Beauty for My Ashes: My Testimony


(Originally Posted on June 9, 2013)

Isaiah 61:3

“to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.”

 This is my testimony. It is not easy sharing this, but God has put it on my heart to do so. 

 Warning: This is a very long testimony so you will be sitting here reading for a while. I suggest grabbing something to drink and some food to hold you over while you read. After reading this, please don’t feel sorry for me. I’m not sharing this to get sympathy or pity. I’m sharing this because I want everyone to know how awesome Jesus is. I want you all to know the true power of the love of Jesus and how accepting Him can truly change your life. He has truly made me a brand new person. After reading this, I hope it will encourage you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, rededicate your life back to Him, or simply grow even closer to Him. Even further than that, I hope it motivates you to seek Jesus with all your heart. I’m also sharing this to clear up any misconceptions of Christians so-called not having a past or not having things to overcome. All Christians are ex-somethings. Jesus has a lot of changing to do within all of us, but the fact of the matter is that He CAN do it and He WILL do it if you let Him and trust Him.

 Even before I was born, the enemy had a hit out on my life. My mom got pregnant with me when she was 24. At the time, her and my dad were having a lot of problems in their marriage. It had gotten to the point that she didn’t want to bring me into the stressful situation so she had decided to have an abortion. While in the waiting room to get the abortion, the Holy Spirit comforted her, told her to not have the abortion, and reassured her that everything would be all right. She walked out of that clinic and never looked back. I was born several months later on July 23, 1989. I really don’t remember much about my life before the age of 4, but my mom always says that I was a happy child and a very inquisitive child. However, when I was 4, my world was turned upside down: my parents got a divorce. Now that I think about it, my parents’ divorce hurt me much more than I thought. I was devastated at the fact that my daddy would no longer be in the home with us. For the longest I was angry with my mom because I felt like it was her fault. I would get to see my dad every other weekend and that was okay until me and my mom got in an argument or she wouldn’t let me do certain things. Anytime she upset me I would tell her I was going to live with my dad. I would call my dad and ask if I could come live with him, but he would always say no because my mom needed me there with her. Eventually I just stopped asking. It made me feel like he didn’t want me or that he didn’t want me around that much, which broke my heart. When I was 7, my dad remarried. The day of his wedding I was angry. The reality of the fact that my mom and dad would never be together again had finally hit me. On top of that, my dad’s new wife and I did not have a good relationship. Before the marriage, her and I had a great relationship, but after the marriage everything between us seemed to go down hill. Our relationship involved much deception, rejection, division, and all around confusion. By her actions, I assumed that she hated me and I know that my actions showed that the feelings were mutual. As I got older, I began to hate having to go over my dad’s house every other weekend due to the fact that me and my stepmom’s relationship was volatile, and the fact that my dad and I hardly spent time together because he was always working. As time went on, I began to resent my dad. That resentment eventually grew into hate. I hated him for always saying that he wanted to spend time with me, but was unable to make time for me when I came over to visit. I hated him for never showing me in his actions that he loved me. I hated him for not doing anything about me and my stepmom’s troubled relationship. In my mind, a father was supposed to be a protector, but I didn’t feel protected.

 I didn’t discover boys until I was 13. I guess that’s typical since that’s when most kids begin puberty. The first time I was ever in “love” was when I was 13. The reason why I put love in quotation marks is because now that I look back on it, that was not true love. It was very distorted and perverted.  True love is biblical love, God’s love, agape love. Jesus’ definition of love is this:

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

 My first relationship was very unhealthy. I made the guy my everything. It was to the point that our moods were dependent on each other. If he was up, then I was up; if he was down, then I was down and vice versa. After our very first kiss, our relationship escalated out of control. We didn’t have sex, but the things we did were sexually immoral. When our parents found out about our relationship and how unhealthy it was, they told us to end things and they kept us from each other. When this happened, I fell into a deep depression. I wouldn’t talk to anyone; I just kept to myself. It got to the point that I began to have suicidal thoughts. Every night I cried myself to sleep. I just didn’t want to go on with my life; I wanted to give up and just die. Because I made him my life, I felt like a piece of me was missing. My mom realized what was going on with me so one night she grabbed a bottle of olive oil, rubbed some on my forehead, and began to pray over me. She even prayed over me in the Spirit. I thank God for her. She demonstrated and still demonstrates the power of prayer. After that, each day I got stronger and those suicidal thoughts began to leave me. It took time, but I grew stronger. My mom and I started back going to church, but I never really developed a relationship with God. I just saw church as somewhere my mom forced me to go. I never really paid attention in church nor did I have a desire for the things of God.

 Although I was over my first love, I felt lonely and empty. I felt like something was missing; I had a void in my life. I thought the way to fill that void was with a relationship so throughout middle school and high school I dated different guys. Nothing sexual ever happened between me and these guys…I just used them as void fillers. I still felt lonely and incomplete…I knew something was missing, but I didn’t know what it was. Then I met C. I met C through my best friend at the time. He wasn’t anything special and I didn’t really like him, but I really wanted a boyfriend so I asked him to be mine and he agreed. I settled just so that I wouldn’t be alone. After a few weeks of dating, he took my virginity. It wasn’t anything special. I just wanted to get it out of the way. This is the biggest regret of my life, but I can’t go back and change it. The reason why I gave my virginity away so easily was because I didn’t know that my body was not my own.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

 I dated C all through my senior year of high school. At this time, my mom was working a second job to help take care of me and pay for all my expenses (graduation, my debutante program, etc.). Since my mom worked nights, C would come over my house and we would just have sex. There was never anything more to our relationship. I wanted more, but didn’t push it because I didn’t want to end up alone so I just settled for what he was willing to give me. I was insecure and didn’t know my worth, which was why I settled for anything. One night my mom came home sooner than we expected and everything was revealed. She was angry, but even worse she called my dad. He came over and yelled at me and C. While he was yelling, I didn’t really get anything out of it. I kept thinking, “Who is he to yell at me? He hasn’t even been a part of my life and now he wants to discipline me?” I didn’t take him seriously. I acted remorseful and sorry, but in reality I wasn’t sorry for anything. I continued to see C a little after that and then a couple of months later I broke up with him.

I didn’t feel anything after the break up. I was focused on finding my next boyfriend. At the end of that summer, I met my next boyfriend. He was one guy that I would have never imagined myself dating and I would have never thought in a million years that I would fall as hard for him as I did. He knew how to make me laugh and he was so easy to talk to. I could talk to him about any and everything. When we first became friends, we just talked and then our relationship soon led to something sexual. We were what you would call “friends with benefits” for a few months until he asked me to be his girlfriend. Once he made me his girlfriend, I made him my life. I would spend all my time with him; I would do any and everything for him. In the beginning he didn’t take advantage of it, but after a while he did, which wasn’t his fault. That’s what happens when you constantly do for someone to the point that you enable them. After about a year, I got tired of constantly doing and not getting anything in return. I tried talking to him about it, but things didn’t change. So I started talking to another guy. This guy had so much going for himself. He was going to college; he worked, and had a car. I thought I had hit the jackpot. Little did I know, I was walking in to an even worse situation. So I broke up with him for the guy that I saw as doing more and could give me more…

 This new guy took me on dates, he wined and dined me. For our first date, he took me to six flags and he paid for everything. I seriously thought I had upgraded. He wanted to wait to have sex, but I didn’t. I kept bugging him about it. Now, that I look back on this, I realized that I had a serious problem when it came to sex. A spirit of sexual immorality had attached itself to me. It was to the point that I felt like I couldn’t control myself…like I was addicted. Finally, he gave in and we had sex. After that, our relationship was ruined. That was all he wanted to do. He no longer took me out. Sex was our relationship. After a while, he broke up with me. I wasn’t saddened by it. However, even though we had broken up, we still had sex with each other. The arrangement was fine with me for a while, but then it got to the point where it wasn’t enough so I went back to my ex and began a sexual relationship with him. I was so far gone. Having a sexual relationship with two different guys; I was truly lost. That was the furthest I was ever away from God. This lasted for about a year. I no longer wanted a relationship with a guy because I didn’t want to get hurt. Instead, I took on a “player mentality”. I wouldn’t have a boyfriend; I would just talk to and mess around with different guys. My life was spiraling out of control, but I didn’t realize it. I thought I was protecting myself by not committing to anyone. Little did I realize that I was letting these guys use my body, which was not my own to give away to begin with.

Finally, I got to the point where I was completely empty. None of these guys could fill this empty void. I felt alone and so lost. Finally, I decided to seek God. I went to church one Sunday by myself and I rededicated my life back to the Lord. That was the happiest day of my life. I finally felt peace and joy. I no longer had a void in my life. I had truly found my missing puzzle piece. I had started going to church consistently and God began to bless me tremendously. He used me to help bring my mom back to Him. She started going to church with me.

 Things were all going well until I met a guy at church. I met the church boy one night at my friend’s church. She had invited me to the youth night at her church. We went bowling. I met this guy and I was mesmerized. I thought he was perfection. He was handsome, had so much charisma, was very charming, and he was a Christian. We talked some while bowling, but he didn’t ask me for my number. That night I went home with him on my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking about him all week. I even told my mom about him and I told my friend that I liked him a lot. I even begged God to let him be the one he had for me. That following Friday, I got a text from him. My friend gave him my number. Coming to find out, he liked me as much as I liked him. After that, I was quickly headed down a path to heartache. We talked to each other every day, all day. We spent as much time together as we could. Once again I was slowly making a guy my life, which left little room for God. After our first kiss, trouble arrived. I had it made up in my mind that I wasn’t going to have sex again until I was married. Little did I know was that in order to do that, I couldn’t put myself in tempting situations. I didn’t realize at the time, but for me even kissing is too  much of a temptation. Although him and I would just make out, it was way out of control. Hormones running wild! One day him and I were talking on the phone and he said he had something to tell me, but he was afraid to tell me. I begged him to tell me and he did. He said that he loved me. Even though he only knew me for about a month, he knew that he loved me and that I was the one. That made me the happiest person on earth. I knew I loved him too. In my eyes, it was a love at first sight type of deal. That night me and him hung out and I decided to go all the way with him. Afterward, I felt so guilty. I felt horrible because I had broken my promise to God. I felt so disgusted with myself. I felt nothing but condemnation. What had I done??? I also felt insecure. I started to wonder if he would treat me differently because of what we had done. I became afraid and I voiced that to him. Little by little things did begin to change. The good morning texts stopped. The texting all day stopped. The spending as much time together as we did stopped. All of the sudden he no longer liked talking on the phone. I became angry. I was angry with myself for being so stupid. I was angry with him because he was supposed to be a Christian. In my mind, he was supposed to be different than the other guys. He wasn’t supposed to do me like this. In my mind, us having sex was supposed to bring us closer, supposed to cause us to fall in love even more. Boy did the enemy have me fooled! After 3 months, I broke up with him. I couldn’t take it anymore. But soon after I broke up with him, I regretted it. I felt so alone. I had finally hit rock bottom. I would cry all day every day. I shut myself off from everyone including family. I would sleep all day just so I wouldn’t have to feel the pain. I had fallen into depression once again. I would text him asking and begging him to take me back, but he wouldn’t. Finally, I just stopped texting him, but I didn’t stop torturing myself in that I still went to his church with my friend. One day I went to his church and I was dressed up really cute. He text my while in church saying that I looked beautiful. I was so happy. I thought that he was going to take me back, but I was wrong. We started back hanging out again and I thought that I could get him back if I gave him my body. I was fooled again. I did all the things I thought a girlfriend was supposed to do minus the title. I would cook for him and pretty much do anything he asked. This lasted for a couple of months and then I stopped. I realized how stupid I was being.

Once again I began my cycle of looking for a boyfriend. Once again I met someone. However, I met the worst person possible. He was nice, but on our first date he seemed very controlling. He kept me out until 4 in the morning when I told him my curfew was 2am. I asked him to take me home, but he refused to. I didn’t think anything of it, but I wish I had. The day after our first date I went over his house under the impression that we would eat and watch movies. He had something else in mind. He wanted to have sex. I said no because I didn’t know him that well. He disagreed. He started trying to take my clothes off. I kind of laughed it off because I thought he was just playing around, but then he became more forceful. That night he raped me. Although this tragedy occurred, that was the night that Jesus was finally getting through to me. I realized that I needed Him more than anything or anyone on this earth. I didn’t blame Him for what happened. Instead I ran to Him with my arms wide open knowing that He would catch me. I was tired of feeling empty and alone. I was tired of playing Russian roulette with my life. I wanted something more out of life. Most importantly I realized how badly I was hurting Jesus, my Lord and Savior. After that incident, I left guys alone and got back into church. I started back growing closer to God.

 Once I started truly focusing on God, church boy text me out the blue. Once again I strayed away from God and hit rock bottom. This time he asked me to be his girlfriend. At first I was hesitant, but finally I gave in. I told him up front that I wasn’t having sex again until I was married. He didn’t understand why. Instead of saying the most important reason, which was because God says fornication is a sin and I want to please God in all my ways, I told him about me being raped. I expected him to be angry. I expected him to try to comfort me. Instead, I got an “oh I’m sorry to hear that, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from having sex.” I was angry. I was beyond hurt. Instead of leaving, I went ahead and had sex with him, but I hated him after that. After that we barely lasted a week before I broke up with him again. After that last break up, I realized that I couldn’t be with him. What kind of guy who truly loves his girlfriend could say that to her? Most importantly, whenever I was with him, I would lose the joy and peace of the Lord, God’s presence would leave me completely and I valued that way more than my relationship with him.

 After that, I never looked back. I got serious about my relationship with Jesus Christ. I got involved in church, I changed my circle of friends. I did everything I could to keep from falling back into that lifestyle. 

1 Corinthians 15:33 

“Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.”

 This is so true! If you want to live a holy and pure life that’s pleasing to God, you can’t continue to live the way you were living before you knew Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

 Since you are a new creation in Christ, that means that all that you did while you lived in the world must stop, all the places you went to while you were living for this world must stop, and all those people you hung with while you were in the world must go. You can’t expect to truly live for Christ if you don’t stop doing what you were doing before Christ. That’s like taking a shower, grabbing dirty clothes out of the hamper, and putting them on. It doesn’t matter that you took a shower, you’re going to stink!

 Three years ago, at the age of 20, was when I gave up the guys. Three years ago I truly dedicated my life to Jesus and I’m proud to say that I have not looked back. I have been free from fornication for the last 3 years and counting. No longer do I desire that lifestyle. What I do desire is to be married and to save myself for my future husband. That is how amazing Jesus is! I have truly forgiven the guys that have hurt me in the past. I have no anger or hatred towards any of them. I can’t even remember the last time that I have struggled with depression. The joy of the Lord has truly been my strength! That’s the power of God! God has truly healed my heart. He has honestly given me beauty for my ashes. 

Galatians 5:1 

“In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off].”

I am no longer a slave to fornication. I no longer feel empty or like something is missing. I am complete in Christ. Jesus is my missing puzzle piece. I have been made whole in Christ. Jesus is the love of my life. He is the only man in my life other than my daddy.

Jesus has also healed my relationship with both my dad and my stepmom. Was this easy? No. Did it hurt? Yes. But God is so good. I love them both dearly and I am so proud to call them my daddy and stepmom. God has worked wonders in both of our relationships. I adore both of them and they both adore me. All I had to do was show them the love of Christ, trust God, and bam their hearts were softened towards me and mine towards them. All that anger, resentment, hatred…it’s all gone. I feel nothing but love for them both. I see them both through God’s eyes. God has healed those wounds, He has relieved the pain that was there. God is amazing!

 God has done so many great things in my life. He has taken me so far and has used me to help so many people. I love Jesus so much! I have fallen in love with Him. I grow closer and closer to Him every single day. My life isn’t perfect and I still go through things, but no longer do I worry or fret over trials and tribulations because I know my Savior will get me through it and that the storms I go through are meant to strengthen me. 

James 1:2-3 

“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort of fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.” 

 I rejoice when I go through a storm because God is strengthening my faith in Him and maturing me in my Christ walk.

Gosh, I can’t even remember the last time I was depressed! God is so good! I just want to share Him with the world. If God could change me and deliver me from the lifestyle of sexual immorality, mend broken relationships in my life, and free me from depression, He can do it for you! I just thank Jesus for looking at me and saying that He wants me despite being messed up and jacked up. He chose me! He looked at me with love in His eyes. He wanted me. I could’ve been dead, but He saved me. He snatched me up off the path of destruction I was headed down and put me on the path to everlasting life with Him. Jesus is amazing! He is my Redeemer, my Comforter, my Prince of Peace, my Protector, my Healer, my Savior, the Lover of my soul, the Love of my life, my everything!

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