As I began to prepare to make this CD, I realized I must share my testimony. My purpose in writing each song was to encourage each listener that there is hope in Jesus Christ. As I share my life's story, you will see what God has done for me. If you will let Him, He is no respecter of persons, and He can do the same for you.
I was raised in a very strict Christian home. I was in church every time the doors were open. I began singing and playing piano at a young age. However, despite that environment, at the age of twelve I was sexually molested. That abuse continued for some time. The year was 1970. Children were not taught to tell back then, and so I didn't. I had been warned not to tell.
At the age of fifteen I was again sexually molested. I remember the day so well. For weeks, I would not look any man in the face. I was terrified of men and angry at what had been done to me. I still did not tell anyone what I had experienced. It wasn't until I was eighteen years old that I finally told someone.
Those sexual attacks affected my life more than I realized at the time. The pain began showing as weight gain and destructive behavior. I was tormented in my dreams as well as living with the painful memories during the day. I had very little self-esteem and did not know how to trust men. By the time I was twenty, I was approximately one hundred pounds overweight.
Despite the circumstances, I was still serving the Lord and felt a call to go to Bible College. After college in 1980, I became a Music Director in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1983, I married the son of a pastor, a man who was also called into the music ministry. I believed we would be married for life and serve the Lord together in ministry.
Shortly into the marriage, my husband turned away from the Lord. Not long after that, physical and severe emotional abuse began. Within the first year of the marriage he had an affair with my next door neighbor. Within three years there were two more affairs. During the third year of our marriage he began to drink excessively and the physical abuse became worse. Shortly after the fourth year of marriage he asked for a divorce. He said he did not love me and wanted out.
For years I blamed myself. I felt if I could just be better he would love me. If I could just lose the weight he would love me. I thought I could make him love me. He was always sorry, but the abuse did not stop. I also had been raised with the understanding that you do not get divorced and I did not want to bring humiliation or pain to my family. I also believed the call of ministry would be destroyed and I would not be able to minister in church if I was divorced.
We had been married a little over four years, when a horrific physical altercation caused me to move out. I felt my safety was in jeopardy. I moved out of our house and my husband's girlfriend moved in the same day. During my abusive marriage I gained an additional sixty pounds.
Because of the pain of my childhood, which I had never been healed from, and now the pain of rejection from my husband, I began to withdraw emotionally and spiritually. Living daily with abuse made me hard. I became cold and uncaring in order to deal with the pain I was going through. By the time my husband told me our marriage was over and I moved out for safety reasons, I wanted to totally rebel. However, God had not given up on me. God saw a bigger picture and He had another plan! He still had a call on my life for ministry.
I did not know when I moved out that I was pregnant. I called my husband six weeks later and told him. He said he did not want me or our baby. He told me to abort our baby. This was not an option for me, so I went through a painful divorce and pregnancy at the same time. It was a very difficult time for me. It was a very lonely and sad time. I cried for most of my pregnancy.
At first I wondered after all those years of marriage, why get pregnant now. During the nine months I carried my daughter, God began to perform a work in my heart. I realized that He saved me from going into a rebellious life-style by allowing me to become pregnant. Because I knew right from wrong and because of my own Christian rearing in the church, I knew that I would not raise a child outside of a Godly home. I rededicated my life to the Lord and asked him to help me through the rough times ahead.
At the age of 30, I faced a divorce and single parenthood. My divorce was final one month prior to my daughter being born. Once my daughter was born, my sadness seemed to disappear. I loved her so much. She brought so much joy to my life. I was truly thankful for her as she was a wonderful blessing.
At this point in my life, I felt as though my music ministry was destroyed. However, God was merciful despite my divorce. I found favor and God continued to open the doors for my music ministry.
I raised my daughter as a single parent until she was six. Sometimes I worked two jobs and long hours as a Paralegal to make ends meet. But God gave me the strength to make it. I was determined to raise her in a Godly home and I would serve the Lord no matter what came my way. It was not always easy, as I was still very lonely for companionship.
I began to seek counsel for the wounds in my life. I learned that I must chose to forgive those that have offended and hurt me. When I kept the bitterness inside it only destroyed me. It has taken some time, but everyday that I find myself battling with memories or anger, I chose to forgive over and over again. I will not allow others to destroy my life. The Lord's prayer teaches us "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
In 1989, God brought a wonderful man into my life when my daughter was one year old. We were just friends until she was five. We built a friendship on trust. After four years we realized we cared for each other. He loved me unconditionally. We began to date and eventually we were married in 1994. In 1998 he adopted my daughter, Rebecca.
God has blessed our marriage. Chuck and I have a wonderful relationship and he is a wonderful father to Rebecca. Everything that satan tried to destroy my life with, God was able to use it for my good. He turned my mourning into joy. I have one area of my life which I am still asking God to help me with. I am still overweight, but I have come to love myself despite that. I realize God loves me just as I am. I don't have to perform for him. His love is unconditional.
My prayer is that whatever your life story, you will give Jesus Christ the chance to save your soul, heal your wounds and turn your life around. Jesus Christ is the only answer for those wounded by sexual abuse, physical and emotional abuse, alcoholic husbands and divorce. If you were abandoned, He will fill your life with His love. His love is unconditional.
Give your life to Jesus Christ today and ask Him to minister to you. Make the choice to forgive those who have hurt you. Remember that through Jesus Christ "THERE IS HOPE".