Amelia's Story "Clean Slate"

suppose the appropriate place to start is where I became lost. My childhood was pretty average; I grew up on a farm with two hardworking parents who made sure that we didn’t lack any of the essentials. I wasn’t raised in church, but I lived in the middle of a God fearing, down home kind of community. At age 13 I tried drugs for the first time. The next five years of my life were a rollercoaster of bad decisions, mistakes, and scary circumstances. By the time I was 16 I had tried nearly every drug available in my small town that I could take without having to shoot a needle in my arm. I would drive around with so-called friends and spend any time that I could getting high. I was wasting away.

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At 16 years old, I tried ending my life with an intentional overdose of drugs, but my God saved me. I felt lost and was continually searching for whatever it was that would fill this hole in my heart that made me so sad. I was missing something and I knew it, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. I was so desperate to end the emptiness, that I swallowed an entire bottle of pills and ran into the woods on our farm and laid down to wait. As I lay crying and unable to move, still not knowing what was missing from my life, God sent my dad to find me and my mother called 911. The paramedics arrived and put me in the back of an ambulance where I had tubes shoved down my throat and nose into my stomach. I was hooked to a heart monitor, and for the next 12 hours I faded in and out of consciousness. I remember waking up on the stretcher under the lights of the ER and thinking about all of the things I was doing wrong and wondering if this was the answer to my emptiness. God saved me again. I didn’t know Him yet, but He knew me and He knew I was His beautiful child. He would not let me go yet. I spent 3 days in the Intensive Care Unit while my mom sat and cried. I spent an additional 2 weeks in a mental health facility where I participated in group therapy, and my heart had to be continually monitored to ensure it wouldn’t stop. I didn’t believe I needed to be there, and I was not convinced that this was going to heal me. I needed something else and I just couldn’t find it.

ast forward two years. I am 18 and still not making the greatest choices, but God believed in me and created me for a purpose and so He blessed me with the surprise pregnancy of my first born child. This is when I began to realize that life definitely had more to offer. At this time I was still using drugs very heavily, but the moment I knew I had another life inside of me, something changed. I now had a purpose. This hole I had been trying to fill for 5 years suddenly felt like it may have been filling in. I quit using and cleaned up. My addiction wasn’t beat by any means and I struggled every day, but I stayed sober for the little life inside of me. In September of 2003 I gave birth to my son. He is 12 years old now and I have been clean from meth since I became pregnant with him. This is not the end of my story.

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s a teenage mother I did what my parents considered the right thing to do; I married my son’s father. We were young and inexperienced and our relationship was toxic to say the least. We hadn’t been taught how to be in a grown up relationship but we were trying to be in one anyway. My marriage barely lasted a year before my husband left us, and although I never wanted to be divorced I had no choice. We had nowhere to go and for three miserable days I stayed with my son in a woman’s shelter (pregnant with my second child). It was scary. I was in a big city 700 miles from home with no family or friends. I had only recently found out I was pregnant with our second baby, and as I lay there on the third night on a dirty mattress in a room with no lock, thinking about how I had bathed my son in the sink of a public bathroom full of dirty diapers, and all of my personal belongings in the backseat of my car, I cried.

I cried and cried and cried. I was lost again. God brought me through my addiction and all that mess just to be here? I thought about the ladies that I’d encountered earlier in the day talking about scoring drugs while carrying around their filthy babies and here I was clean and sober, working, and trying my hardest to do right by my children. I was scared, dirty, and angry at life. I didn’t know if I would make it.

Two weeks after this I lost my second child. I cried, but God sent me an angel in the form of a friend to hold my hand. Shortly after this I received divorce papers to be signed, but I made it. I didn’t know God yet, even though I had been introduced so many times throughout my life. I kept searching for something to fill the hole inside of me. The need to be truly loved and cherished, to be wanted, and the longing of being appreciated… those were all the feelings I struggled with internally. God gave me a friend, but I wasn’t done with my bad decisions yet. God kept my head above the water, but I kept fighting like I was drowning and pushing the water back into my own face. I met another man. This whole time I was looking to fill the void in my heart, when it was really Christ that I needed. I tried so hard to control my own life. This man was THE one, or so I believed. I believed it so much so that I was willing to give up friendships. I was looking so hard for something and I kept looking right past it.

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married this man and I was certain he was what I had been looking for. Our relationship was good for a while, even though I had pushed my friends away, along with anyone trying to help me. I thought I was happy; we were going to have a baby together. But as quickly as that happiness came, it went away again.

gave birth to my daughter in July, two and a half months early and she passed before delivery. She was my first daughter and her name was Gabriella Christine Haruko Peters. She was beautiful and tiny and born in Heaven. After Gabriella’s birth, her father became physically abusive, but I still decided to have another child. This time she was whole and beautiful.

The abuse from her father became severe and very private. I wanted to tell someone; I wanted someone to notice, but I had those internal thoughts telling me things like, “stop feeling sorry for yourself,” and “if you love him enough he’ll change.” No one knew what was happening to me. There were times where the only thing that saved me was being able to crawl through the open doorway because he had reached a point where he was too tired to hit and kick me anymore.

he physical abuse became what I thought was manageable and I told myself that I had everything under control. No one else knew and when things were happy they were really happy. So I stayed. I began going to the church around the corner from my house. I didn’t really understand the meaning of salvation, but I knew that God existed and I knew that I believed in Him. How else would I have survived everything I’d been through? I needed to escape the pain that was my life at home and things were good when I was at church. On January 21, 2008 I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and began to see life differently. Shortly after, I was blessed with another pregnancy, but unfortunately things at home were not changing. I lost this child. It was another devastating blow, and so I tried for another child because I was sad. God blessed me with another successful pregnancy after this, but all at once my life was a whirlwind of out of control all over again for I had received notification from the state that someone had named the father of my children as the father of their child and the problem was that this child was born after my daughter by 3 months.

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My core was shattered and I separated myself from the situation. I took my children away so I could sort through my own emotions. I walked away from a good job, a home, and I had 2 children and one on the way. I was going to church faithfully, but I wondered why these terrible things were still happening in my life even though I had accepted Jesus. I thought that as a Christian, I couldn’t possibly be divorced twice and I was utterly convinced that as a single mom of three I was worthless and unwanted.

I secretly crawled home. I raised his other child alongside my own for 2 more years, until the sorrow and sadness had overwhelmed me to the point of almost questioning my fate. I prayed for God to tell me what to do. I knew in my heart, after every time my husband yelled at me or hit me, that my God did not design me to endure this abuse. I stayed because I was torn between the idea of being a two-time divorcee and single mom of 3 and just enduring. Enduring seemed the easier of the two. I remember the feeling inside of me during the last six months of my marriage. I was sad. I was disappointed. I was miserable. The only solace I found was in church. I got baptized and stayed faithful to my church family, while my family at home was slowly crumbling. In public we were picture perfect.

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This is one of the moments that God spoke more clearly to me than any other in my life... When I woke up one morning I fell victim to one of the worst beatings I had ever endured while my five year old watched. He saw as I crawled out the back door to safety as his stepfather ran out the front door. That day God flipped a switch inside of me and I never looked back. I packed my house and my children while my ex-husband was at work and I heard God reassuring me that I was precious in His sight. At that moment I knew God had better plans for me.

Fast forward to now. I followed God's direction and God's timing and although I haven't made perfect decisions, I always listen closely to God's direction. We all stumble and none of us will ever be perfect, but I am blessed with a life beyond anything I deserve. I now have a wonderful husband and own my own business where I am able to minister to small children everyday. I am unworthy, but because of my savior I am blessed and forgiven. Life is terrible sometimes and that is just the honest truth, but God can make something very special out of the most unlikely candidate. I am proof and I am thankful! My name is Amelia Christine Hogan, and I am a child of God.

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I have learned in living my story that through seeking God, I was given that opportunity. Not to say that the struggles never happened because I learned from them and grew, but because of the void in my life that was filled by Christ and the new beginning that it offered. Because of my experiences I have a new leader and Lord in my life; a new understanding of the world around me. I have been given a new liberty and power to live my life! My love for all of God’s people is restored, reinvigorated, and improved. This is just the beginning of my journey and is sure to be better than what came before because of my desire to serve the Lord!