Growing up, my parents raised my sisters and I in church. I remember being very young and seeing my oldest sister worshiping God. I wanted to be just like her. Lifting my hands and praying just like she did. I was 11 or 12 years old and my family and I moved from New York to New Jersey, but we didn’t find a new “home” church right away.
Fast forward, now I'm a high school student no longer going to church or seeking God and instead desiring to be “young and in love”. I ended up in a toxic relationship consisting of physical, sexual, verbal and mental abuse. This went on for about 3 and a half years. I no longer saw my self worth, I no longer felt loved or even beautiful. I thought I’d never be deserving of being with a good man knowing that I allowed all of this to happen to me. I felt so guilty and alone. I allowed a guy to abuse me, cheat on me countless times and control my life. How could I keep hiding this big secret? Not many people knew what was going on. How could I ever get out of this? I got used to the feeling of being numb to it all and I didn’t know how to escape it.
It’s now my senior year of high school, 2011 and I knew I had to make the decision to leave this relationship. I got to a point where I was tired of being tired. My high school years were full of chaos and I did not want that for the rest of my life. I remember telling God “If he puts his hands on me one more time I promise I will leave him.” He did and eventually I had the courage to walk away. It wasn’t easy, but I remember feeling such a weight off of me and praising God for giving me the strength to do it. I’ve made many promises to God and continued to fail Him, but there He was with arms wide open. I cried out to God on my bedroom floor for forgiveness and for the help to forgive those who have hurt me.
My family and I found a church which back then was called Gibeon, now High Place Church. I started to attend and instantly experienced the love of God I had been longing for my entire life. My past continued to haunt me and led me to continue to make immature decisions and sending me back into unhealthy relationships. Again, feeling so dirty, ashamed, and guilty. It’s now 2012, and I made the best decision of my life. I gave my life to Christ. It was hard to completely surrender, but I eventually let go and allowed Him to work in me. I asked Him to remove lustful desires and to create in me a clean heart. During this time I was finally able to start seeing myself as God saw me.
In 2013, my mom and I were having a conversation about how far I’ve come and as we were talking a Christian Mingle commercial came on T.V. She proceeds to tell me to try it. So I did. It’s now 2018 and I’m blessed to say I have been married for three years now and yes, I met my husband on Christian Mingle :). I went from being in disbelief that I’ll never be loved by a man, to knowing and believing in who God says I am. Back track a bit, during my high school years I began having many stomach and menstrual issues that led to doctors telling me it may be difficult to conceive. But GOD had other plans for me! Doctors also told me to seek counseling because of my depression and anxiety, but instead I kept seeking Him.
I stand today married to my best friend and we have a 15 month old princess who rocks our world!!! Life is not easy, nor is it perfect. But we serve a perfect God. The bible tells us that in this world we will have trouble but in Christ we have peace. I now look back and see that God was by my side the entire time and how important it is to seek Him wholeheartedly. I am thankful that a seed was planted in me as a young girl and that I grew to understand for myself the power of God’s love and grace. I pray this encourages someone to know that there is no love like the love of our heavenly Father and remember that your past does not define your future. Your life is in His hands.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT- Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Jeremiah 29:13 NIV- You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.