Jessica's modern-day Job story

Texas-based Jessica Clancy’s book, The Quest For Family, outlines her life experiences and how Jesus enabled her to move beyond the pain and suffering of childhood mistreatment to a fulfilled life of love and happiness and the creation of a new family unit.

Trigger warning: This story contains references to sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse. 

I was conceived out of wedlock in 1972 and had a very confusing childhood – a lot of instability, a lot of moving, and a lot of misplacement, not really knowing who I was or where I belonged.

My mom met my biological dad twice. She contacted him later, and he was already engaged to someone else. So, while she was pregnant with me, my mom married a man whose last name was Clancy. I thought he was my dad until I was 12 and that he cared about me and thought of me as his own daughter.

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But about a year after their marriage, my mom cheated on him with one of his employees and ran off with him. This man would abuse her to have his way with me. He would take baths with me and touch me inappropriately. We lived in Germany and Bermuda. I was two when she fled from that relationship and returned to the Midwest (U.S.A) to live with my grandparents.

Those were happy days in the home, riding horses and having my grandparents there. My mom and I would sleep and snuggle together at night, and I had her attention and felt like I had a normal mom.

But she wanted to go back to Bermuda, and she met her third husband there. He was in the Navy, though he had a history of drug use and prison. He was very demeaning, and he would lock me out of the house; he would take me on drug runs and I saw things that a little girl shouldn’t see.

I was the one expected to do all the house chores, like a Cinderella story.

I was angry with my mom for marrying my third stepdad because she would tell him, “Go take care of her.” So, she would instigate some of the abuse. He would throw me against the wall, and I would crumple down like a sack of potatoes, and she would just stand there and watch as if it was okay.

I was taking care of myself, and I was the one expected to do all the house chores, like a Cinderella story. Then it went from physical, mental, and emotional abuse to spiritual abuse when he became a registered minister, and then tried to use punishment and the Bible to control me.

I owe my story to God and Jesus. Everything. I would not be who I am if it weren’t for his saving grace and his love. When we moved around a lot, my mom would send me with different people to watch me.

We lived in Zion, Illinois, for a short time, and when I was in grade 2, the babysitter read Bible stories to me and told me how good Jesus was, what he could do for me, how he would be my friend, and that he would never leave me, and would protect me. I was like, “This is too good to be true.” So I accepted Jesus into my heart, and I was saved, and he was like an invisible friend, always there for me.

The babysitter read Bible stories to me and told me how good Jesus was.

When we moved to North Carolina, I would go on the church bus by myself to church. Eventually, my mom got a job at CBN [Christian Broadcasting Network]. And we were referred to an Assembly of God church in Chesapeake, Virginia. I loved it because I felt like I felt God’s spirit and heard his voice. And I knew his hands were covering me.

When I was 13, my parents tried to start a church, but there was an event at school that got the police involved, and my grandma drove up from Texas to get me. She took me back to the house to get a few belongings, and my stepdad wanted to do a circle prayer. And in that prayer, he said, “I give you permission to get involved with sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” So the curse continued.

I lived with my grandmother for about four years. When I was 17, my grandmother called my mom and stepdad into town, which I thought was a celebration of my high school graduation. But when they came, they sat me down and, for hours on end, just drilled me about how I wasn’t good enough and I needed to move out and be on my own.

It was crushing. At the time, I had a boyfriend who had his own issues, but he seemed to love me. He smoked marijuana, but I did not like it. I knew what it brought from living in it and seeing it and the drug runs, but I was praying for him and thought I could save him in a sense.

Finally, he became violent. He hit me and locked me in the closet, so I called the police, and they came to get me. There were two neighbours who lived next to my grandparents who helped move everything out. I never had another relationship like that again.

We did a Beth Moore Bible study called Breaking Free, and God used her materials to heal my dark places.

Prior to that, I had started community college and started working out in the gym. I never wanted anybody to be able to beat me up again physically. So health and fitness became really important, as well as being physically independent. I learned more about nutrition and wanted to study that.

I cut hair for 18 years, and one of my clients kept asking me to come to a singles group in church. It was amazing. We did a Beth Moore Bible study called Breaking Free, and God used her materials to heal my dark places.

We also went on a mission trip to Croatia, and that was very rewarding. We felt God move, and it was amazing.

I met my husband when I was 30 through a Bible study, but he was eight years younger than me, and I had no intention of dating him. We were both in dark places, but when we started dating and studying God’s word, we realised that God was working in both of us. I granted my mom forgiveness, and my now-husband asked me to marry him. It’s like everything that I always wished and hoped for – the normalcy of a life – fell into place all at once; it was amazing.

It’s like a modern-day Job story, because everything was stripped away.

Then I found my dad through my grandmother, who knew his last name. It’s like a modern-day Job story because everything was stripped away. I didn’t have my own place; I was living with my girl friend. Then I found my dad and discovered I had two half-brothers and nine aunts and uncles who had kids, cousins, and siblings. I suddenly had this huge family, and they lived just an hour away the whole time. And to see my dad just healed something inside of me.

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