My mom was really not supposed to have a child – she has a lifelong heart condition which makes it difficult for her to breathe and it makes her lightheaded. My parents both wanted a child, so they prayed together and agreed to trust God for a baby; and God gave my mom strength through her pregnancy and also during delivery, as she was able to have me through natural child birth.
As far as I can remember, prayer was a big part of our family life. My mom’s health tested our faith often. There was a time that we all thought she would pass away, but my mom asked God to please heal her so that she could raise me. Some days she would lie in bed and I would play “barbies” in the bed where she was. God answered her prayer then and time and time again.
When I was about 6 years old, my mom became so sick! Somehow, I knew the phone number to my dad’s workplace and somehow his work was able to understand who I was and to get my dad on the phone so he could come back home to help her. I do believe that seeing my mom sick created a deep form of empathy in my heart. Those feelings made me want to always please her and my dad because I didn’t want her to be sick.
While my mom’s health was something difficult for all of us, my dad had a very stable job making countertops and through his work he blessed me and my mom through years and years of continuous employment. My mom stayed at home with me. She did the bookkeeping for my dad’s side business and supported my dad through prayer and daily love.
The way my parents lived out their Christian faith was and is very authentic. My mom says I was about 3 years old when I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. My parents explained the Gospel to me and I believed to receive Christ as my Saviour. When I was in grade 5, my parents started sending me to a private Christian school. At that school, what I learned from home was reinforced with teaching that we are saved by grace through faith and not by works; through my teachers, I was provided with a strong biblical foundation of what a relationship with Jesus was all about.
Life was good. My parents loved me with all their hearts. We enjoyed so many good memories together and I always looked forward to when we went on family vacations. My childhood was overall quite peaceful, and I thank God for that.
By grade 8, my mother was well enough to homeschool me. My mom and I really became close during those two years. I was a reserved teenager and outside of family, I didn’t have that many friends. During my teen years, I didn’t know where I fit in. By grade 11, I decided to attend the local public High School. I had a few friends and my cousin was my bestie. I also attended a youth group called “Come To The Cross” on a monthly basis; it was such a great place to attend and I thank God for those wonderful times.
I was attending church on a regular basis and in the fall of 1996, I met a man there who I soon became friends with and started to hang out with him on a regular basis.
By December of 1996 we were dating. I began to compromise my standards. I was always one who wanted to keep myself sexually pure till marriage, but that desire and thought were put to the test through this relationship. There were what I would call "red flags" - honestly, it was the Holy Spirit showing me I was not walking right. I remember going to a party that my boyfriend had at that time. It was the first time I would taste alcohol and hang around people who would swear using the "F" word, amongst other profane words. I was not used to this type of life, but instead of having the boundaries in place and courage to leave, I stayed. My heart convicted me of the secret life I was leading with my boyfriend and I told him one day that I no longer wanted to have a sexual relationship with him, that it was not right. So, for a short time, we did not have sex; but those standards were not kept for long.
In May 1997, I found out that I was pregnant. When at the doctor’s office, I remember the first thing the doctor asked me after confirming my pregnancy - "do you want to keep it?" “Of course!”, I thought. I was actually happy and very thankful to be having a baby. When my boyfriend found out I was pregnant, he suggested we get married. It was difficult to tell my parents I was pregnant, but I thank God they were supportive and loving. Then, we planned our wedding.
Our pastor said that he wanted to counsel us if he was to marry us. We agreed, but then he found out we were going to have a baby. At this point, he reminded us what the Bible said about sexual purity before marriage and asked us why we had not done something about this sooner. Then he encouraged us to keep ourselves from sexual relations until after we married. I was so willing and I needed forgiveness and longed to be free from guilt. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for my to-be husband. Anyway, on September 6,1997, we were married.
When I look back now, I realize how manipulated I was back then. There were so many things that my ex-husband was not honest about and to this day, I don't really know the truth about everything. Within the first year of our marriage I found out some information about something that had happened that completely devastated me. I confronted him, but he would not confess completely. I stayed with him, but I was not happy. I believe that I became bitter.
Just after having our son in 2002, I met someone who would tell me the things I wanted to hear about myself. I felt wanted, so again began a secret life that turned my heart from God. I turned to other male friends to fulfill my emptiness and help me cope with the mess of the emotionally abusive marriage I was in. I would drink when I could, believing that it was ok as long as I didn't get drunk - but I knew why I was doing it - it was to fill my void, to help me feel accepted. So, my life continued to go downward till one day in January 2006, I looked out the window of our bedroom and cried out to God, "I can't do this anymore, help me!" I wanted out of this emotionally abusive marriage, but didn’t know what to do.
God heard my prayer. Within a few days I found out why I felt so uneasy about my ex, why he was so nitpicky - I will not state the exact event in order to protect individuals, but the day the truth was revealed to me, I called my cousin for support and called the police to report my ex. That night our lives began to change.
My kids and I went to stay with my cousin and I obtained an emergency protection order against my ex. Although my ex tried contacting me again, I never went back to him. I believe that I had already detached myself from him emotionally; I didn't even want that relationship anymore. I believe that what satan meant for evil, God used for good to bring me back to His plan and to free me and my children.
Leaving him was one step in the right direction. While I had called out to God for His help, I hadn’t given Him my whole heart; I didn’t turn completely back to Jesus. I was still living for my own pleasure, but soon became guilt ridden and tired of it.
In the summer of 2006, in an old broken-down house, in the worst part of the city, I was reading a devotional that my mom gave me. I heard God touch my heart with these words: “Seek Me!” I re-dedicated my life to Christ. That was the day that my life started to dramatically change. I would never drink alcohol again and God freed me from the hold that sin had on my life. God immediately told me to change the radio station from the secular one that I had been listening to, to the Christian one. Since music had a huge part in my life, satan had used it to lure me into sinful thoughts and acts; but when I changed the station, I began hearing the truth of God’s word daily and God used it to set me free.
Soon, God blessed my children and I with a place to live only minutes from the church we attended. I was divorced in October 2007 and gained sole custody of my children.
In 2008, God placed the desire in me to attend World Evangelism Bible College in Baton Rouge, LA in the United States. So, a whole new adventure and life began for us! Our hearts would be healed from our past and we would be grounded deeper in the Word of God.
I thank God for the heartbreaks and I thank Him for His redemption! He bought me back from satan's grip. I was a slave to sin and Jesus took me back and washed me clean. I am a child of God!
God has been teaching me so much nowadays. In the past year, He has shown me a side of myself I never knew, one that has kept me bound to the need for approval from others. As He’s been revealing this to me, He is working to free me from these “chains” and this is the best year I’ve experienced thus far in this new-found freedom. One thing for sure: The joy of the LORD has never left me. His Holy Spirit never left me! The LORD is so good. You can trust Him with your life!
Dear Reader, if you are in a dark place, God will meet you wherever you are. He’s not afraid of the dark, but He overcomes the darkness. No matter what, know that He loves you. He accepts you as you are and when you choose to give your life over into His control, He will heal you and give you a peace that will live deep inside of you. He will never leave you, and He will never abandon you. When Jesus Christ drew His last breath on the cross and said, “It is finished!” – your sin debt was paid and satan and all powers of hell were defeated! It is done! Believing in that will break bondages and chains in your life and give you a freedom to live for Jesus!
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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