My life began normally and happily enough. During my childhood, however, I began to experience profound abuse.
When I was 13 my parents divorced. My mother had 22 years’ worth of hatred, resentment and bitterness built up against my father. It all landed on me, the eldest left at home. Many times my mother would beat me mercilessly for any and no reason. She would also verbally and psychologically beat me up. I once considered suicide, as I was locked in the bathroom with a pile of razor blades.
I left home at 16, as I was taken in by a group of loving Christian folks who were a part of what has become known as the Jesus Music movement. Through much Bible study, counseling and healing from The Lord, I was able to marry and have a family of my own.
For many years I enjoyed raising my voice in song. It was like a healing release to me. I went on to record countless songs with dozens of amazing people. I literally traveled the world, singing anywhere I had an audience.
During the height of my musical career, my mother developed Alzheimer’s disease. The time came when she needed someone to watch out for her 24/7. I felt led to care for my mother full-time. You see, the Lord had brought me to a place of complete forgiveness. Through letting go of contempt and bitterness toward this woman, the Lord developed a compassion and mercy for her within me that I simply can’t describe.
For the next 10 years, my mother lived with me and my family, and we tended to her every need. The hands that once beat me relentlessly now held mine with an unimaginable tenderness. Her eyes, once so full of scorn and hatred, now only reflected unbelievable gratitude and tenderness that had been so absent during the early years of my life.
I can say without question that life — while full of trials and challenges of many kinds — is well worth the pain that we encounter along the way. The path of Love and forgiveness is truly the way to find ultimate peace and fulfillment.