Share Your Story

I love reading people’s stories! I want to provide a place for you to share yours. What’s your testimony? Struggle? Triumph? Miracle?

Feel free to share – 400 words or less. Please no foul language, advertising or explicit details. Every so often, I will highlight and share a story on the blog. Remember this is a public forum. My hope is to create a space where we read and share what God has done/is doing in our lives.

Once your story appears, you can share your story by clicking the social media icons below.

So, I want to know – What’s your story?

Maureen

Brokenness is a reality for all of us. It is natural for us to resist the heartbreak of grief, disappointment, and pain. Even so…the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ remains – there is hope and healing in yielding a broken, contrite heart to be molded by the hand of God.

Your part is to give God all the pieces and to trust Him with His plan and purpose for your life. God’s part is to bring restoration. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)

I was a young teenager when my parents divorced. My mother left us in search of a better life. Consequently, my father had the task of caring for three children. Physically he was there, but he was absent in heart. Being the oldest child, a lot of household responsibilities were forced upon me.

I carried an overwhelming loneliness and emptiness in my heart. I sought to escape from the pain and rejection by numbing myself with drugs.

In my quest to seek and find love and acceptance, I met Viggo, a member of an outlaw motorcycle club. The gang offered me a promise of excitement, drugs and a sense of belonging. I embraced the camaraderie of many new brothers and sisters, and I became Viggo’s property.

I carried an illusion of freedom within this new family. It wasn’t until I witnessed many injustices against others, that I realized I was slipping into a dark world without hope. I had no idea how I would escape from the control the gang imposed on my life.

One evening, we quickly and discreetly fled from NYC authorities. With each passing mile, we were closer to entering a volatile gang war in Texas. Six nights later I would become a victim in their war.

In the early morning hours, several members of a rival gang stood outside the clubhouse where we were staying and opened fire. I was standing in the doorway facing the front windows when the shooting started.

Silhouetted by the light, they took aim at me and when the first shots rang out, I was hit immediately in my left arm. Fortunately, while I reached for the light switch, my arm crossed over my heart and became a protective shield. The bullet’s impact had thrown me, and before I hit the floor, another bullet lodged in my right thigh.

Hours later, I awoke in the intensive care unit of a nearby hospital. My right leg hung elevated in traction; my left arm was covered in a plaster cast. I was sure God was punishing me. As I lay motionless and silent, it occurred to me that all my searching for love and acceptance had brought me to this place. There was no escape from the pain and suffering or the uncertainty of the future.

For the next six months, I was completely bedridden. In another attempt to fuse my shattered bones, my doctor wrapped me in a body cast of plaster from my chest down to my ankle. It proved to be a futile attempt. Eventually, a surgeon fused the bones in my leg together using a bone fragment from my hip.

As a result, my leg is permanently two inches shorter.

Determined to start a new life, I severed all ties with the gang. I was transported back to NJ and started a year of intensive rehabilitation therapy. Today, I have a limited range of motion in my arm and leg. Gradually, I learned to live with my disabilities. In fact, my doctors declared me a miracle!

When a friend invited me to attend a baptismal service at her church, I agreed to go because of the transformation I saw in her. Listening to the testimonies of others, the good news of the gospel filled my heart with hope. That night I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.

In time, the Lord healed the bitterness and anger I held in my heart. Sin had its consequences, but His love has transformed my life. The Lord blessed me with a Godly husband and two precious daughters. I am rejoicing in His provision as He prepares the path before me.

Maureen Hager, Author, Inspirational Speaker

Living a Restored Life in God’s Transforming Love

 

Website: www.MaureenHager.com

Blog: www.OutoftheBrokenness.com

Book: www.LovesBullet.com

Hope

This may be difficult for some to read. Please know, it is my heart. My past. My mess. Your mess is welcome here too. This is my transparency. This is me, reclaiming myself. Hoping to give you courage to break your chains too.

The month of March has held the power of destruction over me for the last three years. Tough is the easiest, G rated, clean cut version of the month of March. A black cloud hanging over my life. Not just a dark cloud, but black. Pure black.

March is a month of mourning the loss of me.

March 28th. The night that the picket fences of no’s couldn’t keep out the thief in the night. Not just any thief, but the kind that steals part of you. A piece of your soul and replaces it with lies and terror. How someone can physically act against you so wretchedly, and somehow stealing a section of your soul, scarring you forever and always I’ll never understand. But that’s how this works. That’s how these predators operate. Using acts of violence to feed their black hearts.

This is my story. One I keep guarded. And one today where I stand my ground.

This year is my year of freedom. My year of reclaiming my soul and rebuking those lies. This year I pray that my transparency gives you the courage to break your chains too.

And to you: thief – this year the scars no longer hold your nauseating name etched deep in my being, but the story of redemption through Jesus.

I was 19. 19 and waiting for marriage. 19 and apparently naive to think I was safe. 19 and still broken from the prior abusive relationship, but ignoring festering wounds.

19 and easily tricked by the soft smile and tower-high pickup truck.

I was just 19.

You know how when parents adopt kids they have a “gotchya day”? I wonder if these soul thief’s have those too. Like, “today’s the gotchya day for this sacred piece of soul I stole.”

I know I have my “you stole it” day. And somehow this year it turned into a month. A whole month. You, thief: you do not deserve a month, a day, a second, a breath of my time. And this day, I’m taking it back. I’m reclaiming myself. You don’t hold the power anymore. You don’t get to hold that piece of me.

For far too long I’ve let the terror rule me.

Where I live.

How late I stay out.

Who I trust.

How I see myself.

How I perceive others see me. How I date or meet people. How much fear pumps through my veins moment by moment. How tightly I clench my fist and intertwined keys, walking alone through a parking lot at night.

I let the lies that I am only “damaged goods” slither and seep into my core.

How could any Jesus loving man ever want any damaged goods like me? That lie holds no more power over me. I refuse to let it.

In Jesus, we are washed clean. In Jesus we are made new. In Jesus we are made whole. In Jesus you, dear treasure are a living breathing example of his love and grace. He has you. In his right hand he has you. He has placed new light in you. Darkness holds no rein when Jesus is handed the pain. And when Jesus is trusted with the ashes of a soul, He brings it back to beating beauty. But not back to it’s prior condition. He renews it whole.

The story of Lazarus is a beautiful example. Found in John 11, Martha and Mary had a brother named Lazarus. Lazarus was sick and dying. When Jesus found this out, “Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

Jesus had a revival plan for the death of Lazarus.

After 4 days of being deceased, Jesus arrived to the town Lazarus resided. Upon arrival Martha, grieving the loss, “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died…”. Side note- how many times do bad things happen within our lives and we say “God if you were here this wouldn’t have happened!” In times of loss and grief, it’s easy to understand Martha’s heart in this moment. But, God uses our soul deaths, shattered hearts, tattered beings for beautiful redemption.

Jesus continues to tell her that Lazarus will live again, but not just in the last days- IN THE NOW. “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus went on to the tomb. He commanded the stone be rolled away. The others tried to convince him that the smell would be horrid, but Jesus didn’t care. -Side note- just like he wants the stone rolled away from the death in your heart, the mess and decomposed pieces of heart are no issue for his healing hands.

Jesus then simply spoke into the tomb at Lazarus and he rose. And you know what? Through the loss of a piece of you, Jesus wants to do the same thing. He is after all our savior, who wants to save you too. He wants to break your chains and speak truth and LIFE over you. Jesus doesn’t want to see you hurt or living by fear.

This mess I’ve endured, I’m grateful for.

As horrible as this death in my soul has been it has been transformed in the hands of Jesus to be a blessing. Why? Because I get to connect with you about it. I get to speak about His true love and how no ounce of pain is wasted. About how no mess is too messy for Jesus. About how you didn’t lose and ounce of worth when that man tried to steal it from you. You’re still loved. Your worth can never ever be changed, decreased, erased. Jesus has crowned you in steadfast love and tender mercies. Jesus adores you. Jesus wants to revive you.

If you too have been soul stolen from, you’re not alone. Not a moment are you alone. You’re still a treasure and you are stilled treasured. There is no mess too messy for Jesus. There is no lie too big for Him to knock down. There is no shadow so dark he won’t light up. There is no fight so big or so small he will not fight and win on your behalf. Believing these truths – chains will not just break. Chains will shatter. Shame holds no more power over you. You, warrior, hold the keys.

So, I’m taking myself back. Reclaiming me. The scars no longer remind me of pain but of redeeming revival. Jesus has this for you too, but it’s up to you to roll the stone of your heart away and allow Him into the tomb. I hope your chains break, because you deserve a life of freedom and truth.

Read Hope’s blog https://www.pushpressprincess.com/

John

During my devotions on 1/7/83, the Holy Spirit led me outside, where I saw reflected colors of purple and orange illuminated off thin gray clouds. I hadn’t fully recovered from hearing God’s roaring voice speak from the fiery cloud and feared what the Holy Spirit might show me next. We walked down my front steps to the middle of the front yard and turned north. A cloud formation that looked like perfectly formed gigantic black cylinders stacked on top of each other stretched a mile in length across the northern horizon and came rolling through the sky. Then, suddenly, from between two of the cylinders, a glorious yellow light appeared and descended toward me. This beautiful glowing radiance looked like four huge diamonds, each with four sides and connected at their right and left corners. As the Dazzling Light flew toward me, I dropped facedown onto the ground in absolute terror. Just before the light overwhelmed me, I looked up to see the dazzling yellow diamonds transform into an iridescent white Moravian star and fly into a dogwood tree. Filled with fear and a high fever, I went back inside to finish my devotions and asked God, “What did I see?” The Holy Spirit then instructed me to hold the spine of my Good News Bible, to watch for the parting of the pages, to open the Bible to the parted page, and receive the answer to my question. I opened my Bible to where the pages parted to page 380 in the Old Testament and read: “As the priests were leaving the temple, it was suddenly filled with a cloud shinning with the dazzling light of the Lord’s presence.” 1 Kings 8:10-11a. You can see a picture of the Dazzling Light and read the rest of the story at www.dazzlinglight.org

Canaan

After a great afternoon in Bangor, I was preparing to head home and decided to treat myself to some Taco Bell for the drive. I had $11 in my wallet and headed for the drive-thru to get my fast food fix (I’m trying to be good, not perfect).

As I was pulling around, I saw two people scavenging for scraps in the dumpster behind the restaurant. Their heads immediately dropped so their faces stared at nothing but the ground as my headlights shone on them momentarily. It was obvious they were ashamed. They did have jackets on, but it was still cold outside (in the 30’s). No gloves.

As I rolled my window down on the approach to the automated order box, I asked the man if he was alright. He looked up and said he and his female friend were just looking for some food…hoping there were some scraps in the trash. He then asked if I could spare any change.

I thought for a moment. Luckily, there was no one behind me in the line and I had not yet reached the point where the employee was asking for my order. “If you’re hungry, I’d say we’re at the right place,” I replied to him. “Give me a minute.”

I pulled ahead and, not sure which style of food they preferred, ordered a $5 box from Taco Bell as well as a $5 fill-up meal from KFC. When the order, which came to just under the $11 I had to my name, was handed to me, I circled around the restaurant again and handed the meals and beverages to the man and the woman beside him.

“It’s not much,” I told him. “I wish I could do more.”

Before I could say anything more, his face lit up at the same time his eyes watered. “You kidding me?” he asked. “This will feed us for two days…maybe three if I can resist temptation.” I laughed at that, because God knows I have little willpower.

“Jesus loves you,” he told me. It shook me, because I was going to say the same thing to him. Here I was being ministered to by someone whom I was hoping to minister to. “I know,” I told him. “Jesus loves you, too. I don’t live around here, and I don’t have a home of my own to bring you to, but I will pray for you,” I told him as I began to drive away.

Jesus not only loved, but prioritized ‘the least of these’. No matter their intentions—and whether their situation was partly or completely precipitated by their own detrimental actions, or if they just fell on hard times—it is our job as Christians and humans to love and help people we see in need.

The greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. It’s easy to say, but seemingly impossible to do…yet that’s the decree. And not once in a while, when we feel like it or when we gain some sort of recognition from it…but daily. This kind of selfless love does not always have to be expressed by money or goods…if a smile, kind word, extended hand or hug is all you can offer…it will still make an impact.

That’s what Jesus did. That’s how He lived…and implored us to love the same way. I pulled onto Broadway last night with a destination, but had no idea the journey I was about to take. I didn’t need a burrito, but someone needed a blessing. And I received one, too. Be a blessing today. Let your spirit be moved by compassion for others, not indifference or entitlement. Think of the most selfless thing you can do for someone, and do it

Magigi

I was born on September 14, 1963, Philippines. I’m the oldest of 5 children. I’m the only girl in my family. I have 4 younger brothers. In 1978, my whole family immigrated to Hawaii from the Philippines. I went to high school in Hawaii.

I met my first husband when I was 18. As soon as we had the opportunity to elope so we can have intimacy, we went and got married at the civil court. My parents were very strict and I wasn’t allowed to date which lead me to being rebellious. I only knew my first husband for 4 months before we got married.

I didn’t realize then that he had a drinking and drug problems. When he got drunk he gets very physically and mentally abusive. Our 5-year old daughter told my parents that I was getting abused by her dad. My father was devastated of what he heard. He encourages me to get out of that marriage.

I wasn’t ready to go back to Hawaii because I was in the middle of finishing college. As soon as I graduated from college, my daughter and I moved back home to Hawaii. I was married to him for 7 years.

5 years later, I married my best friend. He was my good friend for 4 for about years and he relocated from England to Hawaii. He is a commercial pilot for United Airlines. He was based in the UK for a short period of time.

Because of his job, he was away all the time and he had many opportunities to meet lots of women. In my eyes, I thought we had a great marriage. He promised me that he will never leave or hurt me. His promise died and he committed infidelity.

He told me he wanted a divorce on Valentine’s Day. That was 18 years ago. I told him I will forgive him for cheating and begged him to stay for the sake of the children. He wanted to be free and see other women.

It wasn’t a surprise that as soon as he moved out from our home, he moved in with his girlfriend. I was so heart broken. He broke my heart into million pieces and it took me 6 years to put it back in one piece.

My girls were still young when he left and so I decided to focus on my kids without complicating their lives further. I dedicated those years of raising two amazing kids. In addition, I serve the church, my Lord with all my heart and I was complete. I didn’t have the urge to date or be with someone. Jesus is enough for me. I am content with my life.

Mary Anne

No Regrets. We all want a life without them. In the fall of 2006, my husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and he had never smoked. After many tests lasting an entire day, we met with the oncologist that told us his prognosis- one year. it was in his lymphatic system.

After the initial shock, my husband and I decided to face this situation head on, as we did every challenge in our life. We have four sons and the younger two were in 1st grade and Kindergarten.

How much do you remember about your father when you were in Kindergarten? Not a lot, I have a few spotty memories of my Dad from early childhood. So I made it my mission that we were going to make the most of the situation and create wonderful memories for our children to cherish this last year with their Dad.

My husband had an incredible “glass is always half full” attitude and would respond when people asked about his prognosis, “you can’t ask why bad things happen, when you don’t ask why when the good things happen. ” We told people we were going to prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and plan to be pleasantly surprised.

We prayed to God for courage and strength to lead our family to face the challenges ahead. It wasn’t easy, but sometimes you don’t know how strong you are until you have to be the strongest person in the room. We tried to see the good in the situation. I had been transformed into the eternal optimist when I met my husband in 1995. His glass half full mentality had rubbed off in a big way.

I had been through the divorce from hell in 1993 and had been left bitter and negative. God sent this man to me to love me and cherish me when I had been broken and abused. Now I had to help him see the positive in this- How many people get to know what they will die from and when they will die? How many get to have a definitive time frame to right their wrongs and say goodbye?

He did this in the 16 months God gave him with his disease and taught my boys and I how to live in the process. It wasn’t easy. Every day we try to do our best and when we go to bed at night we thank God for the day and the opportunity to make a difference. If we are lucky enough we wake up and get to try all over again.

Denise

Heaven is real. I say this not just because I believe it, I’ve seen it. The day I experienced it started like any other day.

I was 41 and although I felt pain and incredible squeezing in my chest, as a nurse, I rationalized why it was not a heart attack. By the time I finished my shower, my children, ages 19, 14 & 9 wandered in. One look and they were asking, “Mom, what’s wrong?”

My 19 year old son worked as a lifeguard. He assessed the situation and said, “Mom, you’re having a heart attack!” My knees began to buckle as he called 911. My son wasn’t supposed to be home that morning – his plans changed only the night before. After that, I remember only bits and pieces.

I remember being loaded into the ambulance and giving my kids a thumbs up as I said weakly, “I’ll be home for dinner.” What happened next I can only describe as a gift. Something God knew I needed to see. Something that would bring me comfort 3 years later when I lost my mom.

Back in the ambulance, I remember a paramedic saying, “Stay with me.” I heard, “We’re losing her.” I remember being asked to open my mouth and an awful taste.

Suddenly, I experienced a beautiful, round, comforting light over my right shoulder. I saw an amazing, pebbled pathway and a stream surrounded by green pastures. I could see others waving at the base of the light who looked familiar yet I didn’t know them. I had no fear or pain.

I wanted to walk down the path so badly but the paramedic continued to disturb me and I couldn’t quite get there. Following an admission to the hospital for cardiac care and testing, I was blessed to come home. I was blessed to have no damage to my heart – only an intermittent tachycardia controlled with medication.

Yet I came home with so much more! A firm belief that Heaven is real. A knowledge of where my beloved mother is. God knew when the time came, I needed to know she is safe and free of pain.

I may not always live my life in alignment with God’s will but my experience is unshakeable – even with the bumps, bruises, and disappointments of life – I know without question, Heaven is real!

Ben and Brenda

“The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter” (Psalm 30:5b, MSG).

Throughout life we sometimes find ourselves in scenarios that we never imagined ourselves in. They hurt, they sting, and we wonder if there is ever any light at the end of the painful tunnel.

Roughly three years ago my wife Brenda and I found ourselves walking through some very tough scenarios…totally clueless as to what the other was going through as we at that point in time we hadn’t met.

Three years ago found Brenda battling tooth and nail for her marriage and holding her family together. Three years ago found me daily trying to understand why my wife was unconscious and unresponsive with no real explanation from the doctors and experts.

Three years ago what we had hoped and prayed for didn’t happen… Three years ago life sucker punched us good… Many days found us crying, hurt, and pouring our hearts out to God, wondering why this had happened.

Over time our lives settled into a “new normal” as we individually set forth and relearned to live from what we had become accustomed to for many years prior. Yet the pain still lingered, the why’s still came, and the hope of again finding that place of happiness (whatever it looked like) seemed like a shadow of a dream.

In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (MSG).

God has our back. Last Spring God wondrously worked out the crossing of our paths in His perfect timing. Brenda and I quickly fell in love with each other and earlier this year we were married. I am now a dad to three amazing kids and the happiness that we had both desperately hoped for from that point of brokenness three years prior had finally come to be.

Friends, I’m not sure where life finds you. Perhaps you are walking through the darkest point in your life and you are looking for that light at the end of the tunnel. Please, please, please don’t give up hope! Keep on going! Yesterday’s a closing door You don’t live there anymore Say goodbye to where you’ve been And tell your heart to beat again ~Danny Gokey,

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again.

Lisa

When I was young, I faced abuse, physical, emotional and sexual by the ones who were suppose to keep me safe, my birth parents.

I was constantly forgotten about or left home by myself. All they cared about was how to get their next fix. They both abused drugs and alcohol. They were violent.

I don’t remember much from that age, I only know things through talking with my social worker, but I do remember when my father shoved my mother into the tv and it fell and broke, pieces flying everywhere.

My safe place was under the kitchen table, I’d stay there until my father yelled to bring him a beer. For a short time, I attended daycare. But it didn’t last long.

The night I still remember so vividly was when I was four, I was sitting on my mother’s lap, the door busts open, I scream, she screams, I was taken from her and put into a police car, to never see her again.

I was in foster for about a year, but here’s where I know God had a plan.

One of my daycare teachers had been concerned as to why I wasn’t showing up, she asked around and looked into things to find I’d been put in foster care. The thing is, that daycare teacher and her husband, I now know them as mom and dad, they adopted me.

They have been nothing but loving and encouraging since that day.

Fast forward to now, I’m 27, married to the love of my life and we have a sweet little boy, we farm, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. I struggle with severe depression & anxiety. Between talking with counselors and praying, I know my pain comes from my childhood.

I’m not one to use the abuse or pain I went through for sympathy, but I do know that I am dealing with wounds from back then. Abandonment issues, no nurturing, no love, abuse, the list goes on. I want to find healing, I want to smile without having to fake it.

Often times I don’t want to face another day, but by God’s strength and a lot of coffee, I get up and I fight through it. I know He is with me, He was with me when I was young and he is with me now.

As much as it hurts going through this, my hope is to one day see the other side and be able to share my story and maybe help someone. You are not alone.

Tina

“Miracles Do Happen” is a phrase that our family has adopted as our motto! We use this phrase when we face hard times, we use it to give praise to the one who makes these miracles happen, and we use it to remind ourselves of the hope we can only find in the Father.

Miracles happen all around us, but my greatest miracle is my daughter, Emmalee! She is such a special blessing and gift from God. I know many parents say that, but our little girl truly is just that! My husband and I tried to have children for four years with no luck. Until we finally decided to get some help with fertility treatments, and after a year of continued efforts we became pregnant.

We prayed everyday over our child to be born healthy, strong, and for her to grow and learn about the incredible love of God, so she would be used by Him to impact the world around her.

Emmalee was born healthy, but we face a lifetime of challenges ahead. She was born with many different medical anomalies, which has affected her development both physically and cognitively.

Our lives changed drastically, not only were we facing being parents for the first time, but we were also facing how to navigate and understand her disabilities and medical needs. It was daunting, scary, and exhausting, to say the least. When we left the hospital and took our little girl home for the first time, I don’t think I slept a wink for the first six months of her life.

I remember constantly watching her, making sure she was breathing, eating enough, and trying to help her achieve those milestones that most kids are supposed to meet. Those milestones never happened when they were supposed to, and even six year later we are still waiting for her to make those moments happen.

I learned to quickly put the books back on the shelf and ignore the “norms” of how children develop. I had to learn to embrace who Emmalee was and is, and help her to be the best she can be with each day we are given.

This was not an easy lesson to learn.

I had to learn to see the miracles in each day and to look beyond the burden of disability and see the beauty in her abilities! Miracles Do Happen, they happen every day, and Emmalee is proof that our God is a miracle maker!

Liz

June, 2009, I was running outdoor sprints with a weight vest during a training exercise. At the time, I was in good shape and running was a daily activity. This day, I had trouble catching my breath. Later, I had nagging indigestion that wouldn’t go away.

By 11:00 that night, the annoying indigestion had progressed to squeezing chest pain. I called my husband who said, “it’s probably stress” I agreed but decided to drive myself to the hospital to get checked out.

An hour later, the doctor on call came in and said, “Don’t get excited.” “What?” I asked. “You’re having a heart attack.” “No” I said in shock “Yeah” he said. “I almost let you go but there was an irregularity on your EEG I decided to check out with a blood test.”

Many tests later showed I contracted a virus called Myocarditis which caused cardiac arrest.

I later learned that for many, the first symptom is sudden death. A high percentage of virus survivors require a heart transplant. I had a year long recovery that included supervision by a cardiologist, no cardio (a nightmare for a runner) and a variety of tests to monitor my progress.

I made a full recovery with no permanent damage to my heart. All of my doctors declared me a miracle. I’m thankful for God’s protection and even in scary and unpredictable circumstances, He is in control.

God alone directs my life and controls the day of my death. I can trust Him in all things – I can trust Him with my life.