When Christina approached me with the subject of writing out my testimony, a million things began to flood my brain. I have had my fair share of hard times, some self inflicted and some not. I have always known God to be real and to be involved, not that I always cared about it.
I was born in December of 1977 into a typical suburban home. I had my mom and dad and big brother and even the dogs too. Until January 1981, at a tender age of 4, my world was shattered when my father passed away in a car accident with another woman. A little over a year later, my mom remarried and my typical suburban life carried on. Except that it was really a hell for me that my parents knew nothing on how to resolve the depths of my pain and heartache. I had so much anger and resentments. I resented that I lost my dad. I resented that I had a jerk for a step-dad. I resented that I was stuck on this hell hole called earth. I resented that everyone else seemed to have dads. I resented that I hadn't been wanted by my dad because he was with another woman. I resented that that other woman got his attention.
Fast forward to my teen years in the 1990's. I was a punk rock girl filled with piss and vinegar. I had venom ready at any second to spew out of my mouth. My hurt and anger had never met Jesus, though I knew that He was real and that he loved me. But what the heck did that really mean anyway? Love was some sick tainted vulnerability that I was gun-shy of or completely avoided. I dated guys that didn't know Jesus and I thought I could fix them. I thought if I could "love" them enough that they would be okay too. What did I know of love or being okay? I was a wreck though I didn't know it. I never used drugs or became a drinker. I wasn't promiscuous. I wasn't like my friends, so that made me okay. I went to church. I believed in Jesus. I loved Jesus and God and I would defend them to the inth degree if someone tried to insult the Holy Trinity. But my heart was broken and wrecked and seemingly beyond repair.
So I preceded to marry a beautiful punk rock boy that would take me on a journey validating every single bit of what I already knew…men could not be trusted!! We married after a year long fun, romantic, full of excitement and chaos relationship. I was a tender 21 years old but thought I had a world of experience. He was in jail on a regular basis for alcohol related charges and I was so sickly co-dependent that I tried to "love" him clean and sober. If only I could love him enough too, he and I would be okay. I was so broken and so hurt that I thought love looked like self worship and co-dependency. I thought that love was a "ride or die" mentality that no matter what came, you stick it out. But humans are fallible and broken humans are viciously dangerous at times. My then husband was broken beyond repair and as I grew life inside me, he almost took mine. I was pregnant, beaten, scared, embarrassed. BROKEN. My father dies on me, my step-dad was emotionally void, my husband beat me up…men were the enemy of my heart. I had begun to go back to church during this time and I would just weep. So much sin in my life needed to be rinsed out throughout the cleansing of tears.
I tried to work the marriage out for 2 years but he was never going to get help. I prayed, "God, I will stay married to him for the next 40 years of my life if that is what you want me to do because I made a covenant before you, but if you can find it in your mercy, please deliver me from this marriage." In February 2003, God granted me deliverance from the marriage. I was at peace with my son and living a peaceful life together.
God then had the hilarious sense of humor to call me into a marriage with a fellow wreck named Jay Jordan. We had both grown up in the same punk scene. He hated me because I was a Christian. I was stunned when I found out he had become a believer. We started a ministry together called RIOT that was geared toward punks, skaters, hardcore kids and drug addicts and prostitutes. During this journey, God showed up like I had never seen. God had begun to heal my heart and reveal himself to me. He began to show me his goodness and kindness and righteousness. I was beginning to fall in love with God in a new way that was changing everything in my life. God changed my singleness to married, my single child to siblings and my broken heart into a healing heart.
I thought that I was getting the message. My life was thriving and prophecy was being fulfilled and all these awesome things were happening. I was certainly not still broken…right?!?! But my marriage was in bad shape, I pretty much hated my husband and I was ready to walk away. But when God puts something together, may no man separate it. June of 2014, Jay and I celebrated 10 years and I had just birthed our 5th child (4 Jordans). Jay began to pray every night for his broken little girl that was his wife. He prayed that God would restore our family and that my heart would be healed. In October of 2014, Jay and I went to a conference in Scottsboro at this awesome church and God told me that if I left Jay that I would always long for him. God then gave me a sense of what it would feel like. It was a terrible feeling in the depths of my heart.
In December of 2014, after 10 1/2 years of marriage, Jay passed away suddenly. Wrecked. Broken.
For months I couldn't form a full sentence or a complete thought. Again I had been thrown into the Valley of Shadow of Death for the second time in my life. This time though, I had God so intimately close with me that I never felt alone. In June 2015, God began to help heal my heart from my dad's death. WHAT?? Nearly 34 years later and NOW He wants to heal this??? But I began to understand that my dad's affair had NOTHING to do with my position as his daughter. I was loved as a daughter regardless of his poor choices. A few months later, I was struggling with grief and life and I prayed to God and Grace fell on my like I had never felt it in my life. Grace was a dense presence on me. Through that grace, I realized that it wasn't about me against my dad or my dad against my mom or me against my mom. It was a broken family and God was beginning to put all the pieces back in order for me. He was taking me back to the place, that ugly Valley, that I had met at such a young age and began to clear the way by cleaning up the old weeds and thistles and replacing it with grace and love and forgiveness. God healed my heart, for the first time in all my life, fully. My value and identity is solely in God's goodness and love as my father. He has restored in me that men are not my heart enemy but that Satan is my heart enemy. I will never let lies of brokenness and co-dependency and mistrust steal the joy of love and forgiveness.
So today, I rest in the love of my God. I rest that NOTHING can separate me from His love and that I can do nothing to win it or earn it because it is freely given and I will freely love others in Christ.
Thank you for stopping by to read this week's Share Your Walk Wednesdays with Stephanie's story. We are rolling up our sleeves over here at humble & bold to openly share the real difficult paths of our individual walks and Who met and rescued us along the way. Check out more of Stephanie's story in her book, A Dose Of Reality on Amazon or Tate Publishing. Contact Stephanie if you would like for her to speak or teach at your church.
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7/17/2016 07:59:04 am
Steph, you are much loved, and much blessed...
7/20/2016 05:42:57 am
What a touching story of healing and forgiveness and a great reminder that He is a good, good Daddy. May you continue to be a funnel of God's grace and love to this hurting world. God bless you!
7/20/2016 11:20:07 am
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Stephanie. Reading your story shows God's great mercy and grace and healing power!
5/24/2017 08:55:54 am
Stephanie, thank you for sharing your testimony. Thank God for His mercy and His grace. I believe what the enemy meant for evil, God meant it for good. And I do believe that ALL things work together for good to those who love Him, those who are called for His purpose. You will be helping a lot of people to give them hope and know that God will never leave them nor forsake them. I pray that God will continue to strengthen you that no matter what the enemy tries to throw at you that no one can take your identity as a child of God, you are more than conqueror and more than overcomer. Nothing can separate you from the love of God. He loves you unconditionally.
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