I want to share some of the events from my life with you, so that you not only get to know me better but also to give you a glimpse of the true hope that only comes from God. His hand has been upon my life from the moment I was formed in my mother’s womb and will be until I take my dying breath.
I have struggled with a low self-esteem since I was a teenager. Society focuses upon outer beauty and reinforces that through media images. Unfortunately, I bought into those lies. Now, I know that God has created me in beauty and splendor to reflect His love to all through a beauty that shines from within me. It only took me thirty years to figure that out. Until I was able to see myself through God’s eyes, I allowed that negative self-image and the doubts that ensued to be the driving force behind some very poor decisions in my life that would lead to heartache and scars that run soul deep.
One night, while in college, my supervisor followed me to my home in the country and raped me. After filing charges with the State Police, I was placed into protective custody for several days because the investigation revealed threats this man made about killing me. I clearly remember falling to my knees and just sobbing. No words could express the anguish my soul felt. Yet, God heard those utterances and I felt His arms wrap around me and hold me while I poured my heart out to Him through my sobs.
My husband and I met at a Christian conference. After only dating for a few weeks, he proposed and I accepted. My husband had been married before. The Holy Spirit began to nudge me. As a social worker, I became concerned by some of my husband’s responses as I felt they were inappropriate. As a wife, I didn’t want to think the worst of the person I loved. Unfortunately, my nightmare became reality when I learned that the man I loved had served three years in prison on felony charges for hurting his own children. My heart shattered into a million pieces that day. It wasn’t until three years later, that I finally filed for divorce. Even though my husband was living with another woman, it was not an easy decision to make. I took my marriage vows seriously. I grieved the loss of my marriage and the hopes and dreams I had for my family that day. Now, after several years of being removed from that situation, I can clearly see how unhealthy it was. There were signs of mental and verbal abuse to both myself and my son that I couldn’t see clearly while in the marriage. God made beauty from the ashes of my marriage by giving me a precious son with an amazing faith and compassionate heart. I may have made some poor choices but had been faithful to God and He blessed me.
For seven years, I taught CPR and First Aid for the American Red Cross. I felt that the instructions I gave on saving a human life mimicked the instructions I could give on saving a spiritual life. I may not know how or when those skills would be utilized, but I could be assured that even if one life was saved it had been worth the effort. Never would I have dreamed that I would need to use these very skills to help my son after an accident with a crock pot left him with second degree burns down his entire back and the backs of his legs when he was only three years old. I remember how the moment he fell asleep I broke into sobs. I honestly didn’t know why God would allow my innocent little baby boy to suffer such a horrific trauma. Yet again, I felt God’s arms encircle me. He whispered in my soul and told me to trust Him. Prayer began to be lifted on my son’s behalf and the God of mercy began to move. The doctors kept telling me that my son’s burns would get worse as the burn would continue to deepen inside his body. However, each time they examined him the percentage of his body affected by the burn decreased instead. Within three days, he was released to go home. Within a week, his skin had grown back so completely that the bandages wouldn’t even stay in place. The doctors were amazed at his rapid healing. God had been faithful. And, He had prepared my family to minister to friends and congregational members who would also endure such tragedies. To this day, my son tells all who will listen about how much God loves him and how God healed him. What an amazing testimony my little man is!
One of the plethora of illnesses I suffer from is a condition called fibromyalgia. This disease is often likened to the flu symptoms: body aches and decreased energy levels. The fibromyalgia has helped to slow me down so that I don’t go running off on my own without God anymore. Some days, when I don’t want to get out of bed, I have to trust that God will get me through this day and He does. So, I am actually thankful for the changes that the fibromyalgia has brought about in my life. I am now more reliant on God and His strength to see me through my days rather than relying on merely myself.
The one consistent thing in my life’s journey has been God. Even when I was in the midst of the most horrendous storms in life, I could feel His loving embrace. He has used the difficult times in my life to shape me and mold me into the person I am today. For that, I am thankful. Yes, thankful for the difficult times and deep hurts I’ve experienced because they have challenged me, prodded me, and made me entirely reliant on God, which is a very good thing indeed. They have made me empathetic and have honed a compassionate heart. God places people in my path to help because I choose to be a willing vessel. I want people to see the beauty He has made from the ashes of my life.
I have shared my testimony with you so you will know that you are not alone. God is with you always, even when you can’t feel his presence. He is there. And even when life is hitting you with the worst storms imaginable, God is there. Hold on to that truth!