My Testimony

By Rose Awuku 2017

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My name is Rose.

I was born on November 16th, 1995. My biological mother was an addict, so nobody knew what physical condition I would be in after birth, if I even survived. During a typical Indiana snow storm, I made my appearance.

I had a few issues with my lungs but all in all, I was okay! Praise God! But my story doesn’t end there…..

The day after my first birthday my biological mother left for California, and I got to stay with my (then) grandparents. I was so happy! I love being with them. They’re my safe place…..But a few years later she came back. She was granted visitation from the court, but she wasn’t supposed to keep me overnight. And that is when it began…

She showed up one day and took me for a “visit”, I left kicking and screaming. She didn’t bring me back. She didn’t have the legal right to keep me, she wasn’t even supposed to have me overnight, but this started a series of several kidnappings. I know some people only think of “kidnapping” as being a random person luring a child into a car, which is very real and very terrible, but there are different kinds of kidnappings. She didn’t have the right to keep me overnight because she wasn’t trustworthy, so it was a kidnapping.

This happened a few different times. She was mean. She was hateful. She would get drunk and throw things at me. She told me my grandparents that I loved SO much were dead. She told me I’d never see them again. She cussed at me and belittled me. I’m allergic to cigarette smoke so I was constantly sick from being around her. I remember lying in bed at night as she was passed out next to me and bawling my eyes out. I had been in church and knew about praying, and I remember telling God “I just want to go home.” I would try to call my grandparents and she would take the hotel phone and throw it against the wall. I remember one time I couldn’t find the bathroom in the hotel room, as a child I was scared and I was turned around. I woke her up to ask if she could help me and she screamed terrible things at me. I would pee my pants and not have any clean clothes to change into. I was broken and as a little girl, I didn’t want to be alive anymore. Still to this day I remember the feeling of hopelessness, the feeling of being a child that didn’t have any strength left. Being with her, hearing this terrible stuff about myself, hearing this terrible stuff about people I loved, literally made me lose all hope.

One of the times she kidnapped me, I remember a police man coming to the door. She told me to be quiet, and I didn’t want to be yelled at again, so I sat quietly, hoping that somehow he would know I was in there. Hoping somehow he would help me.

The officer broke the door down and came in, and instead of being scared like most children would’ve been... I was happy. I remember smiling at him when he came in and him reassuring me everything was going to be okay. I remember exactly what he looked like, and I wish I could thank him for giving a broken little girl hope that day.

One of the times, my grandparents picked me up after a kidnapping and I just collapsed into my (then) grandpa’s arms. They said I looked like I had lost all hope, I looked so broken. They took me to the store and got me some of my favorite things.

At one point, a lady was taking care of me one day, and I kept asking for “grand-dad”… when my biological mother got back the lady said “I don’t know who grand-dad is, but if you don’t take this child back to him she is going to die”. I wouldn’t eat, even when I was given the option. I had started to just give up.

After one of the kidnappings I was put into a foster home until my (then) grandparents could come and get me. I was in Georgia, they were in Indiana, and they got there as quickly as they could. I stood at the door looking out and waiting for them. I met some really nice people at the foster home. I came in nasty pajamas that I had peed in and sat in for a few days, and one of the older girls in foster care gave me one of her shirts to wear. I remember being so hungry and asking if I could have some of the popcorn the lady there had just made, and she gave me the bowl. It made me so happy. Foster parents - you make a difference and you matter. I’ll never forget it.

Later on, my “Grandparents” adopted me and officially became my Mom and Dad, but in my mind they already were. A parent is someone who loves you, never leaves you, doesn’t abuse you, and is willing to rescue you anytime anywhere…and that’s what they’ve always been to me.

You may wonder how this continued on for so long if it was so bad… and all I can say about that is it was a really tough situation. Unfortunately, many times courts don’t work in the best interest of children, but thankfully God gave us an amazing judge that truly cared and listened.

The struggles that I went through caused long term issues for me. I had a speech impediment for a while because of the trauma, and still to this day I struggle with anxiety, panic attacks and fear, but now it is continuously getting better as God continues working on me and healing me. He has freed me from so much fear. I woke up many nights as a child to the worst night terrors you could imagine, and was afraid to sleep by myself until I was well into high-school…I still prefer to not be home alone. I still have nightmares about the things I just shared with you, and much, much more. I could never fully put into words everything I went through and how I felt. I’ve also always struggled with insecurity and self-love. God continues to work on me, and I sure am glad He is patient. He is a patient and loving Father.

So how do I deal with it? Why do I have hope now?

His name is Jesus.

One thing I can tell you for sure, is that God was there. He was right beside me. He sent the officer that made me smile, and the foster mom that gave me popcorn. He kept me alive when it would’ve made sense for me to not survive, and restored hope when I had lost it. I thank Him every single day for my parents. God took my mess and He turned it into my message, like only He can. He has shown me His love for me in such an amazing way and brought me closer to Him in my times of fear and anxiety. He has taught me that I’m not just another statistic, I’m a child of God and I’m called according to His purpose. The words of other people don’t define me.

God gave me two loving, amazing parents that showed me what family really is. They always took me to church. I got involved with a youth group and was surrounded by people that constantly spoke life into me. I received my call to ministry at a young age and am now continuing to pursue my dream as a full-time Worship Pastor. Why do I love my job so much? There are many reasons, but the main one is because I’ve experienced the power of God and it is my heart’s desire for the whole world to. I want other little girls and boys that feel broken and lost and abused to experience the power of God. I want everyone in the entire world to experience it.

God also gave me a man far greater than anything I had even dreamed of, and we’ve been married for a year. He never fails to amaze me. My husband is literally everything I ever asked for and then some. There were times in my life I didn’t know if I’d ever get to this point. I didn’t know if I would ever be okay. I remember praying for the things I have now.

Jesus saved me. He rescued me and proved Himself time and time again to be stronger than anything in this world. Why do I share my story? Because He rescued me, so that means I need to pass the life raft on to someone else.

If you’re broken, if you’re lost, if you feel hopeless or like you don’t want to be alive anymore, remember Jesus loves you. He hears you crying out to Him. He is faithful. This too shall pass.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future” –Jeremiah 29:11

“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears”. - Psalm 18:6