Today, Randa speaks to us about how loss pointed her to God, and she shares her resilient story. She is a warrior. Please be advised that the following material is sensitive and may be triggering for survivors of trauma, abuse and loss. Thank you, Randa, for your vulnerability and all you shared with us.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: My childhood wasn’t easy, I grew up with a young mom, so I started off living with my granny. We were super poor and got commodities every few weeks (a food program). I was bullied in middle school, and in high school I went to live with my mom.
We adopted my brother, who was my cousin’s son of whom they had lost custody, and we left the hospital with him. My mom then got tangled up in an abusive relationship with a husband who physically, mentally and sexually abused all three of us (mother, brother and myself).
From there, we made a move to a new town and was able to escape him and the horror he rained down on us. After moving, I was a junior in high school; my granny got sick, and we moved her down to help take care of her. Little did we know she would be the one to help us.
In Feb 2012 (my senior year), on my mom’s 36th birthday, she was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 4. Life was rough. Little did I know I didn’t quite know how rough “rough” was.
In May, I got to graduate high school with my fiancé and brother sitting in the stands because my mother just had chemo and wasn’t allowed to be around people. What a crappy way to spend graduation.
In June 2012, I got married and ended up being pregnant. In Oct of 2012, my granny passed away suddenly. It was the worst thing I ever went through. She was like my mother. The pain was unbearable, but the Lord provided me with a baby to help me pull through. I had my first girl in February 2013. After that, everything is a blur of taking care of my mom and younger brother for the next few years up to 2016, when I was pregnant with my second daughter.
At this time of life, I was going between prenatal doctor appointments and my mom’s hospital room in another town. Yes, that’s right, hospital room. When I found out I was pregnant, we also found out her cancer had spread to her brain, and she had 13 tumors!
We did radiation and got it down to 7, and before we knew it the count was back up to 17! I was working full time, being a wife, a mother to my daughter and unborn daughter, taking care of my house and my mother house (it was just her and my brother living together) and then taking care of my brother and trying to visit and take care of my mom. Talk about a juggling act.
She got to come home one week before I gave birth, not because they let her but because she wanted to, and they couldn’t stop her. She made it one more year and one month. The month after my daughter’s first birthday, my mother suddenly passed with no signs the end was upon us.
My brother, home alone with mom, called me and 911 at four in the morning. She didn’t know who I was when I got to her, and she then went unconscious for two weeks. I stayed with her in the hospital while her body shut down and she finally passed. I thought I knew hurt when I lost my granny, but I was wrong. Losing your mom is a different hurt that last a lot longer.
After that, we took my brother in he turned 10, the month after she died. He started struggling in school. Getting in trouble, looking up things he shouldn’t have been looking up, stealing and lying really bad. It wasn’t for another year we found out he was touching my daughter inappropriately.
In April 2019, my brother left my house and went into state custody, so he can get the help he needs to deal with everything he has been through in his life. Our lives have been battle after battle, and I always wonder when enough will be enough. When I have proven myself worthy to God for a better life. When I don’t deserve the heartache anymore.
It wasn’t until this happened that I questioned my life, my worth, my parenting, my faith. I was so tired of always staying strong and being who everyone needed me to be. I was tired of trusting God to get me through the situation just for Him to pull me right through another one. I wanted to give up. It was that summer when I started feeling extremely depressed and talked about killing myself to my husband.
And bless his heart– he has been so good to me. I started to pray for my husband when I was 7, and it payed off because I got a good one y’all! But he prayed for me when I was too weak to, and it helped. I dropped out of church. It was hard to go back after mom died, with her empty seat next to me, but I had my family, and we made it. I had to go back with an empty seat for her and now my brother.
Deep down, I always knew God had a purpose for me, but after all I went through, I didn’t care any more. I had started my @bibleswithcoffee page after my mom died to help me cope and God lets me to share my story. Thank the Lord for leading me to start it because these friends that I have made have prayed for me and cried with me and rejoiced with me through all my ups and downs, this last year.
I’m so thankful for them and their support and prayers to lift me up when I was too weak, tired and didn’t understand. I’m not perfect and neither is my faith, but I’m getting to the point in my life where I’m starting to be able to see what all my hurt was building me up for.
“Our lives have been battle after battle, and I always wonder when enough will be enough.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Learning that no matter how focused I am on God and His word, I will still have struggles, if anything, more now than ever. But to keep my faith because it can and will pay off!
Profession: Preschool teacher.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? The Struggle is Real.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I was raised [as] a Christian my whole life, but it wasn’t until I lost my mom that I knew how much I really needed Him.
“It wasn’t until I lost my mom that I knew how much I really needed Him.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Trusting, Bible journaling, and being involved in a community of people who put God first.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): Reading Sadie Robertson’s book (I just started) Live Fearless, and it’s literally teaching me to not fear the plans and obstacles God has for me because the long run is far worth it.
“It’s literally teaching me to not fear the plans and obstacles God has for me because the long run is far worth it.”
Hobby: Bible journaling, blogging, playing games with friends and family, and reading.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Go to church, read your Bible, listen to Christian music.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? How much He loves them, unconditionally, and that He will use them like He is using me.
Favorite holiday? Christmas.
A goal you have? Be a Christian speaker and write a book about my struggles.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Where is my momma!?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Depression, anxiety and panic attacks!
What does your morning routine consist of? Rushing to get ready and get to work.
What is on your nightstand? Twenty bottles of water (my husband, not mine).
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is believing in a purpose for you far beyond [what] you can imagine. It’s a leap of faith; it’s an unconditional love– it’s everything you want but can’t find on earth.
“I’m not perfect and neither is my faith, but I’m getting to the point in my life where I’m starting to be able to see what all my hurt was building me up for.”
For more Randa:
Until next time, keep witnessing!