusive home. I lived in constant fear and anxiety. I always say, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Because I had my upbringing in such an environment, I had no idea how much I was missing out on—such as the emotional warmth and support from a safe, loving home.
I moved out at 18, met someone and got married. We had our first child, Dyllon, who was born with special needs. Because there was no construction work for my then-husband in the city of Winnipeg, we made the move to Calgary when Dyllon was a year and a half.
We went on to have two more beautiful children, but in between, we lost 4 babies through 2 ectopic pregnancies and 2 miscarriages in the 2nd trimester. During one of the pregnancies, I experienced a rupture in the late afternoon and was taken to the hospital by a friend. The hospital confirmed the pregnancy and I was experiencing severe pain and gasping for air as the evening progressed.
In the middle of the night, my room was surrounded by doctors and they decided to perform surgery in the middle of the night. I had almost died having lost over 1 litre of blood. The next day, the doctor who operated on me said, “Had we left you ’til morning, you wouldn’t be here…this was how my mother died.”
Then with another pregnancy, I was involved in a motor vehicle accident. I was driving into the parkade where I was going for an ultrasound. I had waited for pedestrians and I got rear-ended. Pedestrians were hit and ended up on the hood of my car. My car had to be written off: that’s how bad the damage was.
But miraculously, there was an ambulance right behind the car that hit me.
Then, I had my middle boy. I was on strict bedrest during that time. He was a complicated pregnancy and complicated birth. Then I had my daughter…which was a breeze!
Then things quickly began to fall apart. One night, I had gone out with some girlfriends. Someone had drugged our drinks – resulting in both my friend and I getting raped. I was a young mom.
The rape gave rise to problems in my marriage. We separated in April 2008. I moved out of our family home with our kids.
I was struggling bad. My kids and I were both experiencing various health challenges, not to mention car troubles. I needed an oil change but could not afford it.
The school my kids attended had additional supports for families in need. They gave me a referral from First Alliance Church to Dale and Barb, who were offering oil changes to single moms, widows, seniors, or those in financial need.
On May 12, 2012, I had my first oil change at Dale and Barb’s.
The pride, guilt, and shame that I “failed” as a mom made it really hard for me to reach out for help. But the truth was, it takes a village to raise a family. And Dale and Barb were so welcoming and accepting. They didn’t judge me. They quickly proved by their kindness and warmth that I could trust them and that I wasn’t going to be taken advantage of like in my past.
I felt seen by them and safe with them. It was so much more than just an oil change.
Ever since when we moved to Calgary, we never went to church, even though I had been a Christian since I was 13. But even though I didn’t go to church, I still prayed almost every day. “God, please give me a miracle”.
Dale and Barb invited me to FAC. My kids remember coming to FAC and even participating in the Students’ Ministry! I’ve been attending church consistently since early October 2022, but a friend of mine told me about a certain service in December when the sermon was on Bathsheba.
While listening to the message, it felt as if I was naked before the Lord and it was like He was doing open-heart surgery on me. All my hurts came to the surface and were exposed before Him. I went up to the front after the service to be prayed for: I was bawling!
Being sexually abused is so difficult. It’s not often talked about how it can give rise to issues of trust, abandonment, guilt, shame, feeling unlovable, eating disorders, drinking, gambling, and suicide ideation.
The person I talked to at the front during that service told me about Celebrate Recovery.
I had never told a soul about the abuse. While I began counselling at the age of 40, I always felt something was missing. But after that service, I had clarity on what I needed to do: Celebrate Recovery was what I needed as a counterpart to my counselling.
If it weren’t for Dale and Barb, I wouldn’t have found my home church at FAC. I wouldn’t have renewed my faith. I wouldn’t have found Celebrate Recovery (which was the missing piece to my healing journey) and other support groups.
Their heart to serve inspired me to serve. Since then, I’ve had opportunities to take part in Homes of Hope to build houses in Mexico, Samaritan’s Purse, Salvation Army, and Ogden Victory House. While we ourselves didn’t have much, my family and I served food to the homeless at the drop-in centre as well as prepared 50 care packages for the homeless on Christmas Eve.
My counsellor told me, “There must be a God. For what you’ve gone through in your life, I would have expected you to be one of those people in the drop-in centre living on the streets.” I even recently celebrated being baptized. All my kids came to church and said they were so proud of me!
And now when I look back, I can see all the miracles along the way. This blog article is just a glimpse. God never gave up on me. He carried me through all my turmoil and all my hurt. I am here today by the grace of God. I am evidence that He is a God of miracles.
A simple oil change, a simple act of kindness, sparked my journey to healing.
It sparked my journey back to Him.
We thank Kathy for bravely sharing her story and reminding us that an act of kindness, such as a simple oil change, has more impact than we can imagine! Our next Oil Change Day is coming up on Saturday, April 29, 2023. Contact us to get involved!