A New Creation
I pray that the words of my testimony will point others to the glorious hope we have in Jesus. I thank the Lord because, in Him, I am a New Creation! A painful journey through emotional, spiritual and physical trauma led me to an encounter with God’s transforming love.
My parents divorced when I was a young teenager. My mother left us in search of a better life. Consequently, my father had the task of caring for three children. He was not prepared for this responsibility and being the oldest child some of the burdens of care rested on me.
The emptiness I felt in my heart was overwhelming. I longed to be part of a family. I sought escape from the pain I felt by partying with my friends. It was during this period in my life that I was introduced to the drugs that would hold me captive for many years.
In spite of all that I tried to fill the void in my heart, I could not find satisfaction or love. When I met Viggo, a member of a motorcycle gang, I thought that I had found the family I longed for. The gang offered me a promise of excitement, drugs and a sense of belonging. I was told we were all brothers and sisters, but instead, I found myself to be someone‘s property. Viggo gave the orders, and I did as I was told.
I witnessed many injustices against others and a great conflict welled up inside of me. I longed for a better life, but I had no idea how I was going to escape the control the gang imposed on my life.
In October of 1977, I left NYC and traveled to San Antonio, Texas with Viggo. Upon arriving in the city, I found myself in the midst of a gang war. Six nights later, I would become a victim of that war.
In a few short minutes, the police and paramedics arrived at the house. I was rushed into an ambulance alone with a nervous paramedic telling me I would be alright. Inside the hospital emergency room, I was surrounded by a team of doctors and nurses inserting tubes and taking x-rays. A police team stood nearby asking me questions about the shooting.
Four hours later, I was wheeled into the intensive care unit. My leg was in traction; my arm was in a plaster cast. In a few days, I would need another surgery to repair my leg. My doctor gave me the news that the bone in my forearm had been shattered beyond repair, and I would not be able to straighten it again.
At this point in my life, I was sure God was punishing me. But in fact, it was Satan who tried to destroy me that night. I knew my life would never be the same, and I could not imagine what my life could become. I am so grateful that God had a better purpose and plan for my life!
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
I spent the next six months in the hospital completely bedridden. At first, the doctor was not sure he could save my leg. Finally, when the bones did not fuse together, he wrapped me in a body cast. For two months I was covered in plaster from my chest down to my leg.
Eventually, I did require a bone graft where a piece of bone from my hip was used to fuse the bones in my leg together. A metal rod in my leg would add strength during the healing process. This surgery left my leg two inches shorter and with a limited range of motion in my knee.
I found myself completely alone in a strange city. Viggo had left me in the hospital totally dependent upon the nursing staff. I never saw him again. I was consumed with shame, anger, and fear. During my hospital stay, all my material possessions were stolen.
In desperation, I called my father and asked him if he would drive me to a hospital close to home. Lying in the back of a station wagon, we started the long journey home to New Jersey. Eventually, I returned to the very place I was so anxious to flee from. I was determined to start a new life, and I knew that meant severing all ties with the gang.
My injuries required the following year in intensive rehabilitation therapy. Today, I have a limited range of motion in my arm and leg. The doctor’s report turned out not to be true; I can straighten my arm. Gradually, I learned to live with my disabilities. In fact, my doctors declared me a miracle!
During my time in rehab, a friend of mine had become a Christian. She invited me to attend a baptismal service at her church. It was because of the transformation I saw in her, that I agreed to go. It was then that I heard the testimonies of others who had been set free from drugs and alcohol. It was the first time in my life that I had ever heard the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the first time that I had experienced real hope!
All of my efforts to start a new life had failed miserably. I went home that night and asked Jesus if He would be my Lord and Savior. Faithful to His word, I was set free from the drugs and the lifestyle I had been living. He put a new desire in my heart to know Him.
“I waited patiently for the Lord, And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth – Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3
I’m so glad that Jesus meets us where we are. He didn’t ask me to change before I came to Him. All he wanted was for me to trust Him with my life. He sent a very special sister to mentor me through the Bible. In time, the Lord healed the bitterness and the anger that I felt in my heart for so long. He revealed His love, His mercy, and His grace to me. Sin had its consequences, but I praise the Lord for his deliverance and restoration for me.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
Today, I have the family that I longed for. The Lord blessed me with a godly husband and two precious daughters. Accepting Jesus as my Savior has transformed my life! Not only do I have eternal life with Him, but I have His love, His joy, and His peace to walk in victory each day. I am enjoying His provision as He prepares the path before me.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes.” Romans 8:28
*All Scripture references taken from the New King James Version of the Bible.