My life began as a miracle. Me and my twin brother were born 3 months early in a little town in Maine. My mom almost lost her life and so did we. I weighed 1 pound and 14 ounces and my brother 2. Our lungs collapsed. There were heart issues. But my grandparents were pastor’s and they had the whole town praying for us. The prayer worked. Not only did we survive, but we thrived. When we went back to visit the hospital and doctors who treated us, they could not believe how big and healthy we were. That was all God.
As a little girl I remember Jesus coming to me. He would tell me that there was a very special reason that I was here. That he had something very important for me to do on this earth. I believed him with all my heart. I may not have understood it, but I always took those precious moments with him with me.
Unfortunately, many bad things started happening to me as a child and it started to dim my spirit. But in all that was to come, Jesus never let go of my hand.
When a child is abused, it creates a large whole that needs to be filled. From a very young age, I suffered extreme sexual and emotional abuse. I felt worthless and ashamed. It was drilled into me day after day that I was worth nothing, that the only thing I was good for was being a victim. I started to believe it. And even as a small child I use to dream about suicide. Those damaging thoughts would take many years to part with.
Despite all the trauma in my life, I was a star student and a star athlete. I even played on the boy’s baseball team and got chosen as an all-star player two years in a row. I excelled at everything I did. But the pain I was carrying began to take its toll.
By 13 years old, just a couple years older than my precious daughter, I discovered cigarettes, drinking and marijuana. I will never forget how the alcohol burned going down my throat. But it made me feel so good and for a little while I was free…or so I thought.
At 14, I was brutally raped at a party. That was just the beginning of a pattern that would continue for many years.
By 15 I had discovered LSD. I didn’t just dabble in substance’s; I would become addicted to every new thing I tried. I did not know back then that addiction ran in my family line. I did not know that suicide and mental illness ran in my family line. Those generational curses tried to destroy me, but they have been broken and severed. They will not be passed down to my children, nor my children’s children. Praise God for that.
By 17 my new drug of choice was cocaine and crack. I remember going in the bathroom while in 11th grade, snorting a line, then coming out and acing an English test. The teacher told me I was the smartest student he had ever had. And that would not be the first time I ever heard that. But instead of flourishing, just continued down such a path of shame and destruction. It was during this time that I started doing terrible things to get drug money. I became the woman about to be stoned, except I was still just a teenager, not even yet an adult.
That lifestyle brought so much pain and crisis. I got shot at, jumped and beat up by groups of women, my car was stolen, etc. My mom knew I was not going to make it out alive if I didn’t get out of where I was at, so I moved back to Maine with my father. But oh boy, without any help or mentorship, my life just followed me to a different state. You see, it is so important for older women to take younger girls and women under their wings and help guide them into the truth of who Jesus is and what He can do for them and to show them how loved they are. I used to walk around school with bruises on my body and such sadness in my eyes. I used to ask myself, how come no one can see me? How come no one notices me? I was screaming out in pain and agony.
12th grade I discovered heroin. Thankfully, that was only just for a short season. But my drug days were not over, they had only just begun. At the end of 12th grade, I had found the drug ecstasy. The drug that I could never get enough of, the one that nearly destroyed my life. Because you see, once I discovered that high, that energy, that dance that would never end, I never wanted to come down. Little did I know that one day I would discover the Holy Spirit and what it was like to truly worship God. It would be a high no drug or drink could ever replace.
I started to go crazy. The drugs were destroying my brain and my spirit. Again, I was sent out of state and back to Florida because my family was afraid, I was going to die.
And it was here that for a short time I would find security and the love of Jesus again. My Aunt took me in. She showered me with love and acceptance. She took me to church. I wanted so badly what I saw the other families there had. I soaked it all in. I got baptized. And I will never ever forget the feeling that first time I got baptized.
Unfortunately, alcohol still had a hold of me, and I ended up having to leave my aunt’s house. I went back to my mother’s, and it would end up being the biggest mistake I could ever have made because for the next season it truly was the worst I had ever had to go through, and it took a really long time for me to heal from what was to come.
I was 19 years old. I got a job as a waitress. I got involved with the wrong people. Again. This is when I was introduced to the drug meth, and I was instantly hooked. And this is when I truly started living the life of a trafficked girl. You see, I have such a burden on my heart for the women and children that are caught in human trafficking and sexual exploitation. My whole life I had experienced pieces and tastes of these things. Day after day, year after year. I allowed men to control me, use me, and abuse me. There was an invisible gun put to my head. And I allowed it. I was trapped and did not see a way out. Until one day there was.
By 21 years old, my drug days were over. God started whispering to my heart that I did not need all this, that I deserved so much more. I began to wake up. I began to long for Him. And by the grace of God, I was able to just stop everything. I was so blessed. So many of my friends from up North were dying from car accidents, overdoses and some were even being diagnosed with HIV. God saved me from all that. I came out of that life completely battered and abused, but I was not dead yet. Paul said “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst.” I could not think of a worse sinner than me. But even though I was free physically, the inner wounds would take much more time to heal. And he is still working on that.
As I entered into adulthood, I became the woman at the well. I jumped into an abusive marriage, had my son, ended up as a single mother, married not once or twice or 3 times, but 4. Thankfully the 4th would finally be in His will. Two times the marriages only lasted a few months. Both ended up in restraining orders. My heart was broken and there was so much anger, so much turmoil. I was a loose cannon and my life looked like a train wreck. I would go through severe depression and anxiety, psychiatric hospital stays, eating disorders. I even had to get electric shock treatment, because nothing else was working. It was a terrible time.
But amongst all that, even as a single mother I would go to school to become a massage therapist, run my own business and even go back to school again to get my degree in human services, never getting any less than a 100 on my coursework. My brain still works despite all the trauma it’s been through. I managed to get some amazing jobs as well, but nothing would ever last. My past kept threatening to drown me.
It would take years to finally end up on the right path and 5 years ago, my feet were finally starting to get planted on solid ground. The seeds started falling on fertile soil. God opened up the heavens and started raining down on me. Pure fresh healing rain. I went through much deliverance. And then doors started opening that I could never ever have even dreamed of. He brought me my husband; he gave us a ministry. He put a new song in my mouth. He did a complete 360 with my life. He removed the anger. He removed the bitterness. He made me quiet. He took away my shame and gave me a new name.
Before then I had never sang a note in my life, but God came in and put the music in me. He gave me hundreds of poems and songs and our relationship truly started to flourish. You see it’s not about religion, but pure relationship. And now, I am in bible school. Who would have ever thought? Where He will take me, I do not know, but He does, and his plan far exceeds anything I can ever dream or hope for.
I still struggle at times. I have not arrived yet. He still has to cut and refine me. He still has to work things both into and out of me. It’s a daily process of yielding and surrender and there are times I still miss the mark. But I never ever give up.
Depression and anxiety like to sit at my doorstep. Feelings of unworthiness and low self-esteem try to creep in daily. I battle health issues. But like what was said to Paul, his grace is sufficient for me. He whispered to my heart as a little girl and he whispers to it now…I’ve got you, I love you, I will never leave you nor forsake you. You are worthy, you are so dearly treasured, you are a daughter of the King.
He never let’s go of my hand and he will never let go of yours. I don’t stand up here today to say look at me, look at me, but I tell you my horrific story to share with you the goodness of the Lord and how no matter what you have done, no matter what you have been through, it is never too late. If you have faced divorce, abuse, mental illness, addictions, health problems, financial struggles, loneliness, grief, anything at all, God can deliver you out of those situations and put your feet on solid rock like he did for me. And if you have been labeled your whole life I was, may you lay those labels down now. The scriptures say that if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
I share my story so that you can know that it is never too late and come to know how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19.
Romans 8:38-39- says:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus is saying to us today “little girl I say to you arise!” It is time for us to arise from the ashes. No matter where we have been or what has been done to us. We are an army, and we all have a great purpose on this earth. May we as women walk in unity love, and support. May we fix each other’s crown’s and lift one another up. And together we can help bring in other women who have gone through similar situations.
I once saw a vision of a whole graveyard full of women, of whom were naked and bound in chains, standing up out of their graves and walking in a line straight out of that graveyard and into His light. I believe that God can use each and every one of us to be that person to bring someone to the light.