As a child, the only time I went to church was when I spent the weekend with my father's parents, Granny & Grandpa. Hearing the hymns they sang, seeing pictures of Jesus in thier home and the bible on their coffee table - I came to learn who Jesus was at a young age. But I didn't know that you could have a relationship with him - no one ever told me that! However, I'm certain that my Godly family prayed for me as I grew up. And the devil does love to distract those from a Godly influence, so as I grew up I was a product of my Mother's unhealthy reality.

 

My parents divorced when I was nine years old and I lived with my mother most of the time and visited my father every other weekend. Though, I considered myself a Daddy's girl. My mother is a very intelligent woman and worked hard at her job as an executive assistant in the oil and gas industry during the late 70's and early to mid 80's. My mother would go to bars after work, hang out with the guys from work, smoke, drink, cuss like a sailor and it seemed like she had a new boyfriend every couple of months. From her influence of leading some man hand in hand down the hall to her bedroom in my full view, I eventually lost my virginity at age 14 and I began stealing cigarettes from her when I was 15 and smoked for the next eight years. My identity became wrapped up in having a boyfriend. My mother was very permissive and gave me a lot of freedom that I shouldn't have had. Her philosophy was "well, if you're going to "do it", it might as well be under my roof so I know that you're safe!" Humph! Looking back, I think of the folly of this kind of wisdom! So many things could have gone so wrong, but I believe God had his hand on me even during this time in my life. So, with my mother's "permission", this gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted to, whenver I wanted to. Therefore, I gave myself away countless times in the hopes that a guy would really love me. But you know what? I never found any fulfillment in doing this! There was a constant void and emptiness inside of me that needed to be filled. And in my way of thinking, that emptiness needed to be filled by giving myself physically to a guy in the hopes of receiving love in return, because that was the worldview that I grew up with. My mother's reality became my reality. And if this boyfriend didn't fulfill me, then I thought the next one would be "the one" to make me feel whole. Later, after I married my first husband, I was diagnosed as having pre-cancerous cells on my cervix that the doctor said was caused from having had many sexual partners in my past! What an embarrassing thing to have to tell your newly wed husband!

 

At about the age of 20, I met my "Mr. Right" - and after dating for 3 years we moved in together.  We married about a year later. We built a house, had a dog and a cat lived there for about 2 1/2 years. Then we had to move to Upstate New York for his job. We settled into a fairly nice home there. We even had a very good income between the two of us, but I never felt truly happy. During our whole marriage, I dealt with depression and anxiety, but at the time, I didn't know that that's what was causing my sadness.  After a total of about 5 1/2 years of marriage, we finally had a baby together - just at the time that our marriage was ending which really sent me spiraling into a deep depression.  It was supposed to be one of the most joyful times of my life, but it was a very dark time.

 

I always thought that being married and having a child would make me feel complete, but I still felt empty inside. My husband and I ended up legally separating when my daughter was just nine months old and it was then, during a doctor's visit, that I was told that I had clinical depression and anxiety disorder. I realized I probably had this most of my life and that other members of my extended family had this too. My maternal grandfather tried to commit suicide in the early 80's when I was 12 years old. I got on anti-depressants and they helped a great deal, but not enough to save my marriage. During my divorce, I found myself praying to God quite often, "Lord, be with me" "Lord, help me" and praying the Serenity Prayer over and over because that was the only prayer I knew at the time.

 

During my separation from my first husband, and again thinking I had to have a man in my life, I got online and found one of those dating websites. There I met my future second husband. Once I started dating him, I quickly forgot about leaning on God. Again, the devil loves to throw in those distractions! So, after dating him for a couple of years, we decided to get married. Still not thinking about having Jesus in my life, I asked my cousin (a pastor) to marry us. At the time he lived close to Albany, NY - about a 5 hour drive from where I lived.

 

Upon arriving at my cousin's house, his way of leading us in pre-marital counseling was to lead us both in a prayer to receive Christ as our Savior. I did so with little hesitation, but my then fiance made it more of an intellectual decision and having doubts, drew out the question and answer session before finally praying to receive Christ in his life. When I invited Jesus into my life, I didn't fully understand the implications of what it really meant to live the Christian life. I knew that it was a major and drastic change that needed to take place in my life and so I spent a full year finding out what it really meant. I listened to Christian music, and read my bible, read articles and books about Jesus and the faith. After a year of doing these things, it was like the Holy Spirit said "alright, enough of this, it's time to start going to church".  And all of sudden I had a strong desire to go to church! I had never had this desire before, but I strongly felt that I had to find a church! Normally you couldn't have dragged me out of bed on a Sunday morning - I would typically sleep until about 11 or noon on weekends.  So after visiting three churches, I finally settled on one. I continued going to church there faithfully.

 

I became a completely different person than I used to be. My feeling of emptiness and void were gone! The short temper that I used to have was gone after asking Jesus to take it away from me. I felt a peace that I never had before. I also had a sense calm and spiritual strength even in the midst of very trying times, which I would be needing alot very soon.

 

My then second husband went to church with me for about two and a half years, but then fell away from it. But I kept going. Having Jesus in my life and going to church are the most consistent things I have ever done in my entire life!  After discontinuing to go to church with me, he then started following the way of the world again and eventually had an affair with a woman who assisted him in the Boyscout Troop that he led. He had become a ScoutMaster and they went on many trips together taking the scouts here and there to earn badges. Our marriage ended.

 

Even though the ending of that marriage was a very dark time for me, I really grew alot in my faith in Jesus. During that time I studied the bible more than I have at any other time and I really came to lean hard on Jesus to sustain and strengthen me. He blessed me and was with me in inumerable ways.

 

But old habits die hard and again I felt I needed a man in my life, but this time I was determined to make sure he was already a believer in Christ. I met David, my current husband. We now have a 7 month old daughter. My daughter from my previous marriage is now 12 and now lives near Atlanta, GA with her father.

 

More than once, when there were events in my life that were supposed to be joyous times, Jesus sustained me through what ended up being very dark and difficult times in my life. He kept my head above water most recently when my daughter moved to Georgia and shortly after my father committed suicide. Then having to deal with my step-mother blaming me for my Dad's death, I easily could have gone under. Had I not had Jesus to lean on during that time, I think I would have drowned in depression.

 

I look back at my life and compare myself to the woman that committed adultery in John chapter 8 who was surrounded by the Pharisees who accused her infront of Jesus. Jesus knelt down and drew something in the sand. So He said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first". They kept asking him to answer them, so he knelt again and while he drew in the sand, the pharisees started feeling that they were not without sin, so they left one by one, leaving Jesus alone with the woman and so Jesus said to her "Where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord". So Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more". And I look ahead and have Jeremiah 29:11-13 burned in my heart - "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."

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Replies to This Discussion

Wow Andrea thanks for sharing your testimony . It's always encouraging to hear how God works in people's life . it's hard to think there is no God when he is the one working deep into our hearts . Thanks for sharing ! keep on thriving and inspiring

God Blesss !

-shelbs

Hey Shelby! Thanks for the reply! I appreciate it!  I would love to read your testimony too, when you get a chance! Leave it here! :-) 

Hugs, Andrea

I'm Shelby. I was born in Calgary, Alberta. I moved to Manitoba when I was just starting grade 9. We moved here because my parents both grew up in small towns in B.C and Ontario. They wanted to escape the rush of the city and move down a pace. They seem to enjoy it a lot out here from the second we moved into our small house in Plumas. For me it took some adjusting but God moulded me to love it. Here’s a bit about me, I'm eager to grow and learn, and I love learning new things and having conversations about things that matter. I like playing sports, hanging out and chatting with just anyone. I connect well with God through conversations and music I like to sing and really want to learn how to play guitar. I look forward to going to youth every other week and chatting with people I usually don’t see. I am a pretty friendly person but i can be quite shy as well I enjoy doing new things even if there nerve racking because it builds character. I don't like sitting around on weekends when I could be active doing something, my weak point in school is in the math and science area.  I do better in one on one conversation's then in larger groups.  I'm excited for the future! I want to be involved in some sort of outreach and go on a mission’s trip. I also want to go to bible college i am practically interested in Nipawin Bible College and I feel that’s where God is calling me. I want to serve the Lord in any way possible and want to be available for him to use me and stretch me.  I strongly believe that our words have to line up with our actions. The youth of today can build foundations for the future. One way would be setting an example for others that Christ makes an incredible difference in our lives. For me I didn’t really grow up in a Christian home. My parents believed in the existence of God but it was never something we talked about.  In my early life God was never a focus because no one around me made it clear that he mattered.  For the most part I thought I was going down an acceptable path until I moved to Manitoba where I had to learn to fit in all over again. I looked for acceptance in all the wrong places and before i knew it I was friends with people who offered me a path of hurt and destruction. I got into bad habits, bad friendships and even worse a bad perception of what I thought was right and wrong.  After a bad relationship I pretty much hit rock bottom, I felt hopeless alone and the hurt and the emptiness just wouldn’t go away. I started asking myself what I was missing in my life because I felt so empty. The hurt I was feeling showed up in school I don’t think I smiled much.  Joel Goertzen who is a youth for Christ worker in Gladstone and in my high school (WMCI) noticed that I was struggling and asked me if I ever needed to talk we could go for coffee. So one day I took up his offer and God blessed the conversation and gave Joel the opportunity to tell me about Jesus!  The whole conversation turned my mind upside down.  God gave me the will to go home and check out some of these weird things he told me about. So I picked up a bible and began to read and I read and read and read. It was fascinating!  I had many other coffee meetings with Joel and each time I’d leave with some hope thinking wow Joel thanks! But I soon began to realize the work in me was not Joel it was God. So Joel lined me up to go to youth group and I went and Angela Penner gave a devotional on God and how we need other Christians in our lives to help us in our walk with God.  So I began to go to youth more often although I was nervous and I didn’t know anybody. But I continued to go and felt encouraged while I was there but I’d go home and forget all about God. I didn’t know how to talk to God I couldn’t hold a conversation with him. So I began to write in a journal and before I knew it God was like a best friend tome I spoke very openly.  The more i learned about his love and forgiveness it became easier to develop a relationship with him and not just an existence. I surrendered to God and wanted him to take over the steering wheel of my life, although I did that there were still a lot I didn’t get. I struggled with trusting God and trying to wrap my head around the concept of God loving us even though we don’t deserve it. I felt like I couldn’t believe in God because I couldn’t feel his presence anymore the joy was gone. But God spoke to me through Hebrews 12:5-6 “and have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said my child don’t ignore it when the Lord discipline’s you and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves and he punishes those he accepts as his children”. This reminded me to trust God when things don’t go my way.  On February 5 2011 I went to mission’s fest in Winnipeg, I prayed with all the faith I thought I had that God would bless the weekend for the group. After seeing all the people at booths representing and serving God and how much passion they had to share it with everyone there, it challenged me and spoke to my heart. I left Missions Fest with this challenge to put my life more into Gods hands instead of my own I thought if God can smuggle 3 million bibles I can trust him with my life. I went home and the day after that for the first time I heard God speak to me to serve him at a more local church. This is so awesome to share because it’s when I first witnessed the Holy Spirit guiding me to do something and i didn’t question it. God has continually spoken into my life through his word and he continually is changing my heart I’m no longer trying to live up to what I want but what Gods wants for me. Lately I have been learning how important constant communication is with God and how important the bible is in our lives. He has taught me how effective prayer is and has brought to my attention that I need to give my whole self to him not just parts.

Shelby! Wow. What a great testimony! You and I sound a lot a like! I too have always been rather shy and I do better with people one on one. And I have always been more interested in the deeper things of life rather than surface issues.

 

Shelby, you are very mature for your age and are very well spoken! God has definitely given you a gift of communicating and encouraging. I know God is going to use you in mighty ways to further His Kingdom!

 

And yes, God will continually refine us in the fire to burn off the impurities of our character that He cannot use. To make us more Christ-like as you saw in the Hebrews verse. So expect more "fires" in your life. But praise God in them, for if He didn't think you were worthy of His calling, He wouldn't bother.

 

Thank you for leaving your testimony here. Consider copying and pasting it into "Add Discussion" when you first open this Group so that others will see it right away and be able to comment directly to it.

 

I pray God's blessings will be upon you and the ministries He has in mind for your future. I'm a great listener and mentor, so feel free to send me a message anytime.

 

You Friend in Christ,

Andrea

Those are great testimonies!!! I am glad that God has turned your heart from the distractions in life!!

God is good!! (as my mom always said) Thanks for sharing!!

God Bless you all!!

-Raymond

Thank you Raymond! Please consider leaving yours here too! At the main Testimonies page, simply "Add a Discussion" and share! It's always encouraging to see what God does in people's lives.

Thanks Andrea
iv'e started a small group in my home town for girls younger then me Pray Gods blessing and guidence throught the group its been good so far but im not excited as i should be ! Thanks for the encoruagment i will continue to encourage others!


Andrea Schuler said:

Shelby! Wow. What a great testimony! You and I sound a lot a like! I too have always been rather shy and I do better with people one on one. And I have always been more interested in the deeper things of life rather than surfiace issues.

 

Shelby, you are very mature for your age and are very well spoken! God has definitely given you a gift of communicating and encouraging. I know God is going to use you in mighty ways to further His Kingdom!

 

And yes, God will continually refine us in the fire to burn off the impurities of our character that He cannot use. To make us more Christ-like as you saw in the Hebrews verse. So expect more "fires" in your life. But praise God in them, for if He didn't think you were worthy of His calling, He wouldn't bother.

 

Thank you for leaving your testimony here. Consider copying and pasting it into "Add Discussion" when you first open this Group so that others will see it right away and be able to comment directly to it.

 

I pray God's blessings will be upon you and the ministries He has in mind for your future. I'm a great listener and mentor, so feel free to send me a message anytime.

 

You Friend in Christ,

Andrea

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