(The Debra Pursell Story)

By: Debra Pursell


I grew up in a house – not a home.    Maybe you grew up in a “house” too, something like mine.  A house is where four walls surround you.  Inside those four walls is constant conflict and hurt.  There is no love … no hugging … very few kind words.  A home has kind, gentle, warm words of love … a hug now and then … laughter … security … warmth in relationships.   I wish I would have had a home like that to grow up in, but it wasn’t to be.  Nevertheless, I am thankful that I at least had a house to grow up in.  Some hardly even have that. 


Through high school I was “blessed” with a counselor who essentially convinced me that I would never amount to much.  I was continually being reminded that I was slow to learn.  Have others somehow made you feel like you are slow and dumb?  That is such a lie because God accepts you for who you are.  Don’t let anyone try to convince you differently.  Trust God to place you around children who need to hear you tell them that they are very special to God, and God has some special things for them to accomplish during their lifetime.  You may not realize what your words of encouragement will do in the mind of a little child.


When I was in the 11th grade of school, my fragile world became even more shattered.  My father had been in the hospital for some time.  He had cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol abuse, though I didn’t know it until later on in life.  Every day after high school, I would go to the hospital and visit him.  I loved him so much.  I asked Jesus over and over not to let my father go away.  He looked so terrible.  But I believed Jesus would make him better.  At certain times he would say to me, “Debbie, I love you.  I’m truly sorry.  I’m really sorry.  Please forgive me.”  I really didn’t know what to forgive him for. 


My grandmother (whom I also loved very much) painted china, and she helped me paint a plate with a horse on it for my father.  I took it to him and he was greatly pleased with the gift, but he didn’t want it kept there at the hospital.  He told me to take it home, and he would be coming home soon as well.  I believed him. 


The next day at school they called me to the office.  The counselor that I admired so “greatly” broke the news to me about as cold as she could possibly have delivered it:  “Your father is dead.”


I refused to believe her.  I was convinced she was lying to torment me.  “I just saw him yesterday!  He said he is coming home!   He’s not dead!” I was almost delirious and near shock.


“No – he’s dead,” came her cold retort.  “Accept it.”


I fell over on the floor.  The pain was just too much for me to bear.  All I could do was ask, “Why Jesus, why?  I loved my dad so much.  Why?  Everything I love goes away.”  Have you ever felt that way?


After that … I began to think to myself that maybe I shouldn’t love.


Years passed, and I managed to graduate from high school and then started attending college.  I had a vacuum inside me though.  I wanted someone to love, and someone who would love me.  I was vulnerable.  Classic – I was attracted to men who abused me.  All I had known was abuse growing up, and I didn’t feel I deserved any better as I grew older.  It’s a classis lie from the devil.  It’s a total and complete lie … I know now.  I just didn’t know it then. 


I became pregnant and was counseled to have an abortion. I knew it was wrong, but the pressure to go through with it was more than I could stand up to. I was taken to an abortion clinic by my soon to be husband in Detroit, Michigan. There were a number of women there waiting to have abortions as well, and they acted as if it's an everyday thing, which I guess to them it was. I felt so alone and so afraid.  I felt like I was in an assembly line. I did not want to kill my baby inside me; I was so confused in my head I didn't know what I should do. When it was my turn the nurse took me to a changing room, I changed into a gown, as I stood there my heart was racing, I peeked down the hall, snuck out and tried to run away. One of the nurses caught me and took me back, saying, "I don't think you should do this."  You see, the money was already paid. I think I remember asking Jesus to forgive me. I know I did later and always for a lot of years, until someone told me you only need to ask once; Jesus forgets and the sin is no more. 


I married the guy who got me pregnant.  I didn’t have anyone else to turn to, even though I didn’t love him.  He went into the Air Force.  I became a military wife.  We went off to Texas and I lived there for six weeks.  His neglect and abuse of me grew worse.  He got an assignment in Greece, and we spent two years there.  He was a military policeman.  He grew more hardened, at least around me.  There was more physical abuse along with the verbal abuse. 


When his two-year tour was finished in Greece he got reassigned to the United States again.  I got pregnant with my first child.  I had a little girl, named Rachael.  She was so special.  Then a boy came along.  We named him Phillip.  By the time Phillip came along, the pain in the marriage was nearly at the bursting point.  My husband had an affair, but because I simply refused to believe divorce was an option, I stayed with him.   Then he had another affair (that I knew about anyway) and this time he wanted a divorce from me.  I refused, but he filed for one anyway and it went through.   He left me and our two children for awhile, but then came back with what appeared to be some compassionate concern, and suggested he take the two children for a month so I could have a rest.   I thought it was a good idea, but the moment I stepped off that military base he got papers filed that I had abandoned my children.  They were taken away from me. 


Like so many times before … I asked, “Why, Jesus?  Why?  What have I done so bad to be treated this way?”  Then in the confusion and hurt, I began to grow bitter at Jesus.  I knew it was wrong, but I just couldn’t help it.  Are you holding bitterness against God right now?  It’s a carefully orchestrated attack by the devil to separate you from God.  I learned that the hard way. 


I met some girls and entered the party scene, drinking, and one night stands. I didn't care about my life. My ex-husband said I was dirt and subconsciously maybe I thought I was. My friend and I partied almost every night, and all weekend I drank a lot because I didn't care. No matter how much I sinned against God, the next day when I sobered up I would ask Jesus to forgive me. I would tell him I was sorry for acting the terrible way I had acted the night before, and that I loved him, and to help me. I would tell him that I feel like a piece of a puzzle that didn't belong anywhere. "Where do I belong Jesus?" I would ask this over and over…


I took a barmaid job and began to grow hard.  I swore and didn’t care.  I hurt people and didn’t care.  I used men and found pleasure in it – I felt power in it.


I had been going with my friends to a palm reader.  This palm reader kept telling me things that was going to happen in my life, and I would believe her.  I didn’t care about the warnings the Bible gives about doing such things.  I was blinded to the fact that this is a gateway to the demonic realm.


I was really tired one night from work and went to bed early.  Around 3 a.m. in the morning I woke up sharply out of a hot sweat.  At the foot of my bed stood two figures.  I rubbed my eyes, saying to myself, “Who is it?  Who is there?”


One figure was all dressed in black with a hood over its head.  The other figure was all dressed in white.  They were standing quite far apart.  The figure in black kept shaking its head back and forth as if to gesture that I was a lost cause.  The figure in white was waving to me and smiling-like.  I kept rubbing my eyes because I wasn’t really certain this was actually happening, or I was having some kind of delusion.  Then in an instant they both disappeared.  I dismissed the whole thing a few days later, though it left me with a very eerie feeling. 


I kept living the same rebellious lifestyle after that.  I didn’t heed the warning. The girl I partied a lot with – for some reason I went to her house earlier than usual one night, by about half an hour.  That was very unlike me. 


We left and went to Dunkin Donuts.   My friend had a bottle of rum in the car and we both were drinking rum and Coke, our usual thing.  I didn’t want a lot of rum in my cup because I was driving that night.  That wasn’t like me either because normally it didn’t concern me how much I drank while I drove, nor she either, for that matter. 


I remember putting on my seatbelt and we pulled out of the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts and drove on down the highway.  At the first stoplight, it turned red and I stopped.  We were listening to music, and when the light turned green, I started forward.  Then out of nowhere, a car was coming at us at high speed, running the light.  I remember my friend yelling, “Oh my God!” - just before the car hit us. 


I left my body.  I started going down this long, dark tunnel.  It was dark … so dark.  I knew I was dead and I was going to hell. You couldn’t even see the hand in front of your face.  I was yelling, “I don’t want to go yet!  I don’t want to go yet!”  I’m falling farther and farther away from the little light at the top of the tunnel above me. 


Out of the dark things began grabbing at me.  Long fingernails began to grab me and claw at me, trying to pull me into them.  I kept screaming, “No!  I don’t want to go yet!”  Their grotesque mouths were open wide and their teeth were gnashing at me.  There was no sound coming from them though.


Then I began pleading with Jesus.  “Jesus, no … don’t let me go to hell!  I’ll do right!  Please give me another chance.  I’ll do right!”  I begged and pleaded with Him.     


Suddenly my body stopped and there was like a flash of light.  It was like I was suspended in mid-air.  Then I felt the impression of hands on my bottom, and the hands pushed me so fast … I saw myself going back toward the light at the top of the tunnel. 


The next thing I remember is that I woke up in the hospital, but not in textbook fashion.  At first my eyes were closed, and when I opened them up, looking around to see where I was, I was confused.  I couldn’t figure out exactly where I was.  In my confusion, I then heard a policeman say, “Oh – we lost this one.  Do you have her name – anything on her?” 


I then opened my eyes wider and said, “No you didn’t lose me!”  He jumped back, scared out of his wits.  The nurses and doctors came running in and the place was mass pandemonium.  There is blood coming from me everywhere.  They’re pulling glass out of my body – there was a big piece above my eye.  All I could do was lay there and sob … thanking Jesus for saving me from that dark pit I was in -- being taken to hell.

After my bad accident I slowly gave up the party scene and the crowd and friend I hung with. My friends asked me why I was acting different and why I didn't want to party anymore; I told them God gave me a second at life and I didn't dare risk throwing it away anymore. I eventually moved and got back into church; I needed to start living by the principles of the Bible.


Friend … you do not want to go where I was headed.  You may not get the second chance I got.  You had better get right with the Lord, because the next intersection may be your eternity.  If my only purpose to be given a second chance at living was to write this and keep you from going to hell, then bless God and thank Him. 


Get right with God … is all I have to say. 


Thank you for reading my testimony.  If you would like to contact me, I can be reached through email at nowah56@yahoo.com.



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 the Holy Spirit 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 cover your sins?  We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.

To be at peace with God; 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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