This is a gentle, pared-down version of my life story; it’s also the testimony I wrote for when I got baptized. My children don’t need the ugly details right now. Maybe someday, I’ll share those too.
My testimony could fill a book. And since I’m a writer it may someday. I’m going to try to stick to just the pertinent parts and not get too ugly.
I became a Christian at the age of 4 and my down fall started at the age of 9 when I said my first swear word and then didn’t get struck by lightning. Unfortunately, I had already experienced some of the sexual abuse I was to endure more than once in my life by that time.
At school I was one of the bullied kids, picked on by everyone else. I don’t really remember ever feeling like I had value when I was a child. I didn’t seek God in those times. I think I felt that He didn’t care. I mean, why else would He allow this?
I had pretty much left God completely by the time I hit my teens. And by then I was very angry at what He had allowed me and others in my family to go through.
By the time I got to my late teens I started engaging in ways to escape the bitterness towards life and the self-loathing, and that was namely through alcohol. I’m grateful that I had enough sense not to get into drugs. I shudder to imagine where I would be if I had. Addictions come very easily to me: Alcohol, cigarettes, and one or two others things, but never drugs because I never touched them. If I had, I’d probably be strung out on the street right now.
Although I somehow managed to retain my virginity despite the sexual abuse I had endured over my life, I started doing what a lot of girls unfortunately still do. But I didn’t do it for the same reasons most girls did. They slept with their boyfriends because they thought they’d be loved in return. I did it because God was so far away from me and He didn’t care about me, so why bother saving myself for marriage. I’ll just do what everybody else does.
We lived in a small mostly Ukrainian town at that time. Living there was the reason I left home at the age of 17. I had an opportunity to get out of that town and I took it. I was too young, I got homesick and missed my mother sometimes, so she’d get an occasional tearful phone call, but even today I think it was a good thing that I got out of there. Even today, my family doesn’t know what kind of stuff I went through there.
I’m going to skip over stuff now but I will say that I became a wife and a mother before I was 21. Then I was a single mother of two boys at the age of 25.
I had a very well developed completely twisted view of love. It started developing that way because of the sexual abuse, but my first marriage cemented it. So after my husband left, because I made him, I went a little crazy looking for love in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways.
Just as a sidebar, I would like to mention that it was during my second pregnancy that I began to have really serious problems with my back and right leg. I had symptoms very much like MS, numbness, shooting pain, and such. During the time I was a single mother, which lasted almost 10 years, I was basically disabled without a diagnosis. So I was not able to get any help even though a lot of the time I couldn’t even walk.
I had to move into subsidized housing shortly after splitting with my husband because I couldn’t afford where I was living. Having a special needs child moved me up on the list for housing and I got into a place within about two months of applying. Where the place was, was totally God’s doing. It was right across a narrow green strip from Southside Church of the Nazarene. It was there that I found God again. And it saved my life. I would be dead or in jail if I hadn’t found God when I did.
There was finally some peace and joy in my soul.
I finished high school at 26 and attempted college in 2001, when I was 28. College, when you’re a single mother is extraordinarily difficult. You have no time to spend with your kids much less get any sleep. I wore down to a frazzle. It was also when I was diagnosed with clinical depression, (which I know now I’d actually already been suffering from from the time I was about 14) and was put on medications. I got through my first year not too badly, though with grades that certainly could have been better. The second year though I bombed right out.
Depression is a nasty condition and one that the enemy really knows how to work with. Flunking out of college, especially when I was supposed to be some kind of brainiac sent me into a downward spiral. I took my eyes off Jesus and put them back onto myself and started to feel lonely. That’s when I went back to looking for love in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways and to skip over a few more things I’ll just say I got myself knocked up six months into a relationship with a man I met online. The father was a very nice man, who did not know God, but had strong morals. We moved in together a month after the baby was born and got married when she was about 18 months old. Needless to say we had a rocky start because of how we got started, but I’m not going to get into details here.
The turning point in my life came in the fall of 2009.
When I look back, it’s like I was the rope in a tug of war. God was prodding me but satan was pulling hard in the other direction. Despite being on antidepressants I was not doing well. I was in a blue funk more often than I wasn’t. I was pretty useless to everyone. My husband and kids had to fend for themselves most of the time. But then in September of 2009 I crashed big time. My sister gave me the crisis line phone number and I called it, much to my own surprise. I went to the mental health center for some appointments with really didn’t help much, and a shrink increased my medications. But, all the while I had this tug in the back of my mind. I decided to look into the source of that tug, and I found it by reading The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson. That book helped me realize what was really going on. My depression was no longer a mental or physical problem – it was spiritual.
After much prayer about it, I went off my medication. And after I got through the rather nasty withdrawal, I found out I was right. It was spiritual. It cleared my mind so that I could see what was really going on within me. If you’d like to learn details about this, please check out my blog starting at my post for September 2009 titled A Whole New World.
All of it together, my childhood and the many events of the last couple of years, makes me the person I am today. A person who has perhaps seen a bit too much to only be 38, but looking back I can see how God was with me every step of the way and even why I had to go through some of those things. It was going through all the broken mess in my life that I learned that relying on God is the only way to survive and it’s the only way to live. If God hadn’t allowed the pain I had in my life, I wouldn’t be able to rely on Him completely today. I have to wonder; if I had learned to rely on Him a little better when I was much younger, perhaps I wouldn’t have had to go through all of that. God put me through what it took to get me to learn to rely only on Him. I’ve always been a hard-headed person. I need a 2×4 upside my head before I really get it.
Last August, God gave me a vision of what He was doing. I saw a tower built of Lego and pieces were flying off of it. I blogged about that one too. God was telling me that He was tearing down the old Sharon to build up a new one. It’s time to die to self and come alive in Christ. I understand now that satan has been working so hard against me because he’s afraid of me. I will be dangerous for God.