That sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? I'm not referring to my parents. My mother, in fact, is the one the Lord commissioned to bring me to Himself. I can't wait to see her again (she resides in Heaven). I'm not alluding to grandparents, aunts, uncles, or any other adult in my life who may have had a hand in my upbringing, indirectly or otherwise. I'm talking about the ones who really raised me.

I'm referring to my peers and even some of my instructors; they were my true mentors and teachers. Everything I learned about the streets came from them. Any profanity, sensuality, hair-raising talk of witchcraft, and revelations of what gangs really do to teens in Salem, Oregon, were infused into my being, never to be forgotten. My mind was filled with all that I read in the school library; I won't elaborate for your sake and mine.

Johannah Bluedorn has written a book titled My Mommy, My Teacher. My Julia used to cart that small book around, tucked under her little arm, because she loved the pictures. She couldn't read the words yet, but if she could, they only would have confirmed in her what the pictures were already conveying—there is safety with Mommy. Home is where Julia belongs.

I too could write a book—My Public School, My Teacher. But my story would read very differently from Johannah Bluedorn's, who, by the way, was raised in a normal home and received a true education—hence, her genuine ability to create a book which brings comfort to children all over the world. My volume would be dark, most certainly lacking of much comfort. It would be explicit and full of godlessness. It would contain heartbreak, rejection, shame, profound sadness, and abuse. Pictorially, it could be described quite easily. Here's a visual—an illustration, if you will: myself, Miss Gena Renee Wright, commencing at the age of kindergarten and moving up (chaotically) through my high school years, sampling every last piece of fruit off the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Not just gingerly tasting, either. Gorging. In fact, my book now doesn't even need words. That artistic depiction says it all.

I'll never write that book. My God (Jesus, who is the Word) tells me that, because I am a new creation in Christ, I am to focus on what is good and lovely, pure and true (Phil. 4:8). I have no desire to wallow in the mud of my past, my sin. I keep my mind far from reflecting on that tree from which I ravaged. Why should I continuously go back to it? God gets no delight from my reporting on it in detail—even if the last chapter is victorious. We are not to delve into sinful memories for the sake of general reflection. We're not to boast of our "sowing the wild oats" days, either. The world is sick; everyone already knows that. Why savor it even in memory form? That can be a real trap, for others and for ourselves. Leave the sordid details in the dark, where they belong.

As a senior in high school, through a series of incredible, heart-wrenching events, I ran to Him and clung. The scales fell off and victory prevailed. The angels sang and Heaven rejoiced. I was new, reborn! I praise the Lord for drawing me to Himself. But I had years ahead of desperate struggle based on the wolves' prior (and even very current at the time) influence over me—those who had raised me had brought me up well. I could say I was a new creation, and I meant it. I could meditate on God's Word, and I really tried. I went to church and worshiped my God, my Savior. I recognized what He had done. But I had an entire "movie" still inside me, all my memories. Film after film. Screenshot after still form. Profanity was second nature; when you hear it thousands of times on a regular basis, it becomes almost a part of you. You default to "hearing" it internally even when you don't expect it (or want it!). Our children's minds are like sponges, and when they are little, what we allow in, stays in. Garbage in, garbage out—and in. It often stays. While now saved by the grace of God, my "sponge" was still full. And it was a dirty sponge.