The ugly truth is hard to dredge up, especially when you are so far past it. But sometimes God wants us to share our “junk” so others can see what He has done in our lives….how He can take the most broken, convoluted spirit, restore it, and make beauty out of ashes. So for the first time, I will reveal my broken road publicly.
When I agreed to write this article, I intended to describe the journey of my business ventures and how God led me to this amazing place of many blessings. The story is fascinating as I look back over the last 37 years. But once I started trying to write it, I felt God wanted me to dig deeper. This is the third draft of my story. Why? Because the first two drafts were edited so as not to reveal the painful beginning of this journey.
The Enemy Steals
At seventeen years old I accepted salvation from Jesus Christ. I loved God but unfortunately was not mentored at all by any mature Christians following my salvation. Looking back, I believe the enemy saw a golden opportunity to swoop in and make sure this new Christian would never influence anyone else around her. You see he can’t interfere in our salvation, but he most certainly can ruin our testimony and keep us from bringing anyone else into a relationship with Christ. His choice was to interfere in my life.
Being raised up in a stable Christian family, I was in church every Sunday for as long as I can remember. Both sets of grandparents were deep in their faith, and I was fortunate enough to have both of my parents the entire time I was growing up.
I married my best friend at twenty years old. Unfortunately, the marriage was brief due to my growing restless nature. I sought out worldly adventures as I had never experienced with strict parents growing up. I thought in the thrills of this world I would find happiness. However, the deeper I delved into the world I became more miserable than before. Two months after wrecking my marriage I recognized the grave mistake I had made, but it was too late.
Pride, immaturity, stupidity, or whatever else you want to call it made me an angry and bitter young woman. My parents suddenly went through a very painful divorce, as well, and now my perfect family was completely destroyed. I spent the next twenty years making bad decisions. Partying, staying away from the church, failing miserably in personal relationships, and making poor business decisions became my life as I ran farther and farther away from God.
I was so far out of God’s will for my life. Because I was saved, this time span would be even more excruciating because I was grieving the Holy Spirit within me as my own spirit groaned in continued disobedience. I was ashamed but still angry so the cycle kept repeating itself.
What I find interesting about those years, God blessed me anyway through the long valley with two healthy children and gave me periods of undeserved happiness. My family continued to love and support me unconditionally. And the blessing of these two precious children would soon be used by God as earthly anchors to keep me grounded in the coming years.
My Broken Road To Redemption
On February 19, 1995, my life shifted. Since I had surgery five days prior, my doctor told me to take it easy and not do anything for ten days. After a couple of days I felt fine, though, and decided not to listen to the overly cautious doctor so I resumed my normal activities. I remember feeling a twinge inside my abdomen while doing housework on the third day but I sat down quickly, and within a few minutes it stopped, or so I thought.
Two days later I was attending a ballet in Atlanta. At the intermission, I was feeling a little odd. I left my seat and went to the restroom, but just as I stepped inside of the restroom, I fainted and woke a few moments later laying in a huge puddle of blood. The next thing I remember looking up and seeing people stepping over me. My long black dress concealed the blood until I moved then I remember a woman screaming and calling for help. I assume prior to me moving people stepped over me probably thought I was a drunk.
After waking up in an ambulance I remember rushing into Grady Memorial with medics all around me. Due to my hemorrhaging, it would take several hours to stabilize me. They sent me home later, told me to stay in bed and see my doctor the following morning. Well, once again I did not listen.
Upon arriving home I immediately went to the shower, understandably, but then passed out again as I began to hemorrhage for the second time. They rushed me to our local hospital where the doctor forced me to lay flat on my back for three days. There is nothing like being afraid for your life that will make you seek God in a hurry.
His Amazing Love
At 2 am I was lying awake thinking not only about my fragile mortality but also about the mess I had made of my life. With tears streaming down my face I cried out to God to forgive me and instantly I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is crucial for Christians to understand God never moves away from us. It is we who move away from Him. Because He is a God of free will He will never force himself on us but He is ever ready to receive His prodigal children back into His loving arms.
I lay there broken in my sin, and He immediately covered me with His amazing love and forgiveness. My life would never be the same. Not to say I am free from the bad seeds I had sown over all of those years. I still had to work through the harvest of bad choices and consequences. But this time I was not alone.
(To be continued)