When I was young, a boy touched me inappropriately during a movie that was being shown at a church, so, church was not a safe place to me. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn, so I did nothing.
I have been physically, emotionally, and mentally abused from as far back as I can remember. Because I grew up with this kind of abuse, it seemed normal, and followed me into my adult years. I have been sexually abused and raped by most of the men in my life, including family members, and I am thankful that some are no longer a part of the family.
My self-esteem was shot; I felt alone and abandoned. I was exposed to men’s magazines and porn at a young age, which followed me into my adult years as well. I felt worthless, no good, and wanted to die. I would sit on my floor and beg God to take me, to let me die. I became a cutter, attempted suicide many times, and struggled with anorexia and bulimia. I became an alcoholic and a drug user, and hid it from everyone around me. I was a stripper and I even began to prostitute myself for booze, drugs, money, and acceptance. I figured if men were going to take what they wanted, I would make them pay. I was looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong areas.
I wanted to be loved so badly that, at the age of 15, I had my first daughter and moved in with a 24 year-old man. We were married just before I turned 18 and we had our second daughter before I was 19. Even though I was married, the prostitution, partying, and abuse didn’t stop. We literally put each other through hell and back. I had multiple miscarriages and abortions, and, again, sat and begged God to let me die. I thought I was in control, but my life was a mess and spiraling out of control.
In 2001, my husband and I, along with our 2 daughters, moved to Port Colborne. We figured we would get away from everything. But no matter where you move, the cycle continues unless you want to change.
Our kids started attending a kids club, as well as Sunday school. They would come back and tell us that we should attend the church they were going to. I was skeptical, but I finally broke down. That church is where I met my good friend Sherry. After going to church for close to a year, I finally rededicated my life to the Lord. But the partying and lifestyle didn’t stop. I was on a slow, suicide mission; I hated men, life, and myself.
I wanted control; I wanted to feel loved; I wanted someone to love me for me. I didn’t realize that God could do that, but He needed control of my life. I needed to fully surrender. I thank God for never giving up on me, and I know now that He has always been with me. He brought me through all of this for a reason. I made the choices I did, and those who’ve hurt me made their choices, but God can still use that for good. He doesn’t say life will be perfect, but He does promise, “to never leave us or forsake us.”
God is good. In 2002, I left that lifestyle behind me; I thank God for giving me the strength to do so. I have been through multiple biblical-healing groups. I learned to forgive those who hurt me so I could move on, so I could get the healing that God wanted me to have. That does not mean that they are let off the hook, but they are off of my hook and placed on God’s. I have been attending Morgan’s Point United Church for a number of years and know that God is working on me and in me. My girls are now 19 and 16. My husband and I celebrated our 17th anniversary this year. I have seen God working in my life, and for that, I am grateful.
The last three years my cry has been, “Lord use me for Your will and Your purpose. Where You want me to go, I will go; what You want me to do, I will do.” He has given me a heart for those who are where I used to be. He loves those whom society deems unlovable. In November of 2008, the Lord gave me a vision to start a street and adult-club outreach called “Under the Influence of JC Ministries” to show love to those in need, because we are all in need. Everyone is in need of knowing how precious they are, how much God loves them. So, once a month, the team and I go out to the streets and/or the adult clubs, and hand out lunches and gifts to the homeless, and special gift bags for the girls. The response has been amazing.
God is good. All those years I begged Him to let me die, He had a different plan for my life, just as He has a plan and purpose for your life. I pray that as you read my story and others, you will know how much you are loved by our Father, and that no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, God loves you. He can and will take your pain and your hurts, and turn them into joy and use them for good. No matter how far you’ve fallen, it is never further than God can reach. As God reaches down, extend your arms upward and receive His embrace, His love, His hope, and His forgiveness. I guarantee you’ll never be the same.
Peace, hugs, prayers,
Boldness and blessings,