By: Peggy Johnson, Chaplin
At three years old I remember waking up in my mother’s one bedroom apartment, walking into her room looking for her. The bed was off the slats on the floor with turned over ashtrays and cigarette butts all over the floor. She was in the kitchen making me breakfast, which was a bowl of peanut butter and syrup. I ate while she explained a relative would be coming to get me and take me with them. I remember staring out the back window waving good-bye to my mother.
Sometime after that I was back with my mother and I have no memory of why or what had happened, but her boyfriend cooked my dog in the oven. It was a horrible smell and the loud yelping of the dog until death finally silenced him. My mother and I were then tied up and nailed in a closet. I remembered it being dark and scary. Later my grandparents rescued us. I have no idea how they knew how to find us.
I was back with relatives until my mother would come for me again, only this time I would not get the relief of going with relatives again, which was usually my grandparents. By this time my mother was convinced she had met the man of her dreams. Someone to give her a happy-ever-after-life … only the “ever after” wasn’t so happy.
I remember riding in the back of the car and closing my eyes and thinking: Is this what death will be like? I had no idea where it came from so years later I asked my mother why at such an early age did I have knowledge and the fear of death, and she said to me. “Oh, that’s easy. When you were four years old I refused to have sex with my then husband. He went into your room; carried you to our bed and woke you up and held you at gunpoint while he raped me and I begged him to spare your life. It must have been so horrible you blocked it out.”
My earliest memories of him is fear and shame. He and my mother both would beat me. The beatings I could take -- even the ones where blood was drawn, but the sexual molestation took a toll on me. He would come into my room late at night, touching me and usually he would leave after awhile and go have intercourse with my mother after awhile. I eventually learned to stay up all night because if I jumped out of bed when he came in my room, he usually would leave. It angered me that I had to be sleepy in school for staying awake so much at night.
At about age 10 someone left a flyer on our door about a joy bus picking your kids up on Sundays. I assume my mother and stepfather must have viewed that as free daycare, so they let us go. It was a whole different world for me. I called them pretty and pink Christians. They appeared to be blemish free. They were nice to us and one lady told me, “If you repeat this prayer, Jesus will come in and change your life. The angels in heaven will celebrate, and today you can have a different life. You can be born again.”
WOW! That was all I needed to hear … to know mom’s husband wouldn’t beat momma or us again … to know no one would never molest me again. I wanted all this Jesus person had to offer.
I couldn’t wait to get off the joy bus and tell them, “Life as we know it is over. This Jesus guy has saved me and promised me a new life.” Of course they laughed at me and said, “As bad as you are you aren’t good enough to be saved.”
I RAN INTO MY ROOM CRYING -- VERY ANGRY
I ran into my room crying -- very angry. This Jesus person was not going to help me either. I believed their lie – the devil’s lie. (The truth is NO ONE is: “ The ONLY people Jesus saves are those who AREN’T “good enough” to be saved!). I felt there was no point of praying anymore. I was done with that idea.
I began searching for ways to get out of this abuse. Death seemed to be a great idea. I attempted suicide more times than I can count, but my mother would always catch me before death could release me.
started thinking maybe my mother would help me, so I made up my mind I would
stay up all night and note my step-father’s every move so I could prove to
her what he was doing to me.
Good idea … but unfortunately it failed.
He said I was lying, and so they placed me in a hospital called
By then my mother had found out and informed me that if I said the allegations were true they would transfer me into an adult facility where they would beat me unmercifully. My mother and step-father showered me with gifts - toys and clothes - so I retracted my story. The investigation was closed and I was sent back home to be abused all over again, only abused worse for telling.
One night my step-father beat me in front of my friend and I was angry and embarrassed. Bruises were everywhere, but I knew if I made a big deal about it I would not be permitted to go to school like in the past. That night I hugged and kissed them both goodnight and apologized for being so bad that he had to whoop me. I had a plan to finally end this abuse.
The next morning after I got to school I went straight to the office and reported the abuse and showed a nurse my bruises. As God would have it, the caseworker from the hospital came. She interviewed me and took emergency custody of me. A court hearing was scheduled and my mother and step-father came. My mother was angry with me so I told the caseworker I didn’t want to testify because my mother would say mean things to me.
But I was desperate and determined. The judge ordered no one to speak while I was giving my testimony, so my mother stood up and said, “I have to leave because I can’t stand being in the presence of liars.”
During my testimony, tears flooded my face and even though I tried to stop crying, I couldn’t. After my testimony my step-father’s attorney asked the judge for the opportunity to allow my step-father to defend himself. The judge wanted to know if he planned to plead guilty or commit perjury, and it ended up he was not allowed to testify.
I WENT FROM FOSTER CARE TO TREATMENT HOMES BECAUSE MY ABUSE WAS SO SEVERE
I went from foster care to treatment homes because my abuse was so severe. I couldn’t be in a normal home. I needed in-depth counseling, which eventually made me feel as if I was being punished.
I met my oldest daughter’s dad in
At age 16 I
got pregnant and gave birth to my daughter.
One day the caseworker came to my foster home and said she wanted to
take me and my daughter for the wee
I screamed and
cried, but there was nothing I could do.
Once again I was in unbearable pain - all linked to my childhood.
I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking I heard my baby
I didn’t have faith in
the system my daughter was ta
It was then I met my best friend Debbie (not realizing that years later I would love her sister Bridgette with all my heart as a true sister). And then there was Aunt Margaret, who I loved with all my heart. She was a second mother to me. We would sit and talk for hours about nothing really … mostly about things I had been through … or she would tell me stories about her life. She was an amazing strong black woman. She died recently. A part of me died with her - a part of my life I will never get back. We will never get to sit and laugh and talk and reminisce on how God has brought us through all the crosses we’ve had to bare, this side of eternity anyway.
I began running away from every placement they put me in. In one particular treatment center I met someone I began to call my best friend. She and I ran away together. We met people who said they were going to help us. It ended up - they sent me home to my mother and later killed my friend.
There were many others I ran away with. Innocent kids like me who lost their life … but God kept me through it all.
I remember running away with another girl who had a boyfriend, who in turn introduced me to his friend. One day I decided I wanted to go back to the group home -- meaning I wanted to turn myself in. They told him what I said. He in turn rented a motel room and beat me. He made me stand in a chair. If I would slip or fall he would beat me again. Then he attempted to drown me in the tub. He said I would have to pay him back for all the money he had spent on me. Unfortunately this was not the first time this happened.
At the time I had experienced these beating there was also a man in another city who had beaten me severely for not becoming a prostitute for him and there were others. I began to feel like my mere existence was to be abused, and I stopped trying to fight it.
I eventually got pregnant again. This time I had a little boy. His name was Michael. He was perfect, other than the apnea monitor he came home with. He died when he was a week away from seven months old. Again the pain was unbearable.
SHE WISHED I WAS DEAD
My mother had been staying with me and got mad at me for asking her to sit in the house with Michael. It was cold and I didn’t want to take him outside. Before she left she told me she wished I was dead, and called me the usual names she called me.
My mother and her husband came to the funeral home and told the funeral director I probably killed my baby.
I slept with the Bible every night by now. I had no reason to live. My life was getting worse and worse.
I went to
Soon after that I was released from jail.
A person I then considered to be my friend took me to a local drug
He liked her so
he set out plates of crack and said I could smoke all I wanted.
I didn’t remember a whole lot after I started smoking.
However, I did remember laying on the bed on my back and remember
someone said, “Give her some toast,” and then someone else said, “No - give
her some milk,” and then I heard my so called friend’s voice.
She said, “No - pour water on her,” and then another voice said, “If
she dies we’ll have to take her body to the alley.” I woke up a week later
in their house.
As God would have it my mother and grandmother came up
with a plan to get me to leave
ABUSE WAS SECOND NATURE TO ME
He was loving at first. I thought I had finally found somewhere to belong to. We had our first child, Courtney. She was so beautiful. I thought I finally had the world at my fingertips … and then the abuse began again. But why should I leave? Abuse was second nature to me. Everyone who hurt me were the ones who were supposed to love me.
My mother died about nine months after Courtney was born. Her death took me to another level. I loved momma so much after becoming an adult. I began to understand momma a little more. I had a great amount of sympathy for her and her life. She had became my best friend. We would sit and talk for hours.
Momma understood me like know one in the world. She knew why I would marry someone who obviously were emotional cripples just like me – needing emotional healing from their past childhood traumatic experiences (Likes are attracted to likes for acceptance when wise counsel is not sought after prior to marriage). Momma knew first hand what others couldn’t seem to understand. Momma knew why I was so shy; so scared of rejection; how I could be fine one minute and upset the next. She knew first hand the reason for my constant depression.
Momma once gave me a very tearful apology for everything I had to endure through life. She told me all those years she felt like a victim … and maybe she was. All I know is that her apology was sincere. It was given with a lot of tears. How could I remain angry with her? Here she was … hugging me … begging for my forgiveness.
My response was, “It’s okay Momma. It wasn’t your fault. Please don’t cry. I love you.”
Momma once told me she had children to have someone to love her. (She wasn’t aware of how much God the Father loved her unconditionally and accepted her – loves each and every one of us unconditionally – and proved it by the sacrifice His Son Jesus Christ dying on the cross for all our sins when He didn’t have to).
She and I were so different, but so much alike. We understood each other, and I forgave momma for her part in my abuse.
remember the day we got the news momma had died.
My sister Tammie took it so hard.
we made it to
I now realize when momma died I didn’t allow myself to mourn, because soon thereafter I began taking care of my brothers and sister I barely knew, due to being separated so many years in foster care.
Later, I began seeing momma everywhere in windows, mirrors, silverware. I wasn’t able to wash dishes or be left alone because of fear I would see momma. My brother, sister and my husband wanted to have me committed to a hospital one night they were so concerned, and they actually called the hospital.
We then had little James. Momma had the opportunity of seeing him before her death, though she died three months after he was born.
James never left the hospital. I remember sitting in the room next to the nursery waiting for the nurses to bring little James into us to allow him to die in my husband’s and my arms. Shortly thereafter, my mother's husband turned to me and said, “It’s not so bad now, Peggy. The world is rid of another n------.” My son was bi-racial. I sat their in shock … numb from the pain … in total disbelief.
And then we had Jimmy who died hours after he was born. Again another funeral to bare. And then Ashley. Premature like the others but healthy. The next child would be Joshua; also premature only Joshua had severe cerebral palsy.
MY HUSBAND BEGAN TO STEAL MY MONEY AND BEAT ME
By then the domestic violence had escalated.
My husband began to
steal my money and beat me.
children would be hungry; I had to depend on neighbor’s sympathy to feed
them. Eventually the Department of
Children and Family Services took them.
felt as if the last little bit of strength I had was released from my body.
I was more alone at that moment than I had ever been.
The one good thing that came from me I wasn’t legally allowed to care
The only three
people in the world that I knew had genuine love for me had been ta
I cried out to this God who I didn’t know, but I knew He was my only shot. In Him my children would be safe; something I failed to provide.
remember standing in a field late at night in a very bad area in
I BEGAN SLICING MY WRIST WITH THE BROKEN GLASS
strongly tempted me to commit suicide and to get out of this life.
Before passing out in that field, I fell to the ground and broke the
bottle I was drinking out of.
began slicing my wrist with the bro
I woke up the next morning safe and unharmed, which is another example of the mercy God has placed over my life, (so I can help others like I used to be).
I met another gentleman who I believed was a good person for me and my children, and pursued a relationship with him. He began participating in the process to help me gain back custody of my children. I cannot begin to describe the emotions that I experienced in my uphill battle to regain custody of my children, or how hard the visits were to see them an hour and watch them walk out of my life every week.
However, I can tell you how I blessed I was with a rather mean, no-nonsense caseworker who I couldn’t stand, when she first walked into my life. She made it obvious she wasn’t giving me any breaks. She explained to me that my children should not have been in the system as long as they had been, and she clearly intended on ending it with or with out their returning home. “The choice is yours,” she told me bluntly -- matter-of-factly.
My case had been open for several years, which also demonstrates God’s mercy on my life. So if you haven’t guessed yet … I love this caseworker today. (Ms Victoria Davis Jones, I thank you for having such an impact on my life. May God pour many blessings upon you!)
After having my children returned to me for the fifth time, I finally succeeded in getting my case closed.
that, a gentleman, myself and my children moved to
Debbie invited us to join her church.
It was awesome.
immediately felt at home.
Finally - after all those years of searching for somewhere to belong to - I
had finally found it in a small church in
TEARS STARTED FLOODING MY FACE
TEARS STARTED FLOODING MY FACE
I remember one evening during a church service, the church people were walking around the church almost in a circle. They were praising God. I didn’t feel I was worthy to be among them so I stood and watched them in amazement. Suddenly Bishop Veynell Warren grabbed my hand and pulled me into that circle with them … and again tears started flooding my face. It was almost as if this man of God could accept me. Maybe I had a chance with Jesus afterall.
I remember kneeling at the altar telling Jesus, “I’m filthy, and I know if I can just touch the hem of Your garment I can be clean.” I began praying and crying and I believe at that moment the spiritual transformation process began.
Not long after that I began having visions and dreams. One vision in particular took place during warfare in my home with my daughters. We were in an abusive situation with a man on drugs. It was getting worse, so I told my daughters, “Let’s do spiritual warfare like they do in church.” I told them, “We are stronger together than he is.”
I asked them if they remembered any songs from church. One of my girls stated she knew one, but couldn’t remember all the words, so instantly we began singing: “The presence of the lord is here. I feel it in the atmosphere. The spirit of the lord is here. The power of the lord is here,” and we sang it over and over until he came out of the bed room. He was getting angry - yelling curses - asking us to stop singing, but we refused. We continued.
The girls began to get restless.
They wanted to stop praying.
I allowed them to stop, but I continued and I remembered the bishop
had said, “Sometimes you have to lay out before the lord and give him
everything you have,” and that’s just what I did.
I laid on the floor and gave him everything.
I kept praying and before I knew it I began to see rocks falling.
(I later shared this with my friend and she informed me in the Bible
there was a story about the walls of
There were many other visions surrounding the presence of Jesus in my life. I began to dream many dreams. One in particular -- I was in a large place much like a stadium and I was surrounded by well known bishops, preachers, evangelists. I was actually in a line to preach with these people and suddenly I got out of line and went and sat in a blue comfortable chair, which ended up being prophetic.
In 2009 I accepted my calling as and evangelist and also started Bread of Life for Life Ministries in 2010: http://www.ourchurch.com/member/b/breadoflfe1/ I became a pastoral counselor, although my struggles were not over completely. Being set totally free from my past has been a process, as is with most Christians who have suffered severe abuse.
In 2012 I became a certified chaplain and I actively began working in ministry serving men, women and children from substance abuse programs, homeless shelters and providing parent advocate services to the Department of Children and Family Services, even though we are not where we want to be. We have faith this ministry will one day be nationwide going to new heights in ministry.
God has truly moved graciously and powerfully in my life since my fully surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If it had not been for the blood of Jesus shed at the cross for me, I don’t have a clue where I would be today. God has protected and delivered me so many times, it is hard to remember them all.
THE ABUSE YOU'VE SUFFERED IS NOT FROM GOD!
God has quic
You may not be aware of this Bible passage, but it is vitally important that you become aware of it. It is found in 1 Peter 5:8:
Be sober, be alert, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
This above warning is given to dedicated – devout – sold out Christians. If you’re not yet a dedicated – devout – sold out Christian … how much MORE do you think Satan can easily mess with you? You need all the supernatural protection God HAS to keep the devil from messing with you! God doesn’t automatically promise that protection to those who are not saved from their sins by trusting Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior.
Most abused people constantly ask themselves: “Why has God allowed me to suffer so much? What did I ever do to deserve such pain?” Guess what? They seldom get an answer, this side of eternity. There are mysteries in this life that we simply aren’t going to get answers to until we get to heaven. We can make guesses, but we’re not going to know for sure.
But this much I can tell you. Rather than STAYING a victim your whole life, God grants each of us the power to be transformed into a VICTOR in Christ Jesus! It won’t happen immediately, because deliverance from wrong thinking and emotional healing from our past takes time (though God does miracles everyday around the world in healing people emotionally!), but the choice is not up to God whether you remain a victim of your past. The choice is up to YOU.
Multitudes of people over time have had abusive lives just like mine. Some not as intense; some more intense. Abuse of children and wives is not going away – not until Jesus Christ returns to earth anyway. Satan is allowed to operate freely in the lives of people, and until we choose to make Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord – let Him and His Word be our all in all … God the Father does not give us the power of the Holy Spirit to help us overcome Satan’s past, present, and future attacks from Satan and his demons. We must play by God’s rules. We must chose to make Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord FIRST … then the Holy Spirit will be given to us to empower us.
“Heavenly Father, I pray for the one reading this right now who has yet to make Your Son, Jesus Christ, their personal Savior and Lord. I pray that You help this person make the wisest decision they could ever make. Help this person to be transformed from a victim to a VICTOR. Put it in their heart to become a new creation in Christ Jesus. Put it in their heart to make their purpose for living be pleasing to You by doing things YOUR way – because YOUR way is the ONLY way that gets lasting results - from this moment forward into all eternity.”
My email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial Note: If you are interested in
reading Peggy's book on her life story, you can click on this link:
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WAS I BORN TO BE ABUSED?
NO! AND YOU WEREN'T EITHER!