I was bought up in a Christian household from the age of six. I never really worried about the way I looked until I started high school. As the oldest of six children I was the first to experience high school and I went to a high school in which i didn't know any people that came from my primary school so I had to make new friends. High school was a lot different from primary school and I felt like I had been thrown in at the deep end. I didn't like high school at all. It started at 13, I started to worry about my appearance and noticed that I was different than most of the other girls my age and I became insecure as I compared myself to others. I remember people would tease me for my height and other things and I wasn't like everyone else to make things worse. I wanted so desperately to fit in. I was always quiet but this was different. I became insecure and had low self esteem. I would always cover up the fact that this made me miserable. Covering up became a habit and as time went on it started to develop into other things such as people pleasing. I tried to change myself but I couldn't ever find satisfaction in myself because I knew how I really was and the emotions and worry I had.The insecurity began to develop and ruin other areas of my life and I felt as though there was no hope and that no one cared about my life. I felt worthless and hated myself and I just wanted to die. No one ever noticed this and probably would least expect this to be me because I always put on a front as if everything was fine when it wasn't. I became dependent on people's approval to make me feel secure. This made me feel guilty and I began to try to seek God but I was still pleasing people and seeking their approval and it gets to the point where you have to choose between the two. I felt as if I was divided between the two. Even though I would say I was a Christian there was no real relationship with God. At this time I remember I felt ashamed to tell people about God and was uncomfortable with people associating me with Jesus. Looking back I think it was clear to say that I wanted to fit in with the crowd so I was putting people above God. I was afraid to be different.
As time progressed, I felt as if God had not given up on me and that there was hope and I really wanted to seek God for good this time and I think this was the start of God calling me to Him. I was reading God's word and praying frequently and I wasn't ashamed to. However, one thing that was wrong was that I was depending
on my works to make me right with God and when I messed up I felt as if I was detached from God and I wasn't certain of my salvation and I was still trying to please people but just in a different way. It took a while but God in His grace enabled me to understand that Jesus had died for all my sins past, present and future. HE DIED FOR EVERY SIN AND HE DIED FOR ALL and yes that includes me and you who are reading this (See 1 John 2:2 and 2 Corinthians 5:15) One verse that God revealed to me was Romans 6:14 "For sin shall no longer be your master for you are not under the Law, but under grace." this does not mean that we continually try to sin (see Romans 6:15) but God will enable us and only with God's help and through prayer to free us from bondage to sin. I learned that Christ's death did not just involve the physical pain of crucifixion but He had to endure mine and the world's sin!
How could I then depend on myself instead of the sinless Savior who paid it all? If I was trying to get right with God with my own words I was saying that Jesus' death is not sufficient for me. I learned that I needed to get whole before God and pour my heart out before Him. I repented (turned away from my sin) and turned back to God through prayer acknowledging that I was helpless without Him. I turned from self to a loving Savior who was patiently waiting for me to come to Him all along. I came as I was with all my fear, insecurity, helplessness and flaws to God who restored me to Himself through Jesus His Son which is not my own work but the gift of God called His grace (Ephesians 2:8) for which I am eternally grateful. I am not sharing this to say that I have become perfect because I still battle with sin daily but God helps me to overcome sin by remaining in Him. It shows that if Christ can heal and restore a broken sinner like me to a right relationship with Him and he can certainly do the same with YOU if YOU let Him. And Christ's blood washes me and He will continue to work in me until I meet Him face to face. (Phil. 1:6)
Connect with Jaleen on IG @jellybeanz93
Not all marriages start with God as the foundation. My marriage being one of them. Going into the marriage we believed that God was the foundation, only to be hit with the truth a few weeks after. When I first met my husband we were your typical American Christians. We thought we were saved since we confessed with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in our hearts that God raised him from the dead. (Romans 10:9) We thought all we had to do is say the sinners prayer, be forgiven, and enter the kingdom believed of heaven. We got married simply because we loved each other and it was "the right thing to do" here is our testimony.
It all begin August 2009 I started a new job after being unemployed for 2 months. I was super excited and had no idea about the journey ahead. After 8 weeks of training I was finally "out in the field" with about 150 new co-workers that I've never met. All the guys were friendly, helpful, and excited about the new girl. Then, one day I had to work under a different supervisor-Shedrick. It was my first time meeting him and he was very straight forward and in my opinion rude. He wasn't like the other guys who laughed and joked with me on top of that he didn't show me any attention. That following week (Friday) a few co-workers were going out for drinks. I seen Shedrick in the parking lot I approached him and asked "Drinks on you" Mistake 1- The bible says in Proverbs 18:22 "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord ." I had no business approaching him. Shedrick hit me with a stale face and said "I have to go get my daughter" I was shut down!!!
About two weeks later we worked together again and this time his guard was down and we had our first conversation. God never came up. Mistake 2- Mark 16:15 states "And then he (Jesus) told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone." Instead of doing that we learned each others' age, talked about where we grew up, and his face lit up whenever he mentioned his daughter. We made plans to meet at Chili's later that night (2 for $20 baby lol). On our first date we both knew that we would be no more then friends. We would just chill, we had another person to pass time with. At the end of our date he walked me to the car, opened the door for me, then asked me if I wanted to come to his house? I respectfully declined thinking to myself what type of girl does he think I am? I brushed it off and went home.
So time passed and we talked more and more. Then he invited me to church! I remember thinking Wow! What a great guy. Of course I will go to church with him. Outside of that we never read the bible together and I was ok with that because my heart was so far from God. After 2 short months of our first interaction we had sex. Mistake 3- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body" We continued to have sex and before I knew it we were living together in January 2010. I went from living at home to shacking up. We talked about marriage and starting a family. I promised myself that if we haven't taken the next step by the end of the year I was out. I knew what we were doing was wrong but I continued doing it. We had problems that seemed normal, rumors were spread at work but we fought through. We were as close to happy as we were going to get and we were ok with that. August 12, 2010 Shedrick proposed! I said "yes"Mistake 4- (God never told me he was my husband) I figured the proposal was coming because he was man enough to ask my dad for my hand. Two days later we were in the Bahamas! On top of the world celebrating my birthday and our recent engagement. We had an amazing trip and then everything changed.
One Tuesday Shedrick came home from a discipleship class at church. He sat me down and said "We can't have sex anymore until we are married and I can no longer drink. I know it's going to be hard but I'm so on fire for God babe, I just want to be in His presence" I completely understood about the no sex thing and the no drinking rule wasn't a problem for me because we didn't drink much anyway. Shedrick was growing spiritually. He started to change, his light was shining. He TRIED to push me closer to Christ but I was good where I was at. Mistake 5- we were now unequally yoked. 2 Corinthians 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers..." A part of me was happy for Shedrick and wanted to be on his level but my flesh just felt like it was unnecessary. He was getting to "churchy" everything was Jesus this or that. He was simply doing the most in my opinion. Then, I begin to have a tug-o-war with my spirit and my flesh. Our wedding day was quickly approaching and the pressure was on! I wanted to be free I had the desire to club and drink again. I wanted to stay out all hours of the night and day so I did! My excuse was that we weren't married yet! I might as well get it all out of my system these last few days. We both prayed about my behavior and believed that I was getting cold feet and should continue with the wedding! The night before the big day I asked God to forgive me of my sinful behavior. I didn't want to enter a marriage with so much on my heart. I just wanted us to enjoy our day! I cried and I felt so free. A different type of free. A free that drugs, alcohol, or the club could not offer.
May 29, 2011 We did it! We tied the knot, danced and even shouted! That night I was so convicted! Although it had been six months since we made the decision to walk in purity, I only did it because Shedrick asked me to, not because God instructs us to do so. We were both new on our christian walk and didn't fully understand everything that came with it. All the things that my husband and I should have fixed or learned in our single season was now carried over into our season of marriage. Needless to say our first 6 months of marriage were crazy to say the least. Problems occurred that we weren't ready for and we weren't doing things in order. I was popping off at the mouth, making my own decisions, Shedrick wasn't always loving and unresolved issues were constantly thrown up.
One day while on Twitter I came across a re tweet from Heather Lindsey. I went to her page and then read her blog. I was shocked! She didn't have sex with her husband before marriage and she didn't even kiss him until their wedding day! I learned about how important it is to have alone time with God and about water downed sermons. I was truly convicted! A seed had been planted! At first I wanted to go back to 2009 and do things differently. After about two weeks it hit me. You can't go back so get over it! What can you do TODAY to change your marriage? So I prayed and prayed and prayed some more. Then God showed me that I couldn't follow every example of marriage I seen growing up! I had to look at scripture and apply it to be a godly wife. It has been a challenge learning to submit to God first then to my husband. I learned about this gentle and quiet spirit that I was supposed to have. Some days I would do great other days not so much. I continued to press into the word and I began to notice a change in my husband. We sat down one day and put it all out on the table. The good, the bad, and the ugly! We had to rip our marriage apart and rebuild. We turned our marriage over to God for real! We started reading the bible together, praying together, and even fasting together! I constantly prayed and asked God to change me as wife/person whatever problem my husband had with me rip it from me. Let me be the change Lord.
Since then we have both been transformed. Our marriage has been transformed and it's all because of God! If you are in an ungodly marriage: I encourage you to get on your face before God and pour your heart out. Confess and repent. Ask God to change YOU. Make a decision to truly change your life and live for Christ. Hang in there and be patient it's not going to be easy! Wives submit to God first! Husbands follow Christ with your whole heart so that you can lead your house like never before. Singles: This post is not intended to encourage you to enter an ungodly marriage in hopes that God will come in and restore. I pray that you learn from the mistakes we made. It has not been easy doing things out of order. Press into Christ and learn to love yourself. Since I've been truly saved, I'm all about purity before marriage. I commend all who has made the commitment to kill the flesh daily. No matter if you are a virgin or born again I pray that God continues to give you strength to not fall into satan's trap. Hold on to your most precious gift for your husband or wife. Love you and praying for you all!
I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, in what I thought was a normal family. Brother and sister, mom and dad, lots of friends, things were good. We never went to church, except for funerals. I attended a youth group in junior high for a few months, but just didn't "get it." Who was God? Who was Christ? And what is this praying stuff? I was too embarrassed to ask someone and no one asked me about what I knew. I knew my dad wasn't my "father" but he was my dad. That's ok, but the older I got, the more apparent it became that I was different and so was my life. My dad and I aren't close, he's a man of few words...I am clearly a woman of too many words sometimes. I think he did the best he could without stepping on anyone's toes. He worked hard, put food on the table, and had a roof over our heads.
I soon found that I was trying to fill a void, the void of a father-daughter relationship with other things and people. My first real relationship out of high school was with an older guy. An older, controlling, double life kind of guy. He helped me find my biological father who left after being married to my mom and after she became pregnant with me. He left and never came back. I didn't know a thing about him until I was 16 and asked my mom about him. I met him for the first time when I was almost 19.
The relationship with my father was great...at first. His wife didn't and still doesn't want to have anything to do with me. I have yet to meet or speak with her. I understand her anger and think of her often. My communication with my father is almost what it was before I knew he was, except a lot more painful. This disappointment led me to try and fill that void again.
More horrible relationships with men, buying things that ended me in nothing but massive amounts of debt and unpaid bills, and this time, alcohol. I was fun with alcohol! People liked me! The world was carefree with alcohol! No bills existed with alcohol! Neither did my pride, self awareness, or conscience. I would drink myself into oblivion. A big black hole. I would cause scenes, pick fights, thought I was invincible.
I met someone who was, again older than me, but didn't sugar coat it for me. I had never had anyone be as honest with me about the way I was living my life like he was. He wasn't afraid to shoot it to me straight. He told me how lost I was, how disrespectful I was, how entitled I was, and honestly, what an idiot I looked like. (No one likes being told they look like an idiot.) It took a loooong time for me to accept the things he was saying. It took me drinking too much (again), passing out in his home with all of the doors locked and the key in my pocket, while he stood outside trying to break into his own home. It took my car being repossessed. It took me losing my job, apartment, and any dignity I had. I was homeless, car-less, and money-less. He showed me the love and grace that no one else had ever extended to me. He showed me the love of Christ.
Until then, I hadn't ever opened the Bible. Never. I was always embarrassed when my friends would talk about stories from the Bible. I had no idea what they were talking about, but I played along and always hoped I would never get caught. I cleaned up my act, but it was a few more months until I accepted the Lord as my savior.
I grew up in a small town with a church on every corner, but this man was the only person who had ever shared the love of Christ with me. This same person is who bought me my first Bible. This same person is who I was baptized with at the age of 25. This same person is who I now call my husband and father of our son.
I cannot imagine where my life would be without the Lord. He saved me and He rescued me, not my husband. He just worked through my husband, which I am eternally grateful for. The Lord has filled that void I was always trying to fill. He provides the Father-daughter relationship I was looking for. He fit that empty mold like a glove. I have a Father that loves me, protects me, helps me, guides me, celebrates with me, cries with me, and advises me.
I'm not perfect, by any means. I lived 20+ years by the World's standards and those are some tough habits to break, but with the Lord's help, I will become the woman He wants me to be. I have been in an extremely dark and lonely place before. A place of despair and with no hope. It's an awful place to be, but it's a place I needed to be to truly understand what accepting a savior means. I needed that dark place to remain grateful on a daily basis.
So after C and K were both born I Loved being a mom...always have!! No matter what part of my life I was in (since having them) I loved being a mom....and I loved my babies more than any other thing in this world. No amount of depression or self destruction could take that love away!! Sometime I think that is why God gave them to me when he did. He knew I would soon be back at rock bottom and it would be my children that would keep me alive....keep me from fully giving up! I know my kids do not know what they have done for me but I just hope as a mom I can in return ALWAYS be there for them, no matter what. So I guess you can figure out by this I did go through another battle with severe depression, anxiety, self hate, etc etc etc. Looking back it is so hard for me to see how I could have even been so sad when I had my two precious babies that made me smile every day. But my troubles had nothing to do with them. They are my personal struggles and troubles. Even though I had two kids with me all the time I was lonely. I was lonely and I hated EVERYTHING about myself. I hated who I was, what I saw in the mirror..I was not the person I wanted to be. And I know without a doubt if it weren't for my precious gifts from God I would NOT be here today! Simple as that! But I would never and still will never give up because I could never hurt my kids and I cannot imagine a day without them.
But Kelly (husband) and I were fighting still and I was fighting so many inner battles...things I have never been able to tell anyone...and still haven't except for Kelly (and that was just this year and one of my best friends...again this year) But my battles with myself were causing battles with everyone else. I had a lot of support but I also think some liked my pain...it made them look better. While several in my life were supportive for me I feel some encouraged me to take more or other wrong paths. Maybe my struggles made them feel or look better? I got so depressed I stopped fixing myself up, (I was ugly anyways so why should I even try is an example of something I would tell myself) I would replay all the bad things in my life...and if I shared them all..well lets just say they would need a blog of their own, not just a few post, ha!! I have been through so much in my life from things in my childhood all the way up to this point. But lets be honest who hasn't?
The point came where I knew I couldn't end my own life (literally) so I would end my marriage. I remember the painful things I said to Kelly and I feel so bad about them now. I hope he knows I didn't mean them. At that time I just wanted him to hurt like I was hurting. I told him I was leaving several times. He would never chase after me...at first then he would convince me to come back. Finally I was DONE..we were never going to change...I know now I was just looking for somehow to run away. I broke Kellys heart and he cried and promised me if I would stay our lives would change. I believed him....WHY you may ask. Well regardless of the pain I had in my marriage and with myself none of it was ever caused by him being dishonest. He never lied to me. He was always honest with me so why should I question him now?!
Kelly agreed to do the "LOVE DARE" and oh he was so good at it. Honestly and don't ever tell him I said this but he was better and more committed (at times) with it than I was. There were even days I wouldn't read it but He did. I had already had in my mind he didnt want me (I didnt even want me). BUt this book/dare as silly as it sounds was a stepping stone in bringing us back together. More importantly bringing us closer to God and founding our relationship on HIM. I remember Kelly saying one day if I would't leave we would start going to church. ...So we did and we eventually put GOD back in our lives, both personally and in our family and marriage. I had/Have never felt a stronger connection with my LORD as I do now. We joined a church and fully committed EVERYTHING we have to GOD. I could go on forever to say how much my life has changed since I finally let God call the shots and lead my life. I am so excited about His Love. For the first time in my life I was able to go off ALL medication for my depression....AND I AM SOOOO HAPPY. Now I am not saying every day is easy but I HAVE BEEN REDEEMED I am forgiven and set free!!!. I AM HAPPY. I no longer cry out in pain or anger. I see GOD in all my life....the past and the present and I know He is in my future..forever. I am committed to serve him for the rest of my days!!
Now when I look back over my past I see how God never left me!! He always had a plan for me and always protected me. Even though I may have experienced abuse of all sorts, Severe depression, self hatred, loss of a child, experiment with drugs and alcohol and so much more He also gave me SOOO many miracles. Even I am one of His wonderful miracles...AND SO ARE YOU!! We are all Gods children and one of his wondrous miracles. I know now why God has led me to work in counseling...I have been through so much that I am pretty sure I can relate with just about anyone. But I can glorify God now even at the worst points in my life. Each and every experience has brought me closer to God today. They formed me into the person I am now. The one who want to be there for everyone else and tell them they too can be saved!! It is never too late to turn to Jesus...He has not nor will not ever turn you away!! I can honestly say this is the happiest I have ever been in my life! What is there not to be happy about? Even when life is hard (yes my life is still hard) and even when I get down on myself I am still a child of God and He loves me just as I am!! These past several years have been the best years of my life and I am so excited about more to come! I know God has great plans for me/us!! I am also so thankful for a husband who never gave up on me and who knows ALL my flaws and seen me at my worst but still LOVES me. I am thankful he too is such a strong man of God and that our marriage and our personal lives are now fully committed to GOD
GOD IS SO GOOD...THANK YOU GOD FOR EVERYTHING!!!!