1. Friend

    “No regrets because Jesus redeems!!” I like that! Do you remember me? Please forgive me for not getting back to you with the results sooner as you had asked. I told you part of my story after the last session of the Covenant Park Women’s conference fall 2016 and you prayed for me even as they were putting chairs away! Some years ago I had read the book “Your scars are beautiful to God” by Sharon Jaynes which had set me free from the ghosts of my past. In the past I had been kicked out of music ministry, working at a gospel mission and even had been denied church membership once they found out I had been divorced! They actually would have accepted me if I had had my 3 children outside of marriage! Divorce was considered the “unpardonable sin”. I had now found a church home finally after so many years of rejection and I became increasingly fearful that “if they only knew” they would kick me out. That fear of rejection hung like a heavy fog and I couldn’t see my way past it.
    You had wisely advised me to first have my women’s Bible study group pray with me and let them know I was struggling once again with fear of rejection over my past and to have them pray for me when I made an appt. with my pastor. You said it would be important to have my pastor on my side. Well—I am glad I did exactly what you advised.
    I must tell you that God has blessed me with a wonderful Christian husband these last 13 years! He and I went together to meet with our pastor. For 3 hours I shared my life story and testimony–how God had been with me thru the “good, the bad and ugly” my whole life, thru 4 divorces (3 before I was even 31 years old ), how God had protected me and my sons from danger and life threats and oftentimes miraculously had met our needs. God has healed me from P.T.S.D. and heart PVCs caused from the stress and the fear we lived under for years!
    My first divorce was totally unexpected when I was only 22. My husband was a minister who was cheating on me with a guy! I was so devastated that I quickly married #2 to prove I was alright, but he turned out to be abusive. I decided to get an Order for Protection when he almost killed us one day. I was told by church people that I didn’t have scriptural grounds to divorce him, that I would go to hell because he wasn’t cheating on me! 3rd was a nice Christian guy but he struggled with mental illness which worsened with the stress of a readymade family. After that I stayed single MANY years and concentrated on raising my kids, going thru counseling, getting a college degree and getting back on my feet financially. 4th marriage only was for 2 years until I found out he had lied about EVERY aspect of his life. When his sister and even our pastor confronted him, he became more verbally abusive and life threatening (even to the pastor! The last day we were together he trapped me in a room while he ranted and raved profanities for hours while he held his rifle. Later on I was able to escape and then he tried to run me over with his van. I managed to run into a business and have them call the cops. That was IT. I got an OFP and my kids and I went to stay with my folks. The year I waited for the divorce, he would stalk me or threaten us over the phone. I called the cops several times. For years I suffered with PTSD. He stole everything he possibly could from me in every aspect of my life which took YEARS to recover from.
    Several times during my story, the pastor had tears streaming down his face. He would share scriptures of promise with me and he prayed with us. He said “Jesus never condemned you, why should I?!” Whew!!! What a breakthrough. Since then I have ended up sharing parts of my story selectively with a few people and God has anointed it to bring hope to them. Once I found myself praying with tears of joy and gratitude that God could use my story. I even found myself thanking God for letting me go through it…perhaps it was for “such a time as this” to help that one person…to perhaps spare them years of misery. I NEVER thought I would ever come to the point of thanking God for those years of struggles. What Satan meant for my bad, God has turned for good. He HAS “restored the years the locusts had eaten.” I often reminded myself of Joel 2:25 and Isaiah 41:10 during the dark times of my life. God has brought healing in EVERY area of my life.
    One of my sons is in ministry today and thru tears once I shared my story with him (so much happened when he was young so he had been unaware). I told him just how close we all came to losing our lives–either because of the abuse OR because I was so desperate to end the nightmare of our existence that I hoped me and my sons would be killed instantly in a car crash. I realize Satan KNEW that I would be a threat to his kingdom and that my son would be too someday and he wanted to kill us off early. I told my son it was only because of God’s grace and intervention, providing us a way of escape that saved our lives! He is now a living testimony because I chose GOD years ago and trusted He would somehow bring us thru and redeem our wrecked lives. Norwegians say “Tusen Takk!” which means “1,000 thanks!”….but that doesn’t even begin to express my gratitude for God’s grace and redemption.

    • Kathy Schwanke

      Jesus works all things for good and is going to use your story to comfort and encourage others. You are a shining example of His glorious grace! Praise God for His power to set you free!
      Love you friend! 🙂

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