A Tiny Seed of Truth
The family I was born into was very dysfunctional—they had a multi-generational problem with drugs and alcohol. My grandma, who had nine children, married six times, and every time, she married an alcoholic. That was my history.
Thankfully, the Lord has a better way of life available for all of us. In my early years, while staying in Christian shelters that kept mothers with young children, I heard about God, and a seed was planted in my heart. It happened at such an early age that I don’t remember ever not knowing about Him.
When I was five years old, my baby sister and I were taken from my biological mother and placed in a foster care home in Florida. Though this was not a Christian home, my foster mom took me to church regularly during the three years that we lived with them. On Sunday mornings, she and I would walk up the street to the Baptist church near their home and attend the service together. She also took me to Vacation Bible School and other church activities. Since then, she has explained that this began because I asked to go to church when I first came into their home. Clearly, God already had a hold on my heart, and I am thankful for that.
By the time I was eight, I had two sisters. The youngest lived with our mom, but my other sister and I were sent to live with our grandma in the same house as our uncles who were alcoholics and drug users. That house was a dark place, but soon a little light shown in. My aunt by marriage had become a Christian nearly two years earlier and was attending the church where she had been raised. She asked my grandma if my sisters and I could be picked up by the Sunday school bus and taken to church on Sunday mornings. Thankfully, the answer was yes, and I began attending Sunday school at the Apostolic Faith Church.
Being able to attend Sunday school and church meant everything to me. For many children, schools are their safe place, but for me it was church. In the summers, going to youth camp was the highlight of my year. It felt like Heaven there, and just being away from my family for a week was a big deal.
I started spending time with my aunt’s side of the family and saw the difference between a Christian home and my grandma’s household. Very quickly I knew that the Gospel way of life was what I wanted, and even though I was not a Christian, the Lord solidified that determination in me. I was never tempted by alcohol, drugs, or other aspects of the lifestyle surrounding me. There were times when I was sent to the store to buy cigarettes and would think, These are disgusting. I did not want to have anything to do with them.
When I was twelve, my sisters and I went back to live with my biological mother. For a while we lived in a car and then in a broken-down trailer. Finally, she realized that three children were too much responsibility for her and gave up her parental rights, putting us up for adoption. Three families in the church took us in, and my adoption was finalized four years later. At last, the Lord had satisfied the longings of my heart, and I was surrounded by a loving Christian family.
In the years since, the Lord has been good to me and answered many prayers. He saved me on January 20, 1998, when I was twenty-three years old. Then in February of the same year, He sanctified me. Two days after that, I was praying for unsaved family members and the Lord came down and baptized me with the Holy Spirit. Those experiences grounded me in the Gospel.
The Lord also answered prayer concerning my grandma. Over the years, she came to church whenever I was in a concert or a Sunday school program, and I always hoped she would pray and get saved. However, she wanted nothing to do with the Gospel. She said it was not for her.
The year our church began holding Christmas on the Campground, I invited her to come for the first night, and she did. Later, someone told me she came on the second night as well. Then another person said she was there the night after that. It turned out that she had attended all three nights, and in every year that followed, she did the same.
One year, I called to remind her about the upcoming Christmas event and was not able to reach her. I discovered that she was in the hospital with cancer that had gone into her bones. When I went to see her, she was in a lot of pain and every other word out of her mouth was a swear word—it was non-stop. In addition, she kept lamenting, “I just thought I had more time. I thought I had more time.” Surprisingly, she let a minister from our church come and pray with her. Even more surprising was that after he left, her swearing was gone. We talked until eventually she went to sleep. She only opened her eyes once more when my aunt came and prayed for her. After the prayer, she closed her eyes again, and later that day passed away. I know the Lord was merciful and touched her heart and saved her. This has been such a faith builder for me in praying for others.
I am so thankful for the Lord and all of His blessings. Though I was not born into a Christian family, He has provided one for me in abundance. First, He placed me in a loving adoptive home in this church among the family of God. Then He helped me find a Christian husband with wonderful parents, and He blessed our marriage with a son. Today, because of God’s goodness, the multi-generational cycle of substance abuse in my family has been broken. My husband and I are able to raise our son in a Christian home.