Escape From Despair

Out of despair

I can remember as a child living in a very small house on a reserve with my father, mother, and baby brother. The house had two small rooms and an attic. I can remember being by myself on several occasions with my baby brother, eating raw porridge and giving my brother canned milk in his bottle. My mother and father would take off to town to go drinking and not return for a day or more. Many times we sat in a vehicle outside the bar until late at night waiting for my parents. They would come out and give us chips and pop and go back in.

I remember one night my mother and father put me to bed and left. I could see them walking in the dark towards the highway to hitchhike to town. I was calling out and crying to no avail as they kept walking. They were gone for several days. I remember going to the neighbor’s place and staying there. I would run home to see if my parents were home and finally one day they were. My mom was washing clothes but I’m not sure where my father was. Sometimes my mother would leave my father and go away and my father would go looking for her and bring her home. They fought a lot.

I think it was during this time that someone reported them to Social Services because not long after that the police came and got me and my brother. I remember trying to run away and my father chasing me and crying and telling me I had to go. I was sitting in the police car crying. They took me to a strange place. Later I was taken to a foster home. I was with a man and woman. The man was not a nice man. It was a bad experience.

Complete text of: Escape From Despair

Then the social worker came to pick me up and took me to a residential school. I just turned 6.

I remember going to where my aunt lived. I ran up the hill to an old log house where my aunt was sitting at the table eating. My mother was there. I was overjoyed to see her. She went with me and the social worker to find my dad. We stopped at a bar where we found him. He was so drunk. He took me to a store and bought me all kinds of treats for school. When we got to the school they sent me out to the playground while my dad, mother, and the social worker had a meeting.

My dad came out to the playground staggering and crying and wanting to say goodbye to me. I cried and screamed and did not want to let him go. It was the last time I was to see him. He died that Christmas Eve, drunk and fighting. I grieved for a long time by myself. I would cry and walk in the field talking to God and my dad up in the clouds. I would leave pieces of paper or items in a certain place and tell my dad to take it away if he hears me. A lot of times it would still be there.

I remember going home that summer to where my grandfather and grandmother lived. My mother was there. I was still expecting to see my dad. My mother cried a lot and would sing “How Far Is Heaven, I’d like to know. I want my daddy, he’s there I know.” I loved my mother; she called me her baby girl. She was very pretty and always dressed nicely. She would leave and go south to pick apples in the fall.

My mother came home one year with a strange man. Each year she came home to my grandparent’s place she would be pregnant and leave the child with my grandmother.

I was the second eldest of nine children. My grandmother had quit drinking and took on the responsibility of looking after us. My grandfather would go haying to earn money. My grandmother got money from the government for looking after us and life seemed normal for a few years.

Our house was old and big and a lot of relatives would stop at our place and stay overnight and drink and party. My sister and I were attending a public school. My grandmother did a lot of sewing and made sure we were always dressed nice. She also was a very good cook.

We did all the normal things children did. Ride bikes, go swimming, skating, fishing, sledding, and house hold duties. In the summer we would walk down to the stream at night to get our baths. We didn’t have much but grandmother taught us all the basics of etiquette, cleanliness and work.

When I was ten it seemed my grandmother was very strict. She would spank us with a willow stick that we had to go pick for ourselves and if it wasn’t big enough she would get a thicker one.

Then she started drinking again. A woman had persuaded her to try lemon gin because it was so good. Our normal world started to crumble.

It was during this time that I was raped. After that I just didn’t care what happened. I was fighting, missing school, and started to smoke and rebel.

My brothers were taken away, except for George. He had been adopted into an English home when he was a baby.

The last year we were sent to the residential school I got into a lot of trouble. I would steal food from the kitchen and I still wet my bed. I tried so many things to quit wetting my bed. I felt bad, looked down on, ashamed, less than human, angry and hurt. It seemed I was always walking around with this hurt that I could not understand or identify. I remember going to town on a Saturday. I was with a couple of girls and we stole a bottle of whiskey from a drunk man on the street and we got drunk. I was sent to reform school for girls for six months.

Then I went back to live with my grandmother. It was the last time I saw my brother Manny until 21 years later at my brother Tony’s funeral. He had hung himself and was found by his two sons in his basement. Manny was severely F.A.S. because of my mother and his father’s heavy drinking addiction. He is about 4 foot 5 inches tall with a protruding forehead, small eyes, large lips, and a mentality of a 6 year old. All because of alcohol. He could not believe I was his sister; he was so happy to see me. He kept touching me, smiling and staying close by my side.

I came home that summer only to find I really didn’t have a home. I lived with my grandmother and her sister part of the time and in friend’s sheds part of the time. We went to the dump to get food that the grocery stores took there. That year I had several bad experiences with alcohol. In the fall my grandparents bought a little 15 by 15 shack that we lived in. I was going to public school and was ashamed when I couldn’t find clean clothes or matching socks to wear so I would skip school. The school contacted my grandparents and it was then they turned me over to Social Services.

They put me in a foster home. The woman was white and the man native. They were strict, but taught us a lot. He would spank us with a garden hose when we got out of line. In the summer we would plant a huge garden of fresh vegetables and sell them to the city people. It was a beautiful place. We swam in the river all summer. Our foster parents would give us an allowance for the work we did.

When I was hurting or lonely I would go for long walks up the hills close to where we lived and talk and cry my heart out to God. I didn’t realize at the time it was an inner healing therapy for me, but it helped.

I started attending public school and it was okay until I started struggling with my grades and started skipping school and getting in with the wrong group. I always felt inferior because I was a foster child and native and didn’t seem to measure up.

I had started to experiment with L.S.D. and marijuana. I had a bad trip on L.S.D. after trying it the second time, which I guess was a good thing because I was afraid to try it again. I had side effects from that bad experience on L.S.D. for a couple of years.

I got involved with a man and became pregnant. Our relationship was very stormy. After my son was born we bought a little trailer. I was struggling with alcohol and it was getting worse. I had difficulty staying by myself at night so I would drink to go to sleep and my addiction progressed. I had an accident with the car and didn’t remember. I didn’t have my driver’s license. Now my family was moving closer to me but it was not helping my alcohol problem. I attempted suicide several times because I started hating myself and my hopeless alcohol problem.

I tried to escape through drugs and drinking. Life became hopeless. I tried several treatment centers and AA but couldn’t seem to stay sober more than three months. During this time I split up and reconnected with the father of my three boys a number of times. Finally I took my children and left. It was not easy to raise the children on my own but I always believed in God and somehow He worked things out for me. I met many people who were always willing to help.

I came across a good job with a native organization. I interviewed all aboriginal status women doing a survey for the government. It was at a sober club that I met my husband. Shortly thereafter we got married. We had to try to sort out our life around six boys, aged 5-16 years. It was very difficult. We had a lot of struggles. I was very insecure. I had decided to leave him when he had quite a serious accident and I couldn’t leave him then so I stayed with him and he recovered. At this time there was a tent meeting going on across the street from our place, and my husband said he was going back to church and back to God and he was going to go to this tent meeting. He asked if I wanted to come along and I said no. He started going and I changed my mind and went with him. This was the start of our journey to the Lord.

We started going to church. There we met a pastor couple. I told them about my life. They told me God could help. They asked me if I would die where would I go? I told them I wasn’t sure. I felt that way because I was ashamed of myself. I knew I wasn’t right with God. They explained Christ’s love for me. They told me He loves me and would forgive me. Oh, the forgiveness! Only He can restore me, build me, and forgive me. I am nothing without Him. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. Everyone has shame, hurts and wounds. I cried and cried and asked God to forgive me. Something happened that night. Jesus came into my heart. He saved me. We don’t have to be burdened with sins of our past. We can be forgiven and move on with a clean slate.

I would like to say that life was perfect after that but it wasn’t. I had to continue to deal with the challenges that life brings. But now Jesus was there with me. I stayed sober and started to grow in my Christian life. I started to attend church.

As the Lord showed me more about Christian living, my thinking, actions and beliefs changed. I started coming against issues that were not Christian at work and lost my job. I was devastated, but later realized it was the best thing that could have happened to me.

I started to become a mother to my children. I started to read the Bible every chance I could. God started to convict me about my appearance. I began to dress more modestly. I also got rid of my TV and bad reading material. I didn’t realize how much I was addicted to the TV until I didn’t have one.

One place we lived I noticed the children our daughter was playing with. I wanted to have a Bible School with them. I made out invitations and took them around. We had Bible School for five days, Monday to Friday. Each day there were more children. The last day we had a wiener roast and twenty-six children showed up. We gave them all Bibles. They were so happy to have their own Bibles and find the verses they had memorized. What a blessing!

Some years later our daughter had a personal experience with the Lord. We knew it was the Spirit that touched her. It was the best thing that ever happened to her. We believe that God wanted us to be here for her. It’s a wonderful, beautiful life.

God has given me a peace in my heart and has changed my life. He is there every day for me.

“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:3-5).

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Trouble Begins

Trouble and problems are everywhere. Sickness, unhappiness, and many evils are a part of life. Where did it all begin? Has it always been this way? The Bible, God’s Word, has the answers to these questions.

The first two chapters of the Bible tell about a beautiful garden called Eden. God created it for Adam and Eve to live in. God made them perfect and without sin. 

Eden was a place of peace and happiness. There were no problems or sickness. It was a very happy and beautiful place to live. He gave them every good thing from the garden to eat. In the midst of the garden, he planted the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God told them that they would surely die if they ate the fruit of this tree.

Complete text of: Trouble Begins

Sadly, the tranquility in the garden did not last. One day the devil, God’s enemy, came to Eve in the form of a serpent. He asked Eve if God had said they should not eat of the forbidden tree. “Yes,” said Eve, “God said we would die if we ate of it.” The serpent replied, “You will not die when you eat of the tree; you will become like gods knowing good and evil.” When Eve looked at the fruit of the tree, she reached out her hand and took some.

It was good to eat, and she shared some with Adam. As soon as they had eaten, they knew that something was wrong. They became afraid of God. When God came to talk to them, they hid themselves because they were ashamed of their sin. God asked them if they had disobeyed his command and spoke to them about the problems they would always have. Trouble had entered the world because of their disobedience. Toil, sickness, and death would now be part of every life on earth.

When God told them they would die if they disobeyed, He meant both physical and spiritual death. Before their disobedience, they were pure in heart and sinless. After they disobeyed, they became defiled in heart and were sinners in God’s eyes. Since that time, this spiritual death has come upon every person who has been born. Man’s nature, the very being of mankind, has changed from pure and sinless to selfish and sinful.

The Bible tells us in Psalms 14:3 that there is nobody who does good. In the New Testament we read that there is nothing good in our sinful nature. At times we want to do good, but we do evil instead. Other times we know we should not do evil, but we lack the power to do good, all because of our sinful nature (Romans 7:18-20).

Today, many people are unhappy because of their sin nature. People selfishly want their own way. Many lie, cheat, and steal. Some hold grudges and live in bitterness and hatred, because they will not forgive. Many homes have been broken as a result of selfishness and sin. Does this sound familiar to you? Can you identify with these issues? Do you have any of these problems?

This is not a hopeless situation. God has a wonderful plan for us! Because of God’s love for us, He sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross and take the punishment for our sins (John 3:16). Through the power of God, Jesus overcame death and arose from the grave. Because He arose from the dead, we can have victory over our sinful nature if we accept his sacrifice for our sins.

We need to surrender our entire life to God including our wants and desires and ask Him in faith to forgive our sins. Then He forgives us and we become a new person! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The new condition of our heart will reflect in our outward walk and choices. Before God’s forgiveness, we were separated from Him. Now, we are his child. The Bible has a beautiful way of saying this. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). When Jesus forgives our sins, he gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). The divine nature includes love, joy, and peace which God places in our heart.

How different our outlook on life becomes! We now choose to live for Christ, and sin does not dominate our life. God helps us love those who have mistreated us, forgive those who have hurt us, and have the power to be kind, loving, and patient. Homes that were unhappy can be filled with joy and fulfillment.

This change does not mean we will never make mistakes, but we can take them to God for forgiveness. God gives us the power to resist temptation and overcome sin. We will put others’ wants and desires before our own.

God’s plan for sending Jesus into this world to die and rise again was first to save us, then to give us power to live joyful and thankful lives, and to be of service to others!

Read the Bible today!

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Are You Safe?

In the heart of every person there is a desire to be safe and secure. Little children are often afraid of being left alone. They also may fear the dark, or the unknown. Children crave the security of being held in the loving embrace of their parents. There they feel confident and protected. As we mature, the desire to be safe and secure never leaves us. This inborn desire was given to us by our Creator. While some men act fearless, in their hearts they may fear the unknown, suffering, accident, or sickness. They may also have an uneasy feeling about what might happen to them after death.

God is the creator of heaven and earth. Making man was the crowning act of his creation. He placed Adam and his wife Eve in a paradise home called the Garden of Eden. They were secure, happy, and free. Then Satan appeared in the form of a serpent and deceived them. Because of their disobedience to God, they fell out of fellowship with Him and were driven from Eden (Genesis 3).

What a drastic change! Before, Adam and Eve had been safe and without fear. They were at peace with their Creator, enjoying his presence. Now, instead of inner peace, there was unrest, guilt, and fear. They were even afraid of God and hid from Him! They had experienced spiritual death, which is separation from God. When fellowship with Him was broken through disobedience, there was deep distress in their hearts. Only fellowship with the living God can satisfy the soul.

Man’s inner conflict has also caused all manner of outward conflict, often resulting in murder or war. There has always been much strife on earth; one tribe quarrels with another, one nation strives to bring another nation under its rule. In these conflicts, one nation has always emerged victorious, only to weaken later and become subject to another nation. The prophet Daniel says, “That the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will” (Daniel 4:17), and “He removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Daniel 2:21).

The numerous, brazen acts of terrorism around the world have shaken the security of many people. These events have brought fear into many hearts and an uncertainty about the future.

Complete text of: Are You Safe?

We all hope that we can continue to live in safety and security. The success of a nation depends on God’s blessings. If men repent of their sinful lives and fear Him, He may choose to lengthen the days of that nation’s tranquility (Daniel 4:27). William Wilberforce, a former member of the British Parliament, said that his hope for Britain depended “not so much on her navies and armies, nor on the wisdom of her rulers, as on the persuasion that she still contains many who love and obey the gospel of Christ, that their prayers may prevail.” The safety of a nation depends less upon its military might and more upon the prevalence of righteousness and the fear of God among its people.

Our personal safety is a separate matter. We can have an inner security that no earthly nation can offer. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). The kingdoms of this world are in God’s hands and will not endure forever. Our personal relationship with God is of a different dimension. When we are in God’s kingdom, we are in a kingdom that is not subject to the success or failure of any earthly nation. His kingdom is much more secure than any superpower. There we are safe, regardless of what happens to any nation. Kingdoms rise and fall, but Jesus promised that no man is able to pluck his children out of his Father’s hand (John 10:29).

According to Bible prophecy, “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse” (2 Timothy 3:13). The future offers no security. The strife and turmoil around the world may grow worse as eternity approaches. There is a day coming in which God has determined “that there should be time no longer” (Revelation 10:6). In 2 Peter 3:10 we read, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” The Holy Scriptures say that every knee shall bow, and that all men will be gathered before the throne of the almighty Judge. On that great Judgment Day, when “heaven and earth shall pass away” (Matthew 24:35), no earthly power will be able to give us safety. All people shall bow before the great King and be judged. No caves or fortresses will be able to protect those who seek refuge in them. All means of transportation will come to a halt. Man-made weapons will be useless. There will be no reassuring wail of sirens, no emergency or law-enforcement personnel rushing to our rescue. You and I will face the great Judge all alone. At that point, our only safety will be if our name is written in the Book of Life in heaven (Luke 10:20). Our names are written in this book when we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ. He then forgives us and we are cleansed through his precious blood, which was shed on the cross that the whole world could be saved. We are then accepted as children of God.

God’s children are not exempt from sickness or suffering. They may even lose their lives, but they need not fear because they are safe in the arms of Jesus. Regardless of what happens to them, they can trust that even suffering is for their good (Romans 8:28).

Do you long for security? Do you have deep inner yearnings that you cannot satisfy? Although the soul longs for God, the sinful nature of man reaches for fleshly desires. Without the peace of God, a sinner is “like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20). In this conflict, too many people follow the path of least resistance and make a decision by indecision. Finally, they slip from life into death and face a long eternity.

Real and lasting peace can only be found when we surrender mind, body, and spirit to the One who has made us and loves us. He is not only the Master of the world, but He knows our lives from the beginning to the end. He came into this world “to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). He suffered and shed his precious blood so that we can have peace and security.

Do you feel the weight of sin in your heart? Do you worry about the future, or do you try to block it out of your mind? Are you burdened with more than you can bear? Do you desire to be safe and secure? Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). The Lord has a remedy for your sins. He is the great burden-bearer, and nothing is too difficult for Him. Acts 3:19 urges “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” God, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, promised, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end… And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11, 13).

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