Updated December 11, 2019
I’m a forty-year-old mom with an eighteen-year-old son in his freshman year in college. I was born and raised in Bronx, NY. My parents divorced when I was a baby and I did not have an active relationship with my dad. My mom remarried when I was about three and around this time, we began attending church. My youngest sister was born shortly before I turned five. Their marriage ended in divorce when I was about eleven years old, which is around the time my mom, sister and I stop going to church.
My sister and I were raised by my mom. As a teenager, the only godly influence in my life was my maternal grandmother and she was faithful in praying for each of her children and grandchildren daily. Even still, I would visit the church with her occasionally but I did not have an understanding of the gospel nor did I want to go to church.
Let’s just say, life without God, is sad, empty and painful.
At twenty-one, I gave birth to my son. His father and I were together in High School and a couple of years after but by the time he was conceived, we were no longer together. The only thing that remained was a broken past that couldn’t be mended. In the years that followed, many painful events involving my son’s father took place in my life. Many of which I had to take ownership of but many he was responsible for. My son was unfortunately caught in the crossfire of a horrible custody battle. As time passed, things got worse, the pain intensified and the wounds got deeper. As a result, I was marked by betrayal, deception, insecurities, low self-esteem and a lack of self-worth. I was often angry, bitter and paralyzed by fear. Since my son’s birth, I tried to seek God but I was never consistent. I felt I needed to be in a good place to go back to church and that all of my problems needed to be resolved before giving my life to Jesus.
I did not know what it was like to be in a healthy, secure relationship. I had several failed relationships throughout the years. I always felt like I was “the one before the one”. So I began to settle for the position of being “second”. I believed I wasn’t worth more; that if they didn’t want to be with me and only me in an exclusive relationship then I would take what I could get. While I never uttered those words, my actions spoke loudly.
The enemy had me exactly where he wanted me. Broken. Lost. Confused. Empty. Though I had my family who loved me, what many didn’t know was that I was struggling with serious strongholds in my life. Even then, the God who created me in HIS image had a plan to restore everything the enemy stole from me. I just couldn’t see it at the time but God saw me.
It could have been very easy to fall into drugs and alcohol and become a careless mom but by God’s grace, I did not. Through everything, my son and my family were the ones that helped me stay strong. I thank God for my mom because she played a critical role in my maintaining sane.
I worked and went to college full-time and during which time she helped me raise my son. To distract me from the trauma and pain, I returned to school to study for my Bachelor’s degree. I acquired two degrees in Criminal Justice. It was not easy. It took me five years to graduate because of the custody battles, bouts of depression, no motivation, etc. There were many times I wanted to quit but I made it through with the help and prayers of my mom and grandmother. Even then, God was faithful in carrying me.
When my son was about eight years old, his father and I reached a place of civility. He moved to Florida with his new family and my son suffered greatly. In August 2011, I decided to move to Florida with my son so that he could be closer to his dad but that decision required that my son and I be seperated until I was stable with a job and a place for us to live; during which he lived with his father. Never did I imagine we would be separated for two years.
“A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Simply put, those two years were the most agonizing and most challenging years of my life but also the most adventurous and most definitely needed for God to begin doing a work in me.
Shortly after arriving in Florida, I understood that God brought me from New York to Florida, separated me from my son and my immediate family for a season; from my son and immediate family which were . I began to see His work in my life even during my circumstances. First, He blessed me with a place to stay here with family and for that, I am forever grateful because that is where God began to work in me. The time had come where it was me and God.
In February 2012, I re-dedicated my life to Jesus and I began on a journey of experiencing God’s amazing grace, His unfailing love and His loving mercy. All amid pain, falling, getting up again, laughing, crying, etc. I surrendered my life to the Lord and pretty much said ‘do Your Will in my life’ but even as I said that I still did not understand the magnitude of the statement I made. Little by little the Holy Spirit began to chisel away at my hardened heart scarred by hurt, pain, resentment, anger, and the like.
As time progressed, the Holy Spirit continued to make me aware of things I was so used to doing in my life (before Him) that did not glorify the Lord. I did not like the correction but He was patient with me.
The closer I drew to the Lord, the more He revealed; the more I confessed and the more I was becoming free. I used to be a very bitter and angry person and as a result, I hurt a lot of people because they hurt me. Even still, God showed me how important it was not only to ask for forgiveness but also forgive those who hurt me.
God delivered me from the strongholds, oppression, resentment, bitterness, pain, and any hatred once harbored in my heart. Because He is so faithful, He’s filled me with His love, peace, patience, kindness and His goodness. He’s been gracious to me and patient with me. His mercy endures foever. God is so very good!
To be forgiven, once must forgive. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).
Every tear I’ve cried, wound I endured and every painful experience, He has healed. He’s restored me and the relationships I thought were beyond repair. He has redeemed me, made me a better woman, a better mother, a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend. He’s molded me to be a woman after His own heart.
I now live totally and utterly in love with my Savior and it all began when I decided to let God change me. It was a choice because He wouldn’t force me.
My process required surrender. Everything I thought I knew, everything I experienced, people I thought I needed and everything I wanted to control needed to be placed in the hands of a loving Father Who was faithful to make me new.
When I first moved to Florida, God promised made me a promise I hang tight to when I couldn’t see the shore during this season. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Jeremiah 29:11.
He sure has been faithful and His Word has not returned void!
Scripture also says, “God is not a man that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19
God gives second and third chances because He loves us. He’s a forgiving God and loving Father who does not want to lose us.
The Word of God says “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance”. 2 Peter 3:9
So much more has happened since this journey began. I wrestled a lot with God along the way. I wish I could say I never failed God but I did. I struggled with depression a lot and also had several rough years with my teenage son. I also didn’t settle in a church for long time because I got hurt several times. I did not want accountability and it was what I needed most. I did not want correction but without it we cannot grow.
I needed to surrender some more. My will, for Gods. I answered the call of God on my life. In doing so, I’ve seen His hand move in ways too great to express here but the promises He began making 6+ years ago are beginning to come to fruition in this season.
My son gave his life to the Lord and attends a Christian university. I am now in ministry, being mentored and mentoring others. This is possible because I’ve replaced every “no” I said from a place of fear with a “yes” to be obedient. So God is stretching me and growing me.
After all, obedience is greater than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).
I am still on a journey with Jesus and as His Word promises, I am going from glory to glory; faith to faith and I wouldn’t trade what I have with Jesus for anything else.
I now know who I am in Christ. I know Who’s I am because He died for me and His Holy Spirit lives in me. I know where I am going because He guides me and orders my steps. I’m not defined by my past, I am a daughter of the King and a warrior for the Kingdom of God. Today I can say with certainty, “As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
So, if you’re reading this today and you find yourself feeling as if there is no hope, I pray my story encourages you to know that there is. God allows us to go through things for His glory and for someone else who need it one day.
There is Hope and His name is Jesus. He has and will always the Anchor in every storm, the Shelter from the rain, my place of Refuge when I need safety and my Hiding Place when I need to get away. He is everything I will ever need and more than I’ve ever asked for. He all of the above for me and so much more. I promise He can be the same for you.
If you need prayer, please feel free to message me and I will pray for you.
Jesus loves you!
Don’t give up, stay encouraged, and follow Jesus.
In Christ’s Love,
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