Heidi Stanaland

Looking back at my short time here, already I have experienced things that most people will not in their whole lifetime.But through the heartache and pain I have to consider myself blessed, because I have also been able to see the Lord’s hand work in every situation when I didn’t even know it was Him doing the work.

I was born and raised in Asheville, NC the daughter of Tami and Jamie Fowler. From the stories I’ve heard, my parents didn’t get along well when I was even an infant and as I grew up I could see that myself. My Grandmother became a stable in my life and as a child I spent most of my time with her -but every now and then being in my home with my Mother and sometimes Father. I can’t remember what age my Mom and Dad’s drug and alcohol addictions became really bad, however, I was with my Grandmother and Granddad from a young age of my childhood. I can’t remember my Mother or Father very much in my child hood.They were mostly just being faces that came in and out. Here today gone tomorrow. I remember being a young girl and my Grandmother taking me to rehabs and seeing my Mom on Sundays because that was family visiting day. I was blessed to have the childhood I had and I know that was from the most part thanks to my Grandparents. I had opportunity at my doorstep to travel, I never wanted for anything and I never took that for granted. They became my parents and I felt safe and loved. But there was always a void missing there. I wanted to be like my friends and have a home with my Mom and Dad. A day that really stands out in my mind, is when I was in the 5th grade. My Grandmother had told me my Mom had court, but that she would be picking me up in the car rider line from Mills River School. I looked forward to that all day and the sadness that crushed my heart when my Grandmother pulled up in her green jeep Cherokee was overwhelming, only to tell me my Mom had gone to prison that day. From a young age I cheered competitively and I started to make up stories to my friends and their parents about where my “real” Mom and Dad were.I would tell everyone that my Mom was in college and I didn’t know my Dad.Being older now, I bet they really believed that…. My Mom was in jail and prison for maybe a year. I felt safe while she was there because I knew she was safe and I wouldn’t have to feel the pain of her coming and going.  I went on with my life and had many friends. I got along with everyone, but I have only one best friend “Ashley”. I think I envied Ashley because through my eyes her family seemed “Perfect”. My family never went to church on any regular schedule, mostly just for Christmas and Easter because I had a new dress. My sister Tessa was born in 1998 and I felt a special bond with her the first time I saw her, I loved her more than anything. I gave my heart to Jesus at a vacation bible school at a local Baptist church where Ashley and her family went.Not sure I did it because I felt like I needed to or because Ashley went up. But I am convinced that God had his hand on my life from the time I was born. I grew up, went on to Rugby Middle School, still living with my grandparents. I played golf all 3 years at Rugby and I loved it. I was a very pretty little 14 year old who looked like I was 17 and boy crazy. I did a lot of stupid things and lost a lot of friends because of it, including Ashley. I quit school the end of my 9th grade year because of to many absents.My mother’s life was also turning in and out of drugs and bad relationships.So Ithink I stayed home some days just to see if she was o.k. I somehow took on this role of feeling protective of my Mom. We moved a lot. I have lived in 5 different homes. Time went on and I can remember a lot of Happy times and even more bad times. When I was 15 we had just moved again to a new home in Arden, and our neighbors invited us to a 4th of July cookout.This is where Will came into the picture.Now I told you before, I was a pretty size 0, little lady and he followed me all over that picnic. Shortly after that we started dating and I loved him and his family. I began going to church with him and his family, his Father was the music leader of their church.Six months later he told me they were moving to Maiden, NC where his Dad had taken a new music leader position at a church there.We decided we wanted to try to stay together even if it was long distance. I went to AB-Tech and completed my GED and decided to go to Blue Ridge for Cosmetology. My Mom in this time had gotten in an awful relationship and we had moved again to a home in Fairview. I couldn’t stand this guy because of who my Mom became when she was with him.It was a drug infused abusive relationship and I decided that when I was done with school I was moving to Maiden. So I turned 19, had a 2 year degree and moved away from home for 2 reasons. 1)because of Will and 2) to get away from my Mom and that guy. I worked at a Salon and then began teaching preschool at Will’s family’s church. I loved teaching so much that I gave up on my stylist career and put my whole heart into teaching. My Mom’s situation only worsened after I moved. I would rescue my sister from time to time and she would spend weeks with me on end in the summer time. Will and I got engaged to be married and had to change our date several times mostly because of me in hopes to give my Mom time to get her act together. I wanted the feeling of planning my wedding with my Mom for her to watch me try on my dress and cry, I wanted the story book feeling of wedding planning but I didn’t get that. September 30th finally came and time was up.My Mom had no more time and she was not in any shape to be Mother of the bride. She was supposed to be in Maiden on Friday for the rehearsal but never made it. I had a family friend go get Tessa and bring her to the wedding. I can still remember getting dressed all by myself and crying because I felt so alone on my own wedding day, when I should have been so happy. I remember standing at the front of the church and my maid of honor looking at me and saying, “Heidi your Mom is here”. All I could say at that time was don’t let Tessa leave. So I said my I do’s and walked out.A few minutes later my Mom come through the receiving line and I looked at her and said, “Mom you’re sick”.She said she knew that and for me to take Tessa. And so I did. My Mom called everyday for 2 years and I never answered her calls. I had so much hurt and anger built up in me for her at that time. I had nothing to say, but I did pray for her. Two years later the calls stopped, and for a week we heard nothing. Finally I asked my Grandmother if she had heard from her and she paused and said yes she is sitting right her beside me.And like a bomb – all the hurt, pain and anger came out. I think I actually punched a hole in my wall. I was so mad that my Grandmother had let her back in their lives, but I couldn’t see the picture at the time. When I decided to speak to my Mom the only thing I could say was find a Holy Ghost church….and she did – Words of Life. A year later, after the death of my Grandmother, which is a testimony in itself – I decided I needed to come back home.With the economy going down and Will and I were expecting our son Eli. We became a part of the Words of Life Family. It’s very hard to put into a small 1 page story what all God has done for me and my family in our lives- or to even set apart one important time from the other because he has done so much for me. If anything, I would say the God and Lord of my life has been a Restoration God, Healing God, Loving God, Forgiving God, an Awesome God. I know in my life He has plans for me and my family and I can’t wait to continue and do more of His work.