Splash for Life - Christian Testimonial

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Splash for Life - Christian Testimonial

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Splash for Life

Christian Testimonial

Growing up in a Southern Baptist family meant going to church nearly every day of the week to attend Sunday school, church, Girls Auxiliary, Choir practice, Wednesday Night supper and Prayer Meeting. I was the youngest of 4 children and my parents stayed together and still are after 51 years. My grandparents on both sides were also Southern Baptists. As an 11 year old, I walked the aisle and accepted Jesus as my Lord and was soon baptized. I wanted Jesus in my heart although I really didn't know how to relate that to daily life and recall shortly afterward crossing the street from church to the drugstore and shoplifting some candy.

Memories of my childhood are mostly good ones of family vacations spent camping at the lake, Sunday dinners, and holidays spent with grandparents and cousins all gathered around. We weren't wealthy by American standards, but certainly not poor and I never was hungry or homeless, and didn't suffer any terrible illnesses. But there was a boy a few years older than me who was just plain mean. He never missed an opportunity to tell me I was stupid, ugly, unlovable, and would never amount to anything. In addition to the verbal abuse, he hit me and molested me sexually for several years.

I don't recall including God in my teen years at all when I was smoking cigarettes and pot, drinking heavily and taking and selling all kinds of drugs. My virginity was given away at 15 but fortunately I stayed with the same guy and we married when I was 18.

At 20 we moved to Florida, and about a year later got custody of my husband's 7 year-old son from his first marriage. Around this time I started to attend church with a friend from work, renewed my commitment to Christ, and was baptized again. My husband wasn't a Christian and he thought I was crazy for reading the Bible all the time. After a few months I started spending Sundays with him at the beach instead of at church.

We bought a house that had been mostly burned down and rebuilt it ourselves in our spare time while I was working 60 hours a week at an advertising agency and going to college at night. Needless to say my stepson wasn't getting the attention he needed after his early childhood of neglect. He told us when he was fourteen years old that he's homosexual.

Getting pregnant was difficult for me and I went through years of infertility treatments. One night as I walked under the stars, I looked up and I told God I knew that I was born to be a mother, thanked him for the child he was preparing for me, and promised to trust it to Him. I left the fertility doctors, conceived the following month, and immediately stopped smoking and taking drugs. When our daughter was born with group b strep, we were told that she had a 10% chance of survival and would probably be profoundly retarded but I knew that wasn't God's plan. When they finally brought my baby girl to my husband and me in the hospital bed, she had an IV strapped to her tiny arm. As my husband and I prayed over her my eyes were closed. I heard him say, "Look at her!" I opened my eyes and saw her tiny newborn hands clasped together in prayer. I wasn't afraid; I knew this child was created with a special purpose from God. He had told me that the night when I talked to Him under the stars I knew she would live which she did and is also very intelligent.

Having quit work before my daughter was born; I was a happy mother at home with my baby. Two years later God blessed us with a son. When they were preschool age we started attending church "so the kids would be brought up right." The pastor spent hours meeting weekly with my husband until he finally caved in and gave his life to the Lord.

In 1993 our house flooded in the no-name storm and we remodeled it ourselves. That same year my mother-in-law died of kidney failure due to alcoholism, and we got guardianship of my brother in law's daughters. Our biological kids were 6 and 4 and our nieces were then 6 and 3. They had been badly neglected and abused and needless to say our happy little home became a place filled with tears, mostly because they wanted to be back with their real mother.

Not wanting to repeat the same mistakes I'd made with my stepson of being a workaholic and never being around I totally committed my life to the kids. We home schooled them and brought them up to be very active in church life as well as sports.

My husband was transferred quite a bit on business which would leave me behind to sell the house, home school the kids, and keep up with an incredibly busy sports and church activity schedule. The last move, when our family of six had to downsize from a large house to a very small one, led to my breakdown. I had panic attacks, threw the furniture over the balcony because there wasn't room for it in the house, and eventually retreated from the crowded confines into the internet world of cyberspace. I also started drinking quite a lot around this time; something that I had battled with off and on since my high school years.

There in cyberland I discovered that I could go anywhere I wanted in my mind, and I didn't have to go alone. I could take the hand of a man and hike with him to the highest mountain peak, watch the sunset, cook over a campfire and curl up in a sleeping bag for cybersex. The next day it would be safari in Africa with another man and the following I was swimming under the waterfalls with yet another lover. I felt like they would go anywhere, do anything, and tell me anything I wanted to hear as long as they knew there was a reward at the end. I have so very many memories of people, places, and events that never really happened. I knew I was out of control and hated myself, yet couldn't figure out how to get free. I cried out to God again and again to rescue me, and tried some pretty creative methods for breaking away from the cybering.

My husband by now was at least aware that I was addicted to being on the internet, as I was probably chatting sixteen hours every day. Without telling him about the cybersex, I confessed to being addicted to the internet and asked for his help. I took the computer keyboard to church with me one Sunday and asked my pastor to keep it for me. We talked when I went to retrieve it but he recognized that I wasn't being honest with him and it was an ineffective meeting. I allowed my husband to password protect the computer so that I couldn't go online unless he was there to let me, but then I searched the house and found the password. I allowed my daughter to lock the power cord up in the trunk of her car but when I yelled at her she gave it back. I took both the computers to the shop and left them there for over two months, knowing I couldn't afford to pick them up again, but then went to the public library to chat.

Meanwhile, I was still going to church, chatting in Christian chartrooms, teaching Sunday school and raising a family. Miserable, feeling that I led a double life yet still unable to break out of it, I kept searching and crying out to God. Through a church program and also an online deliverance ministry, I learned a lot about spiritual warfare during this time and became an intercessor after going through deliverance myself. Unfortunately, I was convinced that God would cleanse me and still allow me to maintain my pride. It wasn't until I finally broke down and confessed my unfaithfulness to my husband and others that I was truly set free. My husband now is able to fulfill the roles that God planned for him as my lover, encourager and protector.

Although temptations still come I've learned to guard my heart by filtering my thoughts and making the sacrifice of obedience. I inhale the Word greedily and exhale thanksgiving and praise out to God daily. The Christian Counseling program at Oasis which I've gone through several times has helped me grow spiritually, as well as the dear people who God has brought into my life. Truly, I do love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and body and want more than anything to serve Him. I love to share the truth with the lost who are trying to survive this world without God, and believers who are trapped in Satan's lies. I thank God for having increased my ministry so much since I've been obedient to His will.

The ladies who come to the pregnancy center where I volunteer as a client advocate, the kids I teach to swim and in Sunday school, the elderly people who I instruct in water aerobics, the mentally challenged adults on the Special Olympics swim team which I coach, and the people God brings to me online and in real life who need help; all deserve to get the most from me that I can give them. Walking in the Spirit and staying close to God through Jesus Christ allows His power to pour through me to serve others. I thank God and praise him for the good and even the bad things that have happened in my life because I know He uses all of it for my good, Christ' glory and to advance His kingdom.