Brokenness is a reality for all of us. It is natural for us to resist the heartbreak of grief, disappointment, and pain. Even so…the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ remains – there is hope and healing in yielding a broken, contrite heart to be molded by the hand of God. Your part is to give God all the pieces and to trust Him with His plan and purpose for your life. God’s part is to bring restoration. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
I was a young teenager when my parents divorced. My mother left us in search of a better life. Consequently, my father had the task of caring for three children. Physically he was there, but he was absent in heart. Being the oldest child, a lot of household responsibilities were forced upon me.
I carried an overwhelming loneliness and emptiness in my heart. I sought escape from the pain and rejection by numbing myself with drugs.
In my quest to seek and find love and acceptance, I met Viggo, a member of an outlaw motorcycle club. The gang offered me a promise of excitement, drugs and a sense of belonging. I embraced the camaraderie of many new brothers and sisters, and I became Viggo’s property.
I carried an illusion of freedom within this new family. It wasn’t until I witnessed many injustices against others, that I realized I was slipping into a dark world without hope. I had no idea how I would escape the control the gang imposed on my life.
One evening, we quickly and discreetly fled from NYC authorities. With each passing mile, we were closer to entering a volatile gang war in Texas. Six nights later I would become a victim in their war.
In the early morning hours, several members of a rival gang stood outside the house where we were staying and opened fire. I was standing in the doorway facing the front windows when the shooting started.
Silhouetted by the light, they took aim at me and when the first shots rang out, I was hit immediately in my left arm. Fortunately, while I reached for the light switch, my arm crossed over my heart and became a protective shield. The bullet’s impact had thrown me, and before I hit the floor, another bullet lodged in my right thigh.
Hours later, I awoke in the intensive care unit of a nearby hospital. My right leg hung elevated in traction; my left arm was covered in a plaster cast. I was sure God was punishing me. As I lay motionless and silent, it occurred to me that all my searching for love and acceptance had brought me to this place. There was no escape from the pain and suffering or the uncertainty of the future.
For the next six months, I was completely bedridden. In another attempt to fuse my shattered bones, my doctor wrapped me in a body cast of plaster from my chest down to my ankle. It proved to be a futile attempt. Eventually, a surgeon fused the bones in my leg together using a bone fragment from my hip. As a result, my leg is permanently two inches shorter.
Determined to start a new life, I severed all ties with the gang. I was transported back to NJ and started a year of intensive rehabilitation therapy. Today, I have a limited range of motion in my arm and leg. Gradually, I learned to live with my disabilities. In fact, my doctors declared me a miracle!
When a friend invited me to attend a baptismal service at her church, I agreed to go because of the transformation I saw in her. Listening to the testimonies of others, the good news of the gospel filled my heart with hope. That night I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.
In time, the Lord healed the bitterness and anger I held in my heart. Sin had its consequences, but His love has transformed my life. The Lord blessed me with a Godly husband and two precious daughters. I am rejoicing in His provision as He prepares the path before me.
*This post was first published as a guest post on Aug 11, 2015 Testimony Tuesday – hollybarrett.org
Thank you Lord for the salvation you have provided for us. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
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Love and Blessings,