March 18, 2014


I think back on all the times that God has saved me from destruction. Trying to find one story to reflect His undying love for me is like going through golden files and reviewing the love He has written on every page.

I find that reflecting on these pages of the story of my life brings up various emotions: pain, regret, heartache.

However, the most resounding emotion that surfaces is contentment. Contentment in the knowledge that my Savior lives and that His life has sustained mine since the moment I came into this raggedy world I call home.

Actually, Jesus is my home. Jesus is my protector. Jesus is my life’s blood.
I pray that my story will give you a glimpse of the One who is always at your side, willing and ready to fight every demon that exists in order to save you. That’s the Jesus I know. He’s the one who stood by my side when everyone and everything else fell apart, including myself.

Hard-to-Tell Story

Three decisions would forever change my life and the lives of many I love. Three decisions kept me on my knees for many years, full of regret and a complete reliance on God to get me and those I love out of the hell I had created.

This is a story I do not often share. Shame still thrives within my heart. The pain has turned to a whisper within, but when I tell it, the shame gets a voice the magnitude of a gale-force wind. Sometimes in order to help others it is our duty to share our regrets, our shame, and our faith in God’s eventual healing. I pray that those who read my story will be overwhelmed by the one, single, glorious truth: “For by grace are ye saved” (Eph. 2:8, KJV).

Decision One

When I was 18 years old, I married the first boy who asked me. My entire family advised against marrying him. I was pregnant as I walked to get my diploma.

Four months into our marriage, my husband began to abuse drugs, alcohol, and me. I was kept from my family and friends, and everyone I loved became obsolete. I had three beautiful children with him, and they are why I stayed. He and his mother had convinced me that I was a horrible excuse for a mom and that if I tried to leave, he would get the children because he had a job and could provide stability. He convinced me that nothing I did for my children was good enough, and that my husband and his mother would have them if I left.

One day I caught a glimmer of the girl I had to save.

I endured many beatings. Many times I was held against the wall by the throat as my young children watched. I was made to feel as if I were worthless. I lost sight of any hope, and lived only for my children. One day I caught a glimmer of the girl I needed to save. I knew that if I didn’t save her, she’d die in that house.

Decision Two

On September 27, 1997, I decided to walk out of that house, leaving without my children for fear that my husband would try to kill me. He had tried twice before, and only God had kept me alive. That was the last day I ever let anyone hit me. I planned to work, save up money to support my children on my own, and get them back. It didn’t work out that way.

My husband and his mother kept my children for more than 10 years, while I died inside every day for having walked out the door to preserve my life.

I regretted not taking them. I regretted letting myself be abused. I regretted every time I had looked crossly at my children or raised my voice in frustration. I regretted leaving them behind with people who were cruel and evil.

My husband became a member of some skinhead militia and took part in events that I can’t mention. Let’s just say that although it still haunts me, I know that if I hadn’t left, I would not be alive to write this.

Decision Three

While I was without my children, I met and married a wonderful man. He was in the army, and we had a child together.

When I told him I wanted to go back to church, he said he attended church on Saturday. I thought he was crazy, but I learned all about this “Adventist thing” and fell madly in love with Jesus. This love, and my husband’s call to the ministry, brought us to Andrews University. This decision, and countless times on my knees in prayer, got my children out of the hell I had left them in.

Andrews was only two and a half hours from where they lived. When their grandma learned that I was in Michigan, she saw a financial opportunity. She had never let me take my children anywhere over the years, and I had never spoken to them on the phone unless it was on speaker so she could hear what I said. When she told me that if I drove down to see them, and gave her $175, I could eat dinner with them at a restaurant while she waited outside, I jumped at the chance. I told them every detail about why I left and what had happened. I had never been able to mention anything before. I cried. They cried. It was beautiful.

As long as I paid my mother-in-law, I was allowed to see my children. They came to Michigan often. I was able to take them on a weeklong trip to Virginia to visit some of my family. After that, they knew I was telling the truth, because my family members verified it. They began to tell me the stories of abuse they had endured at the hand of their grandmother, and it broke my heart.

My oldest daughter then decided she was leaving that house. God, along with the courts, eventually got all three of my children away from my former mother-in-law (their father was no longer in the picture). My two younger children came to live with us in Michigan. My oldest daughter opted to stay with her uncle and finish up high school, but she visited constantly. We share a pain that will never go away until Jesus makes all things new.

I have forgiven my ex-husband. He apologized for all he had done to me, and I let it go. My children’s relationship with their father is healing. However, it is only Jesus who saved them. Three of my four children have been baptized as Seventh-day Adventists, and I’m still praying for the last one.

Jesus saves. It may take longer than we would like, but He is there working out the details. He fights for all of His children . . . always. Trust Him.