Saturday, January 29, 2011

Leaving (Part THREE) *** Please Read Parts ONE & TWO ***

Later that night, because it was a Saturday, my dad had to go to the church to study or something.
I asked my mom if I could go out and spend some time with the horses.(I used to do that almost every night prior to living at the college)
She said yes, so on my way out I grabbed my purse and also the portable phone. I hid my purse behind a tree stump in the front yard and took the phone with me out to the horses.

I dialed my friend's number (the one my parents had taken me from) and the line was busy. 
Because of the comments my dad had made, I didn't think that I could call the police.
Oh how I WISH I had!
Then, stupid me, I tried dialing my friend again...Only I didn't listen for a dial tone.
There I was, making dialing noises and my PARENTS were talking on the phone!!!!!

"Laura, is that you?" my father asked.
"Yes sir." I replied.
"Were you trying to call your friend?"
"Yes sir."
Then came my moms' voice, "Laura, get in the house RIGHT NOW!"

When I got inside, my mom stood staring at me and (not knowing what else to say,) said, "Go to your room and read your Bible!"
I almost laughed at that, but...I went up to my room, read Psalms 23 (The Lord is my shepherd) and fell asleep.

At church the next morning, I didn't have much to wear except the clothes I had slept in. My mom made me play piano for the church choir,and had me stay with her in the church nursery during part of the service.
The service that I did attend, my grandma and mother sat on either side of me.

That afternoon, I had an impromptu meeting in the ladies washroom with two friends of mine.(one of which was the one that I had gone to the day before)
Neither of them wanted to get involved any more than they already were, it was just too risky for them.
I understood, and yet.......

Unfortunately, as we were exiting the washroom, my mother saw us.

Here is one of TWO lies I made.

Lie #1 - My mom asked me if I was trying to run away again....I said, 'No' (Now, that was OBVIOUSLY a lie because I HAD been trying to find a way out)

Then, I sat in the college van and somewhat 'vented' to a fellow student about how I wanted and NEEDED to get away. Even if it was just for a few days or weeks. I even told this girl that I had tried to get my two friends to help me but they wouldn't.
Well....That so-called friend went straight to my dads' secretary and told her what I had said.

My dad then called me to his office, and asked me a question.

Here is the second lie I told.

Lie #2 - My dad asked me if I was planning on leaving with my friend again, I replied, 'No'.

He pointed his finger in my face and yelled...."LIAR!!!"  "I know for a FACT that you WERE trying to run away again!!!"

I called it and said who I thought had told him, but he refused to tell me how he had found out.
(I found out later from that fellow student how he had known. She DID apologize afterwards for having betrayed my confidence)

After that, my dad continued to yell and berate me.
It was during this 'conversation' that I asked my dad, "So what you're telling me, is that God will NOT tell me what His Will is for MY life unless He tells you first??"
"That's right!" was my father's reply.

That's when he told me I had to make a decision, to choose 'God's way' which was to yield to he and my mom's God given authority and do what they say, or choose the 'way of the transgressor'.
I told him that I couldn't make that decision because I did not believe that what he was doing was right.
He said I had to make that choice anyway, so I told him, "well, I guess I choose the way of the transgressor."
He LOVED that!
He told me that I would now have NO place to go, and not to call any of the other pastors in the area for help because he would just tell them that I had chosen the way of the transgressor and that was that.

He then left to go deal with something involving his church and I went downstairs. I snuck into the secretary's office and made a call to yet another friend. She wasn't at home, but for some reason her dad gave me the number to reach her at.(he must have heard the desperation in my voice when he told me she wasn't home)
I called her and she came to the church parking lot with a different vehicle so that people would not recognize it. I lay on the back seat as we exited the church property.
I stayed with my friend that night, and the next morning the guy who I had a crush on had worked something out with family of his in Winnipeg for me to stay there with them.

They were so nice to me, they bought me some new clothes and underwear (I only had my duster,hat,denim skirt and shirt,cowboy boots and sweats for sleeping)
Words will never be enough for me to express my thankfulness to those people!

A few days into it, THEIR pastor came to the house and told me that I was no longer welcome to stay there.
This pastor told me that he and his wife would be going out to the Winkler area to visit a family member and that they could take me back to my parents.
I said that I didn't want to be 'spanked' again. That pastor then dialed my dad on the phone and had him talk to me.
I can't say I really remember what me OR my father said, my head was just rushing. Where else was I supposed to go???

I finally agreed to go with this pastor and his wife. On the way there, yet another pastor talked to me on a cell and said that they (the other pastors getting into this) just needed me to TRY and reconcile with my dad, that I needed to show THEM that I was trying everything in MY power to make things right.

Once we got back to my dads' church, the other pastor and his wife just left.....they left me there at my dads' church.
We went up to my dads' church office, and my dad sat down and asked me why I had come back.
I said that I was going to try and yield to their authority.
He just looked at me and asked, "Why don't you just say you WILL, not that you'll TRY??"
"Because I don't know if I can." was my response.
"Well...she'll be gone again." he said folding his hands together over his belly and looking at my mom.
That was on a Friday.

That Sunday was quite a blur for me, the afternoon was again filled with my dad yelling and pointing his finger in my face.
Then, he told me I just needed to go and he walked out of his office.
I got up to leave, and my mother stood up sobbing and asked, "Where do you think you're going?"
"Dad just told me to leave, so I'm leaving." I replied.
She started crying again and pointed to my youngest brother Jeremy sleeping on my dads' office couch.
"He loves and adores his big sister,I will do everything in my power to keep you here with him!"
Right as she said that, my dad returned. He walked around his desk and sat back in his chair.
"What's going on?" he asked my mom.
"Mike, you can't just let her leave like this." my mom cried.
"Well, she made her choice...She told us with her own mouth that shes choosing the way of the transgressor." Then he looked at me and said, " What are you waiting for, Bye!" He gave me a sickening smile and waved his hand.

As I was going downstairs to call yet ANOTHER friend, (one who I had tried meeting with in the washroom the weekend before)
One of the deacons' wives stopped me and said she wanted to talk to me.
She asked me if I was planning on leaving again, I said probably. She also asked who I was going to call, I said I wasn't going to say who.
She then asked if she could pray with me about the situation, and I said 'sure'.
As we bowed our heads, she then proceeded to pray that should God see fit, to end my life so that I would not 'continue on in my rebellion'.
As soon as she said those words, I lifted my head up and just stared at her.


Pretty much as soon as she stopped her 'praying' I went downstairs. There was a phone in the hallway and I used it to call my friend.
We could only talk in 2 or 3 minute intervals because I didn't want anyone to know I was planning on leaving.
My friend had an AWESOME idea and told me that she would call our former youth pastor and his wife and see if they could somehow help.(they had been kicked out of the church prior)
After several phone calls back and forth, the plan was set in motion.
As I put on my cowboy hat and duster, I glanced back at my little brother sitting by the stairs. Then I walked out.
I walked down the street and hid behind a tree as my youth pastor and his wife picked me up.


They took me back to the college so that I could get my clothes,but the locks had already been changed. They then brought me out to Steinbach to Pastor (Dr.) Dave Millar's home.
Doc Millar and his family, allowed me to stay with them for many months until I was able to move out on my own.

I was able to start a new life.

Leaving (Part TWO) *** Please Read Part ONE first ***

The night that the 'staff member' had tried to help me, I received a phone call from him.
He had called my dad and BEGGED him to allow someone for me to confide in. First he (staff member) tried to get his wife to be allowed, he even tried to make it so that my own mother could talk to me....
All were shot down, this 'staff member' sounded so sad and disappointed on the phone as he talked to me.

I don't know how long I cried that night in the dorm.

The next morning (Saturday), we had classes right after breakfast.
During one of the breaks between classes, I was sitting in the student lounge with a couple other people when the 'staff member' came and sat in the chair beside mine.
He asked me how I was doing,.... I just looked at him and almost burst into tears.
He then asked me if I thought I was going to leave, I told him I didn't know but, maybe.
He told me that although his hands were tied there at the college, if I chose to not be a part of it anymore, he would no longer be bound by the 'laws' of my dad.
The 'staff member' then told me that he would rather I NOT leave the college,but that if I did he and his wife would be there for me, and I could call them any time.

It was that particular 'staff member's' class after that meeting. As everyone was getting seated in the classroom, I saw the 'guy' I was interested in rush in, grab his books off the table and rush out.
I looked at the 'staff member' and asked if I could be excused from the class.
He looked me in the eye and said, "I don't think that would be a good idea."
I just looked at him and my eyes filled with tears
He then looked back over at me and said, "well, you have a perfect attendance, I'll allow it."

I shot out of that place as fast as I could.
As soon as I got back to my dorm, I called the 'guy' to see why he had collected his books so fast.
He told me that he had now been told to leave, so he was packing his bags.
I apologized to him for being the reason for his having to leave. And honestly, had I been ANY other girl everything would have been just fine for him.
He then asked ME what I was going to do.
I said I didn't know, but that I was going to be leaving no matter what.

I remembered a friend of mine that lived out of town, she had said that if I ever needed a place to stay I could call her.
I got out the phone book and called her at her parent's place.
Everything was fine for me to go there, she would meet me in Miami and from there we would go to her parents'.
While I was out with my friend getting propane for the BBQ, my dad called my friends' mom. (I had forgotten to close the phone book back at the dorm.)
Her mom said that I was welcome to stay there as long as I needed to. My dad said that he would like to come there and 'just talk' to me.
After my friend and I got back from town, I was talking on the phone with this 'guy'. My friend rushed into the room I was in and said, "Your dad is on his way here!!!"

It was only a matter of minutes, I barely had time to react when both my mom and dad were in the house.
I was still on the phone with this 'guy' when my mom opens the door to the room and tells me to "c'mon, we're going home."
I just looked at her and shook my head no.
My mom just looked right back at me and glared, "is that the 'guy' on the phone??" I nodded yes.
She then put her finger on the phone base and hung up on him.

I had no choice but to comply. My dad 'apologized' for my having involved them in this matter, and hoped that it had not ruined their evening.
Then with a parent holding each arm, they escorted me out of the house.
My mom stayed in my car with me while my dad drove ahead of us in his car.

Once we reached their house, the three of us went up to my parent's bedroom. My dad then gave my brother Mike Jr. the keys to my car and told him to park it up nice and tight to the bumper of the family van, and to park my dads' car up against the bumper behind my car so that I could not get out.
My dad then looked at me and said, "Don't even THINK of taking your car, the insurance is in MY name!"
"And don't you try riding your horse outta here either! I'll have the RCMP on you so fast you won't know what happened!!!"

Then, he asked me a question.
"If this 'guy' were to show up here in his truck and say, 'Laura, get in the truck,we're going to [province] to elope and get married' would you go with him?"
I looked him square in the eye and said, "Yes sir."

He then told me to lay across the bed and proceeded to hit me 7 times with a wooden spoon.

That was it.....I didn't shed a tear while he hit me,I was DONE!

I then sat back down in the chair in my parents' room and my dad asked me that question again.

"If this 'guy' were to show up here in his truck and say, 'Laura, get in the truck,we're going to [province] to elope and get married' would you go with him?"
Again, I looked him in the eye and replied, "Yes sir."

Then, to my horror he looked over at my mother who was laying on their bed 'sobbing' and said,
"Well, looks like we'll have to bury her."
I just sat there and stared at him....What did THAT mean???
Even my mom looked up at him and said, "WHAT?!?!"
"We can't allow this to go on any longer." was his answer.

He then got on the bed and laid a hand on my mom's shoulder and proceeded to pray that God would end my life and or the 'guy's' so that we would not continue on in our 'rebellion'.

Leaving (Part ONE)

When I was about 9 years old, there were some missionaries that came to my dads' church. They were there to raise support to go to the mission field of Africa.
I remember going forward and surrendering my life to go to the mission field of Africa as a missionary doctor.
My parents were SO proud of me!

After a few years, I found out that to become a doctor, you have to go through at LEAST 7 years of college/university. WELL....That was DEFINATELY not going to happen!
So, I chose to change my future profession to becoming a nurse.
(The Grace Hospital was then offering a 2 year nursing course)

As the years went by, my thoughts were straying further and further away from Africa. I wasn't straying away from doing God's Will, I just no longer felt that Africa was where He wanted me to go.
Not to mention the fact, that when I was 17, the Grace Hospital shut their entire nursing program down. (to me, that was God just confirming that He didn't want me there)

Then I reached a MAJOR dilemma....
How would I be able to tell my mom?? I would hear her telling other people(esp. other missionaries) that her daughter was 'called to Africa'.
I just KNEW it would break her heart if her dream for me were never to be realized.

In January of 1998, I broke off my relationship with one of my best friends. He and I had dated for 19 months, but I just knew it wasn't meant to be.
He and I were more like a brother and sister than people who would one day get married and start a family.
My heart was broken knowing I had hurt him so much.
My mother was extremely disappointed over the break-up, but she had even looked at me the one day and stated, "He's not the right one,is he?" she could just tell by the look on my face.

(By the way, I am still good friends with him.)

During the summer of 1998 I developed a crush on a guy that had already been at my dad's school the year prior, but my parents absolutely detested him.
When I asked them why they were SO against my having a relationship with him, my dads' response was, "How come you can't just take our word for it and leave it alone?" 
At 18, I told my parents that I felt that I was more than old enough to be told the reason as to why this guy was 'so wrong' for me.
To this day, I never received an answer.

My parents grounded me a couple times that summer for talking to this 'guy', but as fall drew close, my parents called me to their room and told me that because I was going to be attending the same classes as this 'guy', that I would have to talk to him. Therefore, I would now be allowed to talk to him 'only regarding school/class'.

It had NOT been my choice to attend Canadian Baptist Bible College, I had wanted to attend Pensacola Christian College but because I could not afford to pay for the tuition myself and my parents did not allow me to wait and work for a year, I was forced to attend their college.
On one of the first days of 'school', this 'guy' and I were talking about STUDY AND CLASS stuff and my dads' then assistant pastor of his church was standing within a few feet of us.
I knew that he could hear us talking, and everything that was said but I wasn't too worried as we were only talking about school related things.

I don't remember the exact amount of time, but shortly after that my dad called me into his office at the church. He told me that his assistant pastor had seen me and this 'guy' talking. I told him that yes, we HAD been talking, but only about school stuff.
He told me that I was a liar, and that I had misused my privileges at the school. I was no longer ALLOWED to talk to this 'guy'.

Because my parent's house was approx. 40 minutes from the college, I was able to move into the girls dorm. I thought that I had FINALLY achieved some freedom from the pressures of living in my dads' house. That I was finally able to have some sense of individuality. To not be constantly under his 'thumb' so to speak.

I was sorely mistaken!

After being told by my dad that I was under NO circumstances  allowed to talk to this 'guy', I was actually shocked! Yes, I did think it was crazy.
After a while, we (the 'guy' and I) didn't care if someone saw us talking. We should have! We were both called into seperate meetings with the disciplinary commitee and each given demerits.

The then president of the college called me into his office and said that although he didn't nessecarily agree with it, because my dad was also the pastor AND his boss...he was forced to comply.
And he advised me to do the same.
Eventually, because this 'guy' and I were caught TALKING again...I was campused(not allowed to participate in ANY and ALL extra-curricular activities) and the 'guy' was told he could finish out that semester but could not come back in January.

I was becoming more and more stressed. I felt as though my entire world was closing in around me, that I no longer had any friends that I could truly confide in. The few people that I THOUGHT were there for me, would run straight to my dad and tell him.

During this time, I was working full time as janitor of the PVBC, taking violin and piano lessons, teaching violin and piano, as well as taking on a full course load at the school. I would be up early, and up late with little to no break.

There was an awesome man that worked on staff at the college who saw that I was about to burn out.
He offered to be a listening ear and possibly counsel me. When he asked, I jumped at the chance!!!
FINALLY there might be someone I could confide in that would honor my privacy.

I was wrong

The day that we were to meet, I went into this 'staff member's' office, he told me not to say a word.
He proceeded to inform me, that my dad had taken away his ability to honor my privacy. That EVERY word that I spoke was to be told to my dad.
As I started to cry, the 'staff member' told me that in all his years of working in and with colleges/schools he had NEVER encountered this type of situation.

My heart felt as though it was being ripped out of my chest, I had no where to turn...No one to talk to.
My father had succeeded in taking away every ounce of freedom I had.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

There have been many mis-understandings and rumors surrounding my running away from 'home' (I put this in quotations because it is no longer my home)

I would like to put some of these to rest.

-It has been said,that I "Ran off to [province] to be with a [guy I had a crush on]"
* I left in November of 1998 and did not see this *guy* until February 1999. He and I only dated for about 6 months before it was over.

-It has been said, that I failed a polygraph test.
*I actually never took a polygraph test, such things are not accepted in a court of law and they are VERY fallible.
* Whether innocent or not, a polygraph could show something completely opposite of what the person in question is trying to prove/disprove.

-It has been said, that my parents paid for the few months that I was attending Canadian Baptist Bible College (non-accredited school)
*I was a full-time janitor for the Pembina Valley Baptist Church for the duration of my time at the college, therefore I was able to pay my OWN way. (I have the reciepts to prove it)

-It has been said, that I 'chose the way of the transgressor'
* My father put his finger in my face and told me I "Had to make a choice, either you choose God's way(which is to obey your mother and I and our authority over you and honor our decisions for you), or you choose the way of the transgressor!"
When I told him that I could NOT make that choice because I thought that what he was doing wasn't right, he yelled at me again and said "you HAVE to make your choice!!"
Through my tears, I looked him in the eye and said, "I guess I choose the way of the transgressor."

These are only a few of the things that have been said about me and my situation. I do NOT wish to harm the 'cause of Christ', but that is the very reason I have chosen to write this blog.

Sin is sin, and we need to recognize it as such!

Lying is a sin, and yet it is treated as though its an acceptable thing to do?!?!
According to the Bible, lying is included with murder as an EQUAL sin.

Revelation 21:8 (KJV)

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

I am VERY happy with where I am right now, do I have things I need to work on in my personal life? ABSOLUTELY!!!
We are ALL at different levels of maturity in our growth and walk with God.

This isn't about 'right fighting', this is just me...Laura Kay Sterk (Sullivant) putting myself out there and letting people know MY side of the story.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My First Day

Today is my first day at writing a blog.
I have NO idea how or even IF this will work, but I thought I should at least try.

The last few months have been a HUGE challenge for me, in ALL aspects...(ie., physically,spiritually,emotionally.)

I can't help but find it interesting, (and a little sad) when I hear about people having 'issues' with their siblings. I haven't been able to see my siblings since 1999.
People have no idea what really matters in a brother/sister relationship.
To experience weddings, to watch eachother's children grow up, to have your children be close to their cousins is something SO MANY people take for granted.

I am thankful...that my daughters are not quite old enough to think of the right questions to ask, but its only a matter of time.
I'm sure they've noticed, but they're quite about the fact that they don't know any of their cousins from my side, that they've never met their aunts or uncles...or get gifts from anyone during Christmas or birthdays.

My personal challenge right now, is to continue to raise my girls in a stable/balanced environment. I don't EVER want them to feel rejected or unloved by their mother or father. I want to raise them to love God and serve Him to the best of their abilities, and to stick to their beliefs no matter what garbage the world might throw at them.

Many people have asked me or made comments about how I am able to continue loving and serving God?

Well, there is ONE good thing that I have inherited from my dad, STRONG WILL and STUBBORNESS!!! LOL!!
I know what I believe, and why I believe it...If anyone can prove to me that I am wrong, then I am willing to change my line of thinking.
It wasn't God who abused me as a child, it wasn't God who treated me with anger, it wasn't God who told me I would never succeed in life.

GOD gave me the courage to run, even though I had NO idea who to trust or where to go.
GOD gave me the wonderful friends and friends of friends that assisted me in the worst of times.
GOD has given me talents and abilities that no man could EVER take away from me.
GOD has ensured that I HAVE succeeded in the things that I do in spite of being 'prayed over' that I would die

I guess the jist of my story, is that you should be thankful for ALL that you have...No matter how small it may seem.

No, I KNOW I'm far from perfect...We all stumble and fall, and we're ALL at different levels of maturity. I just have to 'stick to my guns'! And know that no matter what, GOD is there for me...Even if no one else is!

Alrighty, there's my first post! YAY!!