When I was very young, before going to school, I had a pretty normal home life. I went to church with my great grandma and sometimes with friends. I was introduced to church at an early age, and I actually gave my heart to God, was saved a couple of times. I did not understand the concept of the whole thing. I just knew that church was a fun place and that God made me happy. I did not understand the part about having a relationship with God.
I remember when I was very young having dreams of being lifted up to heaven, and God staring down at me with his arms opened wide welcoming me. It seemed so real and the memory of it was so vivid. I didn't want to wake up when I had these dreams because it seemed so real.
When I was 10 and in elementary school, a neighbor molested me. At the time, I didn't know what happened; I just knew it left me confused about my body. I felt dirty and not so innocent anymore. I didn't tell my parents or anyone. I didn't know what to say, and I felt like I couldn't talk about what happened. As I got older and started school, I was teased about my lazy eye. I was called cross eyed, four eyed... because of wearing glasses. I didn't think highly of myself., and I felt ugly, awkward and shy around people.
As I grew into my teen years, my self image got worse and I began to not respect myself or my body. I was the ugly duckling in my head, and not worthy of being accepted. I had always craved love and acceptance, and I felt a void in my heart. I wanted to be complete, loved and cherished. I hung with older kids and the wrong crowd. They weren't necessary bad people, they just didn't do good things sometimes. Because I didn't respect my body, I looked for love and acceptance the wrong way through sex, drugs, and alcohol. In my teen years, I dug myself into a deeper pit of depression and darkness. My life got worse when I was raped twice. Again, I didn't feel like I could say anything. I had put myself at the party, so I felt it was my fault in some way, and I felt I wasn't worthy of anything good.
Boys in general didn't see me as a person, just an object that could be used and thrown away. I felt invisible and very lost in this world. I wanted to be accepted so bad. I remember holding a baby picture of myself and just crying and loving on it because in a way I was trying to love on myself. I cried that God would just take me out of this world because I didn't want to feel the pain of this life anymore. I tried taking a bunch of Tylenol, I didn't want to die at the time, I wanted the pain to stop. No one really knew my thoughts because I kept them on inside.
It was later that I met my husband, Brian. Brian was older and I let him chased me for awhile. At the time I met my husband, he scared me. I didn't know how to accept someone who saw me as more than an object. He showered me with gifts and love letters and we eventually started dating and married after I graduated.
We had a good marriage, and started our family, having kids, after five years of marriage. We had two girls and a boy in the span of five years. Life was good. We didn't have any major problems other than typical fighting about money or jealousy things... But about 18 years into our marriage those feelings of not feeling worthy or cherished resurfaced. I wanted to feel loved more and cherished more but instead felt unappreciated and lost.
I tried to tell Brian that I needed more, but at the time I wasn't sure exactly what I needed. I prayed for God to somehow show my husband what I needed and to change his heart., but I felt as if God was not listening. As time went by, nothing happened and I began to drink more on the weekends. I wanted to forget about things, but drinking just added to the problems. Then one day, someone started texting me and showing me attention. Unfortunately, because I wanted to escape from the reality of my every day life and my past, I fed into the temptation. I felt like no-one understood me or cared. I know now those were all lies and that I made myself believe the lie. It was as if everything bad that happened to me finally emerged. I describe my life at this time similar to holding down a ball in water and when you let go, it pushes, emerges to the top with force. My horrible past had surfaced as I fell into complete darkness. I felt as if all my sin and past misery was drowning me with heavy chains, keeping me under the water.
Finally, I could not stand living a lie any longer and I told Brian what I had been doing. Brian was distraught and never imagined this ever happening. I too, never thought I would ever do such a bad thing. I felt numb, and I didn't know if he could forgive me. I had made him feel like I had felt all my life hurt and lost. I wanted to die. I had several times wanted to drive off the road when I was driving and just end it all. I had sat in my garage and left my van run for a little, but then I couldn't go through with it. I couldn't bare the thought of my children thinking any of this was there fault. I had turned my back on God and my family. I didn't feel like I should be alive or worthy of anything! How could God forgive me? I let him down and I turned from him in every way!
I screamed and asked why? I screamed for forgiveness and for him to help me feel again! It was the worst feeling in the world. I felt like I was in hell. At his time, Brian and I sought help from our church and family. They told us we needed to make God first in our lives, to seek a relationship with him. and that God would connect everything else. So that is what we did. We renewed our vows and had a family baptism. It was wonderful. But we had a long way to go. I knew God was good, but I didn't believe he could love me after all the wrong I had done. But he started to show me his love in steps. After hearing someone testify at church, he told me some day he wanted me to share my story, my life. At the time, I could never imagine sharing my story.
The more I sought him the more he healed me. One day, when I was home alone, I heard a commercial selling a book that would help you heal and change your life, so I ordered it. When the book arrived, I started reading and studying. Before I had reached the end of the book, something wonderful happened. I finally felt Gods love for the very first time in my life. The hardened shell that had formed around may heart melted away and I wept for awhile. It was amazing but I still didn't forgive myself for what I had done. I knew he loved me, but I was mad at myself for what I had done to him and to my family and others.
At this time in my life, I wanted to know why I had done those things so that I could change. I didn't know that God could change me. I tried to read the bible, but I thought is was more like a regular book, and it was difficult to understand. I had a journal, but I didn't want to use it wrong, so I was afraid to start. But as time went by, God began to help me, little by little, in different ways. God gave me verses to help me through and he began to show me a whole new world. He started to show me how to see life through his eyes.
Because I wanted to understand the Holy Spirit, I started to go to prophecy classes . At first I didn't know exactly how all that worked, but the Holy Spirit spoke to me in many ways. It was like I was this child all over again. He gave me joy and shared gifts of love. I asked him to send me where he needed me and to lead me and give me courage and strength. I also asked him to bring me encouragement through friends and to bring Godly connections into my life. He was faithful and he did this.
As God worked in my life, he also tested my obedience. This was hard, but I wanted to be obedient to him. Sometimes, I would argue and ask God if he was sure. I was afraid of messing my life up again. I wanted so bad to do a good job for him, and was afraid it wouldn't come out like I wanted. Many times, when I tried speaking in front of people, I felt like I failed him because I let my nerves overpower everything.
God is still giving me tests, but I am trusting him when I feel anxious. God is so good, and He reassures me he's got my back. At my last Bible Class, I felt there was a small chain around my heart. I felt I had let him down and that I had to be stronger before I could share my story with others. But God reassured me that I am his masterpiece and that all my imperfections are his greatest work as He spoke these words to me, " For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you...." That is the very first verse he gave to me at the beginning of our beautiful relationship. Today, God is my redeemer and by his grace I have been set free! No turning back! He has welcomed this lost sheep back into his loving arms and welcomed me home with glorious joy! Thank you Lord!
Your precious daughter,