I grew up in a very abusive and depressed family. The only time I ever heard the Lord’s name was in vain. We did not go to church because my dad was disillusioned with church and religion.
From an early age, I was very aware I had a need I could not fill. My earliest memories are of being depressed and having suicidal thoughts. I had no idea how to fill my need but that did not stop my trying. I would read volumes of books and take adventures in the pages of those books in hopes of escaping from my life.
Through reading I tried to fill the void with intellectual knowledge. However, that never resulted in the peace, hope, happiness and answers to my questions in life I sought. To physically get away from my house I would stay all weekend with my friends or my grandparents. I also began taking nature walks and talking with a God I did not know.
One day when I was eight, my older brother gave me a little green book from The Gideons International. He had received it outside his school. He hated to read. I loved books but I did not have many because we did not have a lot of money. So I added my new little green book to my small collection of children’s books.
This book however was different than any other book I had seen before. In the front of the book, it had lists of words like “depression” and “fear” and then pages where you could go to read about those things. After those pages, there were many pages of a sentence written in many different languages. I was intrigued by both and would spend hours looking up things to read by topic. I had never heard of a Bible before. What I did know is this little green book seemed to be like a healing treatment for me. I continued to read it for many years as I sought the answers to the questions I had in life. Yet it wasn’t producing any kind of lasting change in me.
I grew up through my teen years and experienced physical and emotional abuse that I never seemed to be able to escape. By the time I was 19, I weighed nearly 500 pounds, and I had been in a psychiatric ward for a suicide attempt and depression. I continued to talk with a God I did not know. I continued to seek the answers in my little green book. I did all of these things to try and escape my life, but nothing worked.
The Best Christmas Gift Ever
On Christmas Eve of 1990, I was at the end of my rope and very suicidal. I was facing another holiday where I would have to see family members who had abused me and act like everything was fine. But everything was not fine. I was dying inside. That night I cried out to God to change something and make Himself known. I could not face another Christmas pretending. I needed peace. I was either going to find what I needed or take my life. God led me to go back again to the little green book I had read for so many years. For the first time, I read the verse that had been written in several languages in the front of the Bible. It was John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
I had read that verse before, but it had never taken hold like it did that night. I learned I needed to admit I was a sinner, believe Jesus died for my sins, and give my life over to Him to live through me so I could have everlasting life.
Then I read the verses in the back about the fact that I was a sinner and needed a Savior. For the first time in my life, I knew I had found what I had been seeking all my life. I dropped to my knees and prayed that prayer and knew something was different right away. I felt a weight lift from me. For the first time in my life, I slept peacefully through the night. That has been true every night since.
My life has been forever changed. I went from walking in darkness to living in light –from being a child of Satan to a child of the Most High King.
He has blessed me and allowed me to teach, counsel, and disciple hundreds and hundreds of women who were in the same place I used to be. I have been a certified Biblical counselor for over 15 years and I have just started a Biblical counseling center in the town in which I live.
If you are a Gideon, I want to thank you for giving to the Lord, because I was a life that was forever changed. God’s Word is living, active, and more powerful than any double-edged sword, and it will never come back void.
Edited by The Gideons International