Latasha “Tasha” Layne : I noticed her from the start. I don’t know, something drew me to her. I have a feeling it was the Holy Spirit prompting me, saying, “You need to have this girl in your life!”. I’ve only had a few brief conversations with her at church and then enjoyed a spirit filled lunch with her this week and I can already tell we will be life long friends. A kindred spirit! I’m so excited to be able to share her story with you.
My Journey of Faith
God has a plan for each of us. During the journey, we don’t see his works most of the time. At times we feel alone, question God and the existence of him and lose our hope and faith. We may not understand the Why’s on our journey but rest assured that each event or test is meaningful. You go through hardships, trials and tribulations before you even understand what they are. Then as you grow up, you’re left wondering the age-old question, Why me? I asked myself this question more times than I can count, and for over half of my life, I never received and answer.
May 12, 1987, Houston Texas…a random Tuesday, I entered this world. I don’t have pictures of that day to remind me of the love and excitement that surrounded me. I don’t have any memorabilia or videos. What I do have, is the remembrance of a broken family. At age 2 ½ , the state of Texas came in and removed my siblings and I from our home. The reported abuse became too severe and the state took action. I have 3 full siblings and 5 half siblings, most of which I have no form of contact with. I was placed in a foster home for approximately 6 months, alone. Luckily, I was blessed enough to be adopted by the same family that one of my older siblings was also being adopted by. That is what brought my sister and I to Kentucky.
I can remember at a young age, questioning God. I had a very hard time trying to wrap my head around why my life had to start off on such a rocky path. Why didn’t my BIO parents want me? Figuring out who I was became a running theme in my life. I had no background, I knew nothing of any family medical history, didn’t know who most of my siblings were and never truly knew my Bio parents. So, who was I? The daughter to drug addicts, the adopted girl from Texas or just a young girl trying to find her place in this crazy world.
Growing up in my house in KY had a lot of ups and downs. My parents, the ones who raised me, never had children of their own. Large family on both sides though. Each had a lot of siblings who then had kids as well. So, gatherings were always a BIG deal. I was your typical Daddy’s girl…he literally hung the moon in my eyes. My Mom and I had a very strained relationship for the most part. When it was good, it was real good..but when it was bad…well you get the idea. The older I got, the more the tension seemed to grow. I was struggling with identity issues, feeling worthless and hiding my true feelings of resentment, pain and confusion. So, instead of turning to people who would help me, I turned to other things to mask the pain. I looked for love and acceptance in all the wrong places and people. Alcohol became a staple in my life as well as relationships that always ended up at a dead end road. I did have a few close friends who I opened up to, but never the bad stuff…never the deep down, gut wrenching hurt I dealt with inside on a daily basis.
You know how everyone has life changing events that alter their whole world and rock them to their core?? Yea, I had several of those in a matter of 2 years. I am convinced that the Devil was trying to end me because he knew that in the future, I would have a HUGE heart for God. At age 17, I unknowingly entered into an abusive relationship…and when I say unknowingly, I mean; this guy masked it so well until he had me hooked. Then he showed his true colors and by then, it seemed too late to leave. Within that relationship was more abuse; physical, mental and sexual. He had beaten down any confidence I had left. My self-worth was practically non-existent and I was so broken, I felt it was beyond repair. But I kept a smile for the outside world to see, because that what I was expected to do. 8 months into the relationship, my Mom too me to my “female” doctor where I found out within a matter of weeks that I had the earliest form of Cervical Cancer. Talk about a punch to the gut. However, the blessing was that it was only on the surface..we caught it just in time.
Now, lets get to the part where the devil truly almost ended me. My Dad, he became sick and after numerous appointments and tests, we really didn’t have any answers. That is, until February 1, 2006, my world fell apart. My reason for existence left me…my Dad passed away from Stage 4 liver cancer. I was lost and for a while after this my life would go in a downward spiral of drinking, bad decisions and attempted suicide. I hated who I had become, I hated being surrounded by so many people but still feeling so alone. I had no answers, I couldn’t understand why God was punishing me, hadn’t I had enough??
At age 19, I found out I was pregnant and then married my daughters Dad (but divorced after 8 years of marriage). At age 20, I gave birth to a beautiful 8lb 6 oz little girl who I say was my saving grace, my new reason for living. It was my first experience at how amazing God was. How amazing she was and even through all my wrongdoings, HE decided I was worthy of this wonderful blessing. The love and bond that my daughter and I shared instantly, was and is unmatchable. I lived for her and I would die for her…and shortly after becoming a Mom of 2, I realized, that is exactly how God feels about us. He was born to be the Messiah, OUR Savior and he died for US. He took all the sin of the world and placed it on the cross with him. WOW! Was I worthy of such mercy and love? The answer to that, is YES!
Many others are like me, grew up trying to find their place in this world, doubting Gods love for us because of the relationships we have with others. Broken relationships, hurt from friends and family or hurt that that we have placed on ourselves, keep us from going down the path that God has lined out for us. The funny thing is, the answer was there from the beginning. Our place IS with God. I am the daughter of THE KING! I am loved by someone who literally gave their life for me so that I may have eternity with him. (John 3:16) One misconception is that you can make God not love you, but that’s the furthest thing from the truth!! Nothing, and I mean nothing, can change Gods love for you. (Hebrews 13:8)
That misconception has haunted me throughout my journey of faith. The devil is always instilling fear, worry, doubt and confusion into my head and heart…but the stronger I become in my faith, the more I realize, those things aren’t of God! Those are NOT part of his character. God is Love, Grace, Mercy, Compassion, Joy, the list goes on and on. Sure, I had a rough life, there have been highs and lows, but those tests have become my testimony and the hurt and fear have helped lay the brick to my God filled foundation. I am and overcomer, I am not going under and the Devil has met his match. I don’t fight my battles alone anymore, God is in my corner fighting them with me and for me. What a great feeling it is, feeling confident and worthy and not letting fear consume me. I mean, what room does fear have when I lean on hope and when I cling to trust. What room does fear have when I walk by faith and rest in Gods comfort?
God saved me, in every aspect of my life, he saved me. He restored my hope and faith. He has restored relationships and mended my completely shattered soul. After giving my life to him, I now KNOW all things with him, are possible. (Matthew 19:26). Sure, there are days I grow weary, I may stumble and fall, but in the Bible it states: “But those who trust in the Lord, will renew their strength”. (Isaiah 40:31) I have finally found my place in this crazy life and I no longer question my identity. In God, I have found a Father, a friend, and a companion. I thank him for the blessings and the hardships for they have made me who I am. I have realized that was a reason for my struggles, a purpose for my pain and a reward for my faithfulness. All I have to do is TRUST HIM. So, whatever is it you may be struggling with, know you don’t have to struggle alone. God is reaching his hand out for you, patiently waiting for you to find peace in him.
What a blessing your have brought to me Lord. Thank You! There are so many that struggle with abandonment, rejections, abuse, drugs and other afflictions Lord but Tasha’s story is testament that You are still mightily at work in our lives. I pray Lord that Your Spirit will work in me continuously so that I will be brave, compassionate, empathetic and loving to those who are hurting. I also pray that You will continue to point me towards others who will love me and help me walk this path. Amen!