My Testimony

noun: testimony; plural noun: testimonies
  1. a formal written or spoken statement, especially one given in a court of law.
    synonyms:evidence, sworn statement, attestation, affidavitMore
    • evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something.

      "his blackened finger was testimony to the fact that he had played in pain"

      synonyms:testament to, proof of, evidence of, attestation to, witness to; More
    • a public recounting of a religious conversion or experience.
    • archaic
      a solemn protest or declaration.
I'm going to start from the beginning because it will make much more sense if I do. I was born in 1984 in the Bixbi hospital in Adrian Michigan on September 14th. Growing up we lived in Morenci Michigan the most (there is a reason I say this) I was born to Teresa and John (Randy) Cook. My parents life was a typical one. They married under the most typical circumstance, my parents were 18 when they married and my mom pregnant with my brother. I am the 2nd oldest among the 5 of us, 2 boys and 3 girls. 

My life growing up was not the greatest. I have a right to say this because my dad was a drunk who wouldn't work and beat my mom. I guess I just threw that out there didn't I. (well I guess like they say about band aides just rip them off fast) The fondest or should I say the only memory I have of my dad is him being drunk or drinking laying in their bed in their bedroom either sleeping or listening to baseball on the radio (till this day I can not stand listening to baseball on the radio) My mom was the one who worked she was always working. We lived off of food stamps and what little bit my mom made. We lived in a house my grandma (my dads mom) owned. Though we have lived in different places as well. At one point in my life we lived in Texas but I was only like 1 when we moved there and to my knowledge we didn't live there long. We also had our fair share of living in women's homes too, when my mother would leave my father. We did that a lot. I remember sneaking out in the middle of the night to go to one of those shelters. We would be there for a little while just enough time for my mom to try and get her life together without him and then he'd find us (thanks to my dad's family) and beg for her to take him back... and she would. Even as a little kid of 5 I could see how messed up my life was and how horrible my father was. I remember the one time that he found us we were on our way to take me to my new school, when he pulled up I had this over whelming sense of hate. I hated him and I was so mad at my mom for wanting to go back. He hit her. She would always have bruises and black eyes even as a small child I couldn't understand why? Why go back? But she did and that was the last time she would leave him...

Not too long after this time they were both killed in an automobile accident with one of my younger sisters. It was April 10, 1990 and I was 5 years old. They were taking my sister who was 3 at the time to an appointment for her to have her tonsils and adenoids out. According to the new's paper interview from a police officer who was following them my father was speeding at 90 mph and it was raining. The officer said that he clocked them at 90 and couldn't keep up and lost them and once he caught up to them they had already crashed into a telephone pole. My parent's died instantly while my sister survived the crash with just 2 broken legs. None of them were wearing seat belts. 

And this is where it starts. The hate the questions of why? Why would you take a hard working mother away from her 5 small children? Why? I didn't exactly grow up in a christian home when I was a kid. Never went to church when my parents were alive, at least not that I can remember. After my parents passed away my older brother and I went to live with our grandparents (moms parents) I guess I didn't realize what this meant when my grandma asked me if I wanted to come stay with her. I didn't realize I was leaving be hind my younger brother and 2 younger sisters. If only I knew what I know now. I remember taking care of them when our parents were alive. Our mom worked a lot and our dad never took care of us. We would have to take care of ourselves. My older brother and I would take care of the little ones. So growing up without them was very hard. I would ask about them and ask to see them all the time. Their life wasn't an easy one either. My older brother and I were lucky to be able to live in the home we did. We were very blessed. I feel guilty knowing how my life was compared to their's. 

Living with my grandparents we would go to church, not as often as some families, but I wasn't a stranger to God or the word, but I was by no means a pro. There was still so much I haven't learned and needed to learn. Heck I'm still learning. 

So I carried this bottled up hate you could say for God, if there was one at that time in my life I just wasn't sure. I didn't know what to believe ore what exactly I believed. I just couldn't be that person. 

Here I am getting ready to start my sophomore year of high school, I walk into the art room and see this very nerdy/geeky looking guy just staring at me. (insert chuckle) I see he's sitting by the ONLY person I know or knew wouldn't mind if I sat by them, so I sit down, he's still staring at me. Then the two of them whisper to each other, looking at me laughing. I am instantly upset, what are they talking about, are they laughing at me, what are they laughing about? Then the girl I sat by says to me "Matt thinks your cute" mind you he has this goofy look on his face saying "Nicole, shh no I don't, don't tell her" and I assume it's a joke, like they are making fun of me some how. So I reply "whatever" and give him a mean look. Never in my life would I think that in that moment that I would be married to that guy and have 4 unbelievably beautiful kids now. 

That was the beginning of the rest of my life. 

For a whole year of high school he asked me out. It never failed, I could count on him asking me out EVERYDAY. I always said "no" It wasn't until he graduated that we reconnected and started dating for real. It was like no relationship I had ever had, but lets be honest I didn't have very many. I could never commit to someone. I had this overwhelming feeling that if I let myself love them and fall for them that they too will leave me. I've had the worst heart break in my life, I couldn't risk anymore of my heart breaking. I kept my distance with guys. It never failed when the 'L' word was said I would take that as my Que that things had to end. We were getting to close it was bound to end and better to break if off now before I was completely head over heels. It took me a very long time to tell him that "i love you" such simply beautiful words to say but I couldn't, for fear of loosing him. But I did, and for me it is forever. I'm one of those people who loves deeply. For me it's for real, it's for a life time. My heart is a hard one to open but once you do I give it whole heartily. 

With such love came a baby and then 2 years later marriage and another baby. 

I'm not going to lie. Marriage was tough in the beginning. I sucked at being a wife and mother. We were so young when it all happen. I swore I wouldn't be like my mother (don't we all) but I ended up pretty darn close. 

During our marriage I got to know my in laws on a pretty close level. I knew from dating him that they went to church and that they were "those" people. The churchy people. The people I most defiantly was not. But they were amazing to me. They loved me even though I wasn't like them. They never showed me anything but kindness. I resisted at first but then it was like a light bulb went off in my head and I looked at them specifically his sisters and seen their love for 


 and their faith and I wanted a love like that. It became not only that I wanted it I needed it. But I felt I didn't deserve it. I was not a very good person. I was very out spoken and didn't care what people thought. I had this attitude of you did it to me I will do it right back. Forgiveness was not in my vocabulary. I was so quick to anger. My temper was out of control (thanks dad) So scary at times that I knew something had to change. And then there... there they were.. my light at the end of a very dark, very scary and very lonely tunnel. His family. Their unconditional love, caring and guidance. I don't think they know even to this day how much they saved me and still save me. I looked to them as this inspiration. I aspire to be like them to have personal relationship like they do with God. They drew me to God, they led me to him and there is nothing I can do or say to thank them for this truly remarkable gift. 

Did I fall along the way? YES, 100% I did. Did I loose myself? YES. I did loose myself. I was baptized and was involved in our church trying to change my life and become the person I knew I could. I felt reborn! I had this unending love for God. 

Then my husband said he wanted a divorce. My world shattered. There it was... my heart being broken. I thought I made it past this. I thought I had over come this. We came so far. 

Do I blame him? No. I blame myself. I have fallen so far from God. I got lost in life. Maybe call it a mid life crises, but skip the middle age. I didn't know myself. I couldn't even recognize who I was. But what I did know was that was the biggest wake up call in my life. I knew I needed to change forever. So once again, the light at the end of my very dark tunnel again was his family. His brother in law and sister paid for us to go to this Christian marriage retreat and it was one of the best things I've done in my life. It saved my marriage. I learned so much. It was like they were speaking to me and only me. It was my life they were talking about. It was then that I knew what I truly needed in my life and I haven't looked back. Will I fall short, sure, will I make mistakes? Oh you bet. But I will never let my self get as far gone or lost as I was. Never again will I fall down that dark tunnel. 

I went God and I haven't look back since. 

Once I committed to God and my faith life has been amazing! We have had so many blessing in life. There is just too many things that has happen for anyone to not believe that God exists. I've experienced it. I have never felt such peace and calmness in my life. It's like there is this warmth in my chest that just radiates to my whole body. There are times that I just feel like busting out loud screaming at the top of my lungs to how great God is. I just want to share how amazing he is and everything that he's done in my life. This happiness I feel can not be denied. 

Thank you Lord for loving me. Thank you to my husband for loving me enough to stick by me. Thank you for my children they each hold a piece of my heart. Thank you for my in laws without them I would be lost. Thank you for my own family loving and caring for me. Thank you to my parents for helping create and birthing me. 

God loves us with all our bruises and scars.

My life song is by We Are Messengers - Point to you
If you haven't heard it you must! This song sings words to me because I have been through a lot growing up and I have a lot of bruises and scars some no one but Gods knows, but he loves me through all of my imperfections even when I couldn't imagine being loved. And at the part in the song where they say

"I know you want my heart My bruises and my scars I'm coming as I am The only way I can I can't forget where I've come And what my heart's been rescued from"

I can't forget from where I've come and what my heart's been rescued from, that speaks volumes to me, because I have been through a lot and I've over come a lot and I don't want to forget, I don't want to forget because then I can tell others where I've come from and just how much I've been rescued. And this is the only way I can come to God and yet he want's all of me, my bruises and my scars he want's it all and he loves me even through it all. This song brings me to tears and yet makes my heart explode with love and I rejoice in the glory of God's wonderful love and grace!

So this is me, as I am, bruises and scars.

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