My Journey Thus Far…

I called this section “My Journey Thus Far”. I was going to call it My Testimony but it didn’t seemed to fit. Maybe it’s because I’ve always felt like “my testimony” was always evolving. We usually classify a testimony as life up to salvation and then how God changed our life immediately after; and that’s completely accurate. However, our lives are also full of never-ending testimonies. I guess because I struggled so much in the beginning of my walk with God and backslid several times My testimony went far beyond, “and then I prayed at the altar.”
I wasn’t a very good new convert. I fell in sin constantly and when I was doing well, I was arrogant. I thought I was zealous but I really just had no wisdom and definitely no people skills! Thank God for His patience and forgiveness. It was His CONSTANT forgiveness that gave me the heart to show people His love and hope through my life. If He could forgive a sinner such as I, surely He could forgive anyone.
Now unto the journey… my childhood was wonderful. I’d even call it ideal. I didn’t know much about my biological father but I had a loving mother and a stepfather who treated me as his own. Then, divorce occurred and most of you know what that does to a child. I soon realized that my mother had become heavily addicted to crack cocaine. This is when my life changed drastically. I was a very confused 9 year old. I soon became to familiar with the life of drugs/addicts, broken promises, and living with any family member that would have me while my mother tried to “sort her life out”. Needless to say, I grew up feeling very rejected. Also, my stepfather, who was my hero and faultless in my eyes drifted apart from me.
By 12, I started smoking marijuana; by 14, I was smoking cigarettes, drinking, snorting cocaine, taking ecstacy and any pills I could get my hands on. I had overdosed once and was burning my arms and legs with cigarettes because somehow that made me feel better. I know I was screaming out from the inside for someone to notice me or someone to care. I wished I wasn’t so chicken to commit suicide and I thought of it often. I was also promiscuous, but now I know that I was looking for love and validation the only way I knew how. I hated all authority and blamed God for where I was in life. I stole constantly, even from those trying to help me or those that trusted me. I had no respect for myself or anyone else. At 14 I was hurt by someone I trusted, in a way no female should ever be hurt. Needless to say, when I walked into church I was a severely scarred, bitter and untrusting teenager.
I remember the first time I stepped into The Door Christian Fellowship like it was yesterday…I remember where I sat, what I was wearing, who prayed with me and the sermon my Pastor had preached. It was on a Father’s Day in 1997 and of course, I didn’t want to go but my mother had gotten saved and the change in her life was undeniable. I had just moved back in with her and before that I had hated her and swore I’d never live with her again. We had been getting high together and that increased my hatred toward her, pretty hypocritical of me. Months later and now and she’s saved and going to The Door in McAllen, TX. The pastor was preaching about a fatherless generation and how God wants to be our Father. He said God could fill the void in the lives of the fatherless. I hadn’t thought much of my real father, I was to busy living it up and getting high. I felt so uncomfortable and convicted, and then surprisingly began to weep. It’s interesting what the presence of God will expose in our hearts. I felt like his words were just for me. I felt guilty, exposed and dirty. Then at the end of the service I was given an opportunity to repent, to receive hope and forgiveness. I’d never felt something so convicting and loving at the same time. When I got up from the altar after praying and repenting I felt so…CLEAN! It’s probably a strange word to choose but that’s how I felt. I felt clean and pure and with that; hope and love. It was a feeling that kept me coming back service after service. I couldn’t and still can’t get enough. God’s love will never fail to amaze me.
Life was still difficult after that, but I didn’t want to die anymore. I didn’t blame anymore. Even at 17, I took responsibility for where I was in life and God helped me rebuild from there.
One of the things I love to tell people about that time in my life is that my circumstances were the same but I wasn’t. In time, with God’s help the rest was sorted out. People often give up to soon when things don’t change quick enough but, my goodness, how long does it take to put ourselves in our mess!? It takes time people, stay saved!
Immediately, God set me free from drugs and smoking but I had a lot of mental battles to conquer. Those took time to overcome. God gave me purpose and with that the strength to forgive and most importantly, the ability to love. Like I said earlier, I fell constantly back then. I definitely had to learn how to forgive myself and try again. I did that with the help of people in church. They never gave up on me and saw who I could be instead of who I was. The second best decision I ever made, after getting saved, was marrying my husband. He’s a godly man whose always cared more about my reputation and testimony than I ever did. Through his relationship with God he had the strength to forgive me and love me even when I was at my most unlovable. Sadly, I came with a lot of baggage but God’s design for marriage works and we’ve overcome so much! We’ve been married 18 years now and we’re not “coexisting”, we love each other more than ever. Praise God!!!
At one time, I was even terrified of becoming a mother. It really was a battle for me. I felt so unequipped for the job. I had to look to the word of God and godly women in my life for counsel and direction. Now it’s such a joy to see my kids thrive in a stable environment and to see them develop their own relationships with God. Being a mother might not seem like much of a testimony, but I give God all the glory because it’s only by His grace that he’s changed me so I can be the mother my kids deserve.
It’s amazing what God’s done in my life. I definitely don’t deserve it but that’s how God works. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love Him because He first loved us.” Once I truly understood Gods loving nature and didn’t see Him as the “angry old guy in the sky” anymore, I hung onto Him in the hard times and the good. My journey was a dirty one but with a joyous ending! When I talk about the person I was it’s like talking about someone else, I can’t believe that was me. I haven’t been rehabilitated. I’ve been born again. I’ve been given a new heart and a new chance and God can and wants to do that for everyone.
Now we’re pioneering a church in Brazil because God’s gracious; He is our unfailing anchor. Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed my journey thus far…

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