Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 9: Draw Near to God

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow by Shelly Cruz It was not until a period of distance was placed between my family and Cecilia’s, that I began to see the blessing that Cecilia gave me. It was an ABUNDANT blessing in disguise! At the time, I felt sad, lonely, depressed and even angry with her and with her whole family. I felt that Cecilia divorced our friendship, and I had no idea why. I went from being a babe in Christ, to a woman, desiring nothing more, than to love my Savior Jesus. God was changing me little by little each day. I began to pray for specific things, and within weeks, sometimes … [Read more...]

Justice is No Lady ~ Prologue: Final Break

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse. by Tess Willoughby July 12, 2000.  I woke up with one thought in my head.  I am going to die. I don’t know where this conviction came from, unless it was the cracked ribs.  It hurt to move; it hurt to breathe.  I was also dizzy.  I had awakened dizzy for five months straight, ever since Maggie was born.  I never went anywhere without a cup of crushed ice to chew on.  This, too, had lasted for five months.  Maggie—exclusively breast-fed—looked puny and pallid. I knew Nate was going to kill me unless I did something to save myself.  I guess I should explain that Nate didn’t crack my ribs.  They had … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 8: Somehow, I Lost My Entire Identity

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow by Shelly Cruz There was so much to read about this man; I didn't even know where to begin. I stumbled across a message board that had a whole bunch of people who grew up following his teachings. They were adults now. The thing that perplexed me the most, was that these folks were calling him a religious cult leader, and that did not seem right to me. Cecilia and her family were very strong, mature Christians. They would never get involved with something cultish, would they? The time I spent reading about this man, seemed so déjà vu to me. Everything I was reading … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 7: A Godly, God-Fearing Man

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow by Shelly Cruz I was feeling inadequate as a wife and mother lately, but had no clue why. Maybe it was because Cecilia called her husband Sir, and was always hanging on his every word. This had been making me nervous for a while now. I remember asking her about it one day and she only shared, that Sarah called Abraham "Lord." It was a matter of respect. I took a moment, trying to imagine myself, calling my husband Lord, or even Sir. I could not help but chuckle each time I said it to myself. Is this something that a Godly wife was suppose to do? Should I be asking … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 6: Cecelia's Secret

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow by Shelly Cruz The secret was "ATI", which stands for, "Advanced Training Institute." This was a word of mouth ultra-conservative home school program Cecilia told me about. It taught "Character First." It made children obedient, God fearing individuals, Cecilia explained to me. Cecilia shared examples of how much more obedient children were who were taught with this style of curriculum. How these children differed from other children. I was intrigued, and wanted to find out more about it. This was what I have been waiting to hear. If Cecilia's children were walking, … [Read more...]

Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 5: Waking Up

by Kiery A failure, that’s what I was, a giant failure. I couldn’t be the daughter my parents wanted me to be. I had tasted freedom, and I felt like I deserved it. I couldn’t go back to being the second mom after being told I was an adult. Adults can’t take their children’s adulthood away, can they? The 6 months between the split and my 18th birthday were the darkest days of my life. I was horribly depressed, I hardly ate, I contemplated cutting and suicide on more than one occasion. Honestly, if it weren’t for the friends I had made before and my boyfriend’s pastor stepping up and reaching me when I cried for help, I don’t know where I would be. I was mad at God, mad at my … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 5: A Leap of Faith

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow by Shelly Cruz Our family was planning an out of state move soon. My husband had been praying about our life up North. For him, everything seemed mundane, so he started praying that if the Lord had more for us, he would have to shake things up a bit. For me, I felt that everything had already been shaken up enough. As always, the Lord answered my husband’s prayer almost instantly. The job that he thought he was going to have until retirement became very stressful for him. When folks at work found out that he was a believer, they started playing little tricks on … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 4: Everything Was So Confusing to Me Now

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow by Shelly Cruz Getting back to the Cabbage Doll story. Let me explain. In the eighties, a very well known Evangelist that Cecilia's family was personally taught under, taught that Cabbage Patch Dolls were causing strange and destructive behaviors in children. They could only be alleviated when the dolls were removed from the household, or better yet, destroyed completely! There were some reports claiming... ladies were miscarrying while having these dolls in their homes. It was explained to me that when you got a Cabbage Patch Doll, they come with birth certificates … [Read more...]

Time Heals All Wounds ~ Part 3: My Very Own Titus 2 Friend!

All beautiful the march of days, as seasons come and go; The Hand that shaped the rose hath wrought the crystal of the snow by Shelly Cruz I drew closer to Christ through my relationship with Cecilia; there was no doubt about it. The more time I spent with her, the more I opened my bible to see if all the things I was learning, matched up with the word of God. I was learning so much from her. Some good things, and some things that really made me scratch my chin in dismay. I learned that if you were a real Christian, then you were to only home school your children. However, My church taught us that we could also send our children to a Christian school. That was acceptable too. This really … [Read more...]

Preparing a Visionary Daughter to Do Hard Things ~ Part 4: Growing Up

by Kiery The thing about training is that eventually, you grow up and exercise what you were taught. I was taught to think for myself, to stand up regardless of pressure, and in the end, that’s what I did. The last half of my 16th year my parents spent drilling into me that I was a capable adult and ready for marriage. I went to visit my boyfriend after christmas and I think my parents fully expected a proposal even though (despite me being 16) we’d only been together since September. I was nervous, naturally. A hasty marriage was being pushed by my family  while his were much less hurried. I was scared, because at 16, I interpreted this as there being something wrong...maybe they … [Read more...]


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