My story starts as a young pre-teen. I grew up in a home with circumstances I didn’t understand. There were addictions to gambling and drugs, unfaithfulness and crime. Often times I was put into the middle of it, having to lie to one parent for the other, having to help prepare drugs to sell, having to keep the secrets of all the schemes everyone around me had going on. Growing up in the midst of all this, I was searching for some hope and comfort. I knew about Jesus and for a short time went to church. But I couldn’t understand how to live for Him in the middle of all that was going on. I couldn’t understand why my life was turning out like it was. Why did I have to carry the burden of secrets, why was my family asking me to lie, why did I feel like things were so crazy? So, instead of turning to God, I turned away. I turned to other things like drugs, alcohol, and men. I found myself by the age of 13 drinking every chance I got, smoking pot everyday, taking any pills that came my way, and being around men I had no business with. I tried to numb the pain and confusion with other things to pass my time. Then, in my drug induced life, I began to think that this lifestyle of crime and drugs, men and secrets was good. I went from confused and hurt about it to wanting my own part in it, so that’s exactly what I got. More secrets, more drugs, more men, more crime that I was doing my own self. By the age of 15 I’d been sent off once and on probation twice, kicked out of high school and put in alternative school, and I didn’t regret any of it. That’s where I’d gotten in my life, no regrets, no feelings. Because if I allowed myself to feel, I was going to feel pain and hurt, regret and shame, guilt and sorrow. So I didn’t. And until I was 20 years, I stayed on drugs, selling drugs, and numbing what I didn’t want to feel. At 20, I was in college, knowing I wanted something different for my life and I thought a job like teaching could give me that. So I quit doing drugs. After so many years, I was worn out from the same old running around and scene. I was beginning to want a different life, so I was trying this career path to get it. But the drugs I quit weren’t the only problem I had. One problem was gone but others remained. I’d grown to love crime and go a thrill from being a part of it and I still had a hang up with men and wanting attention. so, I found myself chasing my desires for that with someone in federal prison and got into another scheme with him. I was taking contraband to a guard to take in and getting paid to do it. I rode that thrill until we got caught. In between the time I was awaiting my trial and punishment, I graduated college to be a teacher, and 4 days after that found out I was pregnant. It took 2 years from that time before trial and punishment would come. I’d left the crime alone during those two years, but one thing remained, the men. I’d fallen out with my sons father, I spent my pregnancy and the rest of that time with another man resenting the one who I’d had a child with. Then, I had gotten pregnant again. A second child with a second man, awaiting trial, facing going to federal prison. I escaped serious punishment or prison, only getting probation once again in my life. Then, I woke up one morning and lost that baby I was carrying. I was sad. I allowed myself to feel for the first time in a long time. I only had joy in the child I had. Everything else was chaos. I wanted that second one, even though the circumstances were great for me, I thought that would get me more joy and happiness. I was heartbroken. It was in that moment of heartbreak I found myself so desperate for a new life. Mine had been a life of bad circumstances, bad direction, and bad choices. I’d had a life of pain and hurt, shame an regret. So I listened to the voice of God calling out to me. I went to church that Sunday. They were talking about a mission trip to Africa some guys had been on and showed a crooked dirt road they’d traveled to get there. In my seat that day I cried out to the Lord and said Lord I’m not even on that crooked road, I’m lost in the woods beside it, Lord lead me even to that crooked dirty road! And little did I know what the Lord had in store for me.
I never looked back to my old life from that day on. And the Lord has led me to a forgiveness of myself and my family that I needed so bad but couldn’t attain on my own. He led me to being free from my guilt and shame of the decisions I made because Christ’s blood on the cross shed for me makes me holy in His sight. He led me to a restoration with my son’s dad, to me witnessing to him, and eventually a marriage with him. He healed me of the hurt from my miscarriage and pain from dreams not fulfilled. He made me new! He changed my thoughts, my attitudes, my actions, and my idea of who I am. He works on me everyday. I’m not perfect, but I’m following Him everyday and day by day I’m being conformed to His image. He’s led me to this 4Her Ministry so that I can encourage other women that they too can overcome through their faith in Jesus and the word of their testimony too. He’s with me. His Word and Spirit guide me. I don’ have to be controlled by what once dictated my days. I hope you are encouraged by this in whatever way God speaks to you. But I also want to leave you with some points I hope you take from this. First, be aware that we have a real enemy who wants to take your life, your kids life, your parents life, everyone around you. He doesn’t care the age. He wants to devour all that he can. Do what you can do to protect yourself and those around you from Satan. Pray for others, loving show them a better way, believe in Jesus our Savior and overcome by that faith and your testimony. For all too long, I believed Satan’s lies and followed his schemes. Don’t fall into that same trap. Lastly I hope this encourages someone today that you are good enough, you are no your past, you are not alone in bad decisions you’ve made, and God still has a good plan for you. Turn to Him and never turn back. He will take you farther than you ever dreamed you could go, into a freedom that is only found in Him.
May you be blessed and encouraged.
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