We lived on the dairy farm for 5 years. We had good times and bad times. We learned and grew. Then we moved back to the farm that my parents owned, about 5 miles away from the dairy. That other farm, the one I call "home" is 300 acres of farmland, with 2 houses, numerous barns, a few horses, some chickens, and a bunch of deer. When we moved back, Daddy had to find another job. So, for the first time in a long, long time, he went to work for someone else. For the next few years, Daddy worked as the maintenance man for the Due West Retirement Center, in Due West, SC. My brother and I were in high school, and our little brother was in school.
The next several years were rather un-eventful, in most ways. We didn't move. Financially, things were almost stable. No one in the family got into any major troubles. However, for me personally, this was one of the most painful periods of my life. Looking back, now, I can see that I was going through normal struggles, trying to be myself, figuring out what it meant to be a Christian in a very legalistic environment. I was also beginning my struggles with depression.
I dealt repeatedly with my mom's physical and emotional abuse. My mother had her own demons, and they came back often to haunt me. Deep inside, I wanted to please my parents. On the outside, it looked like I couldn't do anything to please either of them. I was stuck somewhere between my college educated parents, and my friends and church. I was unsure that anyone loved me. I wasn't Mennonite enough for my church or friends, and I was too Mennonite for my parents.
I had a couple of friends who weren't Mennonite, but who attended the Mennonite school with me. I spent a lot of time at their home. One day, I mentioned to one of them that my mother was abusive, and they passed that information on to their mother, who was a friend of my mom's. I know that their mom was trying to protect me, but instead, I ended up suffering from the decision she made to talk to my mom about it.
I threatened to run away several times. The things that came out of my mother's mouth at that time still haunt me. Names that a child should never be called by their parents. Through all of that, God protected me from so many things. I never smoked. Or drank. Or did drugs. Or was involved physically with anyone. It would have been so easy for me to get into any one of those things.
God had someting different in mind for me. For that, I am very grateful.