Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Challenge

Well ya'll it looks like my friend Lucy laid out a challenge today. It's a tad on the scary side to open myself wide open, but you know what, I trust God. I trust that He'll work whatever comes of this for my good! He's BIGGER!

So today I'm going to share a bit of my testimony. Like she said, I'll write about what I know. I don't know much, but I do know that God has worked in my life, my ENTIRE life, to bring me to "such a time as this." I don't DARE compare myself with the brave Esther - NOT IN THE LEAST - but it is a great line, don't you think? teeehee

I was born and raised in church. Literally, my dad was the music director and my mom in the choir, they were also young single adult Sunday school teachers - which meant there were ALWAYS people at my house. My mom missed church the Sunday after I was born and at not quite 2 weeks old I was back in church. I'd love to tell you that I've been there serving God ever since, but that wasn't His plan for me.

I prayed to receive Christ while my dad was "touring" with his quartet at a church in Ohio. I was 12 years old and remember the prick of the Holy Spirit on my heart that night as I realized that I would spend eternity in hell without Jesus in my life. Again, I'd like to say we started a loving relationship and I rode off into the sunset with my Savior, but again, NOT the plan. I was always a bit more "developed" shall we say than most the girls my age. Also, growing up in a house full of young adults (literally they were at our house 5 of 7 nights), young MALE adults I grew up really quick. I don't have a horror story, it wasn't that I was abused or anything, but things happened and were said to me that if I EVER hear anyone say to my daughter they will get their block knocked off! Can I get a witness on that one?

So growing up receiving a lot of attention from those boys and from boys at school (not because I was pretty - just "DEVELOPED" if you get my meaning) I began to thrive on that attention. My parents were very busy at church. Sometimes too busy to notice things going on with me, so I got whatever attention I could from whomever would pay it to me. By high school, I had a serious boyfriend and thought for sure he would be the father of my children! PRAISE GOD for His plan!! WHEW! Anyway, by my 1st yr of college that "love of my life" broke up with me and shortly after that I found out that my dad had been involved with a woman at our church. Big ugly affair followed by my heart being ripped out by this boy. Instead of looking to Jesus to love me, I instead blamed Him for ruining my life and began running as far from Him as I could.

I won't go into all the sordid details, because I'm sure most of you get the idea, but there were drugs, lots of them, alcohol, lots and lots of it, promiscuity, basically, any way I could destroy myself - I tried it. I even attempted suicide during a time when I just wanted to hurt those who had hurt me. I had moved to Florida to live with my sister and to get as far away from my parents and our church as possible and so that I could live HOWEVER I wanted to! The thing that in hindesight gives me such assurance of God's hand on me is His protection during all this. Also, that even sitting in a bar surrounded by all that "stuff" I KNEW I didn't belong there. I clearly remember being wasted and praying that Jesus wouldn't come back with me there in that place. The Holy Spirit was working on me even when I was doing all I could to shut him out! After several years of this destruction I awoke one Sunday morning with one of the WORST hangover's ever, I looked at myself in the mirror and I CLEARLY heard the Lord say to me "My daughter, this IS NOT who you are!" "Come back to me, before it's too late." I IMMEDIATELY got in my car and drove to the nearest church.

God sent me to a church with a family - sorta like mine - that served young adults. I joined their Sunday school class, began attending their Monday night youth group meetings, moved in with them to get away from the "party" atmosphere I was living in and surrendered the reigns of my life back to God. I told Him I was sorry for driving the train of my life COMPLETELY off the track and He picked me up, dusted me off, and put me back on His track for my life! Now, I'd like to say at this point we rode off to our sunset, however, the enemy was NOT happy with my choice. I moved back to WV to try to restore my relationship with my parents and God led me to the TRUE love of my life - Jimmy! His grace to me in the gift of Jimmy is - well, truly AMAZING!

Jimmy and I have gone thru some very difficult times. We've been driven to our knees because we REFUSED to bend them. However, I can tell you that at this point in my life I am on the WILDEST high I've ever been on! There's no drugs or no alcohol that can even come close and believe me I KNOW what I'm talkin' about on that one!! God is my salvation. He is my hero! He is my redeemer! He is my rescuer! He has restored me from the time of the locusts! He has led me beside still waters and thru the valley of death! He has taught me and brought me by his love! Ya'll, God is real! God is alive and well! God is in control! His ways are by no means my ways and I would LOVE to have a testimony that is "squeaky clean" and not the one that I have, but again, it wasn't HIS PLAN for me! He brought me thru the things He did to use me now. I don't know exactly how or why or when, but all I do know is that I'll NEVER turn back! I'll NEVER go it alone! Been there, done that and made a WRECK of my life! Praise His name for His faithful love!

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will NEVER be shaken." Ps 62:1-2


Lucy said...

Girlfriend!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you ever just stop and think sometimes, "What if He didn't come get me when He did?" I think about it all the time. I wasn't even looking for Him. HE FOUND ME!!! I was avoiding Him with everything I had in me. Thank you, Lord for not leaving me in that pit a minute longer!!! He is the best thing that's ever happened to this over-indulgent, over-medicated gal. He is the ONLY thing we can give our ENTIRE selves to and not be destroyed in the process.

Love you, Valarie!!!

Melissa said...

It takes a lot of courage to admit where you have been and it takes a bold woman to claim the hand of God that kept her from self destructing. He is amazing and His salvation is so real. There is NOTHING in this world that can rescue us from the pit of hell other than the blood of Jesus Christ. Praise Him! Proud of you! Love you!

Leigh Gray said...

friend - thank you thank you for sharing!!! I love Jesus even more after reading that!!! Wow - what a Savior!! May He be praised and blessed!! love you!!!

Valarie said...