It was a beautiful Saturday morning in November of 1972 in the beautiful beach community of Dana Point, CA. To be exact it was November 18th, a week before Thanksgiving. We had a lot of early rain and the hills were alive with fresh green grass. The sun was bright and the air crisp and clean. I was excited because I was getting a dirt bike that day and heading to Escape Country in the hills of El Toro to ride it for the first time. I remember unloading the bike from the back of the truck, putting my helmet and heading out. I went down a hill and had to make a quick turn to the left. I remember how everything seemed so vividly colorful. The next thing I remembered was in excruciating pain.
I laid on the ground bleeding to death, as my right kidney had exploded like an egg, I remember the soft still voice of God whispering in my ear; Randy, you are dying. I need you to fight for your life and NEVER quit fighting. I am right here with you and will never leave you, but I need you to fight. I didn’t know then how important those words would be to me. I had some idea of the physical fight I was facing that day; however, I had no idea of the thirty plus year emotional and spiritual battle that I was entering into.
That Saturday morning in November of 1972 I fought with all that I had physically. Against all the odds, I survived. I believed that after the accident, the miracle of me beating all the odds of death and surviving, the abuse I was suffering at the hands of my mother and stepfather would have ended. Nothing could have been further from the truth. In fact, in many ways it got worse. Thus, the battle to survive emotionally and spiritually as teenager had begun. The thing about this kind of battle is that no one knows you are fighting a battle.
For all intents and purposes, on the outside looking in, our household was the model Christian family. A nice home, nice cars, well dressed, active and dedicated church members. However, once the front door of our house was closed, we were anything but a model family. I lived in a constant state of fear. At best the house would be quiet with no fighting. Even then the quiet wasn’t good because there was never any uplifting talks or support for the things I loved to do. No conversations about how my day was, or anyone’s day was for that matter. In many ways the silence was worse as I felt like I didn’t matter, my life and ambitions didn’t matter.
Then there were the nights of pure hell. The nights when I would witness my mother getting beat up. The nights when my mother would be so angry with me about some trivial comment I made, often times just talking about my feelings, that she would inform my stepfather of the conversation we had only to stand by and watch as my stepfather beat me. I was beat either with a belt or with his fist. I would lay on my bed or in the corner of my room curled up in a ball protecting myself. If though beating me was not bad enough, he would say these words with every swing of the belt or punch of the fist; You stupid S.O.B., you’ll never amount to anything. When you receive these types of beating and are told those words often enough, you begin to believe you are stupid and will amount to nothing.
Another form of emotional abuse is hearing promises that never come to fruition, false promises. This was another one of my stepfathers’ habits. He would always tell us we were going to meet some famous actor he knew, or he would always promise to take us to Mexico surfing on the weekends. In my excitement and wanting desperately to be excepted by my friends, I would naturally brag about these upcoming trips to them. Only these trips never happened and eventually my friends would just look at me and laugh.
At home between the beatings, name calling, and false promises, I felt I was worthless, unlovable, I didn’t matter, my life didn’t matter. Everyday became a battle just to survive. Never knowing what was going to happen from day to day left me unable to function at my fullest capacity. After all I didn’t matter, so why should anything else. At school I was fighting to be accepted. Accepted by anyone, which eventually led me down the path of drugs and alcohol. When you are carrying around the amount of shame I was carrying, the secret of being sexually abused by a man, my stepfather no less, I never quite felt like I fit in.
One thing being abused did for me was drive me to become successful. If I was successful, it would prove to my mother, stepfather, and all the nay-sayers in my life that I wasn’t worthless, at least from the outside looking in. This was a trait I learned as a teenager and had mastered as an adult. As I entered into the world of adulthood my self-doubt, feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem and feelings of being unlovable didn’t just magically disappear. In fact, the feelings only grew stronger.
Yes, in the eyes of the world I had become very successful. I had a very successful construction company. I was married to the woman of my dreams. I had three beautiful children. I could do whatever I wanted to do, go wherever I wanted to go, buy whatever I wanted to buy. I drove the truck of my dream and my wife drove the car of her dreams. I had everything, everything except peace. The hole in my soul was growing increasingly larger. The battle that started within me as a young boy, was now raging inside of me like an out of control fire. My best friend had become alcohol as it would at least squelch the voices for a period of time, it worked until it didn’t. The feelings of being unlovable nearly cost me my marriage and family. The battle was drawing to an end and I was about to be completely annihilated, something had to change and change fast.
What I did not know was that for thirty-five-plus years I was in a battle for my life. A battle that I was fighting by myself and a battle that on my own I was only destined to lose. It was a battle way bigger than me and one that was not of this earth. What I did not know then but know today, is it was and continues to be a battle as described Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. I had been in a spiritual battle for all those years and was unaware of it. A battle I could not win on my own. A battle that unbeknown to me God had intervened on several occasions.
My life scripture is Genesis 50:20 (NLT) - You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. The adversary new the plans God had for me and began his mission of destroying me to stop those plans. Even going so far as to bringing me to deaths door. I thought I had just been dealt a bad hand in life, I was a bad seed. However, just the opposite is true. On February 5, 2006 I got on my knees and surrendered to God, asking him, no telling him, I didn’t want to live this way anymore. I wanted to change but didn’t know how. I needed His courage, strength, and wisdom.
I wish I could tell you that the battle had ended on that day, but it didn’t. Yes, I got some reprieve for a period of time, but the battles continue to come. The enemy sits and waits patiently and knows when and how to attack me. He finds the crack in my armor and uses it wisely and with precision. The only difference between today and the past is that I know the battle is not mine to handle, it’s Gods. Yes, I have action steps I must take to heed off the attacks from getting out of control, but ultimately, I must surrender these battles to God as they are not a battle of flesh and blood, rather a battle against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms that only God can win.