Although I did really well in the military (I'm the firstborn child of two firstborns so I know how to be bossy), my life started to tumble downward. I became very verbally abusive towards people. I had a motto that ‘only God could help you if I was mad at you.’ My animosity and zealousness were poured into being a Military Police Officer and my enemies, whether the Russians we were learning to kill or my mock opponents in the field exercises; I was known for my tactical prowess. I had a great intolerance for most women and if a woman approached me as I was talking to someone, the slightest giggle or display of femininity would cause me to totally ignore her as if she wasn’t there. This intolerance also was shared for children. They were too noisy and active for my liking. My friends often called me Adolf Hitler when I was around children.
While in the military and attending a war college course I met a man in a bar. One week later he bought a ring, at two weeks he proposed and in five (5) weeks we were married. My course ended and he moved to Colorado with me where I was stationed. Shortly after returning to Colorado my unit was deployed for ‘Just Cause’ in Panama and we were separated. An injury caused me to get out of the US Army and when I returned from Panama I was honorably discharged. We moved to Texas where we both had family and my life took an even harder spiral downward.
I tried to command my husband as I did my soldiers and it did not work well. Additionally, I found that I had married a raging alcoholic. Things took a turn for the worse and he left me and moved out. It was then that my life came crashing down around me.
I don’t share all this to bring glory to who I was but to show how far God has brought me. My mother and sister came over to comfort me and my sister eventually shared about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She shared that it was more than knowing the stories or feeling good when going to church. She explained the difference between taking Jesus as my Savior and then as my Lord. My life will ever be changed from that night as I cried and begged the Lord to come into my life.
After that night things began to get better, however, I have a really hard head and the Lord had many lesson for me. For a short time my marriage was repaired, but eventually ended with my husband kicking me out of the home, divorcing me, and then marrying a woman he was having an affair with. I was in great shame at the divorce even though it was not at my request or what I wanted.
A year or so later I met and married a Pastor’s son, and because we did all the right things (i.e., no sex before marriage, marriage counseling, etc.), I thought life would be grand and perfect. Six months into the marriage he started using drugs. Needless to say I was devastated. I was determined to be a godly wife though, so I stuck with the marriage despite all the difficult times. Eventually he left me, got a few women pregnant and ended up going to state prison. At this point I filed for legal separation in order to protect myself from his illegal activities and due to his rage problem I had to get a restraining order.
Through those months/years I asked myself “How could I have done it again?” I married another addict? I know of no drug addicts or alcoholics in my family, so I couldn’t understand what pulled me towards these men. Through this time God taught me to rely upon Him and that no one could fully ever meet all my needs or not disappoint me.
After moving to Sacramento California, I went through counseling with a wise Pastor. He encouraged me, challenged me, and gently led me down the path of emotional and spiritual healing. I knew what God’s word said about divorce and I didn’t want another divorce, so I was going to do anything in my power to keep from getting one. One day the Pastor approached the subject. He told me that within the teachings of the Bible I had grounds for divorce and to think and pray about it. He told me that my husband had ‘put me out’ by leaving me (standard for a non-believer putting a believer out) and that he committed adultery by getting women pregnant. Even so I struggled with it. Yes he had divorced me physically, emotionally, sexually, spiritually, psychologically, etc….. but I didn’t want to sign the papers, I didn’t want another divorce. At this point no one in my family had a divorce except one of my great aunts who was a little odd. I often struggled with bringing the shame of a divorce to my family . . . and to do it twice! After months of struggling with it though and desperately seeking God’s will, I felt a deep peace about the subject come over me. I signed the papers and now had a 2d divorce.
When I moved to Sacramento I wanted to find a church I could hide in and heal and protect myself, so I ended up finding this little church that was hidden away; you couldn’t find it unless you were looking for it. There were about 35 people in the church and the average age was around 75-80. A perfect place to hide right? Little did I know what God had in store for me there.
In this little church is where I met my husband Mark. He had been praying for 5 years for a Christian wife . . . and in the door I walked. He talked to our Pastor about me and was told that I was legally married and that he should not pursue me. Mark waited months. After my divorce was final he approached me and the first words practically out of his mouth were “You are the woman God brought for me to marry.” Needless to say my reaction was not very good and almost unchristian like. I told him in no uncertain terms to leave me alone. I knew about his history as a drug addict for 18 years. He had to be crazy to think that I would go down that path again.
Slowly over the months Mark would talk to me gently, honestly, and patiently. Have you ever had someone ask you to do something and you know God wants you to do it but your first reaction is to scream “NO!.” Well that’s what I began to feel. I prayed to God, please don’t let this be what you want me to do. I did a study in the Bible of a godly man, planning to compare it to Mark and show him unworthy, but it backfired on me. At times I would keep the bed of my truck between Mark and I as he tried to talk to me not wanting him to even be physically near me.
After a number of months Mark asked me to marry him . . . . .26 times in 1 ½ hour ! He would ask me “Would you marry me?” and I would say “Yes, but …” and then he’d tell me my answer was wrong. What ?! !?! How can my answer, MY answer be wrong. Who did this man think he was? But he continued to ask until my answer was “Yes” and only “Yes.” I was so scared. Could this be what God really wanted me to do? All the confirmation was there that it was, but still . . . .
In the few months before our wedding God began to show me over and over that this was what He wanted me to do and that He had a purpose for me, and for Mark and I together. He had work for us to do.
As you can see from my testimony (and from Mark’s), God put us together with a specific purpose in mind. Over the years since we married, Mark has worked several times at the Union Gospel Rescue Mission with the homeless and the rehabilitation program and I would volunteer there whenever I could. Amongst that and the work the Lord was calling us to do in our churches; He showed us that we were a perfect match for working with people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Mark had done it and worked with those who were in it and I survived as a wife of it, and my job with the Bureau was to supervise halfway houses (rehab centers).
Even through all the confusion and pain, God had a plan. How great is our God?