My Ongoing Testimony, My Redemption Song
I don’t think I have ever gone into detail, or have ever gone into depth in writing about my journey, my redemption song, my testimony. I have spoken it about it plenty of times at different conferences, gatherings, bible studies, and of course, to my friends. But never on paper.
Let me start of by telling you this, I am sharing this you, right now- to encourage you, to love on you and tell you that you are enough. That your sin, your life, what you may have been born into, your bad decisions, your brokenness, does not, and will never define you- unless you let it.
Jesus was always there, tugging at my heart. He never left me, and has never left, you.
I was born into a broken situation. A heavy one, where hearts were lost, people were hurt, and doing the best they knew to do. It took me a while to understand that, my parents- they were just broken and hurt people, lost- doing what could to just survive. My mom was a single mom, she was and is one of the strongest people, women- that I have ever met. She has overcome just about every ugly and hurtful thing that the enemy had planted there to take her. She pressed in, and pressed on. She taught me love hard & big. She taught me compassion, she taught me hard work and how to never give up. I have 3 half-brothers, and 1 half-sister. One of my brothers passed away from a drug over does, and the rest of my relationships vary with the rest.
I was born catholic, and became a Christian when I was around 11. My mom and I attended an Assemblies of God Church. This is where I learned what the power of prayer was. I know, that this is when Jesus began his work in my life. He planted a seed, that would be watered, tended to, and loved on throughout my life, through random people and experiences. The rest of my life wasn’t by any means religious, or what you consider- “Christian upbringing”. My step dad was involved in and was a part of a Baptist Church, I went off and on- but never was truly “there”. I may have been in the building, but that’s about it. There was a woman there who spoke some hard truth to me, I will never forget her. She loved on me and prayed for me. I rejected every bit of it- but little did I know that impact that it had in my heart. The seed was being watered. Gods faithfulness. Again, and again.
I am going to take you down a very superficial I guess, timeline of my life. With few details to protect others, and, for time’s sake.
When I was around 5, I watched pornography for the first time. My dad had left some videos laying around, and I had put one in, thinking it was one of my movies.
When I was around 6 years old, I was abused by someone who was close to our family, I never told anyone-and I didn’t ever have a chance to process what had happened. I hid it in my heart, and never looked back.
When I was around 10, my mom remarried. I thought, we all thought this was a new beginning for us all. We packed up, and moved to Anchorage, AK. To be honest with you, the next 7 years were just one big blur of pain, and hard memories. Our family was falling apart day by day. My mom and step dad were not in a good place, for their own reasons. My mom became incredibly depressed, suicidal, and made some bad choices. She didn’t know what else to do.
I now understand. I can feel what she was feeling back then. I can see why, she turned to the things that she turned to. To mask her pain. With my mom going through her things, my step going through his, and me just falling deeper in, it just became worse. I chose a path of self-destruction.
I began to smoke marijuana when I was around 12, and lost my virginity when I was around 13.
I began drinking when I was around 14.
This is probably when the suicidal thoughts began. It became a part of me. I attempted to overdoes, as a huge cry for help- when I was around 14. I drank enough of the bottle to where I had to get by stomach pumped, but not enough to die.
I was a young girl, lost, broken, looking for love, what affirmation and attention. Needing someone to tell me that I was enough, looking for a father to carry me through all the things that my little heart was feeling. I couldn’t find it.
My destructive behavior only got worse, and worse.
Also, when I was around 14, I began to self-harm. No one ever knew.
More bad choices. More hurt, more shame, more guilt, more pain.
When I was around 15, I developed an eating disorder. This lasted until I was around 18.
I hid my pain and brokenness- it only lasted for a while.
One of the only things I did well, was hide. I excelled in school work. I would always do well. I balanced It all somehow. I knew that if I got good grades, had friends that “mattered” and was pretty, then I would make it. I of course, couldn’t.
When I was 17, my mom and step dad got a divorce, and we moved to North Carolina. By then I had begun to seek more. I knew that God, this man- was real. I knew that he was there, I just didn’t know how to get to Him. So, I searched. And tried, and did, and continued to search. A few years passed, and turmoil was still going.
My anxiety and depression was now at an all-time high. And Fear had taken over my life.
My mom and I’s relationship had crumbled, and I talked to no one in my family- on either side. And felt the most alone. That is when I met my husband, Mario.
You can imagine how emotionally unhealthy I was. I thought I was 'ok" though. I thought that because I had stopped “doing” all the wrong things, and was trying to live a “Christian life” that I knew what I was doing. I was 18.
Mario and I got married when I was 19. I am thankful, more than thankful- that he stuck it out with me. I was all over the place emotionally. My heart was very broken. I thought that Mario, that marriage would fix it all. I didn’t understand marriage- except for what I had watched on TV. I mimicked like a pro. And thought that it would get us through. Well, it didn’t. I prayed big prayers for healing, for love, for redemption, for newness. I couldn’t see God doing it, but in the middle of the mess, he had already begun to pull out all my junk. Painfully gutting me, piece by piece- In love. The enemy had a field day in my heart and in my mind. I didn’t have healthy boundaries with men, and had to learn what that was. That was a hard pill to swallow.
The first 3 years were painful, but so needed.
I had to make the choice, I could either look at it ALL, and face all the ugly, the rotted, the very hard,
or lose my marriage. And possibly My life.
I chose to do the hard work. I chose to dig in, to plant my heels into the truth, into the Gospel and ran into my father’s arms. He was there, of course. Ready. I said NO MORE. In Jesus Name, NO MORE.
Mario is incredible. I know that God sent me Him. I know that he used and is still using Him in mighty was to heal my heart, to pull me closer to Him, and to see and feel Gods tangible love for me.
Pain, brokenness, shame, guilt. They followed me my whole life. They had become a part of who I was. Every hurt had been engraved into me, until Jesus. Until he erased them, one by one. Until I said yes to His promise and truth and love.
I didn’t know that I was so loved, I couldn’t believe that I was Love by God. How could he love someone so ugly, so broken? Someone so awful? Someone who had done so much.
Here is how- GRACE. Amazing Love. Jesus.
The bible says,
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
We are called his OWN. Justified in Him. Standing Redeemed.
He is making my heart whole. He is renewing me. Day by day. Sanctification is a process, none of us will “arrive”, non of us will ever be perfect.
Our brokenness brings us to the cross, where we are met with by love. Just as we are, we come.
Let us not ever lose our humility and vulnerability. Your redemption song, matters. Someone needs to hear it, someone needs to know that nothing is too big or even too small for our father. Imagine this, what if we wore our sin on our shirts as a sign? What is we all walked around with our burdens, our struggles as our banner? The world would be very different. Love my friends, is what changes everything. Look at it in the face, and speak Gods truth to it.
Let us be a generation that loves people to Jesus.
All of it matters to Him, because he loves us. We are his children. The one who created the stars.
He is our identity and redemption.
He is the one that saves, reconciles, redeems, forgives, and Gives Grace. For His Glory, for us to tell of His Goodness, so that we may walk in confidence.
So, that when we go out, to be his hands & feet, we can tell others of the Good news- and believe it.
That HE IS GOOD. That you have tasted and seen Forgiveness, love, and Grace.
That there is FREEDOM. That there is No chain that His love can’t break.
When I tell, you friend, that Jesus is faithful, I mean it- He is. I have lived it, and I am living it now. Friend, whatever it is that that you are wrestling, whatever you struggling with- hand it right over to Him. Even the smallest of burden.
HE is bigger, HE is greater, HE is forever. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.
All through Him, All in Him, for His Glory.
His Story through our lives, redemption by Grace.
Tell them of how he made your soul Alive.
Just say yes.
With all the love,