My parents split up when I was about two years old. My childhood is a blur of being juggled between different family members; my mom, dad, grandparents and my Nanny (great-grandma) and moving all over the place. Needless to say I had an unstable childhood where nothing was certain. Neither my mother nor Father were Christians. They both very much lived in the world, as did I. My maternal grandparents are Christians and took me to church whenever I was at their house. My Nanny was a sweet saint of God as well and she always took me to church. I lived with my Nanny a good deal of my childhood. I never questioned whether or not I was loved though. I've always felt much loved by my family. Especially my grandparents and my Nanny. They had an amazing capacity for love and I equate their love with the love of God.
I was exposed to things during my childhood that no child should be exposed to, causing my views of the world and what is morally right and wrong to be tainted. My teenage years were filled with one bad decision after another. I longed to be accepted, to feel loved and to fit in. My early twenties just got worse. Much worse. As a young woman I had absolutely no respect for myself and no measure of self worth. I felt empty, alone and often depressed. In my search for love and acceptance I turned to men, drugs and alcohol. By the age of 19 I was pregnant. My mother died when I was about 5 1/2 months pregnant and in the years that followed, my grief and our many unresolved issues was like an all consuming fire within me. I began to quickly self-destruct, sucked into the dark world of drugs and immorality. I didn't know if I would ever be able to claw my way out.
As I previously mentioned I did go to church growing up when I visited with my grandparents. At the age of 12 I remember going down the aisle at church and saying the prayer to ask Jesus into my heart. It seemed like the right thing to do. I didn't feel conviction or feel like I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I even got baptized. Going all throughout my teenage years and my early twenties I thought I was saved. This was a very dangerous mindset because I knew enough about the Bible and God to know that Jesus would forgive me for anything. I just lived my life thinking that later on down the line when I was ready to be a good Christian and straighten up, Jesus would forgive me and I would get things right. I'm so thankful that the Lord preserved me and kept me from mortal danger while I was under this deception.
In 2005 several events took place that caused me to seriously ponder my path in life. One such event involved my son, and I knew immediately that there needed to be drastic changes in my life. I was so deeply rooted in sin that I had no idea how to find my way out. I began to pray for the Lord to help me find a way to change. A way to walk away from the horrifying mess that I had put us both in. I was living in New Orleans, LA at this time and I began to feel like maybe I should go to church. This scared me a great deal because I knew that if I went to church I would have to change my life. I had seen so many hypocrites in my life that I didn't want to be one of those. I wanted to either do things all the way or not at all.
I found a church a few minutes away from my house and purposed to go there on Sunday. On that Saturday I realized that Hurricane Katrina was coming straight for Louisiana and that I needed to evacuate. I went home to Florida to stay with my grandparents.
The next day was a Sunday, August 28, I found myself at church with my grandparents. I remember sitting in Sunday school in the corner feeling so ashamed of myself. I sat with my head down the entire time crying. I didn't interact with anyone. During the entire church service I remember sitting next to my Grandma trembling. For the first time in my life I saw myself as God must have seen me. As a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. I couldn't even think past drawing my next breath. The only thing pressing on my mind and heart was that I needed Jesus more than I needed air. I went to the alter during the invitation. Now, at this time I still thought that I had been saved when I was 12, so I thought that I just needed to re-dedicate my life to the Lord. The pastor at that church didn't want to deal with me much. He just said a quick prayer with me and sent me on my way.
Over the next several weeks I was constantly in prayer and reading through the New Testament. In those weeks I realized that there was no possible way I had ever been saved. I realized that the first time I ever felt convicted and came to the realization that I was a sinner was on that Sunday, August 28. One night in my room I got on my knees by my bed and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins. I asked Him to come into my heart and change me. I told Him that I wanted to love Him and live for Him. This is the single best decision that I have ever made.
Over the next weeks and months I saw such change in my life. I immediately stopped doing drugs, drinking and smoking. I only went back to Louisiana to get my belongings from my home, which had been spared from damage. I never had any further contact with my friends there. I completely walked away from my life. I laid it all down for Jesus. I became very careful about everything that I saw, heard and did. It was such an amazing transformation and completely of the Lord. It was actually all really easy. I didn't, and still don't, ever want to go back to the person I was before Christ. That thought terrifies me.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." And that was exactly the case for me. Everything in my life became new, fresh and beautiful.
It is amazing that God used a hurricane to save me. I would never go as far as to say that He sent that Hurricane just for me, but I know that He did use it to work good in my life. I was 26 when I got saved. My son was five. Unfortunately, due to my life being so full of the lusts of my flesh, sin and the world, my son was exposed to things I wish that he hadn't been. By the grace of God though, I was saved and He began to teach me how to be a parent.
Through reading the scripture, the Proverbs and seeing the godly examples of others I have seen my son come to Christ, our relationship grow into something beautiful that I never would have imagined and have seen him sparred from so much of what I endured as a child.
Since being saved I have experienced renewed relationships with family members, I have, for the first time in my life, made real, lasting friendships and I have experienced blessings so abundant that I can't even begin to count or detail them all.
Knowing Christ, having a personal relationship with Jesus, is the greatest joy of my life. Second to that is being a mother.
Now I don't know how other people, or myself before being saved for that matter, go through life without knowing Jesus. I am so thankful that I am saved.
Cancer was a journey that I never expected to take. Going THROUGH that journey with Christ though is what got me THROUGH. Every day that I was sick I would say to myself, "I thank God that I am saved". I trusted God with my life. I trusted Him with my future, but cancer is scary because you don't know if God's will is for you to live or die. I'm not completely out of the woods yet, but I am so thankful to be on the other side of the journey and to be healthy and happy. Honestly, I am extremely grateful that the Lord gave me the valley of cancer. I am grateful that He took my leg. I have never been closer to Him or happier than I am right now and I wouldn't take anything for the journey that got me to where I am today. I am completely awestruck by my Jesus and that He has not only worked such miracles in my life, but He has given me the ability to be thankful for everything that I’ve been through and to always praise Him!