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I am grateful for my relationship with God.
As a child I went to Sunday Mass with my parents. I went to Catechism up until 1 year before I would have made my Confirmation. If you couldn’t tell, I was raised Catholic. Sometimes I remember the rhetoric when I go to a Catholic funeral.
My parents had divorced when I was a tween and my mom stopped going to church. She was heartbroken over the divorce rules of the church. Looking back I see where God really worked in my mom’s life although I’m not sure if she did.
At about seventeen I started exploring other churches with different friends. I enjoyed learning how different people worshiped. I knew that I needed to have a relationship with God in my life. I was beginning to see how I was protected from things in my childhood. More and more I saw when I wasn’t alone as a child, that He was always there.
One day my then boyfriend and I stumbled into a Calvary Chapel office near where I lived at the time. We sat and talked with the pastor for a while. Then we prayed the prayer of salvation, were given Bibles, and sent on our way. Then nothing. I read a lot and tried to learn more about God. But I wasn’t really reading the Bible. I was reading “Christian” books, and getting my scripture secondhand with perspective sprinkled in.
Many years later my then boyfriend was now my husband. We started to attend Calvary Chapel Westminster (California that is) Later after we moved we often frequented Calvary Chapel Chino Hills when we would return to California to visit.
After 8 years of being with my husband I was ready to call it quits. The church was really against divorce, or at least the pastor was. I learned much about how God hates divorce and how we need to pray for our spouses and how maybe we have high expectations and are emotional beings.
I can see how this makes sense with people who are quick to get married and divorced without trying everything to make it work. In the abusive relationship I was in, this only kept me stuck in that relationship. Although those cultist church beliefs kept me stuck, God was looking out for me still. God was always there, ho;ding me protecting me.
After we moved to Tennessee, we hadn’t found a church yet so I watched the 700 Club on television every morning. One morning after a had suffered a couple days with my shoulder dislocated, there was a prayer of healing on the show for someone with an injured shoulder. I claimed it! On my face I went and unloaded my heart. I rotated my shoulder one time and it popped back into place, it didn’t bother me again.
In that prayer I had rededicated myself to learning and showing Jesus through my actions. My life started to really change, so did the abuse, it got worse.
We finally joined a Church, the teaching was riveting and the people friendly. We loved our church home. We were involved and our kids had many church friends. We were all growing in the Word.
A few years in my husband stopped going to church, yet I continued. This was a point of argument for us. When I went to church, our friends asked about him, sent messages through me to him. No amount of politely asking them to reach out to him directly lessened this. So I stopped going also. I know these friends were trying to get him back into church and were trying to nudge him through me, but it put me directly in the line of fire sort to speak.
Looking back I believed a lot in what men said was the Word and didn’t read and learn the Word for myself. I let the lack of boundaries of others keep me from being where I loved being. I let being uncomfortable move me to another place and possibly onto the path of further abuse. But maybe this was a new season.
I decided to dive in alone. I bought a Bible on CD and listened in the early morning, while I crocheted, on road trips, and while working in the garden. I felt I had to hide my newly progressing relationship with God from my husband. I enveloped myself with worship music, TobyMac is great for a workout or clean the house Playlist.
More so, I would find myself overwhelmed by the music. As a child I never heard music like this Hymns were sung with grace and poise. This music is sung not just from the diaphragm but also the heart, and soul. I could feel the words and emotion in the songs. I was undone quite often after I found the music to crack my sealed up emotions.
My husband decided to move out. Regardless of the abuse I loved my husband, I felt that I carried our relationship and our team single-handedly. I did not want to be a “failure” You would think this would be the time when I would shout to the Heavens “Why have you forsaken me?” But I didn’t. Instead I knew I needed God more than ever. Did I grieve, oh yes. Was this a punishment, absolutely not.
It seemed the closer I got to Christ, the more intense the spiritual warfare was in my marriage. I gave my marriage over to God. I figured if it was meant to be it would be. Further into the Word a went.
It was very painful to be alone and had invested so much of my life and energy into what I thought would last for a lifetime. We had made plans for our future. Now my whole world changed and I grieved.
One going through this would think this is where God left me, but really this is where God scooped me up and carried me miles and miles without ceasing. He carried me through that deep dark valley where I could reach up and touch the rays of sunlight along the way.
Since that day in February 2015 God has shown so much more faith in me than I have ever shown Him. So many times I have thought my electricity would be disconnected or times when I had only $50 for a month of groceries for 5 people. As I loaded the groceries into my car while crying because it was a miracle that I could feed my children that month (again).
He even planned so far ahead that He prompted me to use the rebate part of the Walmart app so that on a particular day when I had no money and not enough gas in my car to get home it would be there. I was able to use the rebate money at a Walmart affiliated gas station and completely fill up my gas tank. Not just enough gas to get home, but filled the tank completely. Whoa! I’m going to say that again – Not just enough gas to get home, but filled my tank completely.
God has protected us when our living conditions were unsafe and no government agency would help. God provided strength when I had to fight to protect my kids. God provided food, shelter, hope, and love throughout this experience.
A couple of years ago I started watching Elevation Church on YouTube. I have found a new church home. I know that the church is the people and not the place. I haven’t felt this way in a long time. Each sermon that is delivered feels like it is specifically for me. I’m learning and growing again. I feel I belong there. I’ll stay a while.
Important people who were taken out of my life were returned to me. All my children are back in my life and we are trying to heal and grow together.
Some people have been removed from my life completely. There are also some new people to get to know. I wonder what journey lies ahead for us. I’m learning that the way I knew life is not how it should or has to be.
There have been many times when I have felt how I imagine Job felt. Grieving the losses of this earthly life, suffering at the hands of others, but not blaming God for any of it. The way I see it now is that God is setting me up for something better than I could have ever imagined. He has removed my major obstacles and has given me a new passion of where He can use me.
Mostly I love how I can spend time with Our Father. I’m sure I seem crazy to appear to be speaking to the air, but I speak with Him as I’m sure David or Abraham did. As if He were sitting with me having coffee. I find that He is everywhere and the more I engage Him the more places He is because I bring Him with me.
I have decided that in my perceived losses, I have really gained. I have either gained peace, patience, or wisdom. I owe all my triumphs to God. There have been so many Miracles that I can’t not see that God works in my house daily.
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