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A Loneliness, Alcohol, Drugs, and Pornography Over comer
No More Bipolar, Guilt Anxiety , Suicide, Fear, and Sickness
Emotional Nerve Problems GONE
Introvert Overcomes Loneliness
Misery and Depression Free!
I Was in Deep Despair and Near Suicide
A Child's Depression Turns to Hope
I Was Frozen with Fear of Death
Low Self Esteem from Childhood Abuse and Dysfunctional Family


A CHANGED LIFE
A Loneliness, Alcohol, Drugs, and Pornography Over comer

Good morning everybody, it is Easter Sunday (2004) and I'm feeling very
good. I am forty six years old and my story goes as follows. Ever since
I knew the difference between right and wrong as a child, my life was a
struggle. The world around me was confusing and all through life I felt so very
alone. In fact the pain was so bad that I couldn't even get close to another
person. So over the years I got involved in booze and pot and pornography and
little by little I descended into my own private hell. I had tried religion before but
it didn't work for me. You know, I thought I was so smart and I had the
attitude that these people are fools. Then recently I once again found
my self making bad decisions and in my pain I yelled out to myself "Why is there
a hole in me that can't be filled? " No matter what I put in there I had
this feeling of emptiness. Then the next day it struck me that I was
that empty hole. That very same night I had a dream of a small circle
suddenly being completed and then the circle became a heart and
it started beating. I woke up and realized that half of the heart was
mine and half of the heart belonged to someone else and that
other person was Jesus! I just couldn’t believe it. I made apologies to
people that I had hurt and over the course of the next day I threw out
all my porn and booze and drugs and the great thing about it is that it
wasn't even a problem. The demons that drove my mind are gone!
I think my lifelong habit of cigarettes is next. Today, I am going
to celebrate Easter with my relatives and I now know that no matter
where I go he is always there. So if you are reading this page have hope
and be honest with yourself. Life is definitely worth living!

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A CHANGED LIFE
No More Bipolar, Guilt, Anxiety, Suicide, Fear and Sickness
“My self-esteem was so low I didn't even know I had the right to live. Depression with high and low manic sessions became the norm and anxiety attacks plagued me.  It was so hard for me to make friends. I finally...”

My life began as the daughter of an alcoholic father
who was also plagued with probably manic depression and guilt about leaving the Catholic seminary years before. My mother had been raised Baptist and had to convert when she married my dad. (His alcoholism was not as advanced as it later bacame) I was forced to attend parochial school and soon began to discover for myself that God seemed to be a pretty awful God and that I wanted nothing to do with Him if He was anything like my dad. Everything seemed to be a lie that we were taught and the stuff I managed to understand in the Bible seemed to verify this. My sisters and I with mom endured years of emotional abuse and some physical abuse as well. The priest kept telling us that my mom had made her bed now she could lie in it. I had never experienced so much hate coming from someone who said he was a representative of God. Don't even get me started on sexual touches I endured by priests. Not all priests were horrid I did discover later on including the archbishop.

 It wasn't long before I became a teenager though and started to rebel with drugs, alcohol and sex. I became everything my dad said I was when he would rant at us girls about what 'whores' and the like we would turn into. My self-esteem was so low I didn't even know I had the right to live. Depression with high and low manic sessions became the norm and anxiety attacks plagued me. It was so hard for me to make friends. I finally moved out when I was 17. I finished high school but barely. All through this I learned that my mom had almost committed suicide when I was 12 until she found this Jesus guy. She had started attending all these charismatic prayer groups and stuff and saying she was born-again. I thought she was nuts but hey, if praying to this big God guy stopped my dad's alcoholic rages, then I was in. Sometimes when he was drunk, I literally thought I was looking at the devil looking back at me. In fact, I know it was satan now. I actually don't remember this part of my life that well as memory has just started coming back to me. I had such a huge faith that God could stop my dad's craziness but then I still turned away from Him and let anger and hate and unforgiveness pollute my heart. I didn't understand Him then.

Then I met the man who was to become my husband.
I thought I was in heaven. He appeared to be my knight and life would be rosy now. Of course, I had no idea how to have a sane relationship so we began a tumultuous one. We eventually moved out and found we loved to party. It was normal for us to party until we were sick or just pass out. We eventually decided to marry years later even though I had misgivings. Suddenly he was this staunch Catholic that had never gone to church and if I was going to marry him then I had to do this this and that. It was crazy. We almost didn't marry because he was adamant I take his last name. Me, being so weak emotionally, caved. Then came the years of psychological abuse except I didn't realizethis was happening until later. His career took off and mine didn't. Depression and thoughts of suicide and paralyzing fear began to haunt me. When my husband was out of town, I remember feeling so frightened that I couldn't stop shaking for hours and cried myself sick in my closet. I constantly battled the decision to kill myself or live.

I became an absolute mess when I ended up
with two discs in my back that were prolapsed and then had a good bout with pneumonia. The painkillers didn't even help anymore. I limped through the next two years in and out of such pain I'm surprised I actually did what I did. I was fired from my job then too. The year before we had lost my mother-in-law to cancer. Then we moved back to my home city and wham! I was struck down with yet another year of sickness that the doctors couldn't figure out. I was literally losing my mind by this time until I ended up in the office of a naturopathic physician for figured everything out in two hours. God led me to him. Period. Now I know this but at the time I was just happy. Then I saw one of my sisters become a born again Christian. Then my dad died three days after Christmas the year we moved back home. We finally all began to heal. My mom asked me if I wanted to come to the church she'd been going to for years with her one Sunday when my husband was golfing. I said yes, feeling all weird because I hadn't been inside one in years but I wanted to be with her. She was so happy with this church and how wonderful it was and how it was growing so fast. Well, as we approached the place a lady from the previous service came out rejoicing and praising God telling everyone approaching how wonderful the service was. I smiled and wondered what I was in for. The minute I walked through the doors I was overwhelmed with emotions and I did everything I could to fight back the tears. When I heard the praise and worship team singing for the first time, I almost hit the floor with joy. This was what I had been searching for all my life except I didn't know 'what' it was yet.

Well, I was stubborn you can guess.
I battled all the old religious stuff I had been programmed with for the next year and then finally one morning I was so desperate to quit smoking that I asked Him into my heart. I didn't think that these simple words would be so powerful but there were. He instantly delivered me from depression among many other things and I walked out of my smoking addiction with His help soon after. He took a million ton weight literally off my shoulders that morning. The blinders came off! Now I could see all the stuff my mom had been trying to tell me about for years but I just couldn't see or hear it. Glory to God and praise Jesus I was free! He fills me with His love and strength daily now. I know what being one of His disciples means too and its not always easy. I don't care what may happen to me as I follow the Lord Jesus. I only want to be with Him and to follow Him all the days of my life. To this day, I have never been depressed or wanted another cigarette or drink.  (I actually promised Him I would quit drinking too if He helped me quit smoking) He is all I need. All. This year, He completely released me from the last shred of fear remaining in my heart and His face has never been so close, all because I had a praying parent. My whole family is now saved and serves the Lord and recently a sister-in-law let Jesus in. We stood in agreement on Easter that this whole extended family with spouses would serve the Lord and God continues to delight us with what He is doing in all their lives. Oh yeah, and my dad went forward for an altar call a year or so before he died. Oh the power of the Holy Spirit! Blessed and holy is the Lord God Jesus and Glory to God Almighty - El Shaddai!

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A CHANGED LIFE
Emotional Nerve Problems GONE
 “A lot of the time I wished I hadn't been born. Then we began to…”

I was born a son of an atheist. At an early age I began to get away from anything religious, though my mother went to church. My mother's church going had little influence on me because she came home and fussed at or cussed my daddy and sometimes even hit him. As a boy, I begin to have nerve problems and was put on medication. I shied away from most people even at school. I thought no one liked me. A lot of the time I wished I hadn't been born. Then we began to go around some of my mother's family and they were all the time going to church. I went to the altar one time just to please my mother's relatives, not because God was speaking to me. But nothing changed. I pretended and went through some of the MOTIONS and EMOTIONS of a Christian but down deep I knew the truth, but just COULDN'T change. I felt chains around me. I was bound by demon possession but didn't know it at the time. I n Feb of 1968, the Lord GLORIOUSLY delivered me from demon possession and saved my soul! The change was easily seen in me. I became a new creature in Christ. And now I have been preaching the Gospel for nearly 23 years. If you ever need my help, e-mail me any time at  preacherman@cnonline.net

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A CHANGED LIFE
Introvert Overcomes Lonliness
“I was so introverted in high school, I didn't have a single friend – no one to talk to, and no reason to live. If I did kill myself, I thought, who'd even care? Whose life would be affected if I ended mine?”

Because my dad was at work most of the time and my mom would often be away from home for months at a time, I knew it could be days before they noticed I was gone. And that scared me.

Our family had just moved, and as a junior in high school my whole life seemed uprooted and unsettled. There I was, the new kid in school and so shy I couldn't talk to anyone. I couldn't even raise my hand in class. I felt I had to apologize for my existence every time someone looked at me. When the photographer asked me to smile for our class picture, I broke down and cried.

What do I have to smile about? I thought.

In a family of nine, I felt lost in the crowd. One Christmas everyone received gifts but me. It was just an oversight, of course; my mom had to buy for so many. But no words could ease the pain I felt inside when the presents were all opened and none were for me. Forgotten!

One of the more cruel members of my high school class enjoyed making fun of my timidity by drawing attention to me with comments like, "What's the matter, can't you talk? Do you have a voice?" Then he'd laugh when he had made me cry.

I finally felt I could no longer hold the pieces of my life together... If this is all life has to offer, I thought, forget it.

One night, unable to sleep because of the turmoil within me, I wished I'd die and never wake up. I decided I would either find out what life was all about or call it quits. Although I'd attended church all my life, I'd never really talked to God. In my desperation I complained to God of all my troubles and somehow sensed that he understood. It felt so good to tell someone how I was feeling.

"No one loves me," I cried.

He said, as clearly as any voice I've ever heard: "Remember that I love you." "But how can I know that?" I pleaded. Then he reminded me of the cross – the picture of perfect love. Now my tears were filled with hope. His was a love I could not deny.

The next day a girl in school told me how real God was to her and how she found comfort and guidance by reading the Bible. She invited me to go to church with her, and when I heard the message of God's personal involvement in people's lives, I wept uncontrollably. In all my years of churchgoing, never had I heard such words of life and hope.

Several young people came and put their arms around me, telling me they loved me, that God loved me, too. They also invited me to a youth retreat that weekend. Early one morning, sitting on a rock by a quiet lake in Georgia, I gave my life to Jesus Christ.

Over the next few days I pored over the Scriptures. As I read, God's plan for my life became clearer to me. I read that "all have sinned" and "there is no one righteous, not even one." (Rom. 3:10, 23) But I also read, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – not of yourselves, it is the gift of God – not of works, lest any man boast." (Eph 2:8, 9) When I returned to school the next fall, the boy who had always mocked me because of my shyness approached me in the cafeteria. "What happened to you over the summer?" he asked. "You're so different!"

I told him about God's love for me and about his mercy, how I had found meaning for my life. And this same boy who had so enjoyed making me cry was now nearly in tears himself as he told me about his own family problems.

It wasn't easy for me, however. Even though I was only 16, my dad kicked me out when he found out about my faith in Christ. But I found in the family of God a love and acceptance I never knew as a child.

It's been [over 30 years] since I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I still struggle with feelings of loneliness and self-acceptance, but God always meets me there. He has given me a new security and stability. "Though [a mother] may forget, I will not forget you!" (Isa. 49:15) I have a friend in Jesus Christ, someone I can always talk to and with whom I can be myself.

Knowing that God, who is perfect, loves and accepts me as I am, has also given me new confidence and self-acceptance. He valued my life so much (a life I was ready to throw away) that he sent his Son to die in my place. The inferiority I felt so strongly as a child is now gone, replaced by a sense of self-worth, in Him.

"Therefore, if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away, all things have become new!" 2 Corin 5:17

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A CHANGED LIFE
Misery and Depression Free!
“I dated a guy I met in high school for many years and we had a child together, but the relationship did not work out and I became a single mother.I was struggling in every aspect of my life... “

Most of my life, I felt trapped in misery and depressed. I have no recollection of having a happy childhood. I was depressed since I was a child. I did not have many friends. I dated a guy I met in high school for many years and we had a child together, but the relationship did not work out and I became a single mother. I was struggling in every aspect of my life physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually. I was working at a job where I was constantly treated in a condescending, disrespectful manner, and was paid peanuts. My low self-esteem plunged even lower. The only thing that kept my sanity there was one of my coworkers who I became friends with who made me laugh a lot, which I didn't do much otherwise. When I was 26, my 50 year old mother died suddenly from a massive stroke. Even before the ambulance arrived, there was no hope of ever having her back. She was my best friend. The one person I could tell anything to. I couldn't believe I no longer had a mother, nor a best friend. I became so weak, physically and emotionally, and I allowed the rest of my family to control my life, because I did not have the strength or the courage to pick up the reigns or to say "no", even when it came to compromising time and energy I needed to take care of my daughter. I became like a slave to them, and they took full advantage of me. I felt unloved and used. As I continued losing control of my life, I saw the repercussions through my daughters behavior. No matter how hard I tried, it seemed that nothing ever worked out for me. Every time I took a step forward, I would be pushed two steps back. I felt like I was slipping through a bottomless pit. I finally realized that I needed help, since I was getting to the point where I could only see life as hopeless, and I started seeing a therapist. About this time, I wasn't even sure if I believed God existed. But I thought, if He did, He certainly did not care about me and He was punishing me for something even though I've spent my life working hard and trying to be a good person. Even though God was not discussed much or taught in my house, I felt He was condemning me and I was constantly filled with shame, rejection and hopelessness. Somewhere, I got the idea that this was God's character (and thankfully, I was wrong!). I totally denounced God and (literally) cursed Him. I thought that if He did exist, He was not part of my life anyway.

Not long before my mothers death, I could not stand being treated like garbage at work, and I needed a higher income to get by. Somehow I found the courage to look for a new job. At my new job worked many Spirit-filled, God-loving Christians (including the boss). I hate to admit this but I will anyway; my coworkers were all a bit older than me, and I thought maybe it was a generation thing. Nevertheless, God's Word was fed to me for four years and many seeds were planted within my heart, though I didn't know it then. I rebelled against them for years because I couldn't believe the wonderful things they were saying about God. They spoke so much about Jesus, and though I heard about Him, I had no idea about the significance of the Son of God. I never thought God could be responsible for "good" things happening to me, because I thought He was mean and unjust, a condemner and punisher. I now know that God had brought me to this place of employment to bring me closer to Him and to finally recognize the awesome love He has for me. Also, God started to strategically place many other Christians within my path I so often encountered a ministering, witnessing, loving Christian to help confirm what my coworkers were trying to tell me! But, I dismissed them for a long time too. I see now that, one way or the other, God was making sure I became one of His beloved children!! But still, at this time, I thought they were all a little fanatical about their faith, even though I could understand how important God was to them. God nor Jesus, not even attending church, were ever emphasized at home and I was so lost.

I consider myself at my lowest during the summer of 1999. I was taking antidepressants but still was depressed, overwhelmed and lonely. My self-esteem was shot. I started meeting guys over the Internet for sex. I fooled myself into believing that each one would result in a relationship but I really knew that each of them were only looking for a one-night-stand. What I was actually trying to do was fill a deep, dark void within my heart. I believed that men wanting me physically was a replacement for love. I cannot even remember the names of some of the guys I slept with (I am less proud of the fact that I rarely used protection, and even less proud that I put myself into some really dangerous situations many of these secret meetings were in very desolate locations). I also started getting involved in witchcraft and divination (spells, psychics, tarot cards, etc.). I had no idea of the dangers of these practices at the time, but I felt a lot of fear when I participated in them, which I now know were warnings from the Holy Spirit.

God wound up using one of these "bad" experiences for "good", just as He says in His Word. The last guy I met over the Internet became my friend instead of a one-night-stand, and so did his wife... yes, his wife. My chats with him mainly consisted of regular conversation, a little risqué, but I think he was just looking for someone to talk to because he was separated from his wife and he still really loved her (and his 3 children). We met and came close to having sex, but he shocked me by saying "no" because he respected me (now that really shocked me!) and he also didn't want to do anything that would further jeopardize his marriage. What a surprise that was to me! And what an even bigger surprise to meet a man that helped me to realize I was doing myself such an awful injustice. I began to realize that the more sexual encounters I experienced, the lower I felt about myself, if that was even possible. It turned out that he told his wife everything and she felt she had to meet me, so they surprised me with a visit at the park at which I frequently walked. She was really very nice, and we quickly and surprisingly befriended. Her name was Amy.

During all this and sometime after my mother died, the devil had started manifesting himself to me at night, through episodes of sleep paralysis (a half asleep/half awake state of consciousness during which your muscles are actually paralyzed for sleep, but your mind is awake and alert) and through what I thought were dreams. I would actually see and feel him. At first he made me feel blissful, though I was still scared from these strange spiritual encounters, and also because I would be totally paralyzed, not able to move or speak. The only thing I was able to move were my eyes. Then he started to get more aggressive and frightening. I wanted to cry out for help, but I could not. Something inside me lead me to talk about it to my Christian friends at work and they assured me that these weren't just dreams, that I should take it very seriously and seek God to keep Satan away from me as well as from my daughter. This is when I realized that God and Satan really existed and that they both were unavoidable, yet I still held back from accepting God's many invitations to just experience His love. I just couldn't imagine how I could trust in something I could not "see".

Eventually Amy became a sales rep for a major direct marketing cosmetics company and she asked me to come to one of her meetings to be a "face model". I wound up staying for the rep meeting where the current reps made their careers sound very fun and rewarding. Also, the policy of this company is "God first, then family, then career". At this point in time, I still wasn't so sure about God being first, but I knew I liked the idea of my family being before career, and I also liked the thought of a home-based business. It turned out that selling cosmetics was not for me and I quit. I thought joining this company was (one of) the biggest mistakes of my life because I felt, as I usually did, that something I tried did not work out and I lost A LOT of money . . . . but I gained something far more precious. Like I said earlier, God used a bad experience for good . . . and by using one of my potentially dangerous and self-destructive actions (by this I mean leading me to meet Amy's husband), God lead me closer and closer to Him, as you will see.

During my very short career with this cosmetics company, I had met another sales rep named Kelly; yet another loving Christian who God strategically placed in my path. We quickly became friends. We had so much in common, including our age, which helped me to clearly see that loving God is not an age thing. Also she was a single mother like me and our daughters were the same age. Kelly helped to confirm all the things I was hearing from my coworkers. In addition, she was going through a really messy and painful divorce (her ex-husband had did some very unspeakable things to her), yet she continually ministered to me. She taught me that God is love, not a condemner. I would often visit with Kelly because I could not get enough of what she had to tell me about His love. Both our daughters often fell asleep on us, so our talks would lead into the small hours of the morning! She was so knowledgeable about Scripture and so filled with love and sincerity. I continually saw how Kelly was (and is) so strong even though she's been rung through the mill, and it was obvious that God was her source of strength. She was happy and peaceful, and her trust in God was immense. Not once did she feel God was condemning or punishing her. She knew all those things came from the enemy, not from our Father. She helped me to see what it was really like to give your life to Jesus and accept Him as Lord and Savior. It is not about giving up stuff; it is about finding the reason we were created to live on this earth. It is about having a personal relationship with Christ, and experiencing unconditional, everlasting love, despite all the conditions we often place on God. It is about having life and having it more abundantly... not through how much stuff you can accumulate, but by the pure love that only our Father can give.

The more I learned, the more I wanted to know God like my Christian friends and co-workers. Kelly and one of my coworkers often invited me to their churches, but I declined many times, still holding back. It was just so hard to break free of the distrust and doubt, and I guess my pride was in the way. I started watching some Christian ministry services on TV and as I watched and listened, I felt Jesus gently and lovingly holding his hands out to me. With my face soaked in tears, I finally gave my heart to Jesus and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I immediately felt a ton of bricks lifted from my shoulders, and I cried for many hours.

It was than that I finally accepted Kelly's invitation to go to her church and there I was publicly saved. That day, the shame I felt for so long was lifted from me, and I knew I was a new creation in Christ. To this day, the depression and hurt, the low self-esteem and my overwhelming feelings of being out of control have been wiped away by God's grace. I immediately overcame any need for antidepressants, and my health (emotionally and physically) has improved. The void in my heart has been filled with the love of our Almighty God. Now I know that this is what I have been seeking all along. Jesus has changed me completely.

Intertwined in all this, I still experienced those nighttime "visits" from Satan. The closer I got to asking Jesus into my life, the scarier Satan became. I believe that he wanted to make me feel that if I turned to God, he (Satan) would physically hurt me. I was so afraid that I would refrain from praying to God for help. I knew God was stronger than the devil, but I could not get past the fear. Soon after I was saved, I had an extremely terrifying night where Satan would not stop torturing me with fear; everywhere I looked, there he was. I could not close my eyes or look at anything, because everything I looked at would warp into his grotesque image. I did not know that he could not hurt me anymore since I was now a child of God and the shed blood of Jesus on the Cross was my shield of protection. Though exhausted from lack of sleep, the next night, I was afraid to try to go to bed, and wanted to pray to God so badly. I told Him that I was too afraid to pray to Him, and then I heard God's voice. He told me to trust in Him. The devil was a liar. He could not hurt me anymore. I was so blessed to actually hear Him speak to me! There were times when I wasn't sure if I would mistake my own thoughts for God's voice, but this time, I absolutely knew God was really with me, and that I could trust in Him completely.

One of the many life changing things God immediately blessed me with, was taking my daughter and me out of my family situation and bringing us to a new home; a home from which I work (for the same company of Christians). This in itself is a long story, but to be brief they decided to close the corporate office I worked at and move its headquarters across the country, but they did not want to lose me. Knowing my situation at home, they offered for me to continue to work for them while helping me to get out on my own. They help me pay my rent and some utility bills, and I have more time to spend with my daughter ... and she no longer has to go to after-school care because I am home for her. I am a distance away from my family, which helps to put up some well-needed borders between us. My relationship with them is now growing stronger and healthier. Also, God brought my daughter and me to a wonderful, loving church near our new home (the Church of Grace and Peace) in order to continue to grow in Him. Additionally, at the new public school my daughter currently attends in our new town, her teacher is very understanding and accepting of our faith. She very graciously allows my daughter to do alternate projects when I feel that certain projects compromise our beliefs.
All along God has been loving and blessing me while I went through such troubled times. He so mercifully and lovingly lead me to Him, starting with bringing me to my Christian company and keeping me safe through all of the destructive things I was doing! He also helped me work through the loss of my mother. He filled me with so much love, a parental-type love, something I thought I'd never feel again. I never received that kind of love from my father, but I am even noticing that our relationship is growing too! And once I got my act together, my daughter's behavior was not erratic anymore. She is continually at the top of her class at school and is one of the most loving, caring people I've ever known.

I have been one of God's children for almost a year and a half, and I am growing in Him daily. As I see and feel His will unfold in my life, I am continually amazed and unbelievably blessed. I am so filled with joy that I cannot contain it! I want to share it with everyone. I am glad to have the opportunity to share my testimony with you. Thank you for taking the time to read it (I know it is long, but believe me, there is so much more to tell!) I pray that as you read my testimony, you will be blessed by learning about the power our Lord has to change our lives and to make us whole, and especially about His love for me and you.

There is no doubt in my mind that all these things did not happen by chance or coincidence. Everything was coordinated by Him. Once I was at the end of my rope, He stepped in and helped me to hold on, He pulled me up out of that deep, dark pit that I was in, and He brought me onto stable ground. Just as God tells us in His Word, I could clearly see how He worked out all my circumstances for my (and my daughter's) good, but all for His glory. Hallelujah!

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A CHANGED LIFE
I Was in Deep Despair and Near Suicide
“At the point of deep despair and near suicide, I...”

I was a mom with three daughters and a husband who traveled five days a week in states far from home. I was depressed.

At the point of deep despair and near suicide, I asked Jesus Christ to come into my life. I repeated some Bible promises that say that we can have joy in place of depression for six months until the depression was gone.

Now I thank God every day that He is my reason for being. He empowers me to help others and inspires me as to who I should give assistance.

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A CHANGED LIFE
A Child’s Depression Turns to Hope
"Relief From Grief"

Just two years ago, my grandpa died. My Grandpa was just like my dad,

In many ways...he would push me on my swing, and go swimming with me, and always

buy me gifts. I went through a long period of depression. I would always cry, and cry and wonder why he had to go, and why he had to leave us because we loved him so much, why did he have to go? I went through counseling for about a year and a half after he died, and I was depressed and ready to kill myself. But one day, we were sitting at Apple Bee's when my mom had an idea. She said, maybe it would help me if I would send a letter to him in heaven. (And of course every kid is ignorant and doesn't want to obey they're parents). I said that there is no way of sending him a letter, because the mail man doesn't deliver mail to heaven. Then she pointed to the balloons hanging on the railing. And she said that maybe grandpa would like that because it was grandma's birthday, and that means it was no ordinary balloon, it was from a special day. So I wrote him a letter, and sent it away on a balloon. Ever since then, on every special occasion, I send him a balloon, because I finally found out that no matter if you c
an see the person or not, they are still going to be in your heart and mind.

I'm not that depressed anymore about my grandpa, because even though he's in heaven, that means he's not here but he's still my “angel”. An of course, because if it wasn't for my pastor and all of his good sermon's, of course, I wouldn't be here today, and my grandpa might not be in a place that anyone would want to go, also known as hell. Each Sunday my grandpa would bring me to church. I would watch him sing along with our church, and he always had this twinkle in his eye, that just sent me the faith to sing along, too. And to this day, if it wasn't for God, I wouldn't have been able to live the life that I have now, and I wouldn't have someone to turn to when the going gets rough. Every time I miss my grandpa, I simply just pray to God, and ask him to talk to my grandpa. And sure enough, there I sit at the foot of my bed on the floor, praying to not only God, but my grandpa as well. I know they can hear me, and I believe in Christ will all of my heart. If it wasn't for my loving, wonderful grandpa,
I wouldn't know Jesus. But now that I do, I take every day one by one, and pray that when he comes back, he takes me too.

Love And Prayers,
Kristyn Marie Van Der Beek

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A CHANGED LIFE
I Was Frozen with Fear of Death
“The fear and uncertainty of what would happen to me after death,was itself put to death at that moment. I experienced an...”

One day I became frozen with fear at the thought of what would happen to me if I died. I instinctively knew that there was more to life than life as I knew it, but what that was, I didn't know. Nevertheless, I went on with life, pursuing my dream of a career in music. That kept me distracted enough to not have to face that big question. Sometime later, my best friend told me about an experience that he had with Jesus Christ that radically changed his life. I balked at the idea. I finally gave in to his urging me to come meet some other people that experienced the same thing. I had to admit there was something real about what these people were experiencing, but for me I was already full steam ahead in my music career and had no room in my life for this kind of thing.

Again I buried the question of life after death in my busyness and aggression for my place in the music world. One day, when on the road, I met a man in a hotel in Toronto, Canada, where I was playing. He seemed to take a special interest in me. After we ended our discussion and just before we parted our ways, he gave me a book that told about events that the Bible say are going to happen just before the end of human history as we know it. The book really jolted me. Based on what was going on in the world at that time, I reasoned that what I read could really be true, and if it was, what will happen to me? But again I continued on my hot pursuit of my musical career and once again buried the issue in my busyness.

About five years later I had an urge to read the Bible. I started, but it only lasted a day. Several months later I had a sense that very soon, I was going to have something to do with God, though I didn't have the slightest idea what that was. I was home one day and I sensed what I inwardly knew to be the presence of God across the room from me. He was inviting me to come with Him. I was scared and said, "I'm not ready, and I'm too scared." After a while He left. About a month later, I met a young man named Dave who was carrying a Bible and a copy of the same book that the man in Canada had given me to read five years earlier. I told him that I had read that book and found it to be a very good book. He began to tell me about Jesus Christ and how He went in my place to be tortured and to suffer a brutal death as the payment for my sins so that I could be rightly related to God and have a guaranteed place in Heaven after I died. I listened and then told him that I would call him if I wanted to know more about
this. I took his phone number, not really intending to call him, and proceeded to walk away.

At that point, I thought to myself, 'suppose it's true? Then I thought to myself, this could be my last chance to find out if what the Bible says is true, and I really should grab this opportunity to find out once and for all. I then went back to him and told him that I wanted to find out for myself if what the Bible says is true. I asked him to guide me on my quest. He recommended that I get a Bible and a Bible study book to help me learn some important things that the Bible says about man, God, and eternity. We began to meet regularly to look at what the Bible has to say about these things.

One day, while I was alone, I read the Bible verses: "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" and "the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". At that moment, for the first time in my life, I knew, that I knew, that I knew, that God was real, Jesus Christ was real, I had sinned and needed to be forgiven, and I had a serious decision to make. The next time I got together with Dave, he asked me if I was ready to commit my life to God. I said that I was. He prayed and then I prayed asking Jesus to come in to my life. I felt nothing. It didn't seem like anything had happened or changed. A week later, however, something did happen. I was playing with a Jazz band in a club. After the first set, as I was stepping off the platform, and when my foot hit the floor, something came over me. At that moment I knew, that I knew, that I knew that I was going to go to Heaven when I died. The fear and uncertainty of what would happen to me after death was itself put to death at that moment. I experienced an overwhelming sense of joy. So much so, that the first thing that I did was walk over to the first person that was directly in front of me, (which happened to be the band leader's wife), and tell her about the reality of Jesus Christ and what I was experiencing. I called my best friend and told him what had happened to me. He told me that the next step was to become part of a church of people who also had a like revelation to what I had. I went to his church, loved it, got involved in it, and began to read the Bible and pray diligently. The answers to prayer amazed me! God was listening to me and answering me. I couldn't get enough of reading the Bible. It was so good to be able to talk to people who knew and experienced what I had. It was an exciting time in my life. I began to pursue growing toward maturity in the spiritual life and in the knowledge of God and the purpose that God had for me while on the earth. My search for truth had ended, and now I was able to live in it, and I have been doing so ever since.

I should mention that when I realized that I needed to get right with God, there was an issue that was a concern for me. Being Jewish, I was of a misunderstanding that Jesus was not someone for Jewish people to have anything to do with. This was soon resolved through learning more about Him. First of all, Jesus was Jewish. The name "Jesus" is Greek for the Hebrew "Yeshua" which means "God saves". "Christ" is Greek for the Hebrew "Maschiach" or "Messiah" which means Redeemer or Savior. I found out that the Old Testament (Jewish Scriptures) contain hundreds of prophecies about the coming Messiah that were written many hundreds of years prior to their fulfillment. When they were fulfilled, they were recorded in what we know as the New Testament Scriptures. Jesus Christ was the only person who ever lived who fulfilled all prophecies concerning the Messiah. The Messiah was described by the prophets in the Old Testament as One who would be born of a virgin. He was described as Deity, would bear the consequences of the sins of man as a substitute, would be crucified, rise from the dead, be King of an everlasting kingdom, etc. I also was amazed to find out that an overwhelming majority of the New Testament was written by Jews who recognized Jesus as being the Messiah God had promised. I then found out that during and shortly after Jesus' time on the earth, there were anywhere between a quarter of a million to a million Jews who recognized that Jesus was the Messiah. There are a large number of Jews today throughout the earth and in Israel who know that Jesus is the Messiah. In any case, Jesus Christ came to save sinners, which includes you and me. If you haven't seriously sought God out for yourself, don't delay. Don't wait until it is too late! Just ask God to reveal himself to you. If you really mean it, He will, and you will experience the change of a lifetime!

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A CHANGED LIFE
Low Self Esteem from Childhood Abuse and Dysfunctional Family
“I was just looking for acceptance and this was the only way I felt accepted.”

I was born into a family that was totally dysfunctional in every way shape and form. My mom and my dad were serious alcoholics and abusive to each other. I believe that when I was born it was just for the pleasure of the moment. I grew up in Scotland. I don’t remember much of a happy life. My dad and my mom would drink and come home and tear each other apart. I was always in the way and they used me as a puppet. My father would pull me out of bed, my mother would fall asleep under the influence of alcohol, and my father would take advantage of me. His pleasure was to pull me out of bed, sit me on a hard chair, and torture me. I was mentally drained. I thought this would never end. His pleasure was to beat me with his army boots on. The stilts on his boots caused severe damage to my lower back. I’ve had so many blows to the head; it caused damage to my sight. Even to this day, I cannot see right. I’ve had two major operations. I wanted to die. I was looking for a way in my early days to run away only to find m
yself back home again. My punishment would be more torture. I used to hide in the closet so he would not know I was home, but he would find me and find excuses to get more drunk. The biggest blow to me that my own dad in his drunken state would sexually abuse me. I felt dirty and ashamed but I had no strength to fight back. This went on in my mind forever and ever. There is not one night that I could remember not being pulled out of bed and being abused.

I had a chance to run away like many days that I tried to run away, but this was different. On the street where I was walking and just walking with no plans and nowhere to go it just felt good to be free. Someone saw me walking in the rain that day and pulled over and asked me if I needed a ride. I was startled. I took the ride. He knew something was up, but he began to talk to me and he said, “I’m going to church and if you have no place to go, would you like to join me?” I said “yeah”. I found myself in a safe place where no one could hurt me, no one could beat me. I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to stay there. I felt safe. They talked about God. They talked about eternal life. They talked about no pain. It got my attention. I had nothing to lose. If Jesus was like these people, I felt safe. I found myself asking Jesus to heal my loneliness, to come into my heart, and be the dad that I never had.

Eventually I went home and never had a chance to go back to the church. My father realized that I was different now and put a stop to my having anything to do with Christianity. Out of fear I stayed away from church. Many years later when I was of age I was living in the sin of adultery and I fell into homosexuality. I was just looking for acceptance and this was the only way I felt accepted. I got a telephone call that my dad was dying and he wanted to see me, but I didn’t want to see him. I wanted him to die. That’s just the way I felt. Against my will, I found myself at the hospital, and there I saw my dad. It didn’t look like my dad. His kidneys had failed him and his liver was shot from the abuse of alcohol. I found myself at the foot of the bed face to face with my dad after so many years of bitterness. I was crying and my dad was crying. I was caught up in the moment. What do you say to a dying man? What I felt didn’t matter. This was different. Tears kept mounting up. He said, “Son, please forgive me. I truly love you.” It was so emotional. I had never seen him sober before, but he was a dying man. I just felt that maybe he was feeling guilty. I found myself in an awkward place, so I said, “ Dad, get some sleep now, I’ll see you later, but later never came. He died a few hours later.

The next day, we were making arrangements for his funeral. I met with the clergy who told us in the family just hours before I saw him that he wanted to see and talk to a clergyman. He repented of his sins and he had tears from his eyes and he asked Jesus to come into his life. I was told that his face changed and there was something different and I believe there was a reason why I had to be there at that time. I was living in my addiction, the gay life style. I was not happy. My life was messed up. My dad dies and he gets to go to Heaven. Bitter about life, I said, “This is not fair”. I was living in a relationship of the same sex for many years. I was not a happy camper. I felt this would last forever and my partner contracted AIDS, my worst nightmare. There were moments I looked back when I found myself talking to God. I never forget that time when I was younger and went to church and learned that God could help me.

After an eighteen-year homosexual relationship, my partner died. I thought this was the end of my life. Everything is gone now. What do I do? I found a comfort of drugs and alcohol to help cope, but nothing helped. I still had to wake up the next morning and those feelings were still there. I wanted to do away with my life. I took pills and alcohol but failed to take my own life. I kept pondering on “I’ve lost everything”, my job, my reputation, and what was left of my family. As I sat in my car, God quickened me to remember that moment long ago, the person in my early days who took me to church and told me about Jesus Christ. This was my only hope. I believe it was a God thing. Why not? I had nothing to lose. I’d lost everything anyway. I left my car, went up to my apartment and at that moment I pulled the telephone cord out of the wall, locked myself in the apartment and fell to my knees and was asking for help. I kept weeping and I kept weeping. There was a mighty battle going on. I felt satan and his demo
ns and God and his angels fighting over my soul. I kept weeping, and then I began to feel a shifting. I saw Jesus; I saw a smile on His face. My hands went up to the hem of His garment. As I was holding on the helm of His garment the devil let go. Jesus embraced me, and I was free. I felt Jesus’ arms surrounding me. He said, “You’re home now, you belong to me!” In that moment, I was free from the bondage of homosexuality and any holds that the devil held me to. That part of my life is DEAD. And now I live because He lives in me. He is the answer. He is the way. He is the life. In Him I am complete. It is now ten years. I AM A FREE MAN! I HAVE MY IDENTITY! AND HE IS THE DAD THAT I NEVER HAD!

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