Story Time

Stormy

Member
I apologize in advance for the length. I have never told my complete story, so figuring out what is relevant was difficult.

I was born into what I call a "nothing" home. My father was a lapsed Catholic and my mother was a lapsed Baptist. Sunday was just another day and God was never discussed. The closest thing to religious instruction that I had was the Peanuts Christmas special when Linus recites Luke 2:8-14. I am the youngest of 4 girls and was a "surprise" as my mother was 43 and my dad was 48 when I was born. My sisters we 21, 19, and 13 when I was born, so they thought their time for babies was long past.

They divorced when I was 5, which is also when my last sister at home moved out, and I only saw my father once or twice a year after that even though he only lived an hour away. My mother was very "hands-off" in her parenting and worked long hours, so I was alone a LOT and even started staying home alone at 9. Figuring life out by myself was my normal. TV was my babysitter, so I have an unusual amount of 80s/90s pop culture knowledge. I attended public school for K-6th grade and was very good at school work. My teachers' only criticism was that I wouldn't talk much or answer questions.

I had one friend who happened to come from a Christian family, so when I stayed the night with her, we would go to church. I didn't understand a lot of it and was mostly bored through services, but at least it was something to do. It was Harvest church in Riverside and the pastor was Greg Laurie. Back then it wasn't the megachurch it is now, but they did have a summer camp on Catalina Island that my mom agreed to send me to when I was 12 so I would get out of her hair for a couple of weeks. Her only request was that I not talk about all of that "God stuff" when I got back.

That camp was where I first heard the Gospel in a way I understood. I totally got the sinner part. I knew I had done bad things both because of my conscience and because my grandmother and sisters constantly reminded me of what a burden I was to my poor mother simply by existing. The idea that I also had disobeyed and offended God was not surprising to me. That He had come down to Earth and died and rose again to save me and wanted to have a relationship with me and even loved little, insignificant me was new information, though. I gave my life to Him in the first week and was baptized in the ocean the following day. I sent a letter to my mom, telling her what had happened, because a counselor told me I needed to tell someone, but she never responded.

Once I got home Mom said that was good for me, but never try to talk to her about it again. Unfortunately, Harvest did not have a follow-up program back then, so I was left alone with my new faith and had no idea what I was supposed to do. This was 1989, so I couldn't just Google it. I thought that was it and I was just supposed to carry on like normal.

From 7th grade on, my mother put me into a Christian school that had a good college prep curriculum. That's when I got my first bible. They had chapel on Wednesdays and my mom said that was enough church for me. It wasn't. Most of the sermons were about obeying parents and teachers. That's it. The teachers were good, but didn't get into theology very much, even in bible class. A lot of the other students were there because they had gotten into trouble in public school and very few were saved.

My father died of cancer 2 weeks before I started 9th grade (he was a long-time Lucky Strike chain smoker). I was not allowed to go to the funeral because my mother wanted me to get ready for the new school year and was not allowed to show emotion over it because she said she was the one that was married to him for 30 years and I barely knew him so I had no reason to be sad.

On the first day of school that year, my appendix ruptured and I had to have emergency surgery. I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and ending up missing 4 months of school, although my teachers sent work home so I wouldn't fall behind. Through all of this I prayed and read my bible a lot, so God managed to use it for something good. This worried my mom, so she said I had to read about other religions too before I could decide on one. The thing that struck me about other ones was how they all required me to work to find favor with God or the universe or whatever, but Jesus had already done the work for me. Plus, their ideas on paradise, nirvana, etc. sounded awful compared to eternity with Jesus.

Once I went back to school, things were very different. People had started having parties and drinking, even in the locker room at school. I am ashamed to say I wanted to fit in, so I did whatever everyone else was doing. My relationship with God grew increasingly distant, although I still believed.

I started dating a guy in 10th grade and followed the crowd on that, too. I had a full scholarship to an expensive private college and I blew it when I got pregnant 4 months after graduation. He had no interest in being a father, so I continued the single mom cycle of my family on June 9, 1996 when I was just 18.

The next 5 years were a blur of community college, long work hours, and parenting alone. I didn't have time for God unless I needed to pray for help. I was that friend that only calls you when they need something.

My mother moved from California to North Carolina the day after my son was born and I followed to be near her 6 months later.

Since there were so many churches in my new community, I started checking them out. Many were not pleased with the girl with the baby outside of marriage and let me know I wasn't welcome. I settled on one just to stop church hopping, although they made it very clear that I could never be a member. They said my son could, though, so I kept going in the hope that he would at least be part of it when he was older if he chose.

I met a guy through that church who said he accepted me despite my obvious sin. I was so grateful at that point that I happily agreed to start dating. In July of 2001, we got married. I miscarried on September 18th, 2001 and that and 9/11 had me crying out to God and begging Him to give me another chance. I read my bible constantly and talked to my husband and mom about Jesus all the time. One time, in the car, I said "Guess what?" to him and he sighed and said "Its something about Jesus, isn't it?" My mom just argued with me about how all paths lead to God and asked me not to talk about it any more.

A year later, I had another boy. 2 years after that, a girl. 12 months and 14 days later, another girl. 10 months and l4 days later, my final boy. I had started homeschooling when my oldest was in 1st grade because I couldn't afford Christian school and he had learning struggles I didn't think the public school would help. As each new baby showed up, I just kept teaching and ended up homeschooling all of them.

My last child was born with a number of health issues. A bad heart valve, developmental delay, autism, and Tourette's, among other things. He is the sweetest kid even now and has expressed love for Jesus to the best of his ability.

Shortly after my last child was born, my husband and I started having problems. He took issue with me saying he needed his own relationship with Jesus and being born into a Christian family doesn't save you. Over a period of about 2 years, he went from saying he would try to saying he never loved me, never wanted to marry me, and refused counseling, couple or individual. I am sad to say I felt so defeated that I fell into depression and ultimately we divorced. The distance from God grew again, because I knew He hates divorce and felt terrible that we did it anyway. Some people in our church told me that my son's conditions were a punishment for getting divorced, that God knew ahead of time what would happen so he allowed it to happen before we were even having problems. I know that isn't true and my son is awesome anyway, but it still hurt to hear.

A few years later I married again, this time to a man who also loves the Lord, and returned to my previous eagerness to be closer to God. I gained 2 "bonus kids" that I also homeschooled through high school and the oldest 3 are now out in the world while we have 4 teenagers at home.

To this day, I struggle with whether our marriage is ok with God. I have repented of my previous failure, but I read different things from pastors saying either stay together and live for God from here on out, or separate from each other and be alone because otherwise it is continuing sin. We are taking the first route, but I still worry and pray about it.

My mother is now 86 and had a stroke a few years ago, leaving her unable to really speak or get around. She lived with us for a while until I could no longer handle her care, then moved to a nursing home near one of my sisters in another state. I have shared the Gospel with her repeatedly and before the stroke she was very hostile to it. Now she listens but shakes her head when I am done. I still pray that she will come to Him before it is too late. My dad wasn't saved and neither are any of my sisters. I hate to think about never seeing any of them again. I am the "crazy Christian" in the family, so they don't listen to me and we don't really have a relationship anymore. I just pray for them now.

We moved to Virginia in 2014 and while I love it here, we haven't found a church yet that preaches anything other than feel-good sermons about basically nothing. Because of my son's health issues and a recent open heart surgery, we haven't been attending in person since the churches reopened. I know we have some great preachers on this forum, so if anyone wants to send me a link to watch their sermons online, that would be great. I want to keep my family focused on Christ and it looks like online may be my only option.

Thanks for reading my novel! :p
 

Andiamo

"Let's go!"
Wow! I love your testimony!
We have a few things in common....I am older than you, but was also a latchkey kid starting at age 8. I was also raised in a "nothing" home, and am one of just two born again Christians in my entire family. The one distant aunt I know was saved has passed on, and I am the lone bible thumper in the family.
I was also an "oops" baby, and was often told how expensive I was.
My father passed away suddenly from a heart attack, and was unsaved (barring a last second miracle, but I doubt it. The last time I ever saw him, he mocked my faith.) My Mom is still not saved and is new agey & believes in a many paths approach, as your Mom does. (Open up a prayer thread for her in the prayer forums! I have one there, and it is so comforting to know my husband and I are not the only ones praying for her)

I thank the Lord your Mom sent you to that camp! I am so pained that I did not get saved as a youth. I know that truth within me would have saved me from so much internal grief, and the horrible mistakes I made....even if I wandered.

I thank God you brought your first baby into this world, and I hate, hate, hate the way you were treated by churches as a young single mother. Honestly, their treatment of you is what they should have been ashamed about....not the fact that you were a young single mother.

It's also very sad for me to hear the "reason" church people had for your special needs son. Ugh!!! People can be so hurtful.

About your divorce and remarriage, the bottom line is that you are in Christ....period.

Thanks so much for sharing. ~ Andi
 
Last edited:

ItIsFinished!

Blood bought child of the King of kings.
Welcome Stormy!
:wave
Thank you for sharing your testimony.
It is of no coincidence you are here.
Many blessings and many friends await you.
You are never alone in Christ Jesus.


So let me get this straight, (please correct me if I'm wrong) , you believe and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour by His amazing grace through faith in Him and Him alone.
You are now a blood bought child of Jesus Christ!
You are part of the Body/ Bride/ Church of Christ.
Amen.
So the Good Shepherd brings you into the fold!
Amen!
Well that is absolutely the most important truth (The Gospel) one needs to recognize and respond to accordingly.
All glory to God you REGONIZED your sinful state before God.
You realized that outside of Jesus Christ there is NO HOPE.
You realized that only faith (not good works) in Christ and Christ alone was your only hope for redemption.
Praise be to God you
RESPONDED !!!
I hope to hear more about you and what the Lord has and is doing in your life.


Peace in Christ my friend.
 

Stormy

Member
Wow! I love your testimony!
We have a few things in common....I am older than you, but was also a latchkey kid starting at age 8. I was also raised in a "nothing" home, and am one of just two born again Christians in my entire family. The one distant aunt I know was saved has passed on, and I am the lone bible thumper in the family.
I was also an "oops" baby, and was often told how expensive I was.
My father passed away suddenly from a heart attack, and was unsaved (barring a last second miracle, but I doubt it. The last time I ever saw him, he mocked my faith.) My Mom is still not saved and is new agey & believes in a many paths approach, as your Mom does. (Open up a prayer thread for her in the prayer forums! I have one there, and it is so comforting to know my husband and I are not the only ones praying for her)

I thank the Lord your Mom sent you to that camp! I am so pained that I did not get saved as a youth. I know that truth within me would have saved me from so much internal grief, and the horrible mistakes I made....even if I wandered.

I thank God you brought your first baby into this world, and I hate, hate, hate the way you were treated by churches as a young single mother. Honestly, their treatment of you is what they should have been ashamed about....not the fact that you were a young single mother.

It's also very sad for me to hear the "reason" church people had for your special needs son. Ugh!!! People can be so hurtful.

About your divorce and remarriage, the bottom line is that you are in Christ....period.

Thanks so much for sharing. ~ Andi
Thanks so much for your kind words!

Thankfully, even though I let the words of others beat me down for a while, God showed me what love really is and that the bad experiences I had were with people, not Him.

My mom was into that new age stuff as well. She had every book by that fake psychic Sylvia Browne and was a member of a Unity School of Christianity "church" for years. There was nothing Christian about it.

Also, I love your username! My father's parents came over from Sicily in the 1920s and my kids have all taken Italian as their foreign language in high school. When it's time to leave I always say andiamo and I am so ready to andiamo right out of here and be with Jesus! Glad I have the opportunity to fellowship with others who are just as excited about it as I am!
 

Stormy

Member
Welcome Stormy!
:wave
Thank you for sharing your testimony.
It is of no coincidence you are here.
Many blessings and many friends await you.
You are never alone in Christ Jesus.


So let me get this straight, (please correct me if I'm wrong) , you believe and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour by His amazing grace through faith in Him and Him alone.
You are now a blood bought child of Jesus Christ!
You are part of the Body/ Bride/ Church of Christ.
Amen.
So the Good Shepherd brings you into the fold!
Amen!
Well that is absolutely the most important truth (The Gospel) one needs to recognize and respond to accordingly.
All glory to God you REGONIZED your sinful state before God.
You realized that outside of Jesus Christ there is NO HOPE.
You realized that only faith (not good works) in Christ and Christ alone was your only hope for redemption.
Praise be to God you
RESPONDED !!!
I hope to hear more about you and what the Lord has and is doing in your life.


Peace in Christ my friend.

Hi ItIsFinished! You have it correct :). And I thank God that He brought people into my life at just the right moment to truly realize that a wretch like me needed a Savior like Him. Now, to keep running the race until He takes us home.

I look forward to interacting with everyone here and learning more about Jesus every day!
 

Everlasting Life

Through Faith in Jesus

Matthew6:33

Withstand in the evil day. Eph 6:13
What a great testimony. It is always so amazing to see what God can do even through tough situations when we feel far from Him. The truth is that He is never far from us. He is right with us every step of the way. Your testimony is powerful and it shows God's grace.

I am so ashamed of some "churches." It is so sad when they are some warped legalistic social club instead of Christ followers who actually read the Bible and pray. I pity them because this shows they actually know nothing of God. They truly need to repent of their disgraceful representation of Christ or they will be judged.

Welcome and God bless you and your family!
 

Andiamo

"Let's go!"
Thanks so much for your kind words!

Thankfully, even though I let the words of others beat me down for a while, God showed me what love really is and that the bad experiences I had were with people, not Him.

My mom was into that new age stuff as well. She had every book by that fake psychic Sylvia Browne and was a member of a Unity School of Christianity "church" for years. There was nothing Christian about it.

Also, I love your username! My father's parents came over from Sicily in the 1920s and my kids have all taken Italian as their foreign language in high school. When it's time to leave I always say andiamo and I am so ready to andiamo right out of here and be with Jesus! Glad I have the opportunity to fellowship with others who are just as excited about it as I am!
That Sylvia Browne! Terrible. Yep, my Mom and Aunts believed in everything she had to say, and she has been a huge influence on them. Books underlined and highlighted. Ugh.

And yes, later in my life, I saw my Dad through God's eyes, as a man who had been hurt so much himself. This broken world......

I love that you are Italian! My Dad's side of the family were all New York Sicilians! Cousins with mob ties. My mom's side came here from Naples, where I still have relatives. My mother is bi-lingual and though I never learned to speak Italian (don't know why she never taught me? ) I do understand most of it when spoken. (Not every word, but basically what they are saying)

Now we can say Andiamo, Lord Jesus together! I love it! Yes, ANDIAMO LORD!!!
 
Last edited:

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
Thank you for sharing your testimony Stormy. Don't fret about the rightness or wrongness of your current marriage. We're forgiven and can only do the best we can from this moment forward to live in accordance with the Word. We've all made mistakes in our lives and there will surely always be folks out there happy to point out those mistakes to us... I'm glad you found this forum.
 

k8plord

Member
I apologize in advance for the length. I have never told my complete story, so figuring out what is relevant was difficult.

I was born into what I call a "nothing" home. My father was a lapsed Catholic and my mother was a lapsed Baptist. Sunday was just another day and God was never discussed. The closest thing to religious instruction that I had was the Peanuts Christmas special when Linus recites Luke 2:8-14. I am the youngest of 4 girls and was a "surprise" as my mother was 43 and my dad was 48 when I was born. My sisters we 21, 19, and 13 when I was born, so they thought their time for babies was long past.

They divorced when I was 5, which is also when my last sister at home moved out, and I only saw my father once or twice a year after that even though he only lived an hour away. My mother was very "hands-off" in her parenting and worked long hours, so I was alone a LOT and even started staying home alone at 9. Figuring life out by myself was my normal. TV was my babysitter, so I have an unusual amount of 80s/90s pop culture knowledge. I attended public school for K-6th grade and was very good at school work. My teachers' only criticism was that I wouldn't talk much or answer questions.

I had one friend who happened to come from a Christian family, so when I stayed the night with her, we would go to church. I didn't understand a lot of it and was mostly bored through services, but at least it was something to do. It was Harvest church in Riverside and the pastor was Greg Laurie. Back then it wasn't the megachurch it is now, but they did have a summer camp on Catalina Island that my mom agreed to send me to when I was 12 so I would get out of her hair for a couple of weeks. Her only request was that I not talk about all of that "God stuff" when I got back.

That camp was where I first heard the Gospel in a way I understood. I totally got the sinner part. I knew I had done bad things both because of my conscience and because my grandmother and sisters constantly reminded me of what a burden I was to my poor mother simply by existing. The idea that I also had disobeyed and offended God was not surprising to me. That He had come down to Earth and died and rose again to save me and wanted to have a relationship with me and even loved little, insignificant me was new information, though. I gave my life to Him in the first week and was baptized in the ocean the following day. I sent a letter to my mom, telling her what had happened, because a counselor told me I needed to tell someone, but she never responded.

Once I got home Mom said that was good for me, but never try to talk to her about it again. Unfortunately, Harvest did not have a follow-up program back then, so I was left alone with my new faith and had no idea what I was supposed to do. This was 1989, so I couldn't just Google it. I thought that was it and I was just supposed to carry on like normal.

From 7th grade on, my mother put me into a Christian school that had a good college prep curriculum. That's when I got my first bible. They had chapel on Wednesdays and my mom said that was enough church for me. It wasn't. Most of the sermons were about obeying parents and teachers. That's it. The teachers were good, but didn't get into theology very much, even in bible class. A lot of the other students were there because they had gotten into trouble in public school and very few were saved.

My father died of cancer 2 weeks before I started 9th grade (he was a long-time Lucky Strike chain smoker). I was not allowed to go to the funeral because my mother wanted me to get ready for the new school year and was not allowed to show emotion over it because she said she was the one that was married to him for 30 years and I barely knew him so I had no reason to be sad.

On the first day of school that year, my appendix ruptured and I had to have emergency surgery. I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and ending up missing 4 months of school, although my teachers sent work home so I wouldn't fall behind. Through all of this I prayed and read my bible a lot, so God managed to use it for something good. This worried my mom, so she said I had to read about other religions too before I could decide on one. The thing that struck me about other ones was how they all required me to work to find favor with God or the universe or whatever, but Jesus had already done the work for me. Plus, their ideas on paradise, nirvana, etc. sounded awful compared to eternity with Jesus.

Once I went back to school, things were very different. People had started having parties and drinking, even in the locker room at school. I am ashamed to say I wanted to fit in, so I did whatever everyone else was doing. My relationship with God grew increasingly distant, although I still believed.

I started dating a guy in 10th grade and followed the crowd on that, too. I had a full scholarship to an expensive private college and I blew it when I got pregnant 4 months after graduation. He had no interest in being a father, so I continued the single mom cycle of my family on June 9, 1996 when I was just 18.

The next 5 years were a blur of community college, long work hours, and parenting alone. I didn't have time for God unless I needed to pray for help. I was that friend that only calls you when they need something.

My mother moved from California to North Carolina the day after my son was born and I followed to be near her 6 months later.

Since there were so many churches in my new community, I started checking them out. Many were not pleased with the girl with the baby outside of marriage and let me know I wasn't welcome. I settled on one just to stop church hopping, although they made it very clear that I could never be a member. They said my son could, though, so I kept going in the hope that he would at least be part of it when he was older if he chose.

I met a guy through that church who said he accepted me despite my obvious sin. I was so grateful at that point that I happily agreed to start dating. In July of 2001, we got married. I miscarried on September 18th, 2001 and that and 9/11 had me crying out to God and begging Him to give me another chance. I read my bible constantly and talked to my husband and mom about Jesus all the time. One time, in the car, I said "Guess what?" to him and he sighed and said "Its something about Jesus, isn't it?" My mom just argued with me about how all paths lead to God and asked me not to talk about it any more.

A year later, I had another boy. 2 years after that, a girl. 12 months and 14 days later, another girl. 10 months and l4 days later, my final boy. I had started homeschooling when my oldest was in 1st grade because I couldn't afford Christian school and he had learning struggles I didn't think the public school would help. As each new baby showed up, I just kept teaching and ended up homeschooling all of them.

My last child was born with a number of health issues. A bad heart valve, developmental delay, autism, and Tourette's, among other things. He is the sweetest kid even now and has expressed love for Jesus to the best of his ability.

Shortly after my last child was born, my husband and I started having problems. He took issue with me saying he needed his own relationship with Jesus and being born into a Christian family doesn't save you. Over a period of about 2 years, he went from saying he would try to saying he never loved me, never wanted to marry me, and refused counseling, couple or individual. I am sad to say I felt so defeated that I fell into depression and ultimately we divorced. The distance from God grew again, because I knew He hates divorce and felt terrible that we did it anyway. Some people in our church told me that my son's conditions were a punishment for getting divorced, that God knew ahead of time what would happen so he allowed it to happen before we were even having problems. I know that isn't true and my son is awesome anyway, but it still hurt to hear.

A few years later I married again, this time to a man who also loves the Lord, and returned to my previous eagerness to be closer to God. I gained 2 "bonus kids" that I also homeschooled through high school and the oldest 3 are now out in the world while we have 4 teenagers at home.

To this day, I struggle with whether our marriage is ok with God. I have repented of my previous failure, but I read different things from pastors saying either stay together and live for God from here on out, or separate from each other and be alone because otherwise it is continuing sin. We are taking the first route, but I still worry and pray about it.

My mother is now 86 and had a stroke a few years ago, leaving her unable to really speak or get around. She lived with us for a while until I could no longer handle her care, then moved to a nursing home near one of my sisters in another state. I have shared the Gospel with her repeatedly and before the stroke she was very hostile to it. Now she listens but shakes her head when I am done. I still pray that she will come to Him before it is too late. My dad wasn't saved and neither are any of my sisters. I hate to think about never seeing any of them again. I am the "crazy Christian" in the family, so they don't listen to me and we don't really have a relationship anymore. I just pray for them now.

We moved to Virginia in 2014 and while I love it here, we haven't found a church yet that preaches anything other than feel-good sermons about basically nothing. Because of my son's health issues and a recent open heart surgery, we haven't been attending in person since the churches reopened. I know we have some great preachers on this forum, so if anyone wants to send me a link to watch their sermons online, that would be great. I want to keep my family focused on Christ and it looks like online may be my only option.

Thanks for reading my novel! :p
What a beautiful testimony! I live in Virginia also (Culpeper). Do you live nearby?
 

twerpv

Well-Known Member
I apologize in advance for the length. I have never told my complete story, so figuring out what is relevant was difficult.

I was born into what I call a "nothing" home. My father was a lapsed Catholic and my mother was a lapsed Baptist. Sunday was just another day and God was never discussed. The closest thing to religious instruction that I had was the Peanuts Christmas special when Linus recites Luke 2:8-14. I am the youngest of 4 girls and was a "surprise" as my mother was 43 and my dad was 48 when I was born. My sisters we 21, 19, and 13 when I was born, so they thought their time for babies was long past.

They divorced when I was 5, which is also when my last sister at home moved out, and I only saw my father once or twice a year after that even though he only lived an hour away. My mother was very "hands-off" in her parenting and worked long hours, so I was alone a LOT and even started staying home alone at 9. Figuring life out by myself was my normal. TV was my babysitter, so I have an unusual amount of 80s/90s pop culture knowledge. I attended public school for K-6th grade and was very good at school work. My teachers' only criticism was that I wouldn't talk much or answer questions.

I had one friend who happened to come from a Christian family, so when I stayed the night with her, we would go to church. I didn't understand a lot of it and was mostly bored through services, but at least it was something to do. It was Harvest church in Riverside and the pastor was Greg Laurie. Back then it wasn't the megachurch it is now, but they did have a summer camp on Catalina Island that my mom agreed to send me to when I was 12 so I would get out of her hair for a couple of weeks. Her only request was that I not talk about all of that "God stuff" when I got back.

That camp was where I first heard the Gospel in a way I understood. I totally got the sinner part. I knew I had done bad things both because of my conscience and because my grandmother and sisters constantly reminded me of what a burden I was to my poor mother simply by existing. The idea that I also had disobeyed and offended God was not surprising to me. That He had come down to Earth and died and rose again to save me and wanted to have a relationship with me and even loved little, insignificant me was new information, though. I gave my life to Him in the first week and was baptized in the ocean the following day. I sent a letter to my mom, telling her what had happened, because a counselor told me I needed to tell someone, but she never responded.

Once I got home Mom said that was good for me, but never try to talk to her about it again. Unfortunately, Harvest did not have a follow-up program back then, so I was left alone with my new faith and had no idea what I was supposed to do. This was 1989, so I couldn't just Google it. I thought that was it and I was just supposed to carry on like normal.

From 7th grade on, my mother put me into a Christian school that had a good college prep curriculum. That's when I got my first bible. They had chapel on Wednesdays and my mom said that was enough church for me. It wasn't. Most of the sermons were about obeying parents and teachers. That's it. The teachers were good, but didn't get into theology very much, even in bible class. A lot of the other students were there because they had gotten into trouble in public school and very few were saved.

My father died of cancer 2 weeks before I started 9th grade (he was a long-time Lucky Strike chain smoker). I was not allowed to go to the funeral because my mother wanted me to get ready for the new school year and was not allowed to show emotion over it because she said she was the one that was married to him for 30 years and I barely knew him so I had no reason to be sad.

On the first day of school that year, my appendix ruptured and I had to have emergency surgery. I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and ending up missing 4 months of school, although my teachers sent work home so I wouldn't fall behind. Through all of this I prayed and read my bible a lot, so God managed to use it for something good. This worried my mom, so she said I had to read about other religions too before I could decide on one. The thing that struck me about other ones was how they all required me to work to find favor with God or the universe or whatever, but Jesus had already done the work for me. Plus, their ideas on paradise, nirvana, etc. sounded awful compared to eternity with Jesus.

Once I went back to school, things were very different. People had started having parties and drinking, even in the locker room at school. I am ashamed to say I wanted to fit in, so I did whatever everyone else was doing. My relationship with God grew increasingly distant, although I still believed.

I started dating a guy in 10th grade and followed the crowd on that, too. I had a full scholarship to an expensive private college and I blew it when I got pregnant 4 months after graduation. He had no interest in being a father, so I continued the single mom cycle of my family on June 9, 1996 when I was just 18.

The next 5 years were a blur of community college, long work hours, and parenting alone. I didn't have time for God unless I needed to pray for help. I was that friend that only calls you when they need something.

My mother moved from California to North Carolina the day after my son was born and I followed to be near her 6 months later.

Since there were so many churches in my new community, I started checking them out. Many were not pleased with the girl with the baby outside of marriage and let me know I wasn't welcome. I settled on one just to stop church hopping, although they made it very clear that I could never be a member. They said my son could, though, so I kept going in the hope that he would at least be part of it when he was older if he chose.

I met a guy through that church who said he accepted me despite my obvious sin. I was so grateful at that point that I happily agreed to start dating. In July of 2001, we got married. I miscarried on September 18th, 2001 and that and 9/11 had me crying out to God and begging Him to give me another chance. I read my bible constantly and talked to my husband and mom about Jesus all the time. One time, in the car, I said "Guess what?" to him and he sighed and said "Its something about Jesus, isn't it?" My mom just argued with me about how all paths lead to God and asked me not to talk about it any more.

A year later, I had another boy. 2 years after that, a girl. 12 months and 14 days later, another girl. 10 months and l4 days later, my final boy. I had started homeschooling when my oldest was in 1st grade because I couldn't afford Christian school and he had learning struggles I didn't think the public school would help. As each new baby showed up, I just kept teaching and ended up homeschooling all of them.

My last child was born with a number of health issues. A bad heart valve, developmental delay, autism, and Tourette's, among other things. He is the sweetest kid even now and has expressed love for Jesus to the best of his ability.

Shortly after my last child was born, my husband and I started having problems. He took issue with me saying he needed his own relationship with Jesus and being born into a Christian family doesn't save you. Over a period of about 2 years, he went from saying he would try to saying he never loved me, never wanted to marry me, and refused counseling, couple or individual. I am sad to say I felt so defeated that I fell into depression and ultimately we divorced. The distance from God grew again, because I knew He hates divorce and felt terrible that we did it anyway. Some people in our church told me that my son's conditions were a punishment for getting divorced, that God knew ahead of time what would happen so he allowed it to happen before we were even having problems. I know that isn't true and my son is awesome anyway, but it still hurt to hear.

A few years later I married again, this time to a man who also loves the Lord, and returned to my previous eagerness to be closer to God. I gained 2 "bonus kids" that I also homeschooled through high school and the oldest 3 are now out in the world while we have 4 teenagers at home.

To this day, I struggle with whether our marriage is ok with God. I have repented of my previous failure, but I read different things from pastors saying either stay together and live for God from here on out, or separate from each other and be alone because otherwise it is continuing sin. We are taking the first route, but I still worry and pray about it.

My mother is now 86 and had a stroke a few years ago, leaving her unable to really speak or get around. She lived with us for a while until I could no longer handle her care, then moved to a nursing home near one of my sisters in another state. I have shared the Gospel with her repeatedly and before the stroke she was very hostile to it. Now she listens but shakes her head when I am done. I still pray that she will come to Him before it is too late. My dad wasn't saved and neither are any of my sisters. I hate to think about never seeing any of them again. I am the "crazy Christian" in the family, so they don't listen to me and we don't really have a relationship anymore. I just pray for them now.

We moved to Virginia in 2014 and while I love it here, we haven't found a church yet that preaches anything other than feel-good sermons about basically nothing. Because of my son's health issues and a recent open heart surgery, we haven't been attending in person since the churches reopened. I know we have some great preachers on this forum, so if anyone wants to send me a link to watch their sermons online, that would be great. I want to keep my family focused on Christ and it looks like online may be my only option.

Thanks for reading my novel! :p

That is (and continues to be) an incredible journey. Suggesting Pastor Adrian Rogers podcast. He has winced passed away but he is a tremendous resource through his recorded messages.
 
Top