I grew up in church. My aunt Dot was faithful to pick me up every Sunday to take me to the church a half mile from my home. I don't even remember a time when Jesus was not real to me. When I was twelve I made a formal confession of faith before the congregation, but that was just the formality of it.
In my teens, my life fell apart. It's still hard for me to pinpoint exactly what happened, as many things seemed to converge at once. My relationship with my parents had always been difficult and strained, and it just reached the breaking point. I was a straight A student, I never touched a drug in my life, I didn't drink, I didn't even have a boyfriend, and I'd never gotten in trouble with the law. Not to say I was an angel... I was doing the usual teenage thing, I was moody and self-absorbed and I was already experiencing the beginnings of a medical condition that wouldn't be diagnosed for another 10 years. But in the long run, was I really a bad kid? My parents began reading books on "Tough Love" and when I turned to the church for help, well... according to the church my "lack of faith" was causing all my problems, and they seemed to partner with my parents against me. When I needed the love of my church family the most, they rejected me. In the end, my parents told me to leave, and I was glad to do so. I went and rented a room from my sister, worked two jobs, and finished high school on my own. All this to explain that I left the church and went looking for love, acceptance and self-empowerment elsewhere, and landed myself smack in the middle of a pagan group practicing witch craft. For five years I was deeply entrenched in that ifestyle. But praise God, his hand of protection never left me, even when I was wandering and lost.
There came a time when I just couldn't ignore the gentle voice of the Lord, calling me back. I began to see the emptiness in my life that I had tried to cover with the false promises of Wicca. I began reading the Bible on the sly, and listening to Christian radio when I was alone. I gradually disentangled myself from the pagan community, but not without some spiritual attacks. My husband began showing an interest in going back to church as well, but we always found an excuse not to go. "Do you want to try to go to church? Well, maybe... maybe next week?"
Then one night I woke from a sound sleep with the knowledge that something was terribly wrong. I ran from my bed to my son's room to find him in the throws of a seizure. Running down the hall, before I even reached his crib, I was crying out to God, the first real prayer I had muttered in 5 or 6 years. That night, sitting beside Dale's hospital bed, I threw myself at the feet of the Lord. I gave up the pride that had been holding me back. There is nothing like a sick child to make you realize how truly powerless we are without the Lord. What a relief to find that the Lord was there, as he had always been there, waiting with open arms to take back this prodigal daughter.
Perhaps the hardest thing to accept was that the Lord clearly told me I had to go back to church... and not just any church... I had to go back to the church which had rejected me and drove me away. But I was in no position to argue with God any more, so back to that church I went. I attended that church until 2009, and only recently felt called to another church.
Xray's taken the night of the seizure showed that my son had a hole in his heart, and the backflow of blood had caused one side of his heart to be seriously enlarged. It was a life threatening situation that was probably going
to require surgery. I prayed, and I brought my son before the congregation to be annointed and prayed over before we drove him to the Children's hospital to see the pediactric heart specialist. Low and behold, I heard the tech tell the doctor "there's no hole." and the doctor reply "of course there is, you must have missed it. Let me see." and the doctor went and performed the same sonogram all over again. Then sat back and rubbed his head and said, "I don't know what to say... I can clearly see it on the xrays... but I can not find any hole now and his heart is completely normal." PRAISE THE LORD! God touched my son's heart and he was healed! Whenever I doubt the Lord's hand in my life, I look at my son.
That was six years ago. Today I still love the Lord with all my heart. I have a passion for women and children's ministry, especially for children with special needs. I was theraputic foster parent specializing in children with post-traumatic stress disorder and reactive attachment disorder. I adopted my last foster placement in December 2007. I am currently in the process of divorcing my husband of 10 years. (Not my idea - he left us for a woman he met on the internet) God has given me tremendous peace through the process, and gifted me with very supportive friends and family. I believe the Lord is calling me to full time service throught the ministry of Hope Rising in Kenya. I am working two jobs, and saving every penny, and I will hopefully be leaving later this year.
If anyone needs prayer, or just a friend to talk to, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org