By:  Carolyn

I was dead on arrival.  I heard a voice say: 'Welcome home, my child.'  Have you found your home?

'I was born 16 years old and a mom.'  That's what I tell people.  I was born in Georgia, but at age three, my family and I moved to Illinois.  I only remember bits and pieces of my childhood.  (I have the ability to forget the things I don't want to remember.)  While growing up, both my parents worked.  So I, being the oldest of five children, had to take on the responsibility of babysitting, housekeeping, and cooking.  I was always the one to blame when things didn't go right or when my siblings didn't do things, and when they didn't do them right. 

My father was an alcoholic, which made my mother the strong one in our family.  She was also the one who was with us most of the time.  However, my mother was physically, verbally, and mentally abusive towards me, which caused me to do a lot of rebelling.  I ran away from home on several occasions and was raped at the age of twelve by a slightly retarded boy who lived in our building. 

When I was 16 and a senior in high school, we moved to Indiana.  At that time, I didn't know anyone in my class, but I soon met a boy, and we dated.  I had been told that I was an embarrassment to my family, and just before I turned 18, I found out I was pregnant and became even more of a disgrace.  My boyfriend and I married and had a baby boy. 

But I soon learned that my husband liked the wild life.  He got involved with some people from the Mafia, with drugs, and with other women.  At the time, I was working at the Steel Mill and had several friends who told me that I didn't need him or that kind of lifestyle.  When my son was two, and I was 21, I divorced my husband.  I asked God to let me keep my job until I had raised my son.  He did that and so much more, yet that wasn't enough for me. 

Now, I was looking for something and someone to love me.  I was introduced to alcohol, then drugs, men, and sex.  In 1981, I was introduced to another man, and we married a year later in 1982.  Soon after that, I learned that he loved to drink and party.  I began drinking more, trying to keep up with him to keep peace, but that didn't work. 

We tried church, but neither of us was into it.  We began arguing more frequently.  He started beating me every time I opened my mouth, and I opened it a lot.  Finally, after two years, I divorced him. 

By this time in my life, my father's addiction to alcohol had taken his life.  He died of cancer in 1988.  My father had taken care of me and my son and had become a very big part of my life.  When he died, I felt as though a huge part of me had died too.  My son was now 12 years old, and I learned that he was into the drug scene.  I tried to stop him, but I couldn't. 

I fell into a deep depression, and my doctor prescribed Valium, which I later overdosed on.  When I  overdosed, something made me call my doctor and tell him what I had done.  Since I wasn't home alone, my doctor told me to get to the hospital.  When I came to, he told me I was dead when I arrived at the hospital.  He said I should thank God I was alive because that was the only reason I was living. 

When I look back over my life, I know now that God is the only reason I am alive today.  After my father died in 1988, I admitted that I had a drinking problem and started to attend AA meetings.  It wasn't until then that my son's problems finally caught my attention.  Not only was he into drugs, he was also in trouble with the law.  Everything that he had done and was doing finally surfaced.  I was beside myself.  I didn't know what to do or who to call. 

At the time, my son had been attending youth meetings at a local church.  He would often tell me all about them and the people there.  So, one day I talked to the youth pastor, and he told me it might help my son if I went to church.  So, one Sunday evening I went.  When I walked into the sanctuary, I could see people moving around and talking.  But I didn't hear any noise.  Then a voice spoke to me.  It was a man's voice.  He said, 'Welcome home, my child.' 

I looked around to see who was talking to me; no one was there, but I could hear all the noise in the sanctuary and the music playing.  I let this pass.  I knew from experience that alcoholics hallucinate.  I sat with the only person I knew there, a friend of my son.  A lady came to introduce herself to me and welcome me.  They had fellowship after the service that night, and the lady invited me to join.  I did. 

Before I went home that night, I had given her my phone numbers at home and at work.  I thought that the people I had met were the nicest and friendliest people I had ever met.  I felt good for the first time in a long time.  She called me the next day at work and invited me to her house.  I said yes.  She and her children made me feel like I had known them all my life. They made me feel like family. To this day, they are my family.

I kept going to this church with these people who really seemed to like me and made me feel like I was a part of their lives. I wanted to belong, and I wanted what they had. I wanted to be happy like they were. I finally gave my life to God in 1988. It wasn't easy to let go of my being in control. There were times when I didn't want to go because there were things I had to give up and change. I don't like change.

My son did go to jail. That was very hard for me. I blamed myself. What kind of role model had I been? I did try to teach him right from wrong, and he knew that he was doing wrong. By this time, we had a new pastor. I was comfortable enough in church now to go to him. He said he was there for us day or night. I called on him day and night. He stood by me and my son all the way. He went with me to court each time I needed him to. The first time was real hard for me. My son had never been without me. I still saw him as my little boy.

On our way home the first time, God spoke to me again. I had been in church enough by now to know it was God. He put me at peace. He told me He has always been in control and always will be. All I had to do was trust Him. I thought that would be easy, but it wasn't.  I still liked to take control of things. My son has been in and out of jail three times now. The last time, I made up my mind that I was going to obey God. I was going to let Him be in control. It still hurt when my son went to jail again, but God put his arms around me and held me.

This time I surrendered it all to Him, and let Him take charge. I no longer felt defeated. I started really applying God's Word to my life and holding Him to His promises. Today, my son is not in jail and is trying to build a good life for himself. He is struggling, but I remind him every chance I get that he needs to let God in and let God be his pilot.

While I was going through all of this, I did not face it alone. Not only did I have God; I had a church family to walk with me also. These are the greatest people on earth. I thank God every day for them. In 1989, I was introduced to a young man, who I thought was a real geek. He was much younger than me, yet he seemed much older. He helped me move one day, and we talked a lot about what he wanted. He wanted to get married and settle down. I started praying for God to send him the right girl to be his wife.

One time during prayer, God spoke to me. He told me He had chosen a wife for this young man. When we didn't see who she was, I kept praying. This man and I grew to be very good friends. God spoke to me a second time while I was in prayer. He seemed to speak with more sternness. He said, 'I have chosen him a bride, now go.'  I kept thinking, what is He talking about.

In May of 1990, I married this man. We are still married today, almost 13 years later. For awhile, I was afraid of what people would think. I knew him inside and out. To me, the age difference could have meant disaster. We have both had a lot of growing to do, but we have done so with God in our lives. I don't think it would have worked without God. When I started church, I told God I wanted Him to work on me and get me right. I didn't want a man in my life unless he was chosen by God. I thank God everyday for my life, my son, my husband, and my church. I remember where I came from starting at the age of 16. I don't want to go down those same roads ever again. I promised myself that I would only follow God. HE IS MY SAVIOR! I know I am here today because even when I wasn't with God, He was with me.

Friend, today God is here for you. God can and wants to heal all of your hurts. Maybe you were raped, verbally abused, physically abused, hooked on drugs, hooked on alcohol, divorced, or have faced a number of problems and hurts. Your past really doesn't matter. From this point, it is your future that counts. God has a wonderful plan for your life. Call on Him right now, and allow Him to help you.

Real Life Stories - Chapter 56:



Dear Reader - are you at peace with God?  If not, you can be.  Do you know what awaits you when you die?  You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain.  Either Jesus Christ died for yours sins, or He didn't (He did!).  Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God?  We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.

To get to know God; to be at peace with God; to have your sins forgiven; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God.  What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one.  Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life. 

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