I can remember waking up one day and realizing that my life was completely off course and I needed Christ to completely take every aspect of my existence into His loving and protective hands. There’s not a day that goes by in my life since I was about 10 years old that I do not remember completely believing that there was a God and that His son Jesus died on the cross for me. But I can truthfully say that I never truly understood the sacrifice that was made, the grace that was poured out until this moment of realization two years ago.
I’ve never kept quiet about the past that Brian and I came from. The idea of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ had no effect on either of our lives. Brian was agnostic/atheist, depended on the day, and I truly believed in God but bore no fruit or understanding of true faithful salvation. We lived our lives the way we wanted and just hoped we “were doing a good job”. Comparing ourselves against the world, we seemed to have things somewhat under control. But, comparing ourselves to this sinful world, wouldn’t we always come up in some manner of “okay”?
My life started unraveling at the young age of 9. I look back now and wonder, how could I not see Him standing right there beside me? How could I not feel His presence and why did I not call out to Him? How could I have thought at such a young age that I could handle this world? The abuse started and my world completely became a spiraling out of control roller coaster. There were years that I was able to hide my pain, years that I was able to “put on a happy face”. But, inside, something was dying, something was taking over me and I became like a void of space.
My family wore kid gloves with me, always tip toeing around what happened to me. Why wouldn’t they? It wasn’t common that you hear that a family member was abused, who really knew what to say? But, the kid gloves enabled me to continue in this spiral downward spiral and I never really understood what happened to me and I blamed myself every day. My high school years were just as tomultous because I lived a silent war zone at home with a domineering and controlling step father, and my way of escape was to throw myself into a “first love” take over your life kind of relationship. My life continued unraveling all the way through my college years. I engaged in everything I could to try and erase my past. I wanted to forget the hurt of my childhood abuse, numb the pain of a “mental breakdown” which had me hospitalized for 2 days. I wanted to do everything I could to forget everything that the last 10 years of my life consisted of. I never once turned to God and said, “Please take this life from me”. I thought I could handle it on my own. In doing so, I subjected myself to a situation that led to more hurt, date rape, and thus led me further from Christ. I engaged in everything from drugs, to sexual immorality, lies and destruction. I couldn’t understand why he “allowed” these things to keep happening to me. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t “saving me”. But the truth was, He was saving me the whole time, I was just to fleshly to accept His saving grace.
I hurt so many people along my path, pushed too many friends out of my life with my destructive life style. I just couldn’t seem to be a “normal” person. I loathed myself and in some way I think I wanted to push people away because I didn’t want anyone to see how lonely and depressed I would get any given day. It wasn’t until I met my blessing of a husband did I finally allow God to take control of my life and lead me in an upright fashion.
I met Brian in college, he was in his last year, I had dropped out 2nd semester of my junior year. His life was equally just as much of a mess and he tried to hide it just as I did. We tried to hide together, which brought us closer to one another because we tried to comfort one another. I told him about my sordid, immoral past and he didn’t run for the hills. He told me about his “perfect life” or at least the perfect life that he tried to live for his parents and then revealed how truly miserable he was in every aspect of his life.
We fell in love so quickly, and it was almost intoxicating in a way. I knew almost immediately that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. We were engaged after 6 months, pregnant after 1 year and married at 1 ½ years. It all happened very quickly. We wanted nothing more than to start our family together and we didn’t want to wait and do things the traditional way. We were told that we would have serious problems conceiving children because of various health problems I had incurred, and we just couldn’t live with this reality. We did what Sarah did with Abraham and Hagar—we took our lives into our own hands and tried walking by ourselves. We soon learned that God is the ONLY one in control of our life and He is the only one capable of leading us in an upright manner.
We had no problem conceiving and now we were pregnant out of marriage, 6 months away from our wedding date. We still saw nothing wrong with our life. We saw only that we were in love and wanted to start our family, our way, and never looked at our sinful existence. It wasn’t until we had everything stable that we had worked towards shattered. Brian lost his job at a prestigious Civil Engineering firm and everything changed for us.
After Brian lost his stable, well-paying job, we struggled so immensely there were times when I wasn’t sure how we would survive. There were times when I felt lost again, in need of something. I still wouldn’t call out to God. I still believed that I could handle my life on my own and needed no help from the God that I believed had let me down through my whole life.
But, I always loved Brian with my whole heart and never questioned that we would somehow find a way. We started going to church because something inside of us said that we would find comfort there. I felt void of something but didn’t know what I was missing.
After attending church for a few weeks our lives drastically began changing. The Bible became something more than just a book you read at church and was lifted to a love story written from God to believers. Our church opened up their arms and their hearts to us and wrapped us in a fortress of believers.
I began writing and talking to the Lord on a more personal level. I began speaking with Him through my day, having conversations with Him as if He were standing in front of me. It wasn’t long before our entire lives revolved trying to worship the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord changed my life in ways that at times I have a hard time expressing. He has always blessed me with the ability to write well and I found so much solace in the beginning writing and working my feelings out. I realized quickly that this was a gift that He had bestowed on me and that yearning quickly became a passion. There isn’t a day that goes by now that I do not long to sit and write the words that He has given me, to tell the world of all that He brought me from. My desire in life is not longer to live “the American dream”. I do not worry about owning the perfect home, making my career outside of our home, buying new plasma tv’s or the newest “cool gadget”. My longing each moment is for Christ to shine out of my life and be a light in this very dark and dreary world. I yearn to place my lamp on a lampstand and shout to the world that the power of Jesus Christ and the redeeming love of that cross saved me from a life full of sin and pain.
Every moment for almost three years Brian and I have dedicated to walking with Christ, bearing good fruit, and loving Jesus with our whole hearts.
I fall down, often and I fall hard sometimes. But when I get up I get up only because of His grace and His mercy and I am so thankful for it.
There’s a lot that I would have done differently in my life had I truly known Christ, but I didn’t truly know Him even though I thought I did. I thought for so many years that since I had accepted His death on the cross that anything I did could be forgiven and I could just live my life however I wanted. I soon realized that this was not true salvation and I rededicated my life to Christ and I can only hope to allow Him to mold me into the image of His son. The love that was poured out on that cross is the most powerful and all-consuming love there is. Without that love and mercy we would never have had the chance to enter the kingdom of the risen King.
Thank you Father God for the love that you freely give me and for the mercy that you so richly give to each and every sinner in this fallen world. You are my Lord and I long to bring glory to your kingdom, never allowing this world to make me feel embarrassed of the tumultuous life I came from because it brought me to my knees, and I will stay there in complete awe of you until I gaze upon thee face one day.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28