I wondered how I would begin to write my life story, but then I realized that I don't have to. It's already been written by God, and I am just here to tell it.
I am Brandy Allison, and this is my story.
My mother and father both worked at a textile mill in our hometown of Union, South Carolina. They married at the age of 16 and had their first child, my big brother, at 17. In January of 1983, five years after my brother was born, they welcomed a screaming, bald, tripled chinned and red skinned 9.5 pound baby girl…me! Mama and Daddy knew from an early age that I would be their "problem child". I was a feisty little blonde thing, known to say whatever was on her mind… I had four aunts and four uncles, and was raised with my boy cousins, so I learned how to be a tomboy pretty quickly…but I also knew how to work up a tear to get them in a heap of trouble when I felt like it. At age 3, I started going to daycare at a church near the mill where my parents worked, and most mornings, I would kick, spit, hit and fight to let them know exactly how I felt about it. One morning, after my usual antics, one of the church ladies named "Ms. Betty" gathered us children and said we were going to do a Christmas show for our mommies and daddies…my eyes lit up thinking about seeing Santa and singing in front of everybody! The first song I ever learned was "Away In A Manger"…I remember singing it by the piano and screaming over the other children to sing the loudest. Little did I know, as much as I hated going to daycare, that it would instill in me a lifelong passion for music that I've pursued ever since.
I started performing live at the age of 12, and started up my own country band in 2001 when I was 17. Not much changed about me over that time…I was a troublemaker when I was little, and I got myself in even bigger trouble as I got older. I was in love and living with my high school sweetheart. We were barely getting by when I began making some poor decisions, seeking some kind of escape from my life. Those poor decisions put me in a very dark place, and when I found out my boyfriend was unfaithful, I became very depressed and confused.
Finally my parents stepped in, and I spent a lot of time with them trying to get my life back. As I started healing, I was able to get a job at the mill and think clearly for the first time in years, and every day was a little bit better.
One night after work, I stopped in at a convenience store and ran into some guy friends from school that I hadn't seen in years. We chatted and exchanged numbers, and a few weeks later I started hanging out with one of the guys. His name was Josh. The more we got to know one another, the more we hit it off. Soon after we began dating, we knew that we were right for one another and we started to talk about marriage.
Josh was a truck driver and would make 24 hour drives out west hauling cattle. When I lost my job in the mill, I started going on the trips with him to keep him company. We grew closer all the time, and decided to get married in 2005 and live with my parents. Despite what everyone knew was best for us, I begged Josh to get us a house of our own. For a little while it was pure happiness-I was married to my best friend, I had a new job, and we were a little family with our two dogs Dixie and Mudflapp. But it wasn't long before issues with substance abuse intruded on our happiness. We found ourselves in foreclosure on our home, and all the strain forced us to separate briefly. However, we knew that we loved one another, and once again, my incredible parents took us back in (they had since moved to a new city). We had seen rock bottom together, and we decided to start with a clean slate and build a family. We saw a doctor and I had a surgery I needed, and were told that we should be able to be pregnant by August of 2010. We dug ourselves out financially and things were smooth again. One day Josh decided that he wanted a motorcycle, so we picked one out together-I will never forget the smile on his face the day he brought it home. But just a few months later, my husband got a call that his mother was found dead in her bedroom of unknown causes. Josh and I were both close to her, but he was devastated, and again turned to substances to cope with his pain.
On August 20th, I hugged my husband at 5:30 p.m. and spoke to him on the phone at 6:30 for the very last time. At 7:30, Josh crashed his motorcycle and my life changed forever. I rushed to the hospital and prayed to God that Josh would be able to pull through. I remember saying to God, 'YOU WILL NOT TAKE HIM FROM ME. YOU WILL NOT DO THIS TO ME.' Seconds later, they came out to tell me that his heart wasn't strong enough and he passed away at 8:43 p.m.
And right then-that's when I surrendered my life to God. It's hard to imagine that in the midst of total desperation, I made the one decision that has brought me the kind of happiness I searched for my whole life. Everything has started where I left off. It breaks my heart to know how I hurt God in my wilder years, and the way I interfered with His plans for me, but I can't hate myself, because I am His creation-and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I've finally learned what love means, and I can love back unconditionally. I see the beauty in everything and everyone. I have forgiven the people who hurt me in my life, because He forgave me. God gave me a second chance, and I am living it to lift up Him and His only son Jesus Christ, who died for me. I am blessed to have turned to my father when my worst tragedy fell upon me. I am blessed to have my singing voice after I abused it for so many years. I am blessed to be alive when he could have turned his back on me so many times. I am blessed that God had, and still has, a plan for me and I thank Him for His mercy when I pray every night.
I long to be a voice of hope for everyone who reads this. I pray that my story touches you, but most of all I pray that God speaks to you, and you hear Him. I am a child of God, and you are too. With His love and mercy you can overcome anything.
I am Brandy Allison, and this is my..and God's...story.