I’d like to introduce to you someone who has made such a huge impact in my life. This woman has spent countless hours with me in prayer, laughed until we’ve cried and rejoiced as God has brought us to exciting new doors to walk through.
One thing is for sure – Penny is a mighty woman of prayer. She loves Jesus and you can see Him illuminating the room through her contagious smile.
Meeting this incredible woman of God, you wouldn’t have a clue of the road she’s walked down. But she’s ready to share her story and we’re praying it will set you free!
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Me: You’ve never had it easy, that’s for sure. How early did the abuse start?
Penny: From the time I was a small child, I recognized that my father could love other children, yet he was verbally abusive to us. He was so cruel to my mother when her she became ill and it cost him money at the doctor. He was a workaholic and a control freak. He would go as far as writing down the mileage of the car as he left for work so he knew if she went anywhere. My father would never let her befriend anyone at church. Looking back, I think he was scared she would disclose what was going on at home. He was a different man at church than at home. And he hid it well.
Me: As if the emotional and physical trauma wasn’t enough already, the beautiful life you had growing inside of you would never make it to your arms. Do you wonder what she looks like?
Penny: All the time. After I gave birth to my second child, Jamie, I always wondered if my daughter was normal. I wonder if she knows she was adopted. I never spoke to anyone about being pregnant. No one knew for years I had even had a child. I honestly thought for once I would have someone to love me. Then my father had the baby taken away from me the moment she was born. I’ve wondered if she’s struggled with weight because I always have. I’ve prayed she didn’t struggle with that. Every time I babysat someone’s kid’s I have thought about her, especially if they were girls.
Me: You and your father had quite the strained relationship. Tell us about the day your world stood still.
Penny: My father hadn’t felt well for some time and had been to the doctor. They couldn’t find anything wrong with him. I think he felt guilty for being so angry with my mother being sick and that guilt triggered his suicide. He couldn’t handle the pain he felt or the guilt of how cruel he was to my mother when she was sick. After talking with my brother and I for hours, he walked to the back of the house and I heard a noise from the back room. He laughed and said he was putting his pistol away and it went off. A few moments later I heard it again and he had shot himself with a shotgun. He had 4 days by himself at home but waited until I got home to do this. It was the ultimate rejection from my earthly father from a man who was supposed to love and nurture me.
Me: You remind me so much of Job. He was tested time and time again, yet remained faithful to The Lord. Even when he had lost his family and his friends were kicking him while he was down, he continued to trust in God. Do you find it hard trusting God, your Heavenly Father, when your natural father abused and abandoned you?
Penny: Yes. I went to church and heard Psalm 139 and read for myself that I was wonderfully made by God and that He loved me with an everlasting love, but it was hard to grasp that concept. I compared God to my earthly father. And every relationship I had with a man followed that grueling path of abuse. God in heaven is nothing like our earthly father. God never abuses us. He never abandons us. He will never stop loving us. The bible says nothing separates us from the love of God.
Me: Jamie is such a sweetie. And he LOVES the ladies! You said the devil has really fought you hard as a mother. Tell us a little about that.
Penny: I had seizures the whole time I was pregnant and Jamie was born with brain damage. I believed God was punishing me by giving me a disabled child for my promiscuity and giving my first born child away. The devil spoon-fed me those lies for years. But now I know that’s a lie straight from the pits of hell.
Me: For those going through a difficult situation right now, what advice would you give them?
Penny: What the enemy means for your bad, God will turn it around for your good. God definitely has a way of birthing something so spectacular through our pain. We just have to hold on. God has a way of wrapping all of our mess up into a ministry to set others free – if we will just let him. We can’t effectively minister to others until we have been there ourselves. We always have a choice. We can either get bitter or better. We can’t blame God for the decisions we have made, because we will reap what we sow. But it’s not God’s fault. What takes place in our lives is not to destroy us. It’s to help mold and make us for what God has called us to do. Everyone has a story to tell but not everyone shares it. We have learned to mask it and walk through the doors of the church and feel utterly alone. Everyone is hurting. We have to get real with God about ourselves before we get real and transparent with others. Thankfully, God uses cracked vessels.
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A big thank you to Penny Bartee for sharing her story with us! We pray you realize you are not alone in your situation. Struggling with suicide, abuse and emotional trauma for years, she has overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the words of her testimony. Revelations 12:11
Is God asking you to speak up? Listen for His voice. He loves you so much!
Live Life Unscripted,
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