Jesus Has Set Me Free
My Personal Testimony
Sharing my personal testimony has always been something that I knew I would have to do; I just never knew how to go about doing it. It’s not that I’m ashamed or embarrassed by my past; I think its more fear of being judged or misunderstood. I’ve prayed heavily in the past about sharing my life story with others and it wasn’t until recently that God placed it upon my heart that now is the time. I pray that everyone who stumbles across this posting is blessed and finds freedom in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I grew up knowing who God was without really KNOWING Him. You see I knew that He created the Heavens and the Earth. I knew He created mankind and every creature on the face of the earth. I knew that God was God, but I didn’t know Him as my Heavenly Father. I grew up thinking God was a very stern and angry God who resided in Heaven and was untouchable. Even when I was a child, I would always pray to Jesus, never to God. Such was my fear of Him. My mother, and later my Aunt and Grandfather, gave me my early lessons about God and the Bible. It was from them that I learned all the children Bible stories and songs that most children learn in Sunday school. My mom was a Christian but her husband, my step father was a self proclaimed atheist and alcoholic.
As a result, my upbringing was a confusing and unpleasant to say the least. I have five younger siblings (all fathered by my mother and step father). We never attended church on a regular basis that is when we bothered to go at all. Most of my childhood was spent traveling back and forth from city to city. My dad would fight my mom, my mom would leave, my dad would soon follow suit, and my mom would cave in and return with him only to have it start up all over again. As a child I was able to cope with it all and would talk to Jesus but I couldn’t handle it as a teen.
For some reason my mother vented her anger out on me. She hated my birth father and took out her frustrations with him on me. I didn’t meet him until a couple of months before my 18th birthday but that didn’t stop my mom from constantly reliving the day that he left her alone and pregnant with me. I was made to suffer because he made her suffer. I found out about my biological father when I was 10 (up until that time I thought my step father was my birth father). My mom was mad at my step father at the time and as a way to hurt him, she sat me down and told me the truth. I took it well as a 10 year old and began to hold out hope that one day he would come rescue me. That of course never happened and by the time I became a teenager I know longer wanted him to return. I felt rejected and I blamed him for leaving me with a woman whose goal in life was making my life (if you could call it that) miserable.
Because of my birth father, I was my mother’s least favorite child. My mom couldn’t (and currently can’t) stand me. I was lucky that my step father never abused me, at least not physically. My step father ran his house like a drill sergeant. If one dish was left in the sink he would lose it. Sometimes he would wake everyone up at 5 and 6 in the morning to clean the whole house from top to bottom just because one thing was out of order. If a toy was left on the floor, every toy in the house had to be thrown away. He terrorized us kids and took pride in the fact that his kids were utterly terrified of him. He was the ultimate bully to his own children and step child. And this was the person that my mom kept bringing us back to. He once beat my brother until his legs started to welt up and bleed because he couldn’t spell a word. Our house was filled with silence whenever he was around for fear that he would notice us and fly into a rage over something small and silly like a shoe left on the floor. We weren’t allowed to laugh out loud or breathe or be ourselves because everything irritated him and no one wanted to be in his path when he erupted. However he didn’t beat me like his children. Nope instead that was my mom’s department.
I didn’t get spanking with my mom, I received her wrath. I grew up feeling such anger, hostility, and dislike coming from my own mother towards me. Although I was the oldest (there was a 4, 5,6,11, and 12 year gap between me and my siblings), I was the only one forbidden to go out. I’ve always been a homebody but I wasn’t even allowed to go to a movie, park, the mall or any place with a friend. Meanwhile my younger siblings attended dances, parties and sleepovers with their friends. My mom never gave me an explanation for her actions; in her eyes I didn’t even deserve that. You would think that my mom was my step mother instead of my birth mother by the way that she treated me.
I wasn’t given a chance to grow and have a life. Instead I was treated more like a live in nanny but worse (at least a live in nanny has a day off and freedom to live). I never would have minded caring for my siblings and the household chores had I been given the freedom to go out with my peers and have a little time to myself. I was denied that and not only denied, but I had to witness my siblings having the type of freedom that I dreamed of having. By the time I was 15 I was ready to explode.
At age 15 I no longer feared God, instead I was furious with Him. I couldn’t understand how God could leave me with a birth father who abandoned me and a mother who didn’t love me. Nor could I understand how God could give me an alcoholic step father who beat my mom and his kids. I felt cheated by God and I was angry that He created me only to allow me to suffer. I sunk into a deep depression that I at first I wanted to be in and later, couldn’t escape from. I began to mock God and dared Him to kill me. I asked God why I should I follow a silent God who sits in Heaven and watch His children suffer without lifting a finger to save them. I hated Christianity and everything associated with it including the Bible, Christians, the Church, and all Christian music. During this time I completely rebelled against God. It was during this time that I first attempted suicide as well.
As I look back at that time in my life I realized that satan wanted me dead from the get go. According to the Bible satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). The enemy had stolen my joy and peace; and he wanted to kill me so could destroy my future. In my mind frame and deep depression I believed that death was my solution. You see I didn’t really want to die. I wanted help. I wanted the pain in my life to end. I wanted someone to notice me drowning and jump in to save me. I felt totally and utterly alone. I thought that my life would never get better and the thought of living another day in misery was too much for me to bear.
I made my first suicide attempt in December 1995. I was 15 and I was blessed that God had mercy and didn’t allow me to die. Did I realize that back then? No, I was angry because even in that state of mind I knew enough to know that what I was doing was wrong and would separate me from God forever. As I stated, I knew the Bible I just didn’t have a relationship with the Author. So in my suicidal state I knew enough to call out to God to save me and He did. For the next 6 years the same pattern occurred: I would take a handful of pills and when I began to feel the effects of the pills I would cry and ask God to save me and He never failed to answer. Ironically I would then curse God for not allowing me to die! How foolish I was in those days.
I believed the reason why I was spared from death was because when I was 12 I got saved and I placed my life in God’s hands and although I had back slidden and strayed away, my life remained in God’s hands so no matter how much the enemy tried to kill and destroy me, he (the enemy) failed because God had a strong grip on my life. I’m truly blessed for God’s mercy.
During those 6 years satan spewed a lot of lies to me. I was told that I was evil and had sinned too much and badly for God to ever love me or save me. The enemy had me believing that no one loved me and that was the reason why my birth father had abandoned me and my mom mistreated me. I believed that I everyone would be better off if I was dead because I hurt people and was only in the way. I believed that the moment I died all my pain would end. A part of me knew else wise though because I knew enough to call out to God.
It wasn’t until I was 20 that I reached the conclusion that God and God alone could save me. Up until that time I sought others (Christians, Churches, and Pastors) to help me but never God directly. The problem was I didn’t know how to get close to God. I didn’t know Him on a personal level and was completely clueless as to how to reach Him or have a relationship with Him. One day I listened to a CD by CeCe Winans entitled “Alone in His Presence.” That was the first Christian Album that I had ever listened to completely. As I sat and listened to that CD something in me began to change. I felt the walls that I had built up began to fall down. When I got to the song on the CD called “Blood Medley” I began to cry as I realized just how unfair I was to God and how badly I had hurt him. A few months later my life changed forever.
On my 21st birthday I woke up depressed and angry that I had lived another year. As I rolled over to go back to sleep I felt an urging to go to my prayer closet (by then I had begun to pray on a regular basis). I kept trying to resist but the urging only grew stronger. So I got up and went into my closet. I knew it was God who calling me so the moment I stepped into the closet I said “I’m here God now what” and before I had finish thinking those words I fell to my knees. I wasn’t pushed but pulled down to the floor to my knees. The moment I hit the floor I felt an overwhelming presence fill the room. I fill like a child learning how to communicate as I sit here and try to find the right words to describe what happened. I felt and overwhelming, overpowering, out powering of the deepest purest love that I had ever known or felt fill that small closet. Words cannot even express this type of love that I felt flow through that room. I thought that the walls and door to that closet was going to burst, it was just that intense. But as intense as that love was, it was also that beautiful and felt wonderful. I began to weep in shame because I knew I was in the presence of God. I felt so unworthy and ashamed. I remembered all the years that I cursed and mocked God. You can’t even imagine how horrible and shameful I felt as I knelt in God’s presence. I realized then that God was a loving God and while He was to be feared (revered/respected) He was also approachable and He loves us dearly. My childhood was bad because the adults in my life choose to make it bad. God gave us all a free will and my parents and step father could have chosen a better path than the one they chose. It wasn’t God’s fault.
As I cried in God’s presence I felt God speak to my heart telling me what to say to be free. I confessed my sins to God and began to forgive everyone who had ever harmed and wronged me. As I confessed my sins, I felt as if a heavy weight was being lifted off my back. It was like someone had been putting pressure on my back and slowly releasing me. I felt so light and free. I began to cry tears of joy as for the first time in years, I felt happy. I felt joy deep in my heart. The depression and suicide was gone! I felt complete freedom, peace, and joy. All I could do was lay there and cry. At that moment of freedom, I felt someone holding me and instantly I knew it was Jesus. I clung to Jesus and cried more tears of joy because for the first time in my life I felt love and acceptance. I can’t tell you how long I stayed in that closet but I didn’t want it to end. As I thought those words Jesus spoke to my heart and told me. “I will never leave you. Although you can’t see me and even if you can’t feel me, know that I will always be with you.” I clung to those words since that day in April 2001 and it’s gotten me through so many difficult times.
I’m here to tell anyone who is hurting that God is the only way that you can have peace, joy and freedom. Not money, material things, people, drugs, alcohol or death. There’s no need to take your life, Jesus gave His for us. You don’t have to be in a church or in a special place to talk to God. God is always with you, He’s just waiting patiently for you to let Him into your heart. If you don’t know God and want to know Him don’t let another day go by without making his acquaintance.
Dear Lord I am a Sinner. Please come into my heart and my life today. Change me inside out and fill me with your love and peace. I forgive those who have hurt me and I ask you to forgive them as well. Forgive me Lord for all of my sins. I believe Jesus Christ is your only begotten Son who died on the cross for me and arose on the third day. I accept Jesus into my life and ask Him to be my personal Lord and Savior. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.