I was once considered a mistake. I was an unwanted child, firstborn of my parents together. My mother had given birth to at least two other children before me, one of whom is my best friend and the other went home to Jesus three days after birth. My father had a girl ten years before me and had adopted another girl from his previous marriage to her mom a few years before he met my mom. Their story is convoluted, at best.
My parents had two more boys, my brothers. When she was pregnant with my first brother, we were all in an auto accident which caused her personality to change, by all accounts given. I was too young to know the difference. However, as I grew up, mom and dad made it quite clear that I was a mistake and that neither of them wanted me. My older sister was daily referred to as my mother’s “right arm”. My brothers were young and adorable. So, I became a tough girl who hung out with the neighborhood boys and didn’t take anyone’s guff.
When I was 9 years old, some folks from the Mormon church stopped by to offer us a ride to church. I jumped at the chance! I remembered going to our Lutheran preschool, elementary school and church as a little one and missed it. There I was somebody worth loving. So, I went with those strangers to church. I recruited my sister and one brother and we all went together. We soon found out that my brother had to sit with the men and we had to sit in the back behind them and they used two Bibles. That didn’t set well with me, even after we were baptized into their church. We stopped going altogether once we realized the two Bibles weren’t the same. My soul knew something wasn’t adding up.
We moved a couple of times and I got into increasingly more trouble with a potty mouth that made our sailor friends embarrassed to have me visit. One day I noticed a big yellow school bus pulling into our apartment complex on a Sunday. It was a Baptist church bus! I was so excited to go that I got up early on Sundays before anyone awoke and I got on that bus to learn about Jesus. Getting fed a few rolls and some candy each week was also a great incentive. Nevertheless, I got to attend Salvation Army summer camp because of that and found out that God had been following me all along. He never left me even in the darkest moments of abuse.
I was eventually sent back to live with my father when I was 13 after my mother sold me for twelve hundred dollars to her friends across the street and my sister made her kidnap me in the middle of the night before she moved to another state. My father found a way to get rid of my by putting me into a state-run group home when I was months shy of 15. My parents allowed my two brothers and I to become wards of the state, which was the best thing that happened to us in their care. My father died suddenly a year later.
As I yelled at God for taking my dad, I realized that God was the only one to never leave me or give up on me. I knew I was finally loved even though I couldn’t see Him. My Abba Father was always there. I don’t know exactly when I gave my heart to Jesus, but I don’t think I’ve ever been without Him in my entire life. I can see where He was during every horrible moment and kept me for Himself.
I began to see other people differently. I started to listen to their stories and try to love one them so they would know love. The more I learned scripture and how much God cared for me, I poured that same knowledge and love onto others.
Today I serve my sisters in Christ through teaching them what God’s Word says about them and how much He loves them. I want them to know that He never left them and is always right there for them in each circumstance, just as He has always been for me.
Anji Budzynski is a lover of God, words and chocolate. She began writing poetry in high school and learned how beautiful languages are to read, hear and speak. She came to know God at a tender, young age amidst a difficult childhood. She put both of these loves together in a blog, A Life of Gratefulness, and a book, Finding Your Self-Esteem in the Dirt. Chocolate was just an added bonus from God.
Anji has led Sunday school, VBS, Women’s Ministries and Bible studies with children and women, alike. She loves helping women connect with each other and see the internal beauty in themselves and each other that God designed for them. Helping others learn to love like Jesus is an important facet of her daily serving life.
Anji currently resides in Virginia with her own personal Popeye husband, Brian. They recently propelled their 21 year old daughter into self-sustaining adulthood. They enjoy growing and steering their strapping 16 year old son and feisty 3 year old daughter through childhood. Charlie, their cocker spaniel, puts up with all their chicanery.
"How He Loves" by David Crowder
(This post was written by Anji Budzynski as a part of the Our Heart's Song Blog Series this month. I encourage you to read her story and check out her website. This is one of the many incredible women that I had the privilege to meet at the SheSpeaks Conference I attended in July.)