Well, my faith story is, in many ways, my life story. There has not been a time where faith has not played a role in my life. I was born on a YWAM (youth with a mission, a missionary training and sending school) base in Texas. My parents met and were married there. When I was about 3, we moved to Minnesota. I am not sure when I accepted Jesus into my life. In my memories, it was like He was always there.
We did not live near other kids, and I loved trees and animals. I remember walking in the woods, singing and talking to God like He was standing there next to me. I didn’t have imaginary friends; I had Jesus. I showed Him the leaves and caterpillars, talked about anything that made me mad, happy, or sad. I always knew that I was going to be a missionary. In kindergarten I came home crying to my mom. It was “dress up as what you want to be” day. I wanted to be two things, a mommy and a missionary. They didn’t wear anything special, they looked just like everyone else. I also developed an unusually close relationship with my grandfather on my dad’s side. He was a strong Christian and missionary, he modeled unconditional love and compassion like no one else. That relationship has endured and influenced me even past his death in 2007. I read the bible a lot and I was bold in my faith. In first grade I went to a private Christian school. As a result I rod a bus with on odd mixture of kids, the largest bunch being from the "alternative" school (mostly drop-outs or kicked-outs) and some from juvie. I remember sitting in the front of the bus hearing them talking about getting drunk and using drugs and having sex. And how they couldn't wait to go to hell because hell was just one big kegger all the time. As a child it broke my heart and made me angry and a little confused all at the same time. I marched (literally) to the back of the bus, put my hands on my hips (which I am sure was comical) and looked them all in the face. "Why don't you want to go to heaven?" I asked, "Why would you ever want to go to hell?" "Because hell is where all the fun is" was the general reply. "But heaven is where you are happy, where there is love and Jesus and nothing bad all the time" "but we like the bad," they replied, "Heaven is stupid, boring, lame. We want hell" "But hell isn't a party, all hell is, is pain and fire and crying all the time! It never stops!" They then laughed at me and I stared at them for a few seconds in utter confusion at their stupidity (yes, I couldn't believe they could be that stupid, they were highschoolers and I, at six, knew more than them. lol) I didn't know what else to say, so I went and sat back down. However, after that, one girl in particular almost always sat beside me. She used to bring me suckers occasionally. And I never remember any of them being so loud a boisterous on the bus again. I do wonder, is this a child's selective memory? Or did a six year old who stood up by herself, really have an effect. It would be cool if I did.
When I was 9, I went on my very first mission trip. I went with my aunt, who was still single at the time. She, and my grandparents, had been working with the Indians for about 10-15 years already. I was gone for five or six weeks. We spent, I think, 2 weeks in Fort Hope and 3-4 weeks in Oslandberg. Fort Hope is a fly-in-only Ojibwe Indian reservation in Ontario, Canada. Oslandberg is also an Ojibwe Indian reservation in Canada, but you can drive there. In Fort Hope, I was the first white girl that many of the kids had ever seen. I helped my aunt with a vacation bible school. I helped sing songs and make crafts and gather the kids for the day. I ran around and played with the other kids all the time. I met their families and grandparents and aunts and uncles and siblings and cousins. I was very independent. I woke myself up and made my own breakfast. I would go and gather the kids and head to VBS where my aunt was waiting. It was about the same for Oslandberg, except for 2 weeks they were having tent meetings and prayer mostly for adults. So I, with a group of about 6-10 girls, swam all day and went to tent meetings at night. My aunt said it was my job to make friends and talk about God if asked, have fun and invite all my friends and their families to the tent meetings. My aunt later told me that they had the best turnout ever of children and lots of young families. I forgot to mention, they had no plumbing. We got our water from a river and bathed in the lake, and toileted in an outhouse. It was the best summer of my young life. Even at that young age, I remember thinking it was like being home for the first time ever.
My next trip I was 10, and learned more about prayer and theology and God. I went with a group called Kings Kids, an offshoot of YWAM. I learned new worship songs and entered a new realization of God’s power and awesomeness. I learned dramas and skits and helped lead worship. I was the second youngest in the group. Again, I was with my aunt, she was one of the leaders. We went to an Indian reservation in Idaho. It rained the whole time and almost everyone’s tent flooded. I remember everyone in our tent praying each night that our tent would stay dry one more time. I learned to keep everything away from the sides of the tent and how to start a fire in wet weather. I experienced how God can work through you in only a few days if you are willing and ready.
January a little girl from my school, a very small private school, died in a car crash. She was 5; I had babysat for her. Her brother was only a year older than me. I transferred schools because I was teased and picked on constantly. Older kids on the bus bullied me. I learned that I was fat and ugly, too smart, and laughed like a hyena. I often come home crying and run to the woods to talk with God and feed the chipmunks.
The next year, I was 11. I went to Fort Hope again, with a smaller, older group from Kings Kids. My aunt was the main leader. It was a tent meeting again; we did a VBS as well. I remember trying to explain to a group of people at least twice my age how it wasn’t going to work to separate the kids by age, because they were all shy and siblings and friends wanted to stay together. Also, how the kids, even during meetings, were not going to sit quietly because they never had to. They always run around. I also remember a particular four year old attaching herself to me. I learned that her mom did very little for her and her father was a drunk. I learned that life is not fair, and a four year old can know real sorrow. But, I also learned that God’s love can wipe out that sorrow and put a smile that shines like heaven on her little face.
That fall, my Mom’s only sister, a different aunt, died in a car crash. Six weeks later, my great Grandfather died. January 5, I was told that one of my friends from Fort Hope, committed suicide. Her name was Norma Jean. I had stayed at her house both times I was up there. She was just 13. I stopped crying. Between now February 2000, 4 more people I know will die. One is a baby from a friend of the family. One is another suicide.
At school, I meet my first lesbian, a classmate. I am told that a lesbian is a girl who loves other girls instead of guys. We are friends, I have never heard of it, but I don’t think anything of it. I don’t like guys and won’t until I am almost 17. I’m a late bloomer. My new school isn’t any better; I’m teased even more. Fall, 1998, I become home-schooled.
When I was 12, I went to Fort hope again. It was more of a visit than a particular mission trip. We went to the tent meetings again and helped with the feast. I helped take care of children while adults were cooking. It was a short trip. Later that summer, my aunt got married and moved. I didn’t see her as much and I didn’t like her husband because he took her away from me.
February 1999: My best friend, who has lived with my family on and off and I have known since I was 7, is raped. We never talk about it and pretend it never happened. But we both know. We don’t tell anyone. I have nightmares about it. So does she. We often sit in the dark in silence together. I am now completely insecure. When I am at Church or youth group I am ok, but even there I don’t have any friends. The two girls who are my age treat me like dirt. My best friend and I have discovered Anime and the Internet. We watch our TV shows every day and chat even more. We met two guys, best friends, from California almost a year ago. They are a few years older than us. We talk to them often. Even on the phone. I met a guy from the Philippines. He is a strong Christian and we talk about God a lot.
Summer, 1999: I go on an archeological dig in South Dakota. My Christian science teacher leads it. I learned a lot about apologetics and creation vs. evolution scientifically.
Soon my best friend and I discover fanfiction; Stories written with the characters from movies, books, comics, or TV shows. We become obsessed with anime and manga, fanfiction. A lot of it is called yaoi. Meaning the characters are gay and in gay relationships. Over the years, the stories become progressively more explicit, we convince ourselves that they are just stories, it’s ok. We both become more and more depressed, she starts going up to her dad’s and drinking. I put on a mask and tell everyone that everything is ok. The only time I feel really happy is when I get to really talk about God, or when I read the stories. The stories comfort me but not enough. When my family is gone I try to commit suicide and get about halfway through when everything goes black and I wake up in my bed with some bruises as the only sign of what I almost did. I never try again.
March 14, 2000, one of the guys from California shoots himself in the head while on the phone with my friend and I. Later we found out his friend found him a few minutes later. He died instantly. Silence reigned. I think around that time, we both started cutting. 11 months later, almost to the day, the friend who found him, killed himself by overdose.
Summer, 2000: My walk with God improves again. I am invited to be a sort of jr. camp counselor at a Native American camp. A lot of kids from Oslandberg and Fort Hope will be there, as well as kids from Red lake and other local reservations. I enjoy myself a lot, and God is good. I get to help and talk with a lot of kids, often some who are my age or older. I help teach bible classes and art projects turned into object lessons. God is good.
Fall, 2000: I start taking classes like art and choir at the local high school. I switch youth groups and try to make friends. I’m not having much luck; most of these kids grew up together. But I keep going, some leaders befriend me and the youth pastor is awesome. I am learning about God like never before. New years week, I go to a Christian youth rally called “the one thing conference: The Call” It’s amazing and I experience God like never before. I really want to change. But I come back and everything is the same. I try to stop reading the stories because I know they are bad. I soon give up.
I go to a camp through Youth for Christ called leadership quest. I have an amazing time and a wonderful time with God. It sticks a little longer this time. I swear off anime for a month and succeed. I quit reading the stories for about 5 weeks. And my walk with God is doing well.
Fall, 2001: one of my closest friends at my high school is gay. His name is Antonio. In the spring he’ll tell everyone, but I already know. He’s my most dependable friend; he helps me a lot when I am depressed and gives me lots of hugs. I hate that what he does is wrong, but I can’t bring myself to reduce my association with him. Everyone still thinks my walk with God is great, and it often is. But the stories are like cancer, and I am barely keeping the depression at bay.
My great-grandmother dies while I am holding her hand. It’s amazing, one second life, the next there’s not. Some people speak of death like it’s a living thing, it’s not; Death is simply the absence of life. I cry, for about 4 minutes. Then I stop again.
New years week, ’01-02, I go to the same Christian youth conference. I come back to God again; I know it’s the right thing to do. I learn to dance in worship, though I am still very self-conscious. I receive visions. I come back and I am strong for a few weeks but then I get sick. Eventually it turns into pneumonia and I am even more sick. Later we found out that I had Mono as well. I miss about 2 months of school I am glad to be home-schooled. My immune system is shot, for the next 2+ years I will get sick on an almost weekly basis. My depression worsens. I start cutting very occasionally again.
Summer 2001: schools out, I feel much better.
Fall, 2001: same song, second verse, a lot faster, a lot worse. After camp I go back home and I am hit with a wave of depression, I retreat into my stories, often getting only 2-3 hours of sleep. The first person ever writes me a note saying I am beautiful and attractive and kind and such things. That person asks me out, nearly begs me to at least try. I think sure, why not, at least someone think I am worth something. I had no identity in Christ. This person was NOT a Christian. They were pagan, in fact so was my gay guy friend. Oh, and this person was a girl. We hang out together at school, hold hands, that’s about it. A few weeks later, I am invited over to her house for her birthday. I am over there and somehow my parents find out she’s a lesbian. They come and pick me up. I insist I am not dating her. I don’t think they believe me though. It’s destroying me inside though. I am torn between the acceptance and comfort I get from her and the knowledge that what I am doing is totally wrong. I break up with her. I feel terrible. The depression gets worse. I cut more often. The pain grounds me when everything else is so overwhelming. The blood feels like a release of everything that’s bottled inside. In the late winter/spring, the anniversary of so many deaths, I start to burn as well as cut. I discover that I like the white-hot pain of burning. I end up with a third degree burn on my wrist. Still, it’s not all that often.
Summer 2002: I spend late spring and summer getting my walk with God back on track. I am fundraising to go on a mission trip to Thailand with my youth group. We will be working in orphanages. I work really hard at my walk with God because I don’t want to be a bad witness to these people once I get over there. I am learning a lot about prayer and spiritual war and this thing called “identity.” Going to Thailand is amazing. I have a dream before we go about the trip, and the dream comes true on the trip. I was amazed. The Children were beautiful and they all just wanted to be loved. Some of their stories were heart wrenching. I learn that language and cultural barriers don’t matter because God’s love is a language that transcends all. We speak in schools and do dramas and pray for Laos, whose coast we saw and a few people we met. It’s illegal to be a Christian there. You can be shot in the street just for wearing a cross. We meet a Christian Laotian family whose baby had died. They prayed for 4 days, the baby turned black, and God raised the baby from the dead. We meet the child too. She’s a healthy, chubby toddler. God is astonishing.
Fall, 2002: back at school I am doing pretty good. But it doesn’t last very long. I get more and more depressed and I am constantly overwhelmed by every little thing in my life. I have anxiety attacks and become introverted. I start blocking things out. I am apathetic and sad. In the last year or so, I have had two more friends commit suicide. One of my friends’ babies dies. One friend dies of cancer, two more die in car accidents. My best friend is drinking a lot; she’s more depressed than I am. The cutting starts to go out of control. I have discovered that broken glass makes clean, quick healing cuts. All I want to do is sleep. I can’t remember the last time I woke up and didn’t wish that I was dead. Still, I try to act like everything in my life is ok and normal. Around thanksgiving my mom walks in on me coming out of the shower. At the time I have about 100 cuts in various stages of healing. She, very rightly, flips out. She calls my youth pastor and talks to him. She sets up an appointment with him for us to talk. She calls a lot of people. No one can understand why I, the good church girl, would do this. I am the one that nobody worries about. I am the one that is going to be a missionary right out of high school. I talk to my youth pastor. He tells me right out that he doesn’t understand why someone would cut. I try to explain it to him. I can’t. My mom is going crazy and I won’t talk to her. I try a couple times, but it just doesn’t work. My mom watches me like a hawk and confiscates all pocketknives and lighters. But she doesn’t know about the glass, I have it hidden. I become more careful about where I cut. I cut mostly on my legs. I little later, something happens, I don’t remember what, but I become very depressed and mad at myself. I cut myself over 300 times in the course of two days. It is the last time I really cut. New years, again I go to the youth conference. I feel like I am drowning, so I throw myself into it. I fast nearly every day, and spend almost every spare minute in the prayer and worship room. But I still don’t talk to anyone. When I get back home I want to stay on track with God, I feel like I am hanging on by a thread. I tell my mom that I can’t go back to school. She accepts that and helps me with all my teachers and at home. I do better for a couple months. I am way ahead in academics so my mom lets me cut back. I read literally hundreds of explicit stories. I am in personal contact with several authors. I also read hundreds of books, including everything I can get my hands on about martyrs. I subscribe to a newsletter/magazine called Voice of the Martyr. I read through them and pray on a nearly daily basis. I even make posters using the pictures from the magazines. Still, I am lonely and I have slowed down on going to church and youth group. The only friends who contact me during this time are pagan and/or homosexual.
Summer, 2003: I am invited back to leadership quest as a sort of young leader. I have a wonderful time. Since I went to Thailand I have worn skirts on a nearly daily basis I rarely wear pants anymore. At camp, instead of being teased for it, like back at home, I am complimented time and again for my style and girls ask my advice. I am also complimented, for the first time, by a guy unprompted. I had shared some of my testimony and a part of it was about how I was teased for my laugh. Later a guy came up to me and told me he thought I had to great laugh and a pretty smile. I really begin to enjoy my daily time with God. I sleep well and don’t wake up wanting to die.
I go and visit my aunt and new uncle down in the Cities. They help run an Indian drop-in center called Kola. I help them out with that and also with some tent meetings for an Indian church. We discover black street kids and Native Street kids don’t mix very well. They are like oil and water. They are so completely different from each other even we are surprised. Still, a very good experience.
School year 2003: blah year, much that same as last year. Most of my few friends have graduated. I spend almost all my time in choir or art. My art teacher is awesome and lets me have the run of the art room. I make a lot of pottery and jewelry. I try to distance myself a little from non-Christian friends, however I don’t have any Christian friends so I just get lonely. I go back to my normal friends. Quiet year, lived mostly in bouts a sorrow and apathy. Apathy is my refuge, I learn to be very careful to not feel too much and not think too much. By December I have finished all my necessary high school credits. I do very minimal academics, mostly just things I am interested in. Near the end of the year I am starting to get tired of kids my age. They are rude and disrespectful to everyone including each other and especially their parents. No matter what, I have always loved my parents and tried for the most part to be respectful.
Summer 2004: I go with the youth group to work with a street church in Seattle. It is an amazing learning experience. We do everything from cleaning and remodeling an old movie theater, to passing out flyers on corners, to door to door prayer and giving away food, to dramas on out door stages with Christian street rappers. We do lots of prophetic prayer and worship, God moves in big ways.
Around this time my grandfather, my wonderful Christian grandfather, is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
School ‘04-‘05: blah again. Same apathy and depression and loneliness. More people have died, I am sort of numb and death, it just seems like a part of life. It’s sad, but I can’t seem to find it in me to have deep emotions. I live in fear of what others think. Especially at church, the place where I am never good enough and I am criticized the most. At least that’s what I feel like. I don’t go to the youth conference this year because I don’t have the money. But in the spring I feel like I am getting back on track with God. I work really hard at it. I am invited to go with my aunt and uncle up to Canada on a new Indian reservation with a Christian hockey team. The Indian reservation is called Nibiin-Amik, which means Summer Beaver. It is another fly-in only reserve, much, much further north than the others. Everyone here speaks Ojibwe as their first language. Even the schools are taught in Ojibwe for the first 3 years. English is a class. Again I love it up there. I work with the schools and the kids. There was recently a plane crash in which the community lost 9 people. For a community with only about 250-300 residents, that is a lot. There were three more suicides shortly after, directly connected to the loss of family members on that plane. It takes several days to get any of the teenage girls to talk. They are very shy and private. In the end, I only get to really talk to 3 of the girls. Mostly I talk to one girl who lost her cousin and one of her best friends. One to the plane, and the other to suicide after the crash. She was just 13, sometimes there are not any words to say. I pray silently the whole time, “oh dear God, please give me words to say, please give me words to say, I don’t know what to say.” I remember just sitting and talking to her about her memories of her friends and talking about God’s love and hope. We talked one more time before I left. When I came back, I couldn’t stand school. I stayed for my spring choir concert and then graduated early.
After I graduated, I quit my fast food job and got a job working in a lens factory. I inspected and packed lenses. I hated it with a passion. I lasted 3 months. I refused to quit a job just because I hated it. But at the end of three months the factory told me I was not fast enough. As I was hired through a temp company on a three month contract, I was not technically fired. Though it felt like I was. But I was also relieved. Soon after I went on a “local mission trip.” It was with my youth group again. We stayed in St. Cloud but camped out on some church land and treated it like any other mission trip. We worked with a sort of street church/ half way house. We made a float for a parade that looked like a back alley and performed a short drama on it about helping the homeless over and over again during the parade. We also held extra prayer and worship services at the half-way house. We did a lot of cleaning and painting and cooking and such.
About three or four weeks after this trip I got my first job working with special needs adults. When I was in high school I had volunteered with the special Ed department. So I decided to try a job in a similar area. I loved my job. It was awake overnights; I did hospice care for a mentally retarded man. Along with general care for 3 other ladies. After he died my hours switched and I worked only part time. I got another job doing in home care for special needs children. I worked with children between the ages of four and twelve with diagnoses of developmental disabilities, autism, and muscular dystrophy. I helped them with physical and occupational therapies, bathing, eating, rides and dr. appointments and schoolwork.
Spring 2006: my current position with the children has ended; it will be over a month before another opens up. The same with the home for adults. I am invited to go back up to Nibiin-Amik. I have enough money to go, plus almost $300 dollars. This is completely foreign to me. God always provides just enough money to go, plus maybe $20 or so dollars for spending. I can’t figure out why God has given me so much extra. For some reason, I bring it along on the trip. It is even better than last year. The girls talk a little more. And I am staying with a schoolteacher this time. I have my own room and a nice shower! A novelty. I am really independent of my aunt. I buy my own groceries and visit people I know and work with kids and teachers I have met. My aunt and uncle end up staying for another week. I decide to stay with them. Then we using a thing called the “winter road” to another reservation. The winter road is a road ploughed through the swamps and over the lakes made of ice and snow. As soon as it starts thawing, it’s gone. We get a ride with some people going to funeral. My aunt knows the family that had someone die. We attend the funeral. It is my first Native American funeral. It is a very interesting experience. We then get a ride to Fort Hope with people returning from the funeral. We spend another three and a half weeks visiting and singing Ojibwe worship songs on the radio and praying with people and leading bible studies and other things. The extra money enabled me to do all this, including an extra plane ticket. God provided ahead of time for something I didn’t even know about.
Back from Canada, I am offered a new overnight position at the home where I used to work. I work some weekends too. It’s full time, seven days on then seven days off. It takes some getting used to, but there are definite advantages. I start going to a GLBT club at a local college campus. I start labeling myself as bi-sexual. These people accept me and as I am not really attracted to guys or girls and I feel like I could be in a relationship with either. I call myself bi. I also start digging into paganism. A lot of my new friends are pagans and they are the nicest people I have ever met. They are so warm and welcoming. They think I am someone special and that I have something to offer. My friend, Antonio is pagan. He says that I am an Empath because I can feel other peoples' emotions very acutely. Sometimes I can even tell the whole circumstance that is causing the emotions. He says that I am strong. He also says that I am on old soul that has been reborn many times. I don’t doubt that, I feel so old and tired, yet very experienced and sort of wise. People are always coming to me to ask for advice. I start looking into crystals and trees and druidism. I can do tarot readings very well. I seem to pick up things like second nature, like I’ve done them all before. Where other people study for ages to get as good as I am naturally. Still, for the most part, it is like I am trying to convince myself that I am living in a fantasy novel and that it is all real. I never do actually believe completely in it. Oh, I go through all the motions and things, but I don’t think any of it really makes a difference. In the fall, I meet a guy named Russ. Soon he becomes my first real boyfriend.
March 5 2007, my grandfather dies. I will miss him terribly. By the end of March, I move out. I get an apartment with a lesbian witch. She is 18, quiet, doesn’t drink or party. MY boyfriend is over a lot. I loose my virginity in April. I am still part of the glbt group. By midsummer, I loose my job. Somehow I manage to keep paying rent. September, I loose my car. My boyfriend and I are having problems. The beginning of October I end up going to the hospital, I have a severe asthma attack. I am so depressed; life is hollow and devoid of all feeling. My boyfriend and I are all but broken up. My roommate has gone crazy. I have been on suicide watch after suicide watch with her. I think she is demon possessed. She has severe flashbacks from sexual abuse by her father as a child. She cuts badly. The hospital keeps sending her home. I have spent hours and hours with her to make sure I don’t wake up with a dead roommate. When she has her flash backs she disconnects from current reality and it’s like she is being abused all over again. She becomes scared and animal like. I have hand print bruises on my arms from her trying to attack me so I will leave her alone to kill herself. I often go to bed crying my heart out. Some of the worst night my boyfriend is there. I am grateful because he just holds me and lets me cry. Soon she starts drinking very heavily and smoking weed. She ends up with a boyfriend, who moves in with us. He also drinks heavily and does other drugs. I hate living there, I hate my life. I don’t want to live, but I don’t have the strength to die.
I dream one night about my grandfather. And I talk to hi for a long time. When I wake up, I brake. I can’t do this anymore. I cry and cry and cry. I call out to God. Over and over. I can’t do this anymore. I give everything to Him because He’s my only hope. I can’t live like this, I’ve messed everything up and he’s the only one who can help me. I feel like I’m in a constant state of hollow death. Nothing is real, everything is just a shadow. I cry out to God, and He meets me exactly where I am at. I know how much I’ve done wrong, and the weight of it feels like I am going to suffocate. I start listening to Christian music to keep me calm and keep the demons at bay. It fills the empty spaces with something other than the noise of my sins. I cry myself to sleep. When I wake up, I get my bible and somehow God leads me to John 8:1-11 (if you can, go look it up, it’s the story of the adulterous woman. If you can’t, I have the nasb version at the end, which is the one I was reading) In this story, the women knows she has done wrong, and everyone else can see that she has done wrong. She thinks she’s about to die. She’s probably crying and disheveled. Her life is going to be decided by this man standing in front of her.
And Jesus looks at her with compassion. I will always wonder just what he was writing on the ground. They interrupt him and he tells them that none of them are innocent. Sort of saying that they deserve to be stoned too. He finishes writing while they leave, stands up, and speaks to her. I am sure she’s rather bewildered, at the very least shocked, to see what’s going on. All her accusers, all who wanted to hurt her, all who condemned her are gone. “Are there none?”
“None, my Lord.”
“Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
See, not only did He not condemn her, He forgave her and sent her on her way FREE. Free from her accusers and free from her past. I am sure she had consequences for her past actions, but her life had been given back to her.
I felt like that woman. I stood before God, and He knew all that I had done wrong and he looked at me and said “I do not condemn you. You are forgiven. I love you. Go and sin no more.”
My mantra for the next several weeks was “God I can’t do this, God please help me. God I can’t do this. Only you can help me. God please help me.” I remember saying this over and over and over. I broke up with my boyfriend, which was hard, because I really cared about him. About two weeks later I told him that at least for a few months, I couldn’t even talk to him on the phone. I moved out of my apartment and back in with my parents. I couldn’t find anyone to take over my half of the lease, so I had to keep paying for it. It was a long journey back to God. In December I got a job in St. Joe working at subway. I did not like that job. But I worked there part-time and it helped me pay my bills. I started meeting with a friend (Suzy Dumont) a minimum of once a week. She is an amazing Christian. And has raised 7 kids who are all currently strong Christians. She is actually one of my friend’s mom. But our families have known each other for three generations. Suzy’s parents helped my grandparents come to the Lord and get re-married, and introduced them to the Indians and God did amazing things from there. So, she counseled me and prayed with me, she talked with me and cried with me. She confirmed what God was doing and affirmed me. I rebuked the things I had let into my life and started going to church. I got involved with some classes at the church and started hanging out with Christian friends. I read and am reading books that deal with your identity in Christ. Two are “do you think I am Beautiful” and “Dear Abba” they are a good starting point for times with God. God is just amazing. He speaks to me like never before. OR maybe I am just listening like never before. Almost daily, I have to give Him everything and ask for help so I don’t take it back. He speaks so much into me. Words truly can’t express or explain. He changed my heart and my mind. Even how I think about different things, how my mind works. I am redeemed, reborn, rescued, loved. I am beautiful, created with care to be just the way I am. I am protected and cherished. I am his beloved bride. I am His beautiful daughter. I am His friend. Here are just a very few verses He has spoken to me:
(There are a lot, you can scan or skip over them if you like)
14"Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
(A)Bring her into the wilderness
And speak kindly to her.
15"Then I will give her her (B)vineyards from there,
And (C)the valley of Achor as a door of hope
And she will (D)sing there as in the days of her youth,
As in the (E)day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
16"It will come about in that day," declares the LORD,
"That you will call Me [a](F)Ishi
And will no longer call Me [b]Baali.
17"For (G)I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth,
So that they will be mentioned by their names no more.
18"In that day I will also make a covenant for them
With the (H)beasts of the field,
The birds of the sky
And the creeping things of the ground
And I will (I)abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land,
And will make them (J)lie down in safety.
19"I will (K)betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in (L)righteousness and in justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,
20And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.
Then you will (M)know the LORD.
21"It will come about in that day that (N)I will respond," declares the LORD.
"I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth,
22And the (O)earth will respond to the grain, to the new wine and to the oil,
And they will respond to [c]Jezreel.
23"I will (P)sow her for Myself in the land
(Q)I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion,
And (R)I will say to those who were (S)not My people,
'You are My people!'
And they will say, 'You are my God!'"
1"(A)Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child;
Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed;
For the sons of the (B)desolate one will be (C)more numerous
Than the sons of the married woman," says the LORD.
2"(D)Enlarge the place of your tent;
Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;
Lengthen your (E)cords
And strengthen your (F)pegs.
3"For you will (G)spread abroad to the right and to the left
And your descendants will (H)possess nations
And will (I)resettle the desolate cities.
4"Fear not, for you will (J)not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the (K)shame of your youth,
And the (L)reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
5"For your (M)husband is your Maker,
Whose name is the LORD of hosts;
And your (N)Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
Who is called the (O)God of all the earth.
6"For the LORD has called you,
Like a wife (P)forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Even like a wife of one's youth when she is rejected,"
Says your God.
7"For a (Q)brief moment I forsook you,
But with great compassion I will (R)gather you.
8"In an (S)outburst of anger
I hid My face from you for a moment,
But with everlasting (T)lovingkindness I will (U)have compassion on you,"
Says the LORD your (V)Redeemer.
9"For this is like the days of Noah to Me,
When I swore that the waters of Noah
Would (W)not flood the earth again;
So I have sworn that I will (X)not be angry with you
Nor will I rebuke you.
10"For the (Y)mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,
And My (Z)covenant of peace will not be shaken,"
Says (AA)the LORD who has compassion on you.
11"O (AB)afflicted one, storm-tossed, and (AC)not comforted,
Behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
And your foundations I will (AD)lay in (AE)sapphires.
12"Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies,
And your gates of crystal,
And your entire wall of precious stones.
13"(AF)All your sons will be taught of the LORD;
And the well-being of your sons will be (AG)great.
14"In (AH)righteousness you will be established;
You will be far from (AI)oppression, for you will not fear;
And from terror, for it will not come near you.
15"If anyone fiercely assails you it will not be from Me.
Whoever assails you will fall because of you.
16"Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals
And brings out a weapon for its work;
And I have created the destroyer to ruin.
17"No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
And their vindication is from Me," declares the LORD.
4It will no longer be said to you, "(A)Forsaken,"
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, "Desolate";
But you will be called, "My delight is in her,"
And your land, "(B)Married";
For the (C)LORD delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married.
5For as a young man marries a virgin,
So your sons will marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So your (D)God will rejoice over you.
The Adulterous Woman
1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them.
3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5"Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?"
6They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground.
7But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
8Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?"
11She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either Go From now on sin no more."]
8"Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I (A)spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness I also (B)swore to you and (C)entered into a covenant with you so that you (D)became Mine," declares the Lord GOD. 9"Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and (E)anointed you with oil. 10"I also clothed you with (F)embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk. 11"I adorned you with ornaments, put (G)bracelets on your hands and a (H)necklace around your neck. 12"I also put a (I)ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears and a (J)beautiful crown on your head. 13"Thus you were adorned with (K)gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth You ate fine flour, honey and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to (L)royalty. 14"Then your (M)fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was (N)perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you," declares the Lord GOD.
There are many, many more. But I have become a beautiful Creation in Christ. I can’t wait to see what He does next. I am very passionate about young girls and women learning who there identity in Christ is. Because once they learn that, they are invincible. God can use them and move with them and they can change the world.
I actually wrote this several months ago, and there now needs to be an addition. I am not sure how to describe this or say this but I shall try; All my life I have made decisions based almost completely on my feelings at the time. As a result my decisions did not often have strong resolution. I was easily swayed in one direction or the other by how I felt about the situation and the people involved in the situation and their feelings. My teenage years look like a tug of war between God and satan. But even when I gave up on God, He didn’t give up on me. Several months ago satan gave one last desperate tug. All of the sudden I had everything I had ever really wanted in the flesh. I was popular; people valued my company, people called me to do stuff. I didn’t have to call them. People had time for me and worked to involve me. I was desired, it seemed every guy I met wanted to date me. I had enough money to do what I wanted because I wasn’t saving for anything. People wanted me to move in with them, they wanted to help me financially and with a car and such. I had one couple offer to let me move in with them and loan me a car and even put me on their car insurance so I wouldn’t have to pay. I had people offering me more help and more relationship than I have ever received from any Christian. I was lost again.
Yet still, God did not let go. He worked on me all the time. For the first time in my life, I made a decision to follow God through everything from that point on NOT because I felt like it, NOT because I felt anything really. I don’t know how do say it. I just made up my mind, I was going to stop all this shallow stuff and follow God. No ifs, ands, or buts. He IS God, He IS my Savior and He LOVES me. With out Him I survive in a life of shadows, a life of non-reality. With Him, I live. I made that decision, and suddenly it was amazing, the fear of being friendless disappeared, all that which I had thought would be the hardest, suddenly didn’t seem important anymore. This quiet peace, calmness and unwavering, resolute firmness has invaded me. The idea of going back to what I was holds absolutely no appeal to me. Where as in the past, I was always…I guess reluctant to leave the world behind, with all it’s glittering appeal and safe, comfortable, no right or wrong ways. It all suddenly seemed to fade and become unimportant shadows. God breathed Life back into me. All that was spoken to me and over me in the past, suddenly came to fruition. Not with laughter or tears, not with a swell of emotion, but with a deep certainty that it was TRUE. God, and His word, become more real to me than anything this world has to offer. Out of that foundation, now do my emotions come forth. God has much to change in me, and it won’t always be easy, but I will always have Him. I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death with out Him. It was Hell. Now, I will forever have Him. And in Him, is my life.