Runaway Heart
(The Lisa Walker Story)

                               By: Lisa Walker

My Christmas wish                                                                                                            
One of my favorite pictures is an 8x10 black and white photograph of me at two years old sitting on Santa Claus’s lap that my grandmother gave to me after my children were born.  At the top of the picture are the words written in red by my mother, “I want my Daddy for Christmas.”  The F.B.I. had found and arrested my father in California for several armed robberies and had held my mother for questioning shortly before this picture was taken. I didn’t get my Christmas wish, but I was reunited with my father 30 years later.

Physical abuse

Immediately, my mother, younger sister and I moved back to Georgia where she married my violent alcoholic stepfather when I was three years old. If I ever left one dish or fork with a speck of anything on it while washing dishes my stepfather would make me rewash every dish.  I usually always did as I was told and to perfection because I knew of the beating I would get.  Not a spanking...a beating. They had three children together after I was ten years old and since I was the oldest I was expected to take care of them and to keep the house clean at all times.  Cinderella should have been my nickname.

I will never forget the night that my stepfather came home drinking and beat my mother in the stomach. He slammed me against the wall when I tried to make him stop and he left.  My baby brother was born in the hospital the next day two months prematurely. My stepfather never showed up until days later.

Understanding the depths of hate

Everywhere we went my stepfather would always say to people, “Oh, she’s not my real kid.”  I’m sure it was quite apparent to everyone that I wasn’t his biological daughter since I had blonde hair and blue eyes and his was dark and since his grandmother was full blooded Apache Indian.  What did real mean anyway?   I was told at a very young age that my father had died so why couldn’t he just say that I was his daughter?  Throughout my childhood I came to realize the depths of the hate that my mother and stepfather had for my father.  I always looked like my dad…you know how you can pick parent and child out in a crowded room…that was us.   Many times in anger my mother let me know how looking at me was like looking at him.

From Honor Roll to Juvenile

When I was 13 years old, my grandmother and my stepfather had a falling out and she  decided to tell me that my father had never died and that he was probably still in prison somewhere, but she had no idea where.  I was confused and I didn’t know what was true anymore, but I did have a glimmer of hope that I would one day see my father. I felt betrayed at being lied to all of my life and to top it off now they all said that they would never let me see him or help me find him.  I was devastated.  

Not out of rebellion, but out of my search for love and acceptance I turned to drugs, my new boyfriend, and running away from home.  The first time I ran away was to East Atlanta with a friend for one week. I followed her lead. Several times within a few months I would stay out all night or run away for a few days.  Almost overnight I went from a straight A honor student to a juvenile delinquent.  

The last time, at 14 I ran away with my boyfriend… after six weeks we were found near Daytona Beach where I was taken to the Orange County Detention Center and he went home to his parents. I was no stranger to juvenile as I had already been in and out several times for running away. In the early 70’s running away was a misdemeanor; a crime…now I was a criminal.

The pain of rejection
Only two days after returning home this time, my stepfather told my mother that he couldn’t stand to look at me any longer and it would either be me or him, she had to choose. She chose him. Before she got home from work the next day he had already knocked me across my room and told her when she came home that she was going to have to get rid of me right away.  I was crying uncontrollably by this time and my stepfather was screaming that I must be on drugs. The police took me back to juvenile where I was sent to a foster home which I also ran away from. This time when I went to court, the Juvenile Judge ordered that I be sent to Macon Y.D.C. until I was an adult since I wasn’t allowed back home.

Abandoned ... rejected ... alone

Macon Y.D.C. wasn’t like regular juvenile .. it was a step down from women’s prison .. where the real problem teens were sent. One girl was there for murder because she was too young for prison…I was in another violent place.  I was attacked twice while there and I had no choice but to fight back. I always kept quiet though and always tried to avoid trouble.

My mother never came to visit even though she was allowed…no one ever did. We had one hour group sessions every day, but I would never open up. I never revealed my biggest secret of all about my uncle molesting and raping me from four to eight years old while baby-sitting me and my younger sister.  My mother and grandmother had told me to forget about it and to never ever tell anyone, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t forget.  I now wish that I had told someone.   As I cried myself to sleep almost every night I felt abandoned, rejected and so alone. 


One day I was called to the Chaplain’s office and told that I would be going to my grandmother’s on a three day pass for my 13 month old baby sister’s funeral.  Somehow she had been playing with an open bottle of Aquatabs and ingested them. I say she died from neglect. I felt extreme guilt for not being there to take care of her… my world grew darker with each passing day.

Attempt to end it all

Two months later because of good behavior I was allowed to go to my grandmother’s for a two week trial pass. I had heard from some of the girls in Y.D.C. say that if you were married that you would legally become an adult and be able to get out.  When I arrived at my grandmother’s I called my boyfriend and told him what I had heard. He said that he was seeing another girl and that he wanted to break up. My heart was completely broken.  I vaguely remember taking my grandfather’s newly filled prescription of over 100 small tranquilizers. God was truly watching over me as my grandfather came home early from work that day and saw me walking down Hwy. 85.  I didn’t have a plan except to go into the woods and fall asleep.

My grandfather and I went back to the house and he grabbed the empty bottle and we went to the nearest hospital 45 minutes away in Warm Springs. There was no 911 then. The doctors said that if we had been 15 minutes later I would have been dead.  

After I woke up from a four day coma my grandmother was irate because my mother hadn’t been there. She said that the nurses were saying that this was the worst case of neglect they had ever seen.  After this close call with death, my boyfriend had a total change of heart and we were married three days after I was released from the hospital. I was 15 and he was 17 so my grandmother talked my mother into signing for me to be married and his father signed for him.  I had to return to Y.D.C. for a psychological evaluation since I had tried to commit suicide.  The psychologist said that my only problem was my family and I was released to live my life as I chose.

God was watching over me once again

After we had been together for one year I left him and ended up in Florida for two years.  I lived only to party and because of my state of mind on drugs and alcohol I often found myself in very dangerous situations.  Once I injured my neck by falling out of a speeding car and another time I was raped at gunpoint.  There was a witness to the rape that went at 3:00 a.m. down an abandoned dirt road to find a phone to call the police.  God spared my life and the rapist was arrested… God in His mercy was watching over me once again.

A father for my son

Months later, not from the rape, I found myself pregnant.  I returned to Georgia to my grandmother’s where she sent me to a home for unwed mothers.  The day my son was born was the major turning point in my life.  I had always said my prayers every night since I was six years old and I now prayed every night for a father for my son. My present husband adopted my son and was the answer to my prayers...we have now been married 27 years.

Reunited with my father after 30 years

I was finally reunited with my father by The Musser Foundation in 1991 after a 30 year separation and an 11 year search. I still remember the prayer from a 700 Club counselor as she prayed that I wouldn’t only find my earthly father, but that I would also find my Heavenly Father.  My father was located only two months after her prayer. Even though I was so happy to find my father, it didn’t make my life complete the way I thought it would. Something was still missing.

Surrender to God ... then the changes come

Throughout my lifetime I have been through all kinds of secular therapy, counseling and on medication never finding real relief until through a series of events I was led to church and rededicated my life.  I was full of bitterness and deep resentment toward all of the people that had hurt me and it had affected every area of my life.  Only after I surrendered my life to God did a real change occur in me. 

I was able to forgive

Although I don’t see most of my family and I believe that all abusers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law; I chose to forgive them long ago. I found true healing through letting go and forgiving everyone who had ever hurt me.   For such a long time I didn’t feel like I had really forgiven them so I prayed that God would let me truly feel the forgiveness...eventually I did.  One day my uncle called me crying and said that he was so sorry for what he had done to me when I was a little girl. 

Finding my Heavenly Father

As I told him that I had already forgiven him years before; I really meant it and I really felt it.  Only God can change hearts this way...I’m living proof.   I am now the Founder of Faith Travels, a testimony ministry and I know that our past does not have to determine our future. My greatest desire in life is to let others know that they can rise above any situation and that there is only true hope, true healing and true forgiveness through Jesus Christ.   I now know that the most important thing in life for anyone is to find their Heavenly Father and to read His words written in red. My search is over…my Heavenly Father was what I was searching for all along.


STAFF NOTE:  If you would like to email Lisa, her email address is  and she also has a website with many more faith building and encouraging testimonies at

We would also like to encourage you to write your testimony and let Lisa publish it on the website the Lord is using her to build for Him, and ask that you exhort other born again believers to do the same.  Lisa has a strong call on her life to reach out to others to be used to win souls to Jesus Christ, and your on-going prayers and support on behalf of the ministry God has called her to ... will be very precious to the Lord.

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