My life seemed normal until a week prior to
October 20, 2008. For just under a week, I prayed for a purpose
in life. One night, I found myself watching a special on television. The
program featured doctors from the United States helping sufferers in Haiti. I began
to pray, “Please God, use my life to bring others to You.” Since I had
participated in mission trips before, I really felt God would send me on
another short-term mission. Perhaps I would go unaccompanied, seeing that my
husband of five years and I had grown apart.
His unbelief, as well as, his addiction to prescription medication had
severed my desire to bring him to
Christ any longer.
Four days after praying for God to use me, my husband overdosed on prescription medication and physically hurt me. Although our marriage had been failing for years, prior to this date, my husband had never raised a hand to me. When I called the Sheriff’s department to report the incident, my husband put on his Navy uniform, greeted the deputies and lied about what happened. The young Sheriff’s deputies believed my husband’s lies. Consequently, I was charged with a felony and restrained from my home, belongings and more importantly, my three-year-old son. My life was changed from that moment on. Out of sheer desperation, I turned to Jesus for help and finally acknowledged that He is with me through my trials. I began to trust Him.
While hunched over in a jail holding cell, I surrendered my life to Christ and He immediately responded. Jesus spoke to me through another inmate who offered me instant comfort and assurance. Just after the young woman entered the holding cell, she looked right at me and said in a slang drawl, “Girl, why you cryin,’ God’s with you,” and then started to sing old church hymns. I stopped crying and asked her for her name. She simply replied, “It’s t.”
God was also in the Jail Supervisor who put her hand on my shoulder and very softly said, “You are going to get through this.” The same officer “accidentally” allowed me to wear my cross necklace while I was in the holding cell. The tower watchman treated me as a guest and yelled for me to call my mother, whom he had already spoken to. Soon bail was paid. The Supervisor released me from the holding cell and allowed me to wait in the lobby for my parents to arrive.
I began to notice how God had orchestrated the event. The criminal attorney I hired was well known by the judge and prosecuting attorney. He cut me a large break in his normal fees and had the charges dropped as quickly as possible. The doctor who treated my injuries wrote his report to corroborate with my story. Childhood friends from my home town went out of their way to show God’s mercy. And a grocery store clerk said something personal and encouraging that only God would have known to say.
Through the hope and help from Jesus during this incident, my heart began to transform. Many years of arrogance and self-righteousness erased quickly. I no longer wanted to be the center of attention. I learned to surrender to God’s will, and boy was I humbled.
Because of the violence with my husband, I did move out of our home and into a small apartment with our youngest son. I invited my stepson to move with us but he chose to remain with his father. Initially, my husband refused to get help for his addiction or admit what he had done. Out of frustration, I met with a divorce attorney. I prayed before the meeting and while listening to the attorney talk about the details of a divorce, I had an overwhelming sense not to proceed. Consequently, I did not divorce my husband. Instead, I enrolled in school. As God would have it, the program I entered was Theological Seminary. I began to learn Scripture for the first time. Then, God became my center of attention.
I started to pray for my husband again. Amazingly, on his own, he sought the help of a therapist. And, after five years of never wanting anything to do with God; he began to attend church.
My husband has since accepted Jesus into his life and even encouraged my recent baptism and graduation from the Seminarian program. He professes his faith daily to others. He has even tattooed his arm with a picture of a bible inside praying hands as part of his testimony to the changes in him.
Prior to this incident, I would say that I trusted God, but usually found myself still trying to control every situation. I no longer struggle with control and have since learned what it means to trust in God and truly surrender. I also learned that when we pray for God to use us, He may answer in a way never expected.
I have walked hand in hand with Jesus for the past seven years. He has spoken to me through scripture and spiritual songs. He has even used people to speak His Word to reach my heart. God has used this trial in my life to lead several of my neighbors, friends, family and the homeless to Him. He has even reunited me with my biological father, who, until recently, I had not spoken to in over 23 years.
God can work miracles when we surrender our life to Him! My life is a testimony of His love.
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