Scars & the Day of Transformation
The early morning hours of December 21, 2003, became the day of transformation for me. I was in an automobile accident; the car was totaled. My pelvis and neck were fractured, and I was knocked unconscious on impact. They airlifted me to a nearby trauma hospital while on life support. The man driving [the car that hit me] was on Meth and had been drinking. The police were in pursuit of him from a neighboring city when he ran a red light and T-boned my car.
This accident has left behind scars—physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, God has taught me great things about my physical scars that he has assigned me to share with others. Our scars are beautiful, powerful, a sign of victory, and yes, our testimony! We all have scars and they speak even when we don’t, catching the eyes of the curious.
It is when we take the time to share our testimonies with others that we not only continue in our healing process, but also help others in their healing process as well. Sharing our testimonies enlightens those who may be in the dark about the love of our heavenly Father and the grace He grants us every day through our scars. It may be strange to read this. Yet, I thank God for my scars and continue to give Him the glory every day. —Ahia H.
On that very cloudy night—July 4th—I stood gazing up at the sky in Roosevelt State Park in Warm Springs, Georgia. That evening at the campsite, my heart felt as dark as my surroundings. Being such a hot and humid evening, there were no fires to illuminate the night. As I glanced toward a nearby camper, I noticed a light gleaming through the window.
“That’s what I need,” I said out loud.
All my life I had heard that Jesus is the light, yet I had never truly experienced it. So many of my twenty-three years had been consumed with darkness. As a child, and well into my teens, I suffered from sexual abuse by my uncle. It is an evil secret I have kept hidden, even to this date. As a teenager living in fear that my alcoholic dad’s raging anger would result in the death of my mother, I decided to run away from home.
After leaving home, I lived a life with little regard for my health. Smoking, drinking, and all-night partying became my way of life. Like my father, I was looking for the light in the bottom of a bottle.
While still a teen, I married my first husband, thinking surely this would light up my life. However, it proved to be a tunnel of disappointment. Night after night, after the birth of our child, I sat shaking in the darkness hopelessly waiting for him to come home from gambling, doing drugs, and being with other women. After suffering the pain of a divorce, I decided there must be no light to be found. So I created it myself by marrying a man of wealth I did not love. But after learning of my affair, he left me in two weeks.
In 1987 I had the responsibility of raising my daughter alone, and the darkness seemed to engulf me like a storm. As I stood there in the campground with the dark veil of night surrounding me, I wondered aloud, “How can I fix this? Where is the light?”
Suddenly, the moon peeked through the evening clouds and I looked heavenward as I gazed up at the sky once again. Millions of stars illuminated the expanse, and I met the one true Light for the first time. God revealed to me at that moment that my search was over. His brilliant light shone down on me and exposed all of my darkness. Right then, I knelt before God and wept.
Realizing I could not create light within myself, I asked God to forgive me of my sins and I accepted the saving light of God’s Holy Spirit into my heart. In less than the blink of an eye, everything had changed. My whole perspective was different, and I was filled with great joy. I thanked God for saving me and revealing His love through the light of His creation. And now thirty-one years later, with thirty years of marriage, two children, and three grandchildren, each night I look up at the starry sky and praise God for the light of His unfailing love. —Cindy T.
I Will Not Forget You
When you have a child who has been born with challenges, you can rest assured that emotionally you will have some really bad days. I am sure that many parents who have a child with a disability will verify that. Having a sense of hope while maintaining a sense of reality can be a very hard balancing act, for sure.
As a Christian, my hope for Jeffrey’s progress and growth was in the Lord. I believed He had made me some very precious promises for this child and I had literally seen the working of His hands on my child’s life. I was not ignorant of miracles. I had my bad days, but I would have to say that most of the time I was expecting God to move and was confident that what He promised me He would deliver. That is except for one day when Satan really shot me down!
Jeff was about thirteen at the time and still struggling in the mornings to get on his feet. His balance was really off this particular morning. It always took time for his eyes to level out. . . . He would have to place his chin on his chest to look ahead. If that wasn’t bad enough, he was for some reason as pale as a sheet. He came out of his room, crashing off the sides of the walls, looking the worst I had seen him in a long time. All the faith I had for this child’s healing literally crashed to my feet. As I looked at him wobbling his way toward me I thought, “You are really kidding yourself, MaryAnn. He is never going to grow out of this, be healed, whatever. It is just never ever going to happen.” My heart, my spirit, just sank.
Jeff, by this time, had found his way up to me. He stopped, looked me straight in the face and said, “I will not forget you!” I was stunned. You have to understand. Jeff’s speech was very immature for his age and he had a problem with slurring his words. But this statement, which, by the way, was straight out of the book of Isaiah, was clear, strong, and said with such authority!
I looked at him and asked, “What did you say, Jeff?”
He repeated, “I said, I will not forget you!”
I asked, “Jeffrey, why did you say that to me?”
He just shrugged his shoulders, turned to go down the stairs and said, “I don’t know, I just felt like I was supposed to say that to you.”
And off he went! I stood there completely baffled. The words he spoke caused my spirit to completely rebound. I knew that it was the Lord speaking directly to me through my son. And I remained standing there with such a sense of awe. I thought, “What an incredibly kind God I have not to allow me to fall into the muck and mire of faithlessness and depression.”
It was just unbelievable. Needless to say, I continued on with the rest of my day filled with an extra dose of faith and hope and gradually coming to understand that it was all right if I crashed and fell from time to time, because underneath me were those everlasting arms. And, no doubt about it, He would be there to catch me, dust me off, and get me going again!!
“How precious is thy lovingkindness, O God! The children of men take refuge in the shadow of thy wings” (Psalm 36:7). —Mary O.
I Can Relate
I would like to share my story with you, because today I received the love of God and His faithfulness to me one more time! And today I get to work and read my email, and it tells me there is power in my testimony! I am a believer in Jesus Christ.
I had a very difficult and stressful interview appointment early this the morning, regarding my son turning eighteen years old and continuing to receive benefits. I prayed and praised God all the way to my appointment. I prayed to get an interviewer that would be a good-hearted person, compassionate, understanding, and loving.
When I arrived to my interview, the person was difficult and a little hard on me. He wasn’t too friendly; he asked me for paperwork I didn’t have and then left for a while. When he came back, he started writing down numbers on a piece of paper and using a calculator.
I also noticed that my interviewer’s phone kept ringing and he excused himself a couple of times to answer his calls. Then he stopped, and asked me what my son’s problem is and why he needs disability benefits. I started explaining how he has been struggling with depression, anxiety, suicidal attempts, and most recently, drug addiction. My interviewer started to look through the forms I filled out.
All of a sudden he stopped and told me, “You’re a very strong person. I can relate to you. My son was diagnosed with bipolar disease at age twenty-one. He is now thirty years old. Today I need to work, but he is not well, and that is why I have to stop to answer the phone calls.”
I then realized that this suffering man was everything I prayed for. We ended the interview by him telling me that it was a pleasure to meet me. I told him that God is the only one who can get us and our sons through this. I told him to hold on to God—to not let go—even though at times we feel tired, hopeless, and discouraged.
I asked for his name. He and his son are now in my prayers. He told me, “God bless you.”
On the way out, I raised my hands, heart, and soul to God and thanked Him for being merciful and for never failing me. My heart is full in a way I can’t explain, as I feel God’s power and magnitude. He never fails! —Jeanne T.
God Protected Me
When I look back over my life, God has most definitely brought me through many times of trials and tribulation. And I must say, “Thank you.” One of the many times that sticks out in my mind the most is when I was eleven years old. It was the summer of 1983, and I was cooking breakfast for my grandma and family before Sunday morning church service. At the time my grandmother was the founder and pastor of a church.
This was the first time that I was cooking on her stove. The eggs and sausage were done and the grits were still cooking. Now I was trying to bake my biscuits, but for some reason the oven would not turn on. The gas was on and I thought the oven was getting warm.
After touching the oven and feeling that it was still cold, I then decided to stick a paper towel with a small flame on it to light the oven. I heard a quick sizzle sound and a big boom. After that I was pushed back at least eight feet from the stove and landed on my backside.
When I looked down at myself, ashes from the oven had blown a hole through my skirt and slip. No material was left behind—the entire front of my skirt and slip was gone. My clothes were badly burned, but there were no marks left on my skin. If you would have seen it, you would have said it was a miracle. God protected me. —Sharon W.
Restoration Leads to a Purpose
About six years ago, I was injured in an accident—lost my job and everything I owned. I had to move in with my mother, who I never felt loved by. My mental health deteriorated and I began to self-medicate to quiet my mind, but it just got worse. I asked God to please take me home. I gave up. Not long after I was introduced to a new church. Still in pain daily, I got as much God as I could and I started volunteering at the church. God delivered me from my addictions.
Someone I met while volunteering recommended me for a job, but I had physical challenges. The door God opened for me was working with an attorney who helped people who went through the same experiences as I did! The clients ended up ministering to me and eventually God started using me to minister to them. He’s teaching me who I am in His eyes. My physical and mental struggles are real and challenge me every day, but now I know they’re my path to His purpose for my life. Now I can’t wait to see His end product!! —Christina C.
My Turn Around
I was an active two year old when one day my mom and dad brought groceries into the house and put them on a cedar chest. I climbed up to look, but fell off and tumbled down sixteen steps. It was because of that fall that I became an epileptic.
While growing up, we went to church every time the door was open, and I heard a lot about God and Jesus. But when I turned sixteen and couldn’t drive because of my condition, I began to hate God.
At the age of twenty, I was determined to get my driver’s license; and when I did, I became a “hell raiser.” I ran around with a guy my mom had warned me about. Well, she was right. That guy and I got into trouble.
I went on to meet a girl and ask her to marry me. I ended up serving two years in prison after that and she waited for me. Over the next ten years we had four kids. Things were hard and I was trying to raise them on a low income. And on top of that I had a bad attitude that caused me to become even more hateful.
In 1990 I was tired of living. So I went to the cemetery where my mom and sister were buried. I told my sister that I wanted to trade places with her, but since I couldn’t I was coming to join her. I got into my car and headed for a concrete bridge that was on a downhill run. Suddenly a voice said, “No!”
I broke down and went to my Dad’s house. There was a picture of Jesus on the wall. It seemed as if He was looking at me wherever I was in the room. I turned on the TV, which Dad always kept on a Christian station. There was singing and then a man appeared and said, “Do you have problems? Give them to Jesus.”
When the next show came on, I heard it again. At that point I lost it. I looked at the picture on the wall and said, “Jesus, I need you. Jesus, I’m sorry.”
I had done some bad stuff and it caught up with me, and I went back to prison to serve five years. I completed two Bible studies while I was there—I just couldn’t get enough. After I finished the second one, they sent me a Bible with “Chaplain” written in front of my name.
Since that time, God has been good to me. He made a way for me to purchase a house, kept me in my marriage for forty-eight years until my wife passed away in 2016, and has continuously blessed me.
If anyone is at the end of their rope, I encourage you to just let go and let God. Give it all to Jesus! —Don C.
Hand of God
My husband was in the hospital—blind, on dialysis, and thirty-six years old. He was getting worse every day. On Friday, April 19, 1974, I went in for my normal visit and discovered that his roommate had been moved down the hall. He had a new roommate—the pastor of our local city mission. The pastor and his wife asked if I was Ron’s mother. That’s how bad I looked. I was just thirty-two years old, and we had four children ages four, seven, nine, and eleven years old. And the youngest child had insulin-dependent diabetes.
The next day Ron didn’t even get out of bed or sit up. He just kept repeating, “I love you,” and “take care of my kids.” Sunday morning while dropping my kids off at my mom’s before heading to the hospital, I received the call that Ron had passed away.
At the wake . . . a day before Ron’s funeral, the funeral director called me to his office because I had a phone call from a pay phone at the hospital. It was Ron’s roommate. His wife had wheeled him to the phone. He said he had to tell me that he and Ron had prayed that whole morning before Ron died. Ron had accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior, and he had passed away in peace. The pastor told me he just had to let me know. He had tracked me down from the newspaper obituary.
Ron’s autopsy took several months to get the results. His doctor called and wanted to see me. He told me in person that it was either an act of God or Ron’s strong will that kept him alive, because the autopsy showed he had not one functioning organ in his body except his brain. All of the other organs were as hard as stone.
The year before he died, Ron had promised our daughter he would be at her first Communion. We had a pass to get him out of the hospital for that day. That was the last day we were together as a family. A week later he died. He fulfilled his promise.
God was at work! It was a few months later that I started intensely studying Scripture. —Alice M.
I Feel Honored
Three years after having our son Eddie, my husband and I thought it would be best to start trying for more children. The months turned into years, and before we knew it our son was nine years old—and still no success. During this time, we had faced many issues within our marriage and finding a set career path. And all the while I began to worry that we could not have more children, which was heartbreaking.
In 2013, I got saved and began to pray and plead with God for more children. It was to the point that when I heard the news of others around me expecting I would be overjoyed for them, but it would bring me to tears that this was not our reality. I finally had to come to terms with the fact that it might not be God’s will for us to have more children and that I had to have faith and trust in His infinite wisdom.
As soon as I had come to terms with this, literally one month later, my husband and I found out that we were pregnant. And with twins no less! But there was a catch—both of my twin boys were found to have spina bifida at their nineteen-week checkup. I just couldn’t understand why God would take the one thing I wanted more than anything and attach such a huge burden along with it.
After much prayer and talking with my husband, we came to the conclusion that Cairo and Micah were always meant to be ours. We just had to get into a position in our lives and our faith to receive these two little angels that were meant to be ours from the beginning. Our oldest son, Eddie, just turned twelve on August 22nd and Micah and Cairo are now fifteen months old. We are doing physical and occupational therapy weekly, and they are both expected to walk one day! They are truly a blessing! At times I feel honored that God thought highly enough of my husband and I to feel that we were strong and responsible enough to care for not one but two children with developmental disabilities. —Linna N.
My name is Emma. I am a sixty-six-year-old mother of a nine-year-old son, Nathaniel, whom I’ve dubbed “my reason.” I grew up just outside of Charleston, South Carolina, in a town called Goose Creek. My parents were both Active Duty USAF stationed at Charleston AFB. I am the youngest of three girls. My parents (Mom especially) coddled me. She did everything for me: she encouraged me, comforted me, supported me; and she and Dad provided everything I could ever need or want—all out of pure love.
At age seventeen, I started to experiment with the bad things of this sinful world—cigarettes, sex, drugs, alcohol, food, etc. Anything and anyone that my straight-laced parents deemed as bad, dangerous, or taboo was exactly what appealed to me and what I surrounded myself with. Needless to say, my spiral and crash came hard and fast.
When I was twenty-three, both of my parents had retired from the Air Force. Due to my risky behavior and seedy characters I hung out with, we all needed a fresh start. My dad applied online for a Department of Defense job in Springfield, Virginia—on a whim one random day—and got the job. We moved from the house I grew up in and everything I knew and moved to Northern Virginia.
Upon arrival, I hit the ground running. I was bound and determined to turn my life around and be a successful, mature, responsible, sober adult. And I did. I began my career in property management. I worked my way up the ladder from an entry-level leasing consultant all the way to a property manager.
I met my son’s father, had my son, and the three of us lived together—on my paycheck—off and on for years. In the off-seasons, I had my own apartment and vehicle, an amazing job, and I took care of my son completely on my own.
My career was the best it had ever been—I had a great reputation in the industry, the respect of colleagues, law enforcement, and local officials. But I didn’t appreciate it. I felt that I just deserved this life because “I’m Emma.”
Soon, the material things—my petty wants and desires—became what I lived and worked for, not my Lord and Savior. I wasn’t humble—I was very arrogant. So the Lord had a lesson planned that He was about to reveal to me.
In October 2016, I received a DUI charge. In one night with one bad decision, I lost my driver’s license and became a felon. As the days passed and the court process progressed, one by one all of life’s luxuries that I held so high were taken away. I lost my job due to the felony and lost driving privileges. I lost my car due to loss of income. And eventually I lost my freedom and served jail time for the offense.
While in jail, I was housed with an alcoholic named Amy. She introduced me to Our Daily Bread and taught me how to pray and study the Word. She guided me through reading the daily devotions and answered any questions I had along the way. In the cell next to mine, the Lord placed Shannen. She was also a Christian woman who faced a lot of trials and tribulations in her life. Shannen had already learned her lesson. I know God placed these two women in my life to help teach me mine.
After seventy-five days, I was released. I continued my devotions and my walk with God. My daily job I assigned myself was to build a strong foundation rooted in the Lord. However, I came home to my son’s father, who by this point was completely enslaved by opiate pain medication. He spent all of our money on it, neglected our son and me, lied and cheated, and stole from us. And he secluded, controlled, and abused me in every way imaginable.
I stayed in that misery for five years. I felt I had no other options, as my parents had since moved back to South Carolina. There was no way out, so I attempted suicide. I went to the hospital four times . . . I didn’t care. I really didn’t care. I had accepted that this is what I deserved and there was no way out. But God had other plans.
I met Kelly, the single mom across the street and a no-nonsense Alpha-female, who had just separated from her children’s father after fifteen years of marriage, lies, drugs, and deceit. God sent Kelly to give me the strength, courage, motivation, and support I needed to stand up and make a better life for my son and me.
After my requests to my parents to allow me to move back home with them had been denied for years, the Lord placed my mom in my house to witness and experience for herself the conditions in which my son and I were living. That visit opened her eyes, and, by the grace of God, she opened the window just a little bit to let me come back. She said that when I’m ready, I can come home. Even though she had many expectations, reservations, and was hesitant, that small crack was all I needed.
Over the next several days while I was home alone, I prepared my escape. I hid and destroyed documents and decided what precious things would make the move. There was only so much I could take with me on a ten-hour Greyhound trip with five changeovers.
On July 20, 2018, I packed two rolling suitcases and two backpacks, wrote a note, told my son we were going on an adventure, and headed to the local bus station. It was the biggest, scariest, most anxiety-inducing action I had ever taken. But I knew my Lord arranged this and I had an odd, unfamiliar sense of peace. For once, I was doing the right thing and taking action to correct my life.
My son and I have been living here in Columbia, South Carolina, for about a month now and we are thriving! Life has never been so good! Every challenge, setback, roadblock, and disappointment was preparation for this. Doors are opening—I feel hopeful, grateful, blessed, loved, and appreciated. And I haven’t genuinely felt that in a very long time. I have hopeful excitement about what the Lord’s plan for my life is from this point forward.
There’s pain in purpose; but there is purpose in that pain! Don’t sacrifice your happiness for someone else’s comfort.
Give the Lord a chance. He stripped me of everything I thought was valuable and sat me down with only Him to cling to. I learned my lesson, and I’m continuing to learn. And I’m teaching others, which is now a privilege that I welcome. I may not be perfect, but at least now I’m brave. I will praise Him all of my days! —Emma F.
Never Too Late
It was very heavy on my heart that my dad was eighty-one and unsaved. In fact, I had a number of preachers come to visit Dad and share the gospel with him. I didn’t know all of the preachers. Some of them I had never before met, but I knew my dad had a need for the Lord.
Dad was in his last days and knew it. So I prayed, “Lord, let it be me who shares the good news with Dad, but I need your help.”
With the Lord’s help, I led Dad to Christ. Shortly after he accepted the Lord into his heart, I asked, “How do you feel?”
Dad replied, “Clean,” as he raised his weak body.
Although he died the following day, the peace I had when he passed was well beyond anything I could imagine. —David M.
The Cross on the Ceiling
“I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Several years ago, I was flat on my back in a hospital recovering from having my left hip replaced. It was the middle of the night and I was feeling mighty lonely in the darkness. Suddenly, I opened my eyes and looked up at the ceiling. My breath was taken away a bit when I realized what stood out in the gloom.
As clear as could be was a bright cross directly above my chest on the ceiling. At first, I blinked my eyes to make sure it was there. Opening my eyes again, it was still there. Then I began to look around to see from where it could be coming. A bit frustrated, I couldn’t find any explanation for the cross on my ceiling.
My heart filled with warmth as I began to yield to God’s Spirit and talk to my Lord. He had died on the cross and was telling me He was with me in all my pain. I laid there in the darkness with my heart warmed until I fell peacefully asleep. I never saw the cross again during the subsequent nights, but I was comforted each time that I remembered seeing it on my ceiling.
When overwhelming pain is your companion, remember that your blessed Lord has promised to never leave or forsake you. Keep looking up and pressing on in trustful patience. —Dr. Robert (Bob) S.
Talk About Amazing Grace!
If I can be saved, anyone can.
I was raised in the Church of Christ—growing up in a loving Christian home . . . I was very intelligent and knew right from wrong, but rather than follow Christ and do God’s will, I chose to follow my own.
Needless to say, for thirty years I proceeded to destroy and tear down everything I touched or tried to build. I tried to make it all about me instead of all about Him. And my life became filled with pain, agony, disgust, and woe from bad choices and decisions that resulted in failed marriages, the loss of children, drug and alcohol addictions, stints in jail, and more. I had reached the absolute bottom.
As I sat in my living room chair—in my underwear and with a 9-millimeter pistol in my mouth—a still, quiet voice asked me, “Is this the climax to your great plan?”
It is only because of our great and wonderful, all-powerful God of amazing grace that I repented. It was not by my power, but His alone!
Today I have a jailhouse ministry that reaches out to approximately eighty prisoners each week. And my heavenly Father has blessed me greatly in all aspects of my life. Thank you, Lord, for saving a wretch like me. If I can be saved, anyone can. —Randy A.
P.S. Thanks to your diligence, my mates always ask for and receive the Our Daily Bread. Thank you!
From the Inside Out
My name is Jennifer and I come from a family that was involved in the drug business. I was very sheltered from the outside world, because of what they did and the people