In September, John and I began a Sunday night Discipleship fellowship at our home church. With great encouragement, John convinced me that I could lead a small group of ladies in a discipleship curriculum called CORE. This curriculum is designed for 52 weeks in which we learn our position in Christ, our practice in Christ and read through various books of the New Testament.
On week 17 of the curriculum, we write out our testimony. Usually, I would torment over such writing, but God is gracious and faithful and allowed me to express, rather quickly, what was on my heart to share through this teaching. As I sat down at the computer to write an outline, the Lord had me write the following testimony, without stopping or thinking about what “I” wanted to say. I was brought up in a non-Christian home but in my early life, we went to church and I must have enjoyed it because I kept going when everyone else stopped. I knew about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and I always felt God was close by, ready to judge – but never a part of my life. I never heard about having a personal relationship with Christ.
In my 47 years prior to coming to Christ, when circumstances or people in my life didn’t go my way, I would just leave. I was so totally into my own self-serving attitude, no one around me mattered but me. This was real irony because I struggled with abandonment issues all my life, my fear of being abandoned fueled my behavior. I would rush to abandon others before I was the one abandoned. I left my first husband because we didn’t know how to be married and I didn’t want to fight anymore, so I left him. I moved away from Texas because I was living with someone and didn’t want to “support” him anymore, so I left him. I separated from my parents (which turned out to be 10 years) because their drinking was causing me to “pick-up” after them, and I was about to leave my second husband (I had already made up my mind) because he was drinking and couldn’t stop. I thought it was easier to leave than to face issues that needed to be addressed. This, I thought, worked for me until I came to know the One that changed my heart and when I cried out in anguish for help, he restored me and did not abandon me. My heart change toward my husband was immediate, instead of seeing a self-centered drunk, I saw a broken person that needed me and it was Christ’s love that kept me there.
In those early years of getting to know Christ, our lives were very difficult in many ways but I never again considered leaving my husband, that never became an option. Our focus, as new Christians in the faith, became our growth together in Christ. When my marriage was restored through the Grace of God, the Lord was also working on my heart in the area of forgiveness.
Early on, I didn’t understand, what I was commanded to do but the Lord led me to the 10 Commandments, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you”. I felt the Lord tugging on me so I reached out to my mother – It took almost 3 years, but my mother and I reconnected. Sometimes we don’t see the details of the Lord’s work in our lives but on the occasion of making arrangements to go visit my mother after 10 years, unbeknownst to me, He sent me on Mother’s Day weekend. The Lord gave us that weekend because she died suddenly 2 months later. It has been 12 years since I cried out to the Lord for salvation and I am not the same person I was. My heart yearns to help people draw closer to God when they struggle in their marriage because the Lord has given me the blessing of a Godly husband.
The Lord is still working on me about my abandonment issues, but I know that the Lord will never leave me nor forsake me because he promises it. When I had cancer in 2004, he led me to His word, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. I have learned to trust in God in all circumstances and not on my own understanding.