My mom re-married my step-dad when I was 4-years old and he became my dad and even adopted me legally. However, even though we were in church regularly, my dad had a different side to him. He had sexual addictions. He cheated on my mom several times and even molested me. My mom and dad ended up divorcing when I was 21-years old. After they were divorced, I didn’t have to pretend anymore that everything was OK between my dad and me. When I finally spoke up about what had been happening for years, it caused a division within my whole family. I didn’t speak to my dad for years because I hated him.
I grew up in a Seventh-day Adventist church. I only knew God as a dictator and as a God whose love had to be earned. I basically believed what I was told to believe and tried to be a “good” girl and keep all the rules. If I did then I would go to Heaven. I married my high school sweetheart and first boyfriend when I was only 20-years old, mainly to get out of the house and out from under my parents. Sadly, that marriage was short-lived and we divorced only 3 years later.
At that point, I was in my early 20’s and on my own for the first time. I ran wild. I partied every weekend, got involved with the wrong crowd drinking, experimenting with drugs, and giving myself away to men. I found myself seeking comfort and acceptance in men due to feeling unloved and unwanted by my father and my dad. I craved love so desperately. In order for a man to love me or want me, I thought I needed to give him what he wanted, even if that meant losing myself. During this time period, I also lost my brother to suicide and my sister was admitted to a psychiatric ward….this time period was very dark for me.
I met my second husband a few years later and we were married within 6 months. He was a pastor’s kid and seemed like a good way to “clean” up my life. I was tired of the party lifestyle and wanted to settle down, so I got caught up in a whirlwind romance. In the first years of our marriage, he challenged my SDA beliefs. He told me to read the Bible, by itself, and then tell him if I still believed what the SDA’s believed. I took him up on the challenge and over the course of a year I diligently studied, prayed, and shed many tears. I realized that most everything I was raised to believe didn’t line up with the Bible. I was devastated. The Lord took the veil that had been on my eyes and I saw Scripture like I’d never seen it before. I made the decision to leave the SDA church and wanted to be baptized again in my new found faith, so my father-in-law baptized me in his Church of God church in 2000. When I told my family and friends that I wasn’t SDA anymore, they basically told me I was lost forever and going to hell because I’d left the “real” truth. I was treated like the black sheep of the family. To this day, my relationship with my SDA family and friends is scarred. I am still consistently pursued to “come back” to the one and only true church. NONE of my family or friends supported me.
During our marriage, though, my husband was a roller coaster type of spiritual leader in our home who also dealt with sexual addictions as well as a quick temper. Because of our whirlwind courtship, I didn’t know or see these things until after we were married. Unfortunately, we slowly began to quit going to church, quit reading the Bible, quit praying, and before I knew it, I ended up in an extra-marital affair. Something I swore I’d never do. This affair ended my marriage.
I am currently married to the man with whom I had an affair and we have a 6-year old daughter. Three years after our affair, I started going back to church. Conviction seized my heart and I found myself on my knees crying out to God for forgiveness of my sins. I vowed to live the rest of my life for Him no matter what it cost. That was 8 years ago. Over time, Jesus has healed my scars, filled the void in my heart with His love, put forgiveness in my heart, and instilled a peace I can’t even explain.
My husband and I wanted a baby 2 years into our marriage, but I couldn’t get pregnant. We tried for over a year. I began to think that it was because of my sinful choices and I convinced myself that I didn’t deserve to have a baby. During this time, God placed a strong, faith-filled Christian lady in my office to work beside me. I call her Mama Pat. One day, we were talking about my inability to get pregnant and I confessed to her that I didn’t deserve one because of my terrible life choices and I felt that that was just part of my “punishment”. She looked at me and asked me point blank if I’d specifically asked God for a baby. I told her I hadn’t. She simply said, “You have not because you ask not.” So, that night I went home and specifically prayed for a baby and promised I would dedicate her/him to the Lord and raise them to know Him wholeheartedly. The very next month, I was pregnant. Talk about rejoicing!
My husband isn’t saved nor has any interest in God or church. However, I diligently and constantly pray for his salvation. I know I am currently living in the consequences of my sinful choices, but God has given me peace about it now. I know and trust that He can turn our ashes into beauty.
For a long time, my past embarrassed me and I wouldn’t talk about it. I was scared of judgment and betrayal from friends. A few years ago, God gave me the courage to share my story with a close friend and she still showed me grace and love. I was shocked!
Not long ago, God revealed to me that I was like the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35 in regards to my father and dad. I hadn’t really forgiven them for the pain and hurt they caused me growing up. God had forgiven me of undeniably huge sins, so why wasn’t I forgiving them for what they did to me? I was so humbled and remorseful that in an instant, Jesus gave me the strength to forgive them. God instantly healed that pain and my relationship with both of them has never been better. Both of them are completely different men than what I knew as a child…God has broken their shackles too!
I know what I’m like far from God and what I’m like close to God. I don’t like who I am far from Him. So, I crave/want to be in His word and draw close to Him every day. He has shown me and continues to show me unconditional love…something I’ve never experienced before. I want to share this love with others and be a witness of His grace, mercy, and never ending love and pursuit for us. He has shown me that He only wants a relationship with me and there’s nothing I can do to earn His love…He gives it to me freely. He has freed me from the shame and guilt of my sins!
I was the woman at the well. I was Mary Magdalene. I was the prodigal daughter. But, NOT anymore! God has washed me white as snow and my identity is in Him now. To God be ALL the glory!
My life verses:
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Stay humble & BOLD!
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105
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