(Originally I wrote a post on Tell the Story Challenge, nominated by Amy Blount.
Here’s Take 2 *******************
Interview With Hephzibah
Hello my friends! I hope you have had a super great day! I have had Hephzibah on my mind all this past week, so I asked her to come in for an interview as guest speaker here at Hear Tokens.
After contacting her, she has most graciously accepted the invitation! 🤗
Renee: Hello, Hephzibah, it’s good to see you again! It’s nice to have a concerned young person step up to the plate and be willing to talk about their past mistakes.
Hephzibah: Yes, it’s hard for me to speak publicly, but I feel like maybe there are other young people out there who may need to hear that they are not alone in their struggles.
Renee: I’ll just be honest with you! I’m older, and it’s sometimes hard for me to remember what it was like to be so young and trying to make the right choices. But anyways, let’s get right to it. Please tell us a little about yourself first for some of the bloggers out there who may not know who you are yet.
Hephzibah: Hey guys! It’s great to be here! To save everyone the trouble, please just call me Zibah for short. 🤗
Renee: Thanks for that! Your name IS a mouthful. That’s for sure!
Zibah: That it is! Well, first off, for those of you who don’t know me, I am Isaiah, the Prophet’s daughter.
Renee: Wow! I did NOT know that! Thanks for sharing that with me!
Zibah: Yes, it’s true! And my mother always preferred staying in the background, so most people didn’t really even know her name. I think it may have been because she wanted to keep our family’s privacy. She never explained why. Of course, we had always just called her Mother. 😂
Renee: 😂😂😂 Can’t you even give us just a little hint?
Zibah: Nope! Sorry guys! I’ve been sworn to secrecy, so I must keep my mother’s wishes and not reveal her identity. But I will tell you this much, she was mostly just called the “prophetess.” It could have been because she was the wife of a prophet, or it could have been because she was also a prophet. We children, were kept in the dark about it. Our parents babied us, what can I say??! 🤷♀️
Renee: Wow! That must have been really hard on you guys! How many siblings did you have, by the way?
Zibah: To a certain extent it was…Well, prepare yourself for another tongue twister! I do have 3 brothers, and if you think MY name was a lot to chew on, just wait till you hear theirs! There is Shear-jashub, yeah I know! I know! 😱
Immanuel. And prepare yourself……..Mayer-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 🤪
Renee: Whoah!!!! I’m speechless right now!
Zibah: Yeah, I know right? Father was all about the names! SJ’s name meant “a remnant shall return.” Of course you may already know that Manny’s name meant, “God is with us.” SO, Hash-Tag’s, name 😂 meant, “spoil quickly, plunder speedily.” That boy always has been true to his name! I had to hide my journal in so many different places growing up, I was always looking over my shoulder! He could snatch it right out of my hands and make a mad get-away before I even knew what was happening! 😂(Smh)
Renee: Oh my goodness! So, I’m assuming you also have a name with deep meaning?
Zibah: Yeah…My name means, “my delight is in her.” Father always wanted a girl, so….
Renee: You don’t say??? This has really been a history lesson for ME, especially! I’m sure all you fellow bloggers can vouch for that, as well.
Zibah: Yes! Our family is quite the enigma.
Renee: 😂 YES, YOU ARE!…..Yes, you are… Well, anyways….With the preliminary introductions out of the way, I feel like it’s time for you to share from the heart. Even older adults like me, may learn a thing or two! I’m gonna let you get started, so take it away, girl!! I may interrupt from time to time, with a question to elaborate on something. Is that ok?
Zibah: Yes, that is perfectly ok.
Renee: Good! Take it away….
Zibah: This is gonna be a little hard for me…………… (tears stinging eyes) and I may even breakdown through some of this, but……….. Whooh…. (hands fanning the tears)…..(sighes)…. just bear with me…
Renee: Its ok, you’re among friends. Take your time, honey.
Zibah: Phew….I’m sorry!…..Well, I guess I’ll try to start at the beginning. Of course, you all know I had good parents, and my mother died while I was almost in my mid teens. Sooo,…….there was just my Dad, and one brother left at home and me, through all this. It hurts me to think of what I put my Dad through! But being young sometimes, it’s just plain hard making the right decisions. I’m still trying to hear God’s Voice leading me in the right direction.
So, anyways, I had just gotten saved. And let me tell you, it’s not always easy to see and recognize those fiery darts the enemy flings your way in the beginning.
It was a typical Sunday morning church service, nothing out of the ordinary. In through the double doors walks a guy, late, and slides into a pew during worship. I didn’t know him. Had never seen him before. He was very good looking though.😉
He worshipped along with the congregation. My heart got excited! Is this the guy I’ve been praying for?!!! Someone who loves God and isn’t afraid to worship Him?
Most the youth walked over to welcome him after the service. He seemed genuinely sincere to be there. He started coming to church regularly after that. Our youth group welcomed him with open arms.
It’s funny, but my friend and I both had a crush on him at the same time. 😂 But as a few weeks passed, he made it known that he was especially interested in me. My friend graciously, stepped out of the way and gave me her blessings.
It made my heart beat so fast whenever he looked deep into my eyes. I would blush and look down. I was sooo shy!!! It didn’t take him long to ask me out! I was flattered! He liked ME! Of all the girls, he chose ME!
We went on a date, and he made me feel special! After a few dates, He asked me to be his girlfriend, and of course I accepted!!!
And OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! When he looked at me with the most gorgeous blue eyes I had ever seen, I thought I would drown in their pool of blue! I forgot everything I was taught about what was right and what was wrong!! He had to be THE ONE!
When satan lays a trap for your soul, he don’t care WHO you are! He will use everything he’s learned about you, to get you to give in to peer pressure. He knew I had longed for love, and I didn’t really know what that was or even meant yet.
The world wants you to believe that love is sex. That’s what Hollywood leads everyone to believe. And I fell for it, hook, line and sinker! I was pressured into giving in to temptation and the strong desires I was feeling. Instead of playing it safe and making sure we hung out in a group, we had started getting off alone, in cars….(clears throat)…if you know what I mean……(puts hand over face)
Renee: It’s ok. Take your time…I know you’re embarrassed, but someone really needs to hear THIS!
Zibah: I’m DISGUSTED with myself more than anything! (shakes head) I KNEW better, had been raised BETTER, but I didn’t know how to cope with these feelings that were so strong! And I was too embarrassed to talk to anyone about it, especially not having a mother around anymore.
I had moved in with a family member. Dad was so upset! With Mom gone, I was still dealing with all the emotions that came paired with the grief.
It wasn’t long till I got myself in the family way….😭… The deep hurt that I could see in Dad’s eyes when I told him the news, still haunts me to this day! (tears flowing down cheek)
I had let him down. I HAD FAILED— as a daughter. I had FAILED as a Christian to keep myself pure. I had failed my future legacy! I HAD FAILED ME, as well! I wanted to run and hide away forever from my shame and judging eyes.
Dad tried to talk me out of marrying him, at first, but I did what I thought was best. I guess he could see things I couldn’t. Oh, the wisdom of a godly parent! Wished I had listened!!! I thought I loved him enough, and that it would be enough to cover the reproach I had brought on myself and my family.
We got married. We were happy at first, but it didn’t take long to see that I was a fly caught in the web of deception.
My husband dropped the fascade after awhile, and his true nature was unleashed! The truth was, he cared little for going to church and being what I needed him to be.
He would spend whole paychecks on rebuilding motors in race cars, and in a fit of rage, would turn around and sell it for $200. He blew the bill and food money on other needless toys. If it wasn’t for my mother-in-law and other family members, we would have starved at times.
I had no close friends. Only the ones I saw at church. I very rarely was allowed to hang out with any of them. He isolated me during most of the marriage, leaving me at home with no car and no money, while he worked.
On the occasions I was allowed to go see my family or a friend without him, he got jealous. Which lead to more isolation and terrible loneliness.
I almost stopped going to church at first, because I didn’t think I could stand on my own. But every time the feeling came, I pictured my Jesus suffering, looking down on me from the cross with sooo much love, that I JUST COULD NOT DO IT!!! I couldn’t bear turning my back on Him after all He had done for me! It gave me a reason to STAND STRONG! So, I hung in there!………..I’m sorry….I’m trying to tell this without….crying…..
Renee: It’s ok Zibah! Let it out! (touches shoulder) None are perfect, but the ONE who died on that cross WAS! And He LOVED you sooo much through your mistakes!…He was proud of you for not quitting! YOU CAN DO THIS!!! PLEASE continue!
By this time, I was very careful to tread lightly and not set his temper off, but he made a point to degrade me with every breath he took. Cursing me, mentally abusing me and even one time hitting me. He became mentally unstable and led me to believe I was the crazy one. We lived in fear from his angry rages! But somehow, through it all, I hung in there! I learned to lean heavily on God.
He began going out drinking with a few of his racing buddies and inevitably cheating on me…..secretly looking at porn and movies while I was at church, calling 900 numbers and racking up sky-high phone bills, hiding the bills, and even joining a dating service! All the while, planning to leave me.
At the time, I was so blind-sided that I thought it was all MY fault. One day while Baby Girl was taking a nap, I looked into the mirror, and I could no longer see the child of God that I use to be. I saw only the sadness in my eyes, the dark circles and tear-stained face and realized I had lost myself. I had lost weight. Lost my dignity. Lost my self-worth. And I just lost it for a moment….
I ran to our bedroom and ripped our framed wedding picture off the wall and hurled it at the bed. It bounced off the mattress and burst the window. The shards of glass that flew everywhere, matched the state my heart was in that day! I collapsed into a heap onto the floor and cried till I could not cry anymore! Luckily, my sweet baby did not wake up during all this!
I almost lost my faith AND my sanity, living in a hell most people only have nightmares about! If I had been beautiful, he would have wanted me, and maybe it would have been enough to buy a few I love you’s from him every now and then. But he showed me just how worthless, I was—-and I BELIEVED him.
Through it all, Baby Girl still loved her dad unconditionally. Love is blind I suppose…..We moved in with one of my brothers, and we eventually made a new life.
Renee: (wiping tears) I am sitting here and looking into the eyes of one of the strongest souls I know!! What a testimony!!! Those are some pretty terrible things that have happened to you….and yet here you are–bravely telling your story. I wonder how many other young women out there have faced similar situations and made the same kind of mistakes? If they were sitting here with you today, what kind of advice would you give them?
Zibah: FORGIVE YOURSELF!!! LET GO OF THE GUILT!!! IT WASN’T YOUR FAULT!!! You are STRONGER than you give yourself credit for!
For those of you who live in the country, you will understand the answer to this question.. Do you know what happens when someone burns a field off? It’s simple. The grass comes back green with new life. It’s like that with you!!! THE devil IS GONNA REGRET EVER BURNING YOU TO THE GROUND!!!! God gives beauty for ashes. Those things you’ve been through are very deep-seated things, but God is gonna use it to help other people! HE UNDERSTANDS SCARS, THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL TO HIM!
Renee: Oh my heavens!!! I love that answer!!! I truly believe that! So, what about a husband who’s done this to his family? Or even a wife? What would you say to them?
Zibah: I would tell them everything I just said to the wife. FORGIVE YOURSELF!!! LET GO OF THE GUILT. You can’t move on with FAILURE stamped across your face! See yourself as God sees you! Some things weren’t your fault. Especially, if you were abused as a child. Own up to the things that were your fault.
If you haven’t already, seek prayer and ask your family for forgiveness, even if you never get it. You will release the shackles of guilt and torment that have held you captive for way too long.
Reassure your child/children that you love them, and it wasn’t their fault! Step up and become the Big Man or Woman that God planned you to be!
Renee: That was a great answer! What would you tell the children?
Zibah: I would mostly say, “IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!!! Life is hard! And sometimes being a parent is, too. Parents make mistakes. They are human.
The truth of the matter is there is a real devil out there that wants to destroy families, and if he can get you while you are still young and innocent, he will! His aim is to steal your innocence and steal your soul!
LET GO OF ANY GUILT YOU ARE FEELING!!!And forgive your parents. It won’t happen overnight.
Renee: What would you say to another young person out there who hasn’t faced the temptation of sexual impurity yet?
Zibah: DO NOT be deceived into thinking it can’t happen to you! Or if you ARE facing this at the moment, that you can play with fire and not get burned! There is strength in numbers. Stay in a crowd. Don’t think you are strong enough to handle things on your own by being alone with the opposite sex. The temptation may be too great to overcome.
And don’t be too quick to turn your nose up and judge others if you see them slip up or heading that way! People need love and HELP, not hurt! Pray! Pray! Pray for them! AND yourself!
Reach out to each other! Be your brother or sister’s keeper–not their judge, but a friend!
And definitely fast. Pray. Hide the Word of God in your heart, that you might not sin against Him!
Renee: One more question for you and we will wrap this little interview up. Did you make it right with your husband?
Zibah: All is forgiven! By the time he had actually asked for my forgiveness, I had prayed and prayed until I had finally forgiven him and already let things go. His sin is lost in the sea of forgetfulness and so is mine.
Renee: I’m thankful for forgiveness! What about you? Well, so long folks, we will bid you a fine farewell and a fond adieu, till next time….
Zibah: Yes! Praise the Lord!!! I am finally free!!!’
But I do have just one question for you before we sign off…
Renee: Oh, really? Ok….Fire away…
Zibah: Should we tell them who we really are?
Renee: Nope….You know I love a good Mystery. I like to keep ’em guessing….😉🤷♀️