So bear with me guys, I'm trying to figure out something with my pictures resizing so I can post more outfit posts.
Last night I was stressed out about what to post, and my best friend suggested to post the document of her testimony she had just shared last night at our church's Women's Day which was amazing by the way. It was so encouraging and it impacted so many women. I am making a mini movie from all the footage and will share it with you all soon.
Here is my sister in Christ's amazing testimony, take a moment and read and see what God can do in someone's life.
This is Stephanie... And this is her story
Hi everyone. My name is Stephanie Moran and I am a campus student here at The University of Texas at Arlington, working to get my masters in social work. I was asked today to share with you my experience and journey of becoming a Christian. I had always thought that I was a Christian growing up because I had prayed occasionally, and done the whole YoungLife thing for a little while in high school. But my actions did not reflect me living my life for Christ.
I never went to church as a child, though both my parents were raised going to church and never dared miss Sunday school. God was certainly not a priority in the household I was raised in. My mother was a recovering alcoholic that gave up drinking to pop pills and my father was just plain angry. My innocence was stolen from me at the age of 13. I was molested by a 55 year old man who pinned me down wanting to ‘play’ with me while his wife was at work and I was supposed to be babysitting his daughter. I felt vulnerable, used, cheated, gross and like no shower could ever wash the disgust I felt off.
I felt deeply ashamed and didn’t tell my family the moment I got home. The next day at school I told several of my friends who told me I needed to tell my family. I remember praying for the first and only time with my mom. When my father found out, he initially held me while he cried, but things between him and I began to change. My dad felt he should have protected me and that he had failed me in some way. The only way that he could handle the immense guilt he felt was to push me away so he didn’t have to deal with the situation. I completely internalized my dad not holding me and showing me how much he loved and cared for me as my fault and that I actually was dirty. I began to actually think God had put me on this earth to be used by men and mistreated. So I sought the love, care and attention from other boys, more so than I already was doing, and allowed them to mistreat me and use me. It took over a year for my dad to say that he loved me again, but he finally did.
Though his actions changed, mine were still the same. I was still seeking love from boys and being used each time. In my attempt to make things right and to protect myself from the impure lifestyle I was living, I got open with my mom and told her what was going on. I cannot imagine what it would be like to hear as a mom the things I told her, but her reactions was the only one she knew, fear and anger. She screamed at me and called me a slut in her car in front of my high school.
A little while after that I met a guy in high school I dated for 18 months, who I cheated on with another guy I would date for 3 years and would change my life. I thought things in my life had gotten a little better once I started dating my “high school sweetheart” of 3 years. We had been together only 9 months and it was bliss. But things changed drastically my senior year of high school. I had just applied to UT Arlington, only because that was where my sweetheart was going to school, and also applied to Baylor and SFA. I was accepted to both Baylor and SFA and got a letter from UT Arlington granting me provision admissions and stating that I would be on academic probation my first year of college.
My intentions were never to go to UTA, especially since they only provisionally wanted me… did they not know who I was. My plans and God’s plans were completely different. On January 17, 2007, at 5:35 am, I found my mom unresponsive due to an accidental drug overdose, laying in her recliner. My life stopped then! I fell into a deep depression painfully crying to my father wanting to end my life and just be with my mom. Soon after orchestrating my mom’s funeral and trying to get back to a “normal life” my father and I began attending church together for the first time and studying the bible with his friends… but, I had an unrepented heart that wanted to smoke pot and drink with my boyfriend on the weekends to escape life. I then decided that going to UTA would be safer than moving out on my own, fearing that I might be abandoned by another person that I loved so dearly at the time, my boyfriend. I already was abandoned by my mom, had been abandoned by my dad and boys were my safeguard. If they used me, I already knew that was God’s plan.
My freshman year of college, I quickly moved in with boyfriend and continued my downward spiral of drinking and smoking pot. Though my grades were amazing and I was an active leader on campus, my home life did not reflect the such. By sophomore year, I got my act a little more together and quit smoking and drinking and started to attend a grief therapy group at Arlington First Baptist Church, to handle the pain of losing my mom, where I dabbled a little in seeking God… but I still wasn’t ready. I was still living with my boyfriend and he was further from being a Christian or wanting to be a Christian than I ever was. By junior year, I decided to move out on my own, break ties with my boyfriend and take control of my life… but it ended in drinking occasionally, going to clubs and continuing my sinful nature hopping from bad relationship to the next and only getting worse and worse. I began online dating at the age of 20, where I had 8 first dates in one month, while I was casually dating my manager at work. Again, everything looked good on the outside. I had a 3.75 GPA, Secretary of the Student Alumni Association, and a member of numerous honors fraternities.
I then met Angie my junior year while she was on my contact list for the Student Alumni Association. I could tell something was different about Angie and longed to get to know her better, but I was too busy for any of that. Little did I know Angie had just been baptized and was trying to get out of SAA so she could attend midweek, but luckily God had different plans. Angie was elected Director of Special Projects and I won the President position of SAA by ONE vote. I began my senior year of college ecstatic to lead the largest student organization on campus and stressed to the core. Again, little did I know Angie was given advice to quit SAA and just move on with life. But God had different plans. Angie stayed around and stuck through the hard times of losing our advisor and quite frankly, having to deal with me.
At the beginning of last year, I asked Angie if she would finally like to go to lunch and get to know each other better and she agreed, but soon texted back and said that the campus ministry she was a part of was having a BibleTalk that day and asked if I would like to join her and then have lunch. January 28th, 2011, was a crazy bible talk. Our campus ministry leader conducted a convicting discussion on cutting corners in our academic life, and his co-leader followed the lead by driving in the double edged sword by mentioning that we also cut corners in our relationships with the opposite sex. The lid to my emotions were off and I was crying like I was laying on my bathroom floor alone. I was telling Angie everything that was going on, what a deep depression I was in and how I longed to just get right with God. I told Angie I feared that God would let me crumble and fall, but I put my fear aside and sought God anyways.
Superbowl Sunday I went to a house church service and watched the game with everyone and scheduled my first bible study for February 8th 2011, which is referred to as my first date with God and was soon welcomed into the Kingdom of God a year ago this past March 15th.
My heart before I started seeking God was lustful, prideful, disrespectful, jealous, envious, selfish and so ugly that I would curse my father out on a regular occasion as a joke. I was so lost I made comments that I “prided myself in being so humble”… oxymoron, I know. I was impacted by the open loving arms of the church and to finally realize that God is way bigger than I can ever imagine or will ever imagine. Today, over a year since my baptism, I finally have a reason to live that the suicidal 17 year old Stephanie did not see. God is constantly healing my heart about my mother and my constant need for men’s approval, and has gifted me with a beautiful family 10 times over!
I wish I could stand here today and tell you that I am perfect, but that would be a lie. I still struggle with seeing myself a God’s beautiful daughter, seeking assurance from men and depressed at times by not having my mom around. But I am reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-31 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
My two best friends and I have that on a bracelet we all wear, because we are women and leaving our burdens for someone to bare is not easy. But we, ladies, were not meant to deal with the things this life brings alone. Let us give that all to God and find rest in him for our weary souls.