MARIE'S STORY

I have always felt that God had a purpose for my life. It wasn’t until a few months ago I truly realized exactly how much He loved me and how much He wanted me to trust in Him and allow Him to lead the way.

At a very young age, I became severely ill and was admitted to the hospital. After several tests, the doctors explained to my mom that I had meningitis and that it was unlikely I would survive. As a woman of great faith, my mom believed that a God greater than any disease could heal and restore my life. So she prayed with everything she had and miraculously I was completely healed. Not long after my healing, my parents became distant and ended up divorcing. I was five years old.

Throughout my childhood and adolescence, my father was partially absent. He spent time with my sister and I when it was convenient for him. He missed birthdays and holidays which often left us in tears. Even though my mom had remarried a wonderful man (whom I now call Dad), I didn’t feel like we were a family. Instead, I felt rejection from a father who cared more about his work, meeting women, and drinking than he did about his own children.

 

"Instead, I felt rejection from a father who cared more about his work, meeting women, and drinking than he did about his own children."

 

When I turned 18, I decided to step away from church. I wanted to explore a world of what I considered “fun”. Instead, I found myself filling up the areas of rejection and low self worth with sex, drugs and alcohol. I was in abusive relationships and became severely depressed. One day when I was 22, I found out I was pregnant. How could this be happening to me? My life was already in shambles, how was I going to raise a baby? I told my boyfriend at the time and he flipped out. He accused me of cheating, he threatened me, and then left me with no choice but abortion. Alone, I made my way to the abortion clinic where I went through my darkest hour. Later, I became struck with so much guilt and shame that I couldn’t stand to live with myself. The enemy put thoughts of suicide into my head. He told me it was the only way. The temptation thrived in my head, but I knew deep down in my heart that there was another way. I heard the word “Home” and I knew this was not the end.

I ended up leaving my desperate situation and returned home to my mom and step dad. Instead of the Prodigal Son, I was the Prodigal Daughter. I wish I could say my life was perfect after that, but it wasn’t. My relationship with my father only became more estranged. I dated one guy after the next, hoping to find “the one”, but that never happened. I found myself spending more money than I had and shopping uncontrollably. Food became a temporary fix and I quickly gained weight until it skyrocketed out of control. I weighed 205 pounds on a 5’4″ frame.

When I was 28, I felt God calling me back home to my Southern California roots. He had found me again, in a dark time, and reached for me. This time, I chose to listen and obey. I was worth more to Him than any man could offer me. God wanted me to be free from rejection, free from shame and guilt, and free from self destruction.

God wanted me to be free from rejection, free from shame and guilt, and free from self destruction.

I fully believe God has always had the best intentions for me. He saved me when I was little. He saved me from abuse. He saved me from suicide and now he’s rebuilding my confidence in myself and loving on me each and every day. Six months ago, God led me to Eastside Christian Church. I didn’t know anyone, which was daunting, but slowly I’m making new friends. I have also started attending Eastside Institute because I feel that God has called me into ministry and to serve and encourage women just like me.

You see, I have a purpose. I was put on this earth to love as God loves, to teach as God teaches, to encourage others as God encourages, and to speak life and hope to people just like me. I am so thankful for God’s presence in my life and for never giving up on me. I can honestly say that now my story is only beginning.