Friday, September 16, 2011

My Testimony

I gave my life to Jesus Christ in April of 2000. However, it has taken me 11 years to come to the point of being able to share this journey with others. I have been ashamed and full or remorse for the life that I have led up until I met Jesus Christ, my Lord, my Savior, my Husband. So, as I begin to write down- in full detail- the journey God took me on to find my way back to Him, I am reminded once again of His Mercy, His Grace and His everlasting Love for me. Please know that this testimony is not for the faint at heart, nor is it for "small" ears- it is wrought with drugs, alcohol, adultery and abuse. Bear with me as I pour out my heart and prayerfully, in God's way- a woman out there will hear this and hear the call of Love from her One True Love.
  I was raised Catholic, so my idea of God was one of an angry Father, and a very distant One. God was too far away to see me, or care for me. I was stuck in a life of penance, and Grace was a word I had never heard of. At the age of 13 I became a drug addict. My mom had me put into a drug rehab program, and the 12 step program where you have to "choose a Higher Power". I chose God, but since my only knowledge of Him was one of anger and disappointment, I didn't really know Him, so therefore, He was no part of my life. When I was 16 years old, after about 6 months of sobriety, I found myself pregnant. I had been drinking and smoking dope for years, so you can imagine how the little life inside of me was affected by all this abuse. My mother, being the Catholic that she was, plainly told me to have an abortion. Not only was I only 16 years of age, but the doctors told her the amount of drugs and alcohol I had in my system- the child would most likely either die or be so deformed that it would be unadviseable to let the child live. Since I had pretty much destroyed my life and my relationship with my mother, I did as she advised, and at 16 years of age, my mother drove me to have an abortion. The guilt and the regret that one feels after such is indescribable. I ended up falling into a dark pit, one of more drug abuse, alcohol abuse and sexual desires. I became more sexually active, finding that the attention I recieved from men allowed me, for a short period, to feel better about myself- and the drinking binges and drug abuse helped keep the darkness away.
  My life was one of complete hopelessness- but I thought at 16 I was on top of the world- I had conquered my demons, so to speak. Oh, how wrong I was. I did try to turn my life around, I stopped abusing drugs daily, and began drinking more on the weekends. I had quit going to school, found friends and sexual partners that would support my habits. I never paid for any drugs or alcohol- instead, I traded my body for them. When I was 18, almost 19, I met a man whom I fell for. He was much older than I was, and by this time I had pretty much moved out of my parents home- living with whatever man would have me. This one, well, he was different! Or so I thought. I found myself pregnant again, almost 19 years old, pregnant and living with a man- 30 miles away from my family. When he found out that I was pregnant, he went off the deep end. He began to leave for long periods of time, and soon I found out that he was with another woman, who just happened to be pregnant as well. He left me and his child. I had just turned 19 years old. I moved back in with my family, had my son- Jake, whom has been the hope and light of my life! But, the habits, the darkness, it was all still there- it would not go away.
    Then I met my husband, Brett. We dated for a few months, he fell head over heels in love with Jake and then he fell for me. I was 20 years old when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, Kyrsten. Brett wanted to get married, he wanted to start a family- I was the one for him, he was positive. However, I was not. To get married meant that I had to stay with him- forever. But, my mother- being Catholic- didn't really give me a choice. I had already had one child out of wedlock, no way was I going to have another one! So, we set the date and were married on October 29th, 1994. I remember standing at the top of the isle with my dad, looking down the church at Brett and saying, "Dad, I am making a mistake, I can't do this." He basically told me it was too late now- start walking. So I did- not only was I ashamed of my past, but I was now ashamed of my choices in life. There is a quote from "Gone with The Wind" that fit me very well back then, "You're like the thief that is not sorry he stole, but sorry he got caught." Rhett said to Scarlett. That was very true of me at that point- just sorry I got caught, not sorry for my deeds.
   Brett and I had a good first year- Kyrsten was born, Jake was walking- they were both the most beautiful children I had ever beheld! I loved them- or so I thought. Brett and I began to wane in our marriage- about two years in, the adultery started. I returned to my old ways, drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality. Brett was left at home, taking care of two kids and trying to make the marriage work. No matter what he did- I was not happy and wanted out. We talked divorce, and if I were him, I would have divorced me a long time ago! But he stuck true, he loved me- he would tell me. But I didn't care, I wanted my life back and I was going to get it back- without him. A few months went past, we worked at it- we fought all the time, I drank heavily and would wake up on the weekends with someone else. We decided to try to make it work, we decided to get out of Iowa and move to North Carolina- so we packed up everything we owned and headed out. I thought that by leaving Iowa and moving away (running away) my demons would not find me- oh, how wrong I was. We arrived in North Carolina in November of 1996- we both began working, kids in day care and school, but then it happened, again. The drugs and alcohol found me at my job- and the cycle began again. We moved around from place to place, but nothing was ever right between Brett and I, the only thing that had changed was our surroundings- my demons were still there.
   Four years after moving to North Carolina, I met a man- he was a "christian" and started to talk to me about God and His love for me. He wooed me- not only with his talk of love, but he was also supplying my drug habit- again! I fell head over heels for him and decided to leave my husband for him. I told Brett that I was leaving him for another man, and we separated. Brett and I shared custody of the kids for about two months, until the man that I had moved in with told me to choose between him or my kids- at that point in my life, my drug addiction was more important to me than my own children- so I left them, along with my husband. I still spoke to them on the phone, and would see them about once a month- but this man would become physically abusive if I spent more than what he felt I needed to with them. But all I cared about was the drugs- I just wanted to be high and not ashamed, anymore. This man began to read the bible to me, he began to talk to me about the ways of God- and I was intrigued. He bought me my first bible, and I began to read it- I was falling for Jesus and did not know it. I remember the time that I was reading in Matthew, where Jesus talks about "don't point out the speck in your brother's eye, because the beam is in your own," and he had said he did not understand that- so I explained it to him. He began to verbally and physically abuse me because "God showed me something" and that I didn't know what I was talking about- God was not speaking to me. So, I learned to keep God's word hidden in my heart- not because God told me to, but because it kept me safe.
   April 2000, I felt the Lord leading me to "go out and find Him"- so I hopped in my car and drove to this little church along the side of the road in Wilson, NC. Sunday service was going on, so I quietly sneaked into the last pew in the back. I listened to what the pastor was saying- then I heard it, I felt it, and I knew I needed it- Jesus was calling me to come and receive Him into my heart- so I did. I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ on that day, and I was so full of Joy. It was like for the first time in my entire life I could see light, there was no more darkness- only light. I was so excited that I went back to the house and told him. That was a huge mistake. When I told him that I had accepted Jesus Christ into my heart, I went backwards- he slammed his fist into me and I fell against the dresser. I truly believe to this day that this man was possessed with demons. How could anyone beat you for giving your life to Christ. I knew then that I had to get away. I started to pray, and seek God even more (when I was allowed to) and began to pray for deliverance. It was the summer of 2000, I was a new believer- a scared out of my wits believer- but I knew now that God loved me and that He wanted me for Himself. He had moved us into the middle of nowhere, and I was only allowed to go to work and come home. If I left to go anywhere without him, well, you can imagine what would happen. If we were out in public and I glanced at someone and smiled, I would get beat for it. So I learned to keep my head down, and how to live within myself. I began to see that this man was no Christian- he had a likeness of Christianity- but he did not bear fruit.
The day the Lord delivered me, I will never forget- I was sitting alone, one of the few times, and I opened my bible to Hosea 2 (I will give you some nuggets, but I encourage you to go and read it for yourself.) I was chastised that day-  vs. 1"Bring charges against your mother, bring charges; for she is not My wife, nor am I her Husband! Let her put away her harlotries from her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;" I was convicted- but intrigued- vs. 4-5 "for their mother has played the harlot; she who conceived them has behaved shamefully. For she said, "I will go after my lovers, who give me bread and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink." and that is exactly what I had done! I was even more drawn to Him! vs. 6 "Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and wall her in so that she cannot find her paths." That is where I was at that point! I was walled in, and hurt. vs. 7 "She will chase her lovers but will not overtake them; yes, she will seek them, but not find them, then she will say, "I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better for me than now." The amazing thing about this- that is exactly what I had been praying to Him, to help me get back to Brett and the kids. vs. 8-13 described the period of my life that I was living. I was miserable, alone, hurting and hopeless. I was being punished for my sins- or so I thought. I deserved what I was getting- but then, I found the hope and the love that I was searching for. I saw the light again, the love again, the desire for God welled up in me when I read vs. 14 "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her." He was, at that moment, as He and I were sitting there together, He was wooing me- my God, my Lord- My Jeshua was wooing me back to Him. vs. 15 "I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt." God was promising to deliver me and restore me! I was falling deeper and deeper in love with Him. vs. 16 is the one verse that made me realize that Jesus Christ is my One True Love and no one else can ever be. It was on this day, and that verse that made me realize what I had been searching for my whole life was Him- His love, His mercy, Him- just Him, my God and my Savior. "And it shall be on that day," says the Lord, "That you will call Me 'My Husband' and no longer call Me 'My Master'". He vowed His love for me that day, and I fell head over heels in love with Him. He did deliver me from the adultery, the drugs the alcohol and He even restored my marriage and my family, it took another year (and that is another testimony for another time) but He is my One True Love, I have no other. I am married, and I love my husband, but no one, nothing can compare to the Love that I have found in my God. vs. 19 explains my relationship with Him now, after 11 years. "I will betroth you to Me, forever. Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and mercy, I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord."  Not too long after the Lord restored my family He gave me another scripture, that has been a part of me ever since- Isaiah 54:5 "For your Maker is your Husband, the Lord of Hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; for He is the God of the whole earth." Oh, how my heart does love my Husband, for He is truly who He says He is- if you do not have that love for Him like a wife has towards her Husband- then ask Him to woo you today. Our God is a God of love, and He desires to woo you, to romance you, and to pour out His love upon you. When I am feeling blue or am down, I have sometimes asked the Lord to "romance me" and He does. He can make the lilies of the field look at you and smile. He can caress your cheek with the touch of His wind. If you have not fallen in Love with your Husband yet, I encourage you to go, and ask Him to show His love to you. You will never regret it! He desires you- more than any other.