Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Today's testimony is a story about a close friend of mine who has suffered immensely in her life starting in her early childhood and continued to struggle into her adult life. She asked to remain anonymous because the people in her story are still living, and she is still in contact with them. She doesn't want them to think she harbors any ill will for them, and she doesn't want others to treat them differently because of what they have done in their past. Her story is one of hope, healing and forgiveness. It is a powerful reminder of Christ's love for all of humanity, and His grace, mercy and forgiveness for our own sin.
When I told our pastor that I wanted to give my testimony, there were so many things I wanted to glorify God for. I had a couple of pages written out telling everything God has done for me, but they didn’t seem right. The one thing I didn’t want to talk about God said I needed to. I fought it for a few weeks, but then I heard the word “obedience” in my head. So I am going to be obedient.
Revelation 12:11 says that Satan is defeated by the blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony. So today, I want to kick Satan in the face! :)
I am a recovering alcoholic. I just recently celebrated six years of sobriety! Many times, drinking can be an escape. Some of us don’t talk about why we wanted to escape. For me personally, I wanted to drown out the pain of being sexually abused starting at age four by different family members. At age 15 I lost my older sister to suicide. That’s when my drinking started getting bad. When I was 17, I was raped by two “friends.” By then, I had so much anger, fear and confusion in me, so I wanted to drown the pain and shame any way I could.
I see now God was always there. He kept me safe through all of the bad decisions, the drinking, the cutting, the running away, and the bad relationships. My grandma, who I admired so much and who was an amazing Christian woman, died in 2013. The date she died, is my sobriety birthday. God used her death to pull me closer to him.
I went to AA during my first year of sobriety. I worked through the steps. I would read my Bible off and on, but not consistently. I thought then that I had worked through things and had forgiven those that hurt me. That was, until I started going to church. Even though I was sober I started to realize that I was still so angry. I knew Jesus was the answer, but I just couldn’t get past that anger and unforgiveness. God started showing me things about my heart and the unforgiveness in it. I was reading the Word daily at this point. And then Jesus rocked my world.
One of the people that molested me is still in the family. When I was in AA someone told me to pray for this person for at least two weeks and see if anything would change. I did, and things began to change. Once I started going to church, I continued praying for him. I kept asking the Lord to take those awful feelings from me. I started my prayer journey for forgiveness in 2014. It wasn’t until 2019 that I finally saw a breakthrough, but it happened!
I knew this person wasn’t going anywhere. There are those in the family that suspected what he had done, but they never followed through. They never helped me. I can honestly say, I have forgiven them. I can look at this person, smile, have a conversation with them, and I still pray for their well-being and salvation. I didn’t do that on my own. I couldn’t do that. Only God could, and He did! There is no possible way I would have been able to forgive that man without Christ in my life. That isn’t in my power! But with Jesus, there really is a peace that transcends all understanding. That anger, that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that had been there my whole life is not there anymore!
I’ve forgiven because Jesus has forgiven me of every awful and hurtful thing I’ve ever done. How can I not forgive? I can’t live for Christ when all the lies the devil wants me to believe are in me. I have to fight. I have to allow God to fight FOR me. I have to be aware of the anger or anything that could take me back down a path without Christ. When I feel that crud start creeping in - and it does when it’s least expected - I pray harder and surrender it again.
So today I’m here to tell you that if God can take this broken, self-hating, people-pleasing, alcoholic and bring her to a place of forgiveness, healing and restoration, where maybe her journey can help someone else, then I’ll follow His lead. Because without Christ, I am nothing.
Christ has set me free! I know He loves me, and because of that I now love myself. I’ve been in and out of church and have been told God loves me my whole life. But this is the first time I am confident in His love for me. I’m coming alive! And I wouldn’t change a thing that has brought me to this point!
What an amazing God we serve that He follows us, never leaves us, and chooses to help us when we willingly submit to His will (and many times even when we don't). He wants you to follow Him and experience real freedom from the pain of this life - no matter what hand you've been dealt or what you have done in your past. I'm praying for each person who reads this. Please leave me a comment below if this story has touched you in some way. If you need prayer, please send me a message through the Contact Me form here.