Bethiepoo03

This is the beloved air I breathe
Ad 2:
2003-03-06 08:02:57 (UTC)

the life of Elizabeth

caution: this is LONG...it's 5 full pages in Microsoft
Word!
My testimony as shared with 180 Christian Fellowship in
2/03:
I’ve never shared with whole testimony with a group
before. On Tuesday night, I did with Dana, and in telling
it to her, I was able to realize just how much God has
brought me through. It’s almost humiliating to detail all
these things and share these with you, but I’m choosing to
humble myself now, in hopes of being a blessing to some of
you. My intention is not to depress you, but encourage
you and to let you know that god uses everything. If you
have any questions, or if this raises anything within you
that you would like to talk about, please do. I’m always
available to those who need to talk.

Before I begin I just want to point out that as I sat down
to write this, I noticed a theme running through my life,
that began with my infancy. That theme is that I was
always searching for love. I did have the awesome love of
two parents who loved me very much, but because of what
happened to me when I was little, that security was
stripped from me, and I was left groping for other places
to quench that deep desire for love. You see the choices
that I make later in my life, and I did not understand
that it was all impacted by the choices that were made for
me in my youth. Now, I can see how it is all connected,
and I can see how it all connects with the awesome things
that God’s been doing in my life. Do you guys remember
how I always used to say that “I’m all about love”?
that’s my ministry, I love people, and that love coupled
with the truth of Jesus is what brings people to God. I
do this because this is how I understand God – God IS
love, and Jesus’ only intent was to bring with him love…
not condemnation, not legalism…love. I am getting ahead
of myself, but as you read, keep in mind that because of
all the crap that I went through, God used it to be
working His powerful lessons in my life even now, and He
has turned that into my ministry. Amazing how God’s
sovereignty works! Also, a disclaimer, I know that I’m an
English major, but this is straight out of my heart, so
it’s not all organized in paragraphs and stuff like that…
sorry for all you detail people. Ok, now I shall begin:

I grew up as a pastor’s daughter. My father is a Baptist
Minister, my mom was an organist and I was also had a
brother 6 ½ years older than I. Right up until I left for
school, we also had a severely mentally retarted man who
lived with us. If you could understand the magnitude of
the sacrifice that my parents made in having Sal come and
live with us, and in taking care of him day in and day out
for 18 years, you would understand a big portion of the
dynamic of my family, but it’s too complicated to explain,
but in essence, I had two brothers growing up. Both older
than I. Growing up in my family was extremely difficult
because my brother had severe ADHD and I remember that he
was very out of control. I remember that there were days
when my brother would be out of control in the house and
my mother would take me somewhere else, because she was
afraid that I was going to get hurt.
When I was about ten years old, I revealed to my mother
that I had been sexually abused by a friend of my
brother. I remember distinctly, laying there in the dark
of my mom’s room on her bed crying next to her, telling
her what happened. At that time I also began to
experience memories of abuse that had occurred in my
infancy bay a man who was a neighbor. That time began the
journey with God that would bring me all the way up to
now. Laying there in the dark, crying that day, I
distinctly remember the only time in my life that I have
ever heard the audible voice of God. He spoke to me as
clearly as I could hear myself cry “I was with you the
whole time”. That was the most calming and reassuring
voice I had ever heard in my life.

Over the next few years I went through therapy, but began
to eat uncontrollably. I began to hoard food and eat all
the time when my parents weren’t looking. For a good
couple of years, my mother was very sick with a muscle
disease, and litereally spent two years of her and my life
in bed. As a result, I had lots of time to myself to
develop bad eating habits, and gained huge amounts of
weight. My mother’s itallian genes didn’t help much in
that department either. J

As a result of this weight gain, I was tourmented in
school. I hated school because I could never quite fit in
with anybody. I eventually ended up “befriending” the
special ed kids, and although I felt out of the social
loop, even then I felt that that was my ministry (for
those of you who don’t know me, I would like to work with
children with special needs when I graduate from school).
I struggled with a very contrary attitude and lots of
rage, so I would constantly fight with my mom. But every
Sunday, I would go to my father’s church, put on a happy
smile and be the good little pastor’s daughter that I knew
I was supposed to be. I was so good at fooling everyone
else, but I hated myself for that talent.

In 8th grade, I was still heavy, had very few friends and
was tourmented at school. I eventually found friends in
the “looser, druggies” crowd and began to shoplift. That
was also the year that my mom found pot in my room. I had
never smoked it, but I would have…I was so close to going
down a road that would lead to nowhere but destruction.

That summer, I went to a Christian group called Musicon.
Musicon ministries is a group based out of Connecticut
that put on a musical/drama presentation and toured around
the country. It was that first year at Musicon that I
truly experience Jesus for the first time. The same Jesus
who whispered to me that evening on my mom’s bed had still
never left my side and this summer was the beginning of a
beautiful story of a God who loved me so much, that He
never ceased pursuing me and never lost patience. I went
to Musicon that summer and had an awesome time and them
came back to my freshman year of high school. I was so
nervous about high school, but I went right back to the
same “friends” that I had left in middle school. I began
to lightly smoke, shoplift and seriously doubt God and
Christianity. I HATED the fakeness that I saw in
Christians, Particularly my mother. We’d have a huge
fight at home, and then she’d plaster a smile on her face,
to go church and tell others how much Jesus loved them. I
despised this fakeness and decided that I wasn’t going to
pretend about something that I didn’t feel. The only
problem is that I KNEW God. I had met Him, and just as if
I had met someone on the street, I couldn’t walk away and
convince myself that He didn’t exsist because I knew that
He did. It was at this time that I became seriously
depressed. I was horrible at home. So horrible, that my
parents wanted to send me away to some program for
troubled youth. I began to develop an interest in
Paganism and witchcraft. I wrote some very dark poetry
and renounced “religion”. I was also the heaviest that
I’d ever been In my life. I remember coming home from the
doctor’s one day and crying because I weighed 250 lbs!
This was one of the most miserable times of my life. But
God protected me by not allowing me to open the door of
satan by way of witchcraft – I knew deep inside that there
was evil there that I did not want to open and unleash.
Through all of this I still continued to go to Musicon,
because it was fun, and that was where my friends were. 4
retreats throughout the year and one summer retreat. That
summer, I re-dedicated my life back to God, but was so
scared to go back to Putnam High because I did not want to
fall back into the same trap that I had the previous
year. When I was on the road, I called my mom and she
told me that dad had been offered another preaching job,
and the extra money that we would be earning was almost to
the dollar amount of tuition for a Christian school that
my parents had been thinking of sending me to. We very
often underestimate the power of our prayers. I went to
Whitinsville Christian School for my sophomore and junior
year of high school. While there, Jesus allowed me to
recover from depression and continued to breathe into my
spiritual growth, giving me tools and wonderful faculty
support. My junior year, I met this kid Jon at church and
was very interested in him. At this point in my life, I
was just starting to get REALLY deep with the Lord, but
when Jon came along, I wanted the attention he had to
offer so desperately because no one had ever taken
interest in me before. It’s important to note here that
in middle school I made the “true love waits” commitment –
a commitment to remain sexually pure until my wedding day,
but at the time that I made the commitment, I honestly
believed that no one would ever want to be with someone
like me because I was so heavy, so I never really ever
gave it much thought. Although I knew that God was
warning me not to date Jon, I didn’t listen and told
myself that God brought him tome to fill the loneliness
that I had developed in my soul. This is a chasm that was
opened the day that I was abused…satan had a foothold in
my life, and he was going to use this opportunity to try
to make it bigger. Huh, if only I knew then what I know
now…For 8 months I threw myself into an unhealthy life of
sin and turned my back on God breaking the commitment to
wait for sex until my wedding day. I truly and honestly
believed that Jon and I were going to be married, and so
in my mind, I wasn’t actually breaking my commitment at
all. I was torn in my life, because I wanted Jon, but I
also wanted God so desperately. Somewhere deep inside I
knew that I could only be fulfilled with God, but I didn’t
know how to get it – I was scared that God was mad at me
for the decisions I had made. My sin was separating me
from feeling the waves of Love that God just wanted to
flood me with. Jon became frustrated with my
inconsistency and our relationship continued in a downward
spiral. Well, God own the tug-o-war contest and a year
later I was left alone with regrets, sorrow, and a
relationship that needed to be mended with my parents.
Jon and I broke up weeks before my 18th birthday and that
was God because that DAY I turned 18, I was going to run
away with Jon and I threatened my parents that I would
marry them right away. Partly because I was angry with
them and I wanted to prove them wrong. God protected me
from pregnancy on numerous occasions…I probably don’t even
know how many, and He also blessed me with parents who
cared enough to interfere with my life once they found out
what was going on. I had such a craving desire to serve
Jesus, but I was misguided. After Jon and I broke up, I
was broken, shattered. I didn’t go to Musicon that summer
because I was working at a summer camp…along with Jon.
That was a hard summer. Also that summer, I learned that
I’d have to go back to Putnam High school for my senior
year. I tried to seek God out, but I just couldn’t
forgive myself for what had happened. What had gone
wrong? I was supposed to marry Jon, I was only going to
have sex with one man in y life and that was going to be
the man I married, so that meant I HAD to marry Jon,
right? I refused to be “one of those girls”. God
continued to work in me and I did grow so much in the
lord. I was able to be a testimony at Putnam High to the
restoration powers of Jesus. Although I was at a place of
weakness, God had been raising me up for something, and He
used that. People who hadn’t seen me in two years were
able to see a very different Beth than the one they knew.
I wasn’t perfect, but I was clinging to the cross and
growing spiritually. I had a confidence in myself and in
my faith and that came only from God. I still struggled
so much with my relationship with my parents and with
anger issues, but that God he’s a living God and always
working. I wanted so desperately to go to a Christian
college, and actually came very close to going to Teen
Mania’s Honor Academy, but God willed me here at ECSU.
The transition was though for the summer between high
school and college. Because of all the hectic things
going on around me, I actually cut myself once. It was
enough that I scared myself but it was representative of
the confusion I was feeling in me. Last year was my
freshman year of College, and God worked supernaturally
and powerfully in my life. For those of you who are
reading this through my online journal, all of my entries
from last year are a testament to the way that God has
been whispering to me through all of the situations that
life has to offer. Last year, I was able to come to an
amazing peace with my parents, and we have an awesome
relationship now. I lost a lot of weight last year, and
recognize a direct correlation between my spiritual walk
and my eating habits, and I truly can say that I’ve been
blessed to have parents who truly do love me and care
about me.
Well, this is where my testimony ordinarily would have
ended, but now I feel the need to share something that
very few people know about me. This is something that
happened a year ago, and God has spent the past year
freeing me from this, but it’s something that I need to be
open about so that it’s not a “dirty little secret” of
mine. I’ve been completely healed and forgiven from it in
my life, and the final piece of this healing is admitting
it to all of you here (this is how I presented it to the
group that night). Last year I committed my life to
radical obedience and ultimate purity for my future
husband. I felt that I was “spiritually mature” and
strong from temptation. During exams last year, I met
this guy who was with out a place to stay…no names will be
mentioned here…I didn’t know him but he was a Christian
and so though some very strange circumstances, I was able
to convince my parents to let him stay at my house.
During Exams we just ended up hanging out one night (not
an intelligent thing to do people, if you’ve made a
decision for purity…never put yourself in a situation
where there is even the remotest possibility of
compromise….remember the story of Joseph and how he fleed
his master’s wife?)..anwyways, (also, I know “anyways”
isn’t a word, but I say it anyways, ok?J)…moving on…
needless to say, I placed myself in a situation where I
was alone with this guy and we ended up having sex. (I
didn’t present it that way to the club…but it’s so much
easier to be brutally honest with an audience whose faces
I can not see…). After this happened I began to fall into
denial. I completely flatlined. I mean, it like didn’t
even feel like it was me who did that and I just couldn’t
believe that any of that stuff had happened. But now this
kid was living with my family and I couldn’t tell my
parents what had happened or he’d surely be without a
place to stay and it would have been all my fault. In
secret, he never hesitated to remind me of what a
hypocrite I was and how fake I was and I began to believe
his lies. He was so abusive in telling me how worthless I
was and that he had no respect for me or any person who
would act the way I did and that he was repulsed just by
looking at or being around me. The beginning of last
summer, I felt like the biggest piece of worthless
garbage. I had never felt so cheap or so used…used and
wasn’t even appreciated for it…and I internalized that
all of this was my fault. If I had maintained self
control, nothing would have happened. Over the summer, I
fell into severe condemnation. I was about to go to
California to minister to woman about Jesus and I felt
like a worthless nothing. But even in spite of that,
somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that God had
called me to California and that He had a purpose for me,
and I clung to Psalm 139 “for you created my inmost being,
you knit me together in my mother’s womb, I am fearfully
and wonderfully made”. In California, God drew me so
close to himself. He used what happened to help me to
identify with and understand the traps that the ladies I
was working with had fallen into. I will NEVER EVER judge
another person for anything that they have done! We, as
outsiders will never be able to know the circumstances
surrounding things.

God delivered me from condemnation and brought me to such
an amazing peace with Him. He revealed to me my spiritual
gifts and I came back bringing the knowledge that God was
gong to work to change lives. I wanted to stay in
California, but I knew that my place was here in
Connecticut. As I have been working through everything
this year, God’s been consistently bringing me to a
deeper understanding of His unfailing love for me and the
power of his forgiving blood. He brought me the RA job in
Burr hall and I firmly believe that part of His purpose
for bringing me here was to help spiritually cleanse the
building…because I will tell you that my first months here
was some heavy spiritual warfare!

Over Christmas break of this year, I read a series of
books that spoke to me. God spoke so much to me, but He
brought me a book that contained a prayer in it that was
designed to break all soul ties. I learned that when a
person engages in sexual sin, a soul tie is formed and a
bond is formed that is supposed to be a part of the
marriage bonding. After praying that prayer, the Holy
Spirit completely severed me from all past sins and I
discovered that when Jesus claims full restorative powers,
He’s sincere in that. I had always believed that I’d lost
something I could never get back when I gave myself away
to those guys. I always feared that I’d given up God’s
best for me in a husband that I couldn’t have a happy
marriage now, but God is faithful and I know that my
future husband will be able to forgive me as well…God will
give him the same grace that He’s given me. Jesus is in
the process of COMPLETE restoration and I stand here today
as a witness to you that I’m a whole single person. I’m
complete and my longings for a relationship were severed
when my soul ties were broken. When I say longings, I
mean deep soul longings…of course I sometimes wish I were
in a relationship, but God has put the truth of
fulfillment in my heart. Many of you know that in
September, I made a decision not to date for a year. That
was because I wanted so badly to be completely fulfilled
in Jesus, but I didn’t know how. Now, those desperate
longings are gone. If I never date, if I never marry,
it’s ok, I’m the pure bride of Jesus Christ. I’m so
thankful for all that go has done and I stand here today
as a testimony. Not only does Jesus forgive, but he
brings us to a place of complete restoration in Him – we
are made even better than we were before the sin took
place. I’m free and whole and that what the power of
Jesus’ unconditional love can do. I spent so many years
trying to fill a void for what I thought was love, but it
turns out, that love was here the whole time. I hope that
you will allow the same power to work in your lives as
well.
beth


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