Like Nothing Before
Jun 27, 2021 | by The Fellowship
I grew up in a very dysfunctional family with two sisters and one brother. My father was an alcoholic; my mother was angry and stressed all the time. Even though my father was addicted to alcohol, he was always kind -- but just never present. My mother’s anger was continually expressed in lots of screaming and drama. I hardly remember a calm day in my childhood ... it was a pretty dark time!
All I knew about God was taught to me by my grandmother. She was so kind and prayed about everything, including us! Often she took us to her very traditional church, but her real contribution was to plant the seed of hope (God) in my heart.
My father stopped drinking in his late 40’s and never touched alcohol again. His relationship with our mother strengthened, and he did all he could to build great bonds with his four (mostly grown) children. I love my parents deeply and hold no resentment towards them (thanks to God).
Unfortunately, the drama and addiction led to many issues for us children. We girls all married young, I assume in an attempt to find some type of love that we never experienced growing up. My brother is a full-blown alcoholic. He is kind and functioning, but nevertheless an alcoholic.
I married as a teenager. My husband was both an alcoholic and a drug addict, so things went downhill quickly. I do not recall much, not really liking to remember that period as we were only married a short time. The one good result from that marriage was a son.
I went on to raise my son alone and married a second time. This husband was also an alcoholic, but functioning and holding an impressive job. We were blessed with a daughter, and he was father to both my children. His alcoholism (and the resulting problems) became apparent almost immediately after we married, but I stayed and stayed – for 25 years. I stayed through many infidelities, many lies, many sad times. It almost killed me trying to keep my marriage together.
One day while looking in the mirror, I was overcome with shame for what I had become. My deep desire was for our daughter to know this was not what marriage was meant to be, and women deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.
When I finally got the courage to file for divorce, things were dark for a very long time. Eventually, my ex-husband passed away from addiction. It was all very, very sad, but ... with God there is always hope!
One day a friend invited me to her church. While there, I begged God to help me change my life. He blessed me with something so incredible -- an inner feeling of peace for the first time in my life! That birthed a desire to know more about who God was. I wanted a better, peace-filled life!
While it was not easy at first to live as God wants, little by little my life started to change in positive ways. My career began to take off and has been blessed beyond belief. It was totally God ... I give all the glory to Him!
Almost daily, I drove by The Fellowship and felt a tug at my heart each time I passed. So one day I got up my courage and walked into this church! Hearing the worship team and the pastor for the first time brought tears to my eyes. Everything spoke to my heart like nothing I had ever experienced before! I kept coming back again and again, always hearing that the most important thing in life is a relationship with God! He is the healer of all things!
When the church offered the Alpha program (a forum for asking questions and learning more about Christianity) a few months ago, I enrolled. It was there I had a breakthrough moment, repented of my sins and accepted Jesus as my Savior. And it was there that I experienced the joy of connecting with a group who desires to share their love and grow in their relationship to God. Following Alpha, I immediately transitioned into a wonderful LIFE Group.
The prayers of my grandmother have been answered in extraordinary ways! I am now living a very blessed life. My children are doing well, and they know God is first in my life and that He is the answer to all things. My hope is that anyone who is struggling with life can know that when you turn your life over to God -- all things are possible!
A Joy-Filled Believer
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17