Note: This year at SI, we’d like to feature stories of life change. If you are aware of a story that is current and shows the power of Christ in the life, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The stories should be 1,500 to 2,000 words long and should include a photo. Also, we’d like to have a pastor’s recommendation sent along with the testimony. We trust these stories will be a blessing to you and will help us all to be reminded why we are here.
When you feel as though you have no right to live, or nothing to live for, you begin to act on the belief that nothing around you has that right either. There was a time in my life when I had no feeling, not even for myself. I was constantly creating and destroying life.
I had no understanding of how to live, and God refused to let me die. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to hear an angel speak, to feel my heart pierced, and to see my life forever changed.
I grew up in northwest Wyoming in a very small town surrounded by social prominence. My family owned a café, a toy store, one of the local drug stores, and the only flower shop in town. I fell in love with God at the age of six when I saw a picture of Noah and the Ark in a Bible at one of my dad’s stores. It was later given to me as a Christmas gift and remains a constant reminder of my first love—that image of Noah’s, his white beard, the rainbow, and the dove.
Unfortunately, events in my life soon pushed that love far from conscious thought. I overheard my dad threaten a stranger who visited my mother once too often. She soon deserted our life for this stranger and took us kids along for a journey that marks the beginning of my descent into depravity.
By the age of 10, I had been abandoned, lied to, molested, and abused. I learned to freeze my response and withhold my thoughts from pain. I began to function as a lifeless puppet.
In Ezekial 16:47, the Scriptures of God say, “You not only walked in their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they.”
By the time I was 20, I’d been assaulted by a yet-another stepfather when I stood between him and my mother to protect her. I was raped by a man who then became my lover. Then I was kidnapped, drugged, and raped by another man who was then convicted for his crime. I kept a tally of my sexual exploits and acted out my suicidal tendencies by submerging myself in a snow bank for hours one day and by swallowing an entire bottle of pills another day. I was hospitalized for psychosis. I hoped that if no one would listen to my silent screams, they would at least allow me to disappear into nothingness.
By the time I was 34, I’d stopped all contact with my family. I’d been married to a man who regularly assaulted me, soon divorced me, and used the courts to take my only child away from me. I then began a practice of multiple relations and had two children with a man who was neither my husband nor cared for my well-being.
In Psalm 139:7-12, David cried out to God, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”
Looking back, I understand that no matter how invisible or ragged I believed myself to be, God never lost sight of me or love for me. At the age of 13, I had an intense struggle about the existence of Christ, but I did not reach out to anyone for answers to my questions, and the struggle evaporated. When I was 23, the Holy Spirit came upon me, and I literally rushed out, bought a copy of The Way, a modern-day translation of the bible, and kept track of my non-stop reading in a planner. Still, I did not reach out to anyone, and since I quite frankly understood nothing that I read, I eventually stopped reading. God even sent a local priest to my door. He took pity on me for several years and became my friend, but I did not reach out even to him. It was apparent that I did not think it worthwhile.
Romans 1:28 says, “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”
I used drugs to numb my senses, immorality as a means of financial support, and abortion as a means of birth control.
My last abortion, the seventh by my count, was in 1989 at a Planned Parenthood clinic in downtown Denver. The tension between pro-life and pro-choice was explosive. Protestors charged up against me as two armed guards led me through a picket line, pushing back the shouts and screams of those who were pleading with me not to go forward. “Don’t. Don’t do it. Don’t kill your baby. Save your baby. You don’t have to do this.” I looked into the crowd and locked eyes with a faceless man who shouted directly at me, “What you are about to do will haunt you for the rest of your life.” What he said didn’t save the child I aborted that day, but God used his words to pierce my steel-cold heart. My thoughts began to question what I was doing with my life.
A neighbor invited me to attend church where the gospel of Christ was being preached and where I heard the story of a bleeding woman who was healed after she reached out and touched the hem of Christ’s garment. Those Scriptures explained to me the nature of my condition, and I felt the movement of Christ’s garment. God was speaking directly to me, and I believed I could be healed. It was a very powerful moment that even today moves my heart to tears. It was then that I began to regularly attend church where the grace of God was being preached.
I was also taking an anatomy class taught by Tom Longua, a member of Colorado Right to Life. Mr. Longua lectured for a full week on the scientific proof that life begins at conception. I was then exposed to the graphic and disturbing nature of partial-birth abortion, and since I was being taught at church that all sin carries the same burden, what I had done became painfully obvious to me.
The knowledge of my sin overcame me, and my heart was broken during a Sunday school reading of Samson and his self-indulgent act of scooping handfuls of honey from the belly of a lion he had killed by tearing it limb from limb with his bare hands. I saw myself in the cavalier and careless nature of Samson. I was crushed by the weight of my guilt and ran forward during the altar call, begging for God’s forgiveness and crying out for my salvation.
A funny thing I remember as a child was my mother’s disapproval of the Baptists; I wasn’t allowed to play with them because I might disappear into their revival tent, be declared lost, and never be the same. How prophetic! Not only was I saved at this very altar and baptized in that very tub 16 years ago under another Baptist ministry that once met in the same building, but it is also the same baptismal where my husband was immersed several weeks ago when we became members of a Baptist church during the revival! The revival tent is a wonderful place to be lost and then found!
And today I stand before you a healed woman. My husband loves God and has made his good confession that Jesus is Lord, and we are raising our three children to do the same. We’ve been blessed with a wonderful life that is full of very traditional headaches, heartaches, and trials.
Healing—a changed life—happens not only when people reach out to receive but also when they reach out to give. I want to thank Pastor Heinze and the people of Red Rocks Baptist Church for sponsoring the Changed Life ministry. I go there because of the acceptance that is extended to everyone.
I also want to thank pro-life protestors who reach out in the name of God, some of whom may be in the congregation of Red Rocks today. I am evidence that their calling makes a difference. Finally, I, too, am reaching out and offering to talk with anyone about overcoming guilt and pain because of past decisions.
I want to end with the response that Jesus gave to the woman with the bleeding disorder when she told others why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Luke 8:48 says, “Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’”
This testimony was given at the annual banquet for Changed Life Ministries, based out of Red Rocks Baptist Church in Denver, Colorado.