ENTRAPPED: The Norma L. Brumbaugh Story, Part 1

A Story You’ve Not Heard Before

PAIN: Talk 1, my testimony

Some family and friends have expressed an interest in hearing my full story. This is your chance. This recording, from ten years ago, was my first time ever going public with the happenings that had hurt me. I have told my story a few other times but enough time has passed that it isn’t quite the same. The hour long recording is at the end of this post.

I requested permission to share my story from my adult children, my siblings, and my ex-husband. They have gone out of their comfort zone and have graciously consented to support me and the message of life that my words seek to convey: The message that God is light, that his light enters dark places, heals deep hurts, and mends wounded lives. I appreciate their willingness to be vulnerable. We are a private family that prefers to be in the background and not be noticed, so this is a gift to me, and you. I know they are trusting God to use my words for his glory, which is my wish as well.

When I first told my story in church back in 2007,  I owed it to my church family who had loved me through it all, and allowed me to heal while still serving in our assembly; and I owed it to God because I knew he could use my past experiences to help others struggling with similar issues. It could be a resource to them.

Life’s struggles can be isolating but that is not the last word. God is a God of second chances. I praise him for his goodness and faithfulness, healing and love, hope and kindness. To God be the glory, great things he has done.

You may want to read last week’s post before listening to Talk 1. I’d recommend it as an introduction to this week’s post. You will find it here: “I Felt like Damaged Goods.”

The Recording

Sorry the quality of this recording has some background noise. A man in my church recorded it with a little hand held recorder placed on the podium. I’m thankful he recorded it for me. Minutes before I spoke, he asked me if I was nervous. I responded with a yes. Then he encouraged me with these words, “You’ll do fine.” It felt like a father’s blessing (and he’s the quietest man in the church).

Two of my family were present, my mother and my oldest son. I knew it would be hard for them, and it was.  It took courage on my son’s part.  His pain was visible. I appreciated him being there, knowing it would be difficult for him. He knew it too, but he came anyway. Thank you, Josh. I love you.

I am glad the recording came out clear enough that I can share it with you. If I retold the story today, I don’t think it would portray the same emotion.

To my family members, my church family and those mentioned in the testimony, I appreciate you. You have always been a source of encouragement to me. My story, our story, is a source of encouragement and blessing to others.

And to Randy, thank you for supporting me in this endeavor. This means more than you will ever know. In your own words “If it can help someone then I’m okay with it.” I’m glad God helped you and me to establish grace between us after all the struggle we went through.

And to my children, this is a big one for you. Thank you for trusting me and supporting me in this. I know it is not easy for you, either, and you may feel exposed. We are still working through some of this and probably always will. I dearly love you.

Again, thank you to my parents and siblings for letting me talk about our private devastations, losses we will always grieve and regret. God has carried us through, and still carries us through. We are grateful for this. I love you more and more as the years pass.

Lastly, thanks to God, who never wastes anything and makes something new and beautiful from the shards of broken pieces in our lives. Beauty from ashes. Your love has transformed me. I love you more than my words can adequately express.

PAIN: TALK 1: my testimony 65 minutes

Contents: Christian family, church culture, my promise, looking in the mirror, death, abandonment, unfaithfulness, suicide, job loss, nerves, despair, separation, divorce, letting it go, Psalm 66.

Please feel free to share my story with others.

HEALING: Talk 2, will be posted next Friday.

Family Photo Album

Dad and mother, Juanita, Marilyn, Norma, Paul, and baby Lois on Easter Sunday at my Grandpa and Grandma Brumbaugh’s house. 1960

The Brumbaugh Family on Sunday morning: Paul, Marilyn, Dad, Mother, Lois, Norma, and Juanita.

Wedding day. 1980, Chico, CA

Son 1. New beginnings and I’m loving it.

Our family is increasing, with Joshua, Thomas, and LaVonne. We are now living in Greenville, CA.    1986

Number four is on the way and I’m volunteering at the grade school in Westwood.

Living in Westwood, CA   1990

The family in the busy, busy days! Someone was always holding a fussy baby during meal time. On my parents’ 40th anniversary.  1991

We’re visiting and helping at Grandma Weigold’s house.

My mother and sister Lois, celebrating their birthdays (and my son’s) at our home in Westwood.

Back in Chico. I’m going to graduate school and working as an instructional aide (and expecting my fifth).

Family is Josh, Randy, Glorianne, Norma, Forrest, LaVonne, and Thomas. 1997

Our first Christmas without their dad. We are sensitive to our new situation.

My family a few months after I spoke.

My family in 2017.

With my siblings and parents: Juanita, Marilyn, Mother, Dad, Norma Paul

Until next time. Adios.