I am the oldest of three siblings. I was disobedient, argumentative, and constantly fighting with everyone. I had anger issues and problems in school. I was mean! I was the worst sister you could ever think of. We never went to church. I didn’t know God and I didn’t want to.
I started sneaking out of the house by twelve and hanging out with the wrong kids. I started ditching school by thirteen. I got kicked out of high school at fourteen for getting drunk in class. The relationship between my mother and I was very thin and this was the last straw. I was a bad influence on my younger sister and brother, so my mom sent me to live with my biological father in North Carolina.
It wasn’t a good situation. My father pretty much let me do what I wanted. I started hanging out with Mike, my dad's co-worker. We got close and I ended up moving in with him. I was 15. We moved to Florida and lived in a trailer with his two children. We were always getting drunk and high. At sixteen I discovered I was pregnant. At seventeen I had my daughter.
After our daughter was born we moved back to North Carolina. Mike was very controlling. I was not allowed to hang out with anyone. I didn’t have any friends that were not his friends. I stayed home with all three kids.
But my relationship with my mom was mending through a lot of phone conversations. She was getting re-married and wanted me to be a bridesmaid. I was so excited and happy for her! She flew my daughter and I out for the wedding and we stayed three weeks.
I was really shocked to discover that she and her husband-to-be weren't living together like when I left. She told me they were “saved” now and that living together before marriage didn’t please God. She explained how she got saved, but it was very confusing to me. I didn’t want to go to church with them on Sunday, but she encouraged me to go. It was very important to her. I went, but didn’t pay attention. I thought they were crazy for believing in a higher power.
The wedding was beautiful! The preacher talked about how their lives with God couldn’t be separated now, like mixing two jars of sand together. I cried the whole time, but it was just emotion. After three weeks we went back home. I thought all that God stuff and being saved was just a phase they were going through.
Then Mike decided we should move to Hawaii. I left first and stayed with my mom in California for about a month. Her church was having a family camp and invited me to go. It was so much fun to be around people who really cared about me. It was great to see my step-dad, mom, younger sister and brother connected with others. For the second time I heard the Gospel, but I didn’t really listen.
Everyone was always talking about the Gospel, the love of God, the love He had for us as sinners, sinners just like me! Every chance someone had to share the Gospel with me, they did!
As I started thinking about my life and what I was missing, I heard Mike in my ear telling me different. I started reading the Bible and listened to the sermons more. I had lunch with my parents and the Pastor and cried the whole time. He asked questions that made me think about my life and where I was going after I died. He said what I was doing was wrong. I tried to understand how Someone could know all about my past, present and future, and want to die for me.
My step-Aunt gave me a study Bible before I left. I'd wanted to stay for Thanksgiving but Mike said no.
In Hawaii, we started reading the Bible together. But after about a month, with no church, no friends and family, no support, we stopped and soon fell into our old ways - anger, arguments, sex, smoking and drinking.
I found out that I was pregnant and was really stressed about it. All we did was argue and fight. I stayed home with all the kids and had no friends. I was so miserable with everything that I ended up having a miscarriage. I was full of anger and disappointment. I did more drugs, more smoking, more drinking. Finally we moved back to North Carolina.
I got pregnant again and my son was born. By then Mike was really into pot, and our relationship got violent. Mom had sent me a cell phone and Mike didn’t like that at all. He didn’t like her talking sense to me. That’s what she did every time I called her. She would share the Gospel. One time I was on the phone with her, crying because Mike and I were fighting, and she heard him yelling at me. She convinced me to move back home with them. But how could I? I had no money.
A kind family from my mom’s church paid for our tickets, but I was having a hard time leaving. I was terrified about my kids not having a father, even one like Mike. But with encouragement from my mom and just knowing what that family had done, I told myself to walk out the door and that’s what I did.
Living with my family was very stressful! I believed that I had made a huge mistake, that I was a burden to them. I cried every night. But I continued to go to church with them, listening to the sermons and getting to know the church. Everyone was so good to us and never judged me. They showed me only kindness and love.
This love helped me open up, listen to the Bible, have fellowship with them. It was amazing how these people who didn’t know me at all helped me get on my feet! But I still felt like the black sheep of the family. I was stressed about my daughter and son, believing that I made the wrong decisions for them. I wasn't trusting in God. I thought I didn’t need Him, that I could deal with everything myself.
One Sunday during singing I broke down and started crying and couldn't stop. God was pulling me in, but I was still fighting. There was so much stress in my life, I didn't know what to believe. Mostly I was scared of losing my kiddos! One day I completely broke down and cried out to God, begging for help and asking why this was happening to us? Why did He bring us here if He was just going to rip my kids from me and send them back to their father?
Then a miracle happened! Mike called and said that I could keep the kids, just like that. After months and months of fighting and knowing I was going to lose them, God answered me!
I felt something awesome come over me but didn't understand what was happening. Was I saved? How do you know if you are truly saved? Was this real? What are the signs? Did I truly believe? I think I did...or maybe not. Was I just excited?
My mom answered some of my questions, but I was still confused. We talked to my step-dad and he asked me one question, "Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He came down and died on the cross for your sins?" Right then I knew with all my heart that it was true! I was on my knees at the end of their bed crying with joy because the answer was yes. I did believe that!
The next few weeks were so joyful! Everything was clearer, brighter. I was really listening to the sermons. It was so hard to realize that Jesus Christ died for MY sins, that He was nailed to the cross for ME, that God's Son came down and became man to die for ALL of my sins. And now He was giving me so much more: new life, understanding the Bible, friendships, a godly dad, a mother who always shared the Gospel any time she had the chance, and my kiddos were safe. It was amazing. I woke up every morning so thankful.
Then I faced the darkest test of my faith. Mike suddenly tried to get sole custody of our kids. He texted horrible lies about me, and I started believing them. I had so much anxiety. I stopped trusting God. Three times I said we'd go back to him (something was drawing me) but each time I backed out. I know God was helping me.
Again my mother took me back to the Gospel. Yes, I WAS a horrible sinner, she was too, but Jesus took the punishment for ALL my sins when He died on the Cross. God now saw me in Christ as righteous, as good, as precious to Him. It was hearing the truth of the Gospel that made my faith strong again.
Now I am waiting and trusting God completely, resting in His faithfulness and awesome care. I know He is good and has only good for my kiddos and me. I Love him so much!
Evil might be lurking in the shadows but God is always shining, even when your eyes can’t see Him.
Would you like to make Jesus the Lord of your life too?
If so, you can pray this prayer - Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins and rising again. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you into my life and heart as my Lord and Savior. Please help me grow in you and live for you. Thank you for coming into my heart.
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