I discovered recently that I’m allergic to Band-Aids or, rather to Band-Aid adhesive. I assumed it was uncommon until several friends set me straight on the facts of the matter. I’m not nearly as strange and special as I had hoped… Who knew?!
I hope the title of this post wasn’t too misleading. Band-Aids and testimonies, to my knowledge, have absolutely nothing to do with one another aside from the fact that they are two things that have been on my mind today – the Band-Aids because, in addition to the curling iron burn I have on my arm, the skin surrounding my wound is now red and puffy and altogether gross. I could probably forget about it if it wasn’t demanding my attention constantly… And, testimonies because I’ve felt lately that I should share mine with you. (Whoever “you” are, as I really have no idea who, if anyone, is reading this stuff.)
When I was a kid, I heard the testimonies of many, many people. I grew up in a conservative, Presbyterian church and attended a private, Christian school from Kindergarten through my senior year in high school. I remember listening to stories from people who came from less than ideal situations in life, only to hit rock bottom and “find Jesus” in their utter hopelessness. It sparked an emotional reaction within me that I found inspiring – at least until the next morning.
By the time I graduated from high school in 1995, I was a guilt ridden, naïve, young woman who knew a whole lot of doctrine and theology but had no clue what a true relationship with God was.
The years that followed weren’t easy. College was a disaster for me. My heart just wasn’t in it; I had left it at home with Brad, who was a high school junior at the time. I made the decision to leave my college dreams behind, come home and begin working toward a career instead.
Being thrust into the “real world” after a lifetime of knowing very little outside of my Christian education was a bit surreal. I all but forgot about my Christian roots and began to separate myself from friends and family whose use of Christian “lingo” and constant “Jesus talk” grated on my nerves to the point of making me angry.
By the time Brad graduated in 1997, I was itching to be engaged already. Brad, by the way, was only 17 at the time. Unbelievable… Anyway, it took me 10 long months to wear him down until he was ready (*ahem*) to propose. We were married on November 6, 1998. On November 8th of that same year we were ready to start a family. Give me a minute while I wipe the tears of laughter and hysteria from my eyes as I re-read that sentence a couple times….
Ok, let me rephrase: On November 8th in 1998, we thought we were ready to start a family. Eight months later, after what seemed like forever, we were expecting our first baby. The next three years are an absolute blur. I delivered three healthy baby girls over those three years. Suddenly (it felt “sudden” anyway…), we went from newlyweds to a family of five.
Within the first year of our youngest daughter’s life, our marriage became quite strained and, throughout the following three years we experienced a lifetime of ups and downs and immense amounts of heartache.
By 2006, our marriage was all but over and a divorce was imminent. While Brad was in Hawaii for a friend’s wedding, I hit my “rock bottom”. I credit my precious mother with truly saving my life on that day. She suggested that I talk with her Pastor at the church she and my dad and, periodically, Brad and I had attended for several years.
I cried more tears that day than I knew a human could possibly cry. With the guidance of our wonderful Pastor DeVille, I literally cried out to God, acknowledged Jesus’ sacrifice for me, confessed my sin, repented and asked Him to be the Lord of my life. I left that meeting with Pastor DeVille with no tears left to cry. My life was certainly not instantly perfect but I knew then that I would never be the same.
Over the next two years, Brad and I were able to begin to repair our relationship and heal our family. Because of a series of poor choices (translation: stupid choices), we were forced to make some difficult financial decisions. We had been homeowners since I was 18 years old and, suddenly were forced to give that up and rent instead. Initially, we were discouraged but it wasn’t long before we began to see the good in our situation.
Late last summer, we found ourselves in a position to rent a beautiful home from some good friends of ours. Brad and I as a couple have experienced an intense year of spiritual growth. God has blessed us in countless ways and I am just beginning to learn about the true depth of His love for me.
Each day is a challenge to seek God’s will for my life and for my family. The transition from the old me to the new me hurts sometimes… But, it’s so worth every growing pain…