My memoir Road to Victory

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ROAD TO VICTORY

IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME

10/28/2012

Jessica Norris

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Early Years

Chapter 2: The Lost Years

Chapter 3: The Double life Years

Chapter 4: The Purposeful Years

Chapter 5: The Changed Years

Chapter 1: The Early Years

Psalm 34: 18-19 “The Lord is high unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.”

I was born to a blended family and the youngest of five. My mom, Marjorie had four children from her first marriage than I came along. In my mom’s life, she had to deal with a lot. One of the reasons she divorced her first husband was due to the fact that he did not know how to read and that made it difficult for him to understand important things such as getting unemployment. He thought it to be charity. In the 60’s, my mom had four children to care for and a husband that was not providing so to her she had to do something to keep my siblings so she divorced her first husband, Jim. This was just some of the things that started my mom’s depression before and after my birth. One of those theism before I was born, she had, had some shock treatments that had caused her to have amnesia for about six months. During that time, my siblings had to be split up and live with different family members for a while. My siblings were between the ages of four years of age to eleven years of age. She had another bout with depression after I was born. She had a number of times would not do anything around the house so my dad, Howard, and siblings with have to take up the slick, I heard of a few of these times when my eight year old sister, Kelly, would get up in the night to care for mew and this probably happened many times. Another time was when my mom’s friend since kindergarten would come and take care of me for a few weeks while my mom was getting help. My brother Jim’s girlfriend, who is now my sister-in-law, had to help potty train me. There was also a time when mom was caring for me that she had made me afraid of water when she was giving me a shower. She had told me that she was not very patient and I was being hysterical. I can’t say my mom was all that bad because when she was not in her depressed state, she was a great mom for me and my brothers, Jim, Tom, Mike, and sister, Kelly.

My mom found God in an old family Bible that my brother has now. When mom was growing up she would read and look at that Bible. Later in her life after my siblings were born and after her divorce she wanted to find a good church to go to so she called the operator and talked with that person and was riding the church bus that next Sunday morning with the four kids. That was the church I grow up in and did many things for.

My dad, Howard, was a hard worker and worked for Michigan Bell, which is now SBC for 36 years. His first wife had died in his arms from something that I never knew about. My dad had his issues as well from being in the Army during WWII and having to help with a disabled brother who had died early in life. Both of my parents were older at the ages of forty and fifty-three when I came along. Also my siblings were older as well at the ages of fifteen, thirteen, ten, and eight. Having older parents and siblings has a side that is cute because growing up people would see me with my parents and say “Oh how cute how old is how granddaughter or what is your granddaughter’s name? My sister has the same problem once when someone had asked is that your daughter and we are only eight years apart! Having older siblings and parents also had another side that I had always felt like the middle me because I had one sibling that was next to me in age by eight years and a nephew that was nine years younger.

My parents both knew of each other because of my great aunt and great uncle. They all would go out and do things together from time to time. About a year or two after both of my parents’ first spouses had died, they got married and a year later had me.

Besides all of the dysfunctions that I learned early in life, I was sexually abused by my brother Mike, from the ages of maybe six to eight ages of years to twelve when my sister told for me when she started getting suspicious. She got suspicious when my family and I were visiting my oldest brother, Jim and his family. Kelly and I were at Mike’s house because there was no room for all of us to stay with Jim and Chris. One night while were watching TV Mike was being too friendly with me and Kelly saw that. After that, my parents didn’t believe her so she told our sister –in-law who did believe and convinced my parents. When that took place, I was then taken to out pastor who called the doctor and said, “I want Jessie seen as of yesterday.” I already had an appointment to be seen but it was important that I be seem sooner. By this time in my life, I was a very broken little girl whose world was already scared. My mom did not want to do anything because she did not want to put me through the ordeal of a trial but her my dad and my sister-in-law did go to Alabama to confront the brother who molested me. The reason why they went to Alabama is because of the fact that he knew he was in trouble. This is the place that Mike met Connie, his wife, and had Alisha. After Alisha was three weeks old my parents went back to Alabama to get them and bring them all back to Michigan.

I can’t say that my young life was all bad but it did have a dark side. There were times when I would be at the trailer up north in Gladwin, Michigan with just my mom or the whole family and we would just relax from life itself for a few days or more. We would go to the fireworks in Beaverton or go see my Aunt Doris and Uncle Carl. There were other times when we would just stay at the trailer. I remember times I would play garage sale with my mom with just the things around the trailer or when I would play under the table using it as a tent with a blanket over it. There were other times when my parents would travel and I got to go too. We went to South Carolina many times to visit friends, Alabama to visit my brother Mike when he was there and this was one time that I went to with just about the whole family that was fun time too. We went to Colorado to visit and see my sister Kelly get married and I was also in Canada a few times as well.

Not only was there dark side within my family but, I was also in Special Education and in the system of being pushed to the next level whether one was ready or not. When I was in the seventh grade I was only at the second grade reading level which made school very hard and I was a slow learner too. I remember one time when I was in church and asked to read a portion of the Bible and I tried getting the teacher to overlook me but, the teacher insisted that it was ok. So I went ahead and tried to read and was very embarrassed about the whole thing.

My mom knew about my problems in school and when I was still in elementary she asked my sister’s piano teacher, Mrs. Oelfahen, if she could help teach me to read and the teacher said no, but she did say she could teach me to read music. That teacher in a sense did help me learn to read because when one does read you have to read from left to right and it’s the same with reading music. I remember a time when I told my mom I wanted to learn to read. I was crying, which was something I did a lot of to either get attention and/or just conferred. My mom got very determined to the point of even taking me out of school because I was not getting the help that I needed in school. Eventually, my parents went to a singles group fellowship, which by that time those singles were couples, and found out by talking about me that one of the ladies there was a retired school teacher and had a tutoring program for math and reading. That next week I was enrolled and after about a month, I changed from a person who didn’t like to read to one who could not put a book down. The tutoring sessions all consisting of a taped teacher teaching a different lesson with paper in a clear insert so each student could do each lesson with the teacher and by erased again for the next student to use. After one was done with their work that hour of tutoring you had to go to the reading area and get a book to read to fill the time. At first, I hated it, but as time went on I was taking books home to finish, if I asked and I usually did.

Being the youngest of five children has its advances. For instance, I became an aunt at the age of nine when my nephew Jimmy was born and his sister, Angie, a year and a half later. That is just a few of the many advances such as getting more attention and things. I do have three more nieces, Alisha, Mary, and Jamie and a nephew Wesley. I did a lot with these children growing up and I still do even now as adults. Some of them even have children of their own. Mary has two boys Shaun and Skyler and Angie has a little girl Isabell. Besides doing things with the family and nieces and nephews, I was a part of a program called AWANA, and in the youth group at church. Not only that, but I was also in Brownies at school too, but didn’t continue on to the girl scouts because I didn’t want to be in brownies again with all my friends in girls scouts on count of my being held back in the 2nd grade.

High School had its normal ups and downs like all teenagers and I was pretty normal. Although, I was more of the goody-two shoes type and was very bashful I still got in my share of trouble such as skipping school and giving my sister a heart attack over a stop sign and through a gate when she was trying to help me learn to drive and almost hitting a tree! I was in the choir in school and loved every minute of it. When I got to my senior year in school, the school took the music program out except for the marching band so I got involved with Students Against Drunk Drivers, the prom committee, and being a senior representative. I didn’t have many friends in school and I longed to be just like the others so I would try to dress and act like them and still try to hide from the fact that I was in special education.

Chapter 2: The Lost Years

Jeremiah 29:11 “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.”

As I went from high school to adult life, I didn’t know what I would do. I thought my life would come to an end. I also had bouts of depression growing up and thoughts of suicide. Since I didn’t have many friends, I would fill time with reading, daydreaming, watching TV, listening to music and practicing the piano. When I was depressed, I would think that I had no friends and that no one cared or loved me. Some of these times I would consider suicide as my only option. I remember a few times when I did try to kill myself. I would try to keep the car running in the garage but I could never put a finger on it and I knew I needed help, but didn’t know where to turn. Plus I could not talk to my family because as with most families with dysfunctions the problems are usually not talked about.

I needed to get something such as a job or go to school but I thought college would not be for me because of being in special education and a lot of my teachers thought that too and my family. After going to Niagara Falls with my parents, I then went to the Cleveland Job Corp. in Cleveland, OH for about nine months. While I was there I took Word Processing for a degree but didn’t finish. About a few months before that I went home because I had found out that my dad had prostate cancer. When I went home that time I had to take a train and net up with my Aunt Bernie and Uncle Earl. I got on a train going in the wrong direction. I was supposed to get on the train going to Michigan and ended up going to New York instead! My family was very worried but I did get home hours later then I was supposed to. Back in Cleveland, I realized that I needed to be home for a while and too that were I was, was not a good place to be since there were a lot of riots breaking out and most of the that time I was either out or sleeping but the last time was the last and I called home, went AWOL as the army would put it and went to stay with a friend from church. My brother-in-law, Calvin, came to get me. I later found out that my mom wanted to come too but the family would not let her due to the fact that someone needed to stay with my dad.

While I was home I got into the home life again and started to do all the driving since my dad couldn’t on count of all the medicine that he was taking. I remember before my dad getting sick that he would do all the driving. After words, I did and remembering after getting back from Cleveland was my first time driving in snow all the time.

I also started thinking about college wanting to be where all my Christian friends where and that was at Bob Jones University. Thinking about going to college was something I really wanted to do and to become a teacher and help others. This was something I had always wanted to do. Yet I was little naïve in the area of how much schooling I still needed to do well at the college level. That was one of the things that I leaned my freshman year and that one thing was learning to think. These were some of the things I did not realize since I was in special education and didn’t need to really do much as in a lot of studying and thinking. One thing I greatly remember was that all three of my roommates my freshman year were that they would keep correcting my bad grammar when I would say ain’t as an example. Another time was during the course of being at BJU, was the extra help that I got because of being in special education. I would have an extra class for help just for working on study skills, help on tests, homework, etc. Another thing that happened just after my freshmen year of college was that my dad died of cancer battling with it for two years.

I was at BJU for three and a half years and got my associates degree in child care. While I was there I did many things, some of them was working in the dining area and the shack shop for a year to help my parents pay for college. This was a blessing in a lot of ways because I would never have met the people that I did meet. I also had the change to go to Hawaii for eight weeks on a mission trip with three other ladies from the college. Two of them were students just as I was and the other one a staff member. During that time I was a naïve woman trying to get out and didn’t know how but I did do my part as a member of the team and work in helping others know the Lord.

After my years at Bob Jones, I was still not trying to be a responsible adult because I was still living with my mom and brother, Tom. From about seven years, I was still going to school, in and out of working part-time jobs, helping my mom and brother with driving them to and from different places such as the store, doing things at church and with family. I also started going to therapy for by childhood abuse, which was good start but I still was not going at it while heartedly. Then at about the age of thirty, I started to get into my addiction more so to pornography. I know one would think that women don’t have a problem with pornography but they do. It is not as demonic as the men through. My problems with porn all started when I was child and my abuse. That does not say that staying in it was wrong because it was. I started to get more into it when I worked at the computer lab at the local community college that I was attending. The internet was also at home too and I would get on and chat with all different men and have cybersex with them. I also would sometimes have phone sex with them. Not only was I doing that but I was also reading books that content sex and watch porn on TV to help me masturbate.

On one given Sunday when my mom and I were getting ready for church, which as a normal thing, she had went downstairs to finish and play the computer and I was upstairs. She called to me in a voice that was panicky and she never did that before so I ran down to see what the problem was and she was at the computer saying that she had a headache, of which she never had much of. And then started to get to the point where she was having trouble talking all in less than a few minutes. I know that something was wrong so I asked her if I could call 911 and so I did. After all that, my siblings and I were to find out that mom had bleeding of the outside of the brain which was due to a stroke and would later lend to dementia. Mom suffered for seven years and now she is in heaven walking the streets of gold with my dad.

After mom get sick, I went downhill spiritually, emotionally, and even more into my addiction to pornography by having sex with four different men and one of them included my brother Mike for money to keep a car that my mom and I co-signed on. At that time I could not afford that car but I was not thinking and being influenced by bad friend. My sister tried to get me to listen as well as by my brother, Jim but I can be very stubborn at times. When my brother Mike came on to me I let him because I was afraid, then I got scared and called a friend from church, and she said that was enough and I was to move in with her. After I moved in with Arlene, I started to talk to another friend, Shaunda, and it all came out about by addiction and more with my pastor. I was reprimanded from doing anything at church for a while. I was very involved in the church too. Now thinking back I can say that this was a blessing from God because if I didn’t stop I would have ended up worse as being a prostitute, which I had a few times had thought being to make money.

Chapter 3: The Changed Years

II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”

My friend Shaunda and her husband, Joel, took me in for a while and started helping my spiritually and financially. The spiritually part was that I needed some help with my problems and our pastor’s wife had died of cancer not too long ago and that left just our pastor so she and Joel started asking around. When Joel was at a local youth activity, he found Reformers Unanimous for me. This is a faith based addicts program for anyone that needs help and I needed help. After going to the Friday night groups for a few months my group leader asked me if I wanted to get more help than just on Fridays and I said yes so she talked to the director, Pastor Scott, and he would have greatly been willing to help me get in the Rescue Mission. My family had other thoughts to this as the word mission played a big part of them not wanting their little sister going and so I listened to my family and moved in with my oldest brother and his wife. After living with them for a few months, I moved a few more times and where able to get my own place. I was still having problems with my addiction, attitude, and finances to the point that I lost everything and moved back in with family and this time with my sister and her family for a few months.

After I moved in with my sister I found out that two of my nieces Jamie and Alisha were going to Reformers Unanimous (RU) on Friday nights to a different church. Again my group leader found that I needed more help and offered to see that I get that help from another RU that had transitional homes to help to on a daily need basis. I decided to go. When I went, I knew I was going back to the very some RU that I started with a few years back. I was in these homes for about nine months and did learn some things such as the fact that I was not a believer in Jesus Christ as I had thought since I was nine years old. I become a Christian at the local library that one of my RU group leaders had taken me too and I now say that I have no more doubts about where I am going when I die and that is heaven. That day was June 25, 2007 at 4:15pm. My happiness to being a new Christian would shatter because a few weeks later one of the women in the home had committed suicide. And I was again struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, and my addiction.

Chapter 4: The Purposeful Years

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

At that time, my assistant pastor sent me to the mission and said that they have two programs that I can get into to help me. I later found out that there was only one program for men and women and I decided to stay to work on my problems because I knew that this was the placed that he wanted me to go a few years back. In saying this I also knew that this is where God had originally wanted me.

After the first few weeks of being at the mission I really wanted to be back that the RU transitional home but at the same time knew that I needed help. At this time in my life everything was in chaos. I didn’t want to live with family, both parents were out of the picture or deceased, I had no money, no job, or a place to live. But one thing I did have was the Lord and he was always there for me.

Mission year got better as time went on. I was going to classes for spiritual and economical to help with getting a job. Doing jobs about the mission either in the kitchen, volunteering (sometimes mean to or actual), janitorial as well as doing class work or homework for the program. I was also getting a little spending money for personal things, etc.

Then there was the time I was going down hill again and was thinking about suicide so when the director’s real-life person was there I told her and she sent me to the hospital for help. The hospital then sent me to a rehab place for 5 days to get help. The only thing that I really did that help me while I was there was getting into God’s Word, which got me back on track. I also knew that I would be going back to the mission and all I could think about was that I would have to face Robin, the director. When I did get back and faced Robin, it was hard and at the same time a relief. What she told me was that I would have to get my act together or leave the program because of my suicidal thoughts. I choose to get my act together and do some more changing. I had to write a contract and put it in a place that would help when I needed to. I also had to keep all my sharpy things with her in her office for a while.

The day I finished the program was a great day in the making. About a month before that Robin asked if I was praying for a car and I said yes. You know you pray for things but don’t actually pray for every day. Anyway, I think it was on a Wednesday that I finished the program, was told I was getting a car and did all paperwork for it, and started my internship at an assisted living place for the elderly. This was in the span of 3 days!