August 06, 2005

From Trash to Treasure (My Testimony)

bladerunnerunicorn

I was born into the world during the 70's, and my parents divorced shortly afterwards when I was only two. My mom met and married a man when I was five years old that became my step-dad, and I only saw my father and his new family one weekend out of each month or so. I was basically an only child, even though I had step-sisters that popped in to visit occasionally, and half-sisters who I saw at my father's house when I was able to visit them. I was an angry and rebellious child. I got in a lot of trouble, and without the gory details, I will just leave you with the knowledge that I am not certain how my mother survived my teenage years. I hung out with the wrong crowd at public school. I went to too many parties. I narrowly escaped getting caught by authorities. My mother put me in "rehab" as a desperate attempt to "fix" my problems.

I dropped out of church as a young teen and turned my back on God - believing that He was incapable of helping me out of the darkness I was consumed by. I looked for love in all the wrong places; I was always searching for a new high. My Christian family members prayed for my soul. It would be a vast understatement to say that I was the "black sheep" of my family. I thought that alcohol and substance abuse could erase my reality. There is just nothing pretty about being utterly lost - no matter what age you are when you are at the bottom of that pit.

Half way into my first year of college, I was spiraling out of control. I ended up pregnant, and without much thought and some bad advice, I had an abortion. It was on the table in that pregnancy office that my hard veneer finally cracked. My heart broke open and I realized (after it was too late) what I had done. I became extremely depressed, and gave up college to start a job and support myself. It was only a few weeks later, that God blessed me (at a time when I was at my lowest) by introducing me to a man who would soon become my husband and help to draw me away from my sordid lifestyle.

Kevin and I met at a night club... and contrary to popular belief, I believe that God works miracles even in the seediest of establishments if the prayers of the righteous reach His Holy ears in petition for the lost. This was one of those nights... the night I met my husband. Kevin was like no boy I had ever dated: clean cut and "normal". We looked like a very un-matched couple... me all dressed in black, and him sporting a button-up Liz Clayborne, a pair of Kohl Haan's and a sports blazer. He had a job. He had a car. He had nice parents (who were understandably concerned after meeting me). God really does have a sense of humor. We were inseparable for eight months, and were married when we were at the tender ages of 20 and 22 (just barely).

Over three years into our marriage later, and after many nights in clubs and bars together... we were still un-satisfied with life and our relationship was about to fall apart. One morning, after waking with a hang-over, an idea popped into my head (OK, maybe this was the Holy Spirit - I have to give credit where it's due!). I asked Kevin if he wanted to go to church. Feeling the same desperation at saving what little we had left of a relationship, he consented. So we sat through our first Sunday service together (without being prodded by family to attend) squinting at the lights, and trying to sing despite our throbbing headaches.

We tried many different churches, both coming from different backgrounds. We went infrequently at first, but somehow, we left feeling much guiltier, and much better... if that makes sense? We didn't think we could ever be like the "church people" who seemed to have it all "together". We decided to make church a habit when I was about six months pregnant with my son. We started a regular Bible study with an older couple. Both of us were convicted and could see the hand of God that had been drawing us towards Him with "chords of loving-kindness" all through those dark years in both of our previous lives. We realized that we had never been alone, but God had been there with us... and even though we were both allowed to suffer through the consequences of our sin and choices, God was always there in the midst of it with us, waiting for the perfect moment to shine His light into our darkness.

In 1997, we were both baptized into the body of Christ. Our son was a little, bald 9-month old "Mr. Clean" back then. We had been on our way to take pictures that morning at a photo studio, and Kevin suddenly said that he wanted us to get baptized (this would be my second time under the waters of baptism). We went to our Bible-teacher's house and were both baptized in his back yard in their pool... and then we rushed to get dressed again to make our photo appointment. The photo we took that day is amazing. We all three look like we are glowing and unbelievably happy. Even our infant son had a grin from ear to ear. It felt good to finally obey - to do right - to be forgiven and let go of the past. Although I still didn't feel like a "church person", I certainly knew that God loved me, and that He was proud. That was all that mattered. It wasn't all ups on the roller-coaster of life after that day. Satan isn't concerned with you when you are living in sin. He's only on your heels when you are trying to obey God. We had a new enemy. It was rough for a while, but we stayed faithful to attending church and praying through the tough times.

My daughter came into our lives when my son was only 23 months old, and we began to see life through different eyes with two children. Gone were the days of living for ourselves and spending all our money on vacations and weekend fun. I became a stay-at-home mother (a job I never had imagined in my wildest dreams) and began to work with my son in what I now know was the beginning stages of homeschooling. I had never heard of homeschooling... but that soon changed as my father introduced us to a large community of homeschoolers through his educational ministry in the field of Science. I was amazed by the children... especially the teenagers. The more I knew about the Lord, the more convicted I became in my heart that I was to prevent my children from the horrors that I had endured as a public school student. Of course, my problems did not only stem from public school... but I knew that it made my spiraling descent quicker with my parents kept minimally involved in my life. God started preparing my heart for a huge undertaking... and by the time my son turned 4, I began to plan out our first year of "homeschool".

At first, I was very uncertain. God placed some wonderful veteran homeschooling moms in my path to encourage me and show me what I needed to do. I read everything I could get my hands on about homeschooling. A friend of mine from church invited me to her house one day, and over a slice of her home-made dill bread, we discussed her early years of homeschooling and my desire to win my husband's favor over for this new adventure. She placed a copy of the Konos Volume I in my lap, and told me about their love for unit studies. I was inspired by the idea of making learning so fun. It sounded wonderful. She lent me her book and after a few trips to the teacher's supply store, I was ready to start the new year.

In our first month of homeschool, the awful 9/11 events transpired. We were living with our in-laws because the summer prior to starting homeschool, our home had flooded, leaving us with no-where to live for six months during clean-up and remodeling. We had many challenges, and being new to homeschooling, I felt that we were not up to educational standards. In the early spring, I gave my five year old son a Kindergarten test (the CAT - California Achievement Test), and was amazed when he missed only handful of questions. He was already reading, although not extremely well... and my husband was duly impressed. If it had not been for our financial struggles, we would have continued to homeschool the following year, but we put the children in private school when I was offered a job there as their registrar. My husband took a job as a contractor in Iraq after the war started. After being over-seas and seeing life from a different perspective, he began to see how precious life is, and how much we take for granted in America. He was asked by an Iraqi man if all the American girls were like Brittney Spears. This made him think about the positive side to homeschooling... and when he came back home, my prayers for his approval were answered. He was fully supportive and wanted us to stick out homeschooling, even if we had to really sacrifice by living on one income.

Since then, we have completed two years of homeschooling with our children. Many of those months have been difficult as my husband has been forced to commute to find a stable, well-paying job that will support our lifestyle. Homeschooling is certainly not the easiest choice, but we have been very blessed by the experience, and are thankful even in difficult circumstances. We know that our hearts are in the right place, and that we are seeking to please the Lord... so we expect good things in the future. I may have never expected to be a stay-at-home mother, to be a happily married 30-something wife to a God-fearing, loyal, Christian man.... or to be an elementary (homeschool) teacher to two beautiful kids that I could never have deserved... but through all of this, I am now convinced that God looks deep into your heart and sees what He wants you to become, and SPEAKS it into existence. I am amazed at what God has done for me. Each day is a gift. I can not help myself but want to share that gift with my children, and others. I hope that you will be encouraged to know that God is not concerned with your weaknesses or your past - He is all about creating your future.

Isaiah 61
The Year of the LORD's Favor
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes
,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning
,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair
.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.



Photo from the movie "Blade Runner" (film artwork & photography © Ladd Company 1982) property of Warner Brothers Home Video © 1996.

All Bible verses from the New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

30 comments:

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

What a wonderful testimony!

Sheri said...

What a beautiful testimony you are to your children. Thank you for sharing.

Sprittibee said...

I certainly can't take any credit, but I am glad that you gals enjoyed it. It is hard to be painfully honest, but that's just part of growing in the Lord.

Linda Wakefield Kelley said...

I'm so glad you shared your testimony. What a blessing it will be to all those who read it. I especially like the title and the picture. Sometimes we feel so guilty about our past we convince ourselves we are nothing but worthless trash. But, God does not make trash. You are a beautiful princess and your Father is a King! Now, that's worth celebrating.

TulipGirl said...

Beautiful!

TCS said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I stumbled on to your blog from Fajita's. We also homeschool and it is certainly difficult at times but I am convinced it is worth it.

marineswife said...

What a wonderful testimony! Thank you for sharing it. It brought tears to my eyes to read about your baptism and your husbands leadership in that area.

Sue in FL said...

Awesome testimony. Mine is very similar and it is so wonderful that God sees us as we can be instead of how we are.

Jina said...

Heather, Jesus is using your transparency before HIM and the Body to bring freedom, grace and tenderness in the areas of lack. Before Him, there is wholeness and complete joy! "The Lord is perfecting all that concerns (you and I)" Ps. 138:8 Keep your eyes on Jesus, he will NEVER fail!

Sprittibee said...

Thank you all for your comments. I read through this again, and even though I know this story is my own, it seems as if someone else was writing it. I know the Spirit led me to share this, as it has never been a story that has made me proud... so I am glad that others are able to benefit from it and hope that God uses it for His purpose.

Nancy Baetz said...

Thank you for stopping by my front porch blog this morning! I was just reading your blog the other day, and really enjoyed it! I came back to read your testimony. We have a lot in common, past and present. Thankfully, God lifted me up out of the miry clay too and put my feet on the rock---and is still making my footsteps firm each day. I thank Him for literally saving my life.

God bless you friend!
Nancy

Jammy said...

Thank you for being so transparent in your testimony, I know it is a blessing to others.

Jenn

Heather Smith said...

This is a beautiful testimony! I'm so glad that God drew you to Himself even when you weren't seeking Him! Thanks so much for sharing this!

Wendy said...

Wow! That is awesome to see how the Lord has worked in your life. Thanks for sharing. I am just getting ready to put mine up and it is hard to put myself out there, but I need to remember that if it ministers to one person it will be worth it. Thanks.
It's about Him not about me.

Kim said...

I was so touched by your testimony. I can relate to so much of what you wrote. Praise God that He is a God of mercy and forgiveness. Thank you for being so willing to be open and honest about your life.

Erna said...

Beautiful testimony . . . To God be the glroy. I love how He transformed your lives and brought you to homeschool your children (we're currently thinking about what curriculum to use *when* we homeschool . . . no longer *if*).
Blessings to you! I love the passage you shared too . . . one of my favourites.

Sprittibee said...

Nancy, you are most welcome. God is so merciful, isn't He?! Rejoicing with you that we are free!

Thanks Heather. You are most welcome, although I have to admit, it took a long time for me to be able to share it freely.

Thanks Wendy. Once you get it out and over with, it is such a relief. I just hope that it blesses one lost young girl out there who isn't sure that God could ever forgive her.

Thank you, Erna. I am glad you have decided to homeschool. I thought about how blessed I was today when we decided to take a walk at lunch time and enjoy ourselves. We ate lunch out and when we went into the fast food place, there was a teenage boy smoking a joint out there in public! I wondered if his mother knew he was doing it... and if he would end up in jail or worse before he was 20.

jettybetty said...

SB,
I praise God for your powerful testimony! I am sorry for the suffering you endured, but God rescued you--and now you have so much to praise and thank Him for!

I pray you will take this in humility, because I don't mean to attack.

Do you believe public school was the thing in your life that brought you to poor choices? Trying to understand.

I confess, I read my Bible more than newspapers. (and I don't watch tv at all) I do read online newspapers--but only ones with as little bias as possible (it's not totally possible). I believe the Holy Spirit can interpret how God wants me to react to current events.

I don't know if you know my story, but my children are all adults--and one teaches in a public middle school not too far from where I live. I get most of my first hand information from her now--several times a week. God is moving so powerfully that school--and I get way excited about it! I also have several good friends that teach in PS and all my neighbors have children in PS.

I am sorry if you believe I am living in denial just because I don't agree with Spunky. I've been accused of a lot of things, but denial has never been one before. NO offense taken, however.

I pray only blessings for you--you seem to really be thriving with your homeschooling--and I pray it continue to get only better and better!

Sprittibee said...

Betty,

Thank you for visiting my site from Spunky's comments section (about public schooling).

I believe that public school was an instrument that "helped" my poor choices along. The fact that my mother had to work a 9-6 job, the fact that my parents divorced when I was young, the fact that my stepfather was not a Christian, and many other things also contributed. I don't believe public school was the ONLY thing in my life that was "bad". Certainly not. I also take full responsibility for my own "poor choices" because I knew right from wrong.

Not sure what you meant by talking about current events and how you respond to them. I also don't watch a lot of TV and only get my news online and through the radio mostly. We don't get cable (waste of money) and we don't get good reception where we live (need cable to get clear channels).

I do not know your story. My family is full of teachers, too. I don't know if you live in a rural area, but most of my life, I've lived in one of the biggest cities in the US. Schools are probably better in country towns than they are in the cities. I have relatives who also have kids in public school, friends who used to homeschool but can't now and their kids are in public school, and we know teachers who teach in public schools and private schools. I just wanted you to know that I've seen both sides of the track and I don't just say what I say without some experience and understanding. My sisters were threatened by gangs in school - one of them had to have a huge football player escourt her all over campus all of the time because she feared for her life. I did HARD drugs that I got on school campus. Even the good kids in school knew who had drugs and no one told on eachother. My mother used to send me to school with 20$ a week for lunch and I spent 1$ a day and saved the rest for the weekends (yes, I actually ate a recess peanut-butter cup and a coke EVERY day for lunch). If I had been homeschooled... I doubt I would have had 15$ a week to spend on drugs and cigarettes.

I also feel that my mother would have been able to spend TIME with me. I was an only child for the most part... so time was really all I needed. She was so tired and worn out after working all day outside the home. Her relationship wasn't all that great with my stepfather, so she was also stressed out a lot. There were a lot of things we all could go back and do over to make things better... but none of that is necessary and what is done has made me into the person I am today.

Therefore, I don't believe that IF you public school, your kids are doomed. Even if you have to learn the hard way about life in Christ, you can still learn. Even if you have to first believe in Darwin (like me), you can still find out the Truth (like me).

I think public school, private school, and homeschool kids are all equal in the sight of God and I don't think any of the three choices GAURANTEES a particular outcome. I just lean toward believing that homeschooling - if done as for the Lord - has the best odds. That's why I do it.

Anyway... I'm just glad to have been forgiven. And Mom, if you are out there, I'm sorry for pocketing all that lunch money (and all the other heartaches and woes I caused you)! I know you know about it already, but man... I still feel guilty sometimes. ;)

Thank you for the blessings and I pray the same for you and yours.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful testimony!!! I know that this is strange, my commenting on your blog. I don't even know you. God must have led me to it. I was looking online for graduation cake dec. ideas and came to your blog. I wa so blessed by all the things you said! I went thru things similar to you, but not as bad. I became pregnant right after high school b4 college...never got to go 2 college. Now my son is 10months old and i also want to homeschool. I don't want him to have to deal w/ public school horrors as i did. I just wanted you to know that this really helped me. Thank you. I hadn't heard of or met any other single mom who was christian. It was very refreshing to find something online that could bless me so much! Thank you Lord!
-sarah (prwdmthr329@aol.com)
You can check out my blog if u want:
www.mylittletreefrog.blogspot.com

Miss Jocelyn Dixon said...

Wow, what a wonderful, awesome work of the only one who could save you.

You are truly an inspiration to young girls, or any girls for that matter, who have 'been there'.

You are a wonderful example of His Love for His children, though they may not see it - yet.

I am so glad you did get saved so that you could become the woman, wife and mom you were designed to be.

Praise God for his divine power!
I am blessed to know you - if it is only for a short while!

I hope to get to know you more!
Blessings,
Jocelyn

Sprittibee said...

Thanks Jocelyn. You are a wonderful example as well. The Lord says that "ye shall know them by their fruits". I pray that you bloom into a planting of the Lord - a garden of spiritual fruit - for the Display of His Splendor. ;) My the Lord spare you the hardest lessons that I had to learn.

denise said...

I love testimonies, esp. like the one you wrote. I've shared my very very similar one in public, but haven't written it down for my blog yet. Partly because my children don't know most of it, and I'm not ready to tell them lol.

Prayer is SO effective. I would not be saved unless for a very old neighbor to whom God gave love enough to him to pray for my soul. When he died about a year later I felt something swoosh past me, and I felt unbelievable love being poured on me, and I knew he was with Jesus in heaven. I know that sounds weird! lol

I was sent to the homeschoolgold site to look at/ leave a review and saw your link when I searched for a blog name. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Okay, it's after two in the morning and I am actually still up working on lesson plans for our homeschooling, but I really think the Spirit led my web search tonight because skimming your blog has been so encouraging! I hoped to find some neat school ideas and was blessed by your testimony and writings. I, too, am a baptized believer that just wants to be known as a Christian, not by a denominational name tag. I see homeschooling as one more way for us to build a foundation of godliness and authentic, active faith for our kids. I don't at all say that this is the only way to do it, but it's what we choose for our family. Our family came to homeschooling through a very unexpected path--I taught in the public and private school systems for several years and was just sure homeschooled kids were out of touch with reality. Guess who's homeschooling? Thanks for sharing about your faith and your journey homeschooling! I know I'll be up a lot later than I had planned finding what I originally got online for, but it's worth it!

Heather said...

Thanks so much for your kind comments everyone. It took me a long time to be able to share my past with others. It makes it a little easier on the web, but then you have to know that ANYONE can get on and read personal things about your life. For me, the biggest reason I do it is because the Bible tells that there is power in our testimony and that we should always be ready to give reason for the faith we have in Christ. I pray that my life points to Him. If I plant only one seed, I have done my job. If I plant 1,000, then I have done my job. I am called to plant. He is the one who grows each seed into a "planting of the Lord - for the display of His splendor".

Revelation 12:11 - They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

1 Peter 3:15 - But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...

Isaiah 61:3 - and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Jill said...

I just found your blog from a homeschool site. I emjoyed reading your testimony and the awesome things God has done in your life. It always amazes me to look back at my life before knowing Christ and see how He was already there protecting me (mostly from myself) and wooing me to Him.

I also agree that homeschooling is the best way for our children, don't ever let any of the frustrations of HS make you give it up. Persevere. It is so worth it. I have HS'd for 15 years now and am so thankful God has given me the opportunity to do so.

Jennifer said...

I'm so glad I took the time to read this. I found your blog through Little Lapbooks and this entry caught my eye. You are a blessing! I know God is using your openness to draw others to Him. Blessing to you and your family!

Jennifer

Momuv4girls said...

What an awesome testimony. I have so enjoyed reading it. I cried through lots of it. VERY moving. I too am a baptized believer. God is so good to share with us what we need. Thanks for letting Him work through you.
I am a mom of 4 girls and have been homeschooling since 2000. We graduated my oldest last May. I am getting ready to go through a BIG transition she is going off to college in January. So CHERISH those little children... as I know you do.
God bless
LaRessie in NC

Sisterlisa said...

Quite the transparent testimony (((Heather))) Praise the Lord for your life change!

Sprittibee said...

Thank you so much for your comments. :) I read back through this sometimes (it was three years ago that I wrote it) and it makes me get chills to remember it all. It is a good reminder of where I came from and the Amazing Strength and Creativity of our Loving God. When I could see no future or hope, he created it for me.

One of my favorite singing groups is Watermark. They have an awesome song called "More than You'll Ever Know" and part of the lyrics go like this...

"you had faith when I had none
you prayed God would bring me a brand new song
when I didn't think I could find the strength to sing"

I am so thankful that people prayed for me when I was lost. :)

God bless!

Heather

 

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