How growing up in church kept me from the truth of Jesus Christ…

Yep, you read that right. Growing up in church kept me from the truth of Jesus Christ. Of course, I can’t just shift the blame to anything or anyone else but myself, but let me share my story of how my Christian background hindered my relationship with God…I was saved at 5, out of a pure and innocent heart’s longing to go to heaven and be with Jesus. I knew I was a bad child-no one had to argue with me about the “we are all sinners” part lol. I was excited, and loved Jesus as a child.

Then…somewhere along the line, it became about church attendance, service, and climbing the spiritual ladder. I craved praise for how spiritual I was, and my family was viewed as a “poster family” for the homeschooled Christian model in our church. Yet…I knew something was wrong.

There was severe abuse in my home growing up, starting back before I can even remember. My mom hated me. I know…everyone says she didn’t, that a “mother never could,” but I truly believe my mom never learned how to love, and that she really truly hated me. She would scream it at me all the time, and I saw it in her eyes…the hatred. You’ve never understood hatred until you see it in someone’s eyes as they tell you how much they hate you. It’s a sucker punch to the gut.

Anyway, she was mentally, physically, and verbally abusive to us children. She was very good at keeping it from my dad, and even told us that if we told him, he would hate us because then he would know how bad we were, since she had to “punish” us so severely. So we kept our mouths shut and waited eagerly for when he would be home in the evenings and on weekends.

So back to how “perfect” everything seemed to the church… we sat in the pews, sang our hymns, and helped in Sunday School, AWANA, and VBS like all good Christians do. I played the piano for church, and was feeling like a very “good Christian.” When the bomb dropped and my mom left (I was 17), the church was in disbelief. Some went so far as to say that it was my dad’s fault, because my mom never showed them any signs of wanting to leave. People talked, and tried to pit us kids (the youngest was only 3) against one or both of my parents. It was then that I really saw the hypocrisy deep-rooted in the church. I now know it’s the Spirit of Religion. That’s not to bash my church, because there were several people and families who truly sacrificed a lot personally, to help us out in this situation. But several in leadership were so utterly corrupt, I just said “peace out!” to my childhood church and walked away. I was 18 when I left that church, and never found a church home after that. I’ve attended several, but never found that place of belonging, until now. Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I spent the next decade being incredibly jaded towards churches and Christians, and although I never outright denied God, my relationship with him was off and on, and never very great, even when it was “on.” I went through a lot of bad relationships and bad habits, and it was a dark road…somewhere I never want to return.

Then, heartbroken, I met my husband. He was a balm to my aching and chapped soul. He had been hurt, too, and I knew we were meant for each other. It’s one of the only things in life I’ve ever just KNOWN. For sure. 100%. Zero doubts.

He prayed to begin our relationship, and the thing I loved most about him was how close he was to God. He just loved Him so much!! I adored that, and looked forward to our relationship being centered on Christ.

We married less than 5 months after meeting, and I moved across the country, leaving my family and all that is familiar behind. It was difficult, but I knew God wanted this for us.

Even though we wanted a house full of children, we had decided it was responsible to wait a few months until we were in a better living situation to start a family. But despite that, we ended up pregnant a few months after marrying. We were ecstatic. We could make it work! After all, we didn’t meet and get married until close to 30, and wanted a bunch of kids, so we needed to start right away!

We lost that child. And it wrecked us.

Then we got pregnant again, the next month. I’d read about how many women lose their first child, and then go on to carry healthy babies just fine.

But we lost that child again. And it wrecked us even more.

We kept losing children… It’s been less than 4 years since we lost our first, and we have now lost 11 babies in total. A few made it further, and we even had a few ultrasound pictures of one, and saw the heartbeat. But they all died, and each time, it crushed us. The 3rd and 4th babies, we had SO MUCH FAITH. We just knew God was going to give us these babies. Ben would put his hand on my belly every day, and pray for those children. When we lost them, it not only crushed us, but also our faith. All belief in prayer was gone, destroyed, smashed to pieces. Where was God, after all??? Did he not care about us or our babies???

We dealt with a lot of well-intentioned “advice” and “comfort” over the years, and it turned us off further towards all things God. “Just have more faith when you pray,” and other such nonsense made us feel like we had killed our babies out of lack of faith. Yet they had no idea just how much faith we HAD had! We defied doctors and statistics with our faith! And for some reason, God hadn’t answered those prayers the way we anticipated. God seemed very far. Prayer was a rare occurrence. Devotions were non-existent. Church attendance was sporadic, at best.

All of the loss started taking its toll on our marriage.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think two people could be more made for each other than me and my husband. Seriously, we annoy people with how much we adore each other lol! We didn’t have to worry about falling out of love, dealing with an addiction or an affair, or anything dramatic like that. It was that our insecurities started surfacing in an awful way. And when both of us were dealing with insecurities, neither one of us could help the other, and it would just crumble. We were able to mostly “handle” this…until one day, it came crashing down. Our whole world. Our love, our marriage, all of it.

It was January 21st, 2017. It was a Saturday, and everything was going wrong.

I got upset over something (past trauma), he shut down (past trauma), and I was CONVINCED he didn’t love me anymore, and our marriage was over.

I knew it. This was it, the moment I’ve been dreading forever…it finally came. The person I loved more than I’ve ever loved anyone finally betrayed and abandoned me. 
Of course, I was a total emotional mess, so my perspective was skewed. I know that now, but at the time, I was sure my world was ending. Might as well end my life, because if I couldn’t trust someone like my husband (probably the most trustworthy and loyal soul to ever exist), then I’d never be able to trust anyone. I didn’t know at the time how true it actually was that I’d never be able to trust anyone (human), but not in the way I thought.

I was going to end it all. I thought up all sorts of ways, sobbing as I drove around for hours. I couldn’t even see because I was crying so hard, and it started to snow, and then I really couldn’t see. Between the tears and the snow, I have no idea how I stayed on the road (well, I do now!). Something kept holding me back, as distraught as I was… I couldn’t go through with anything, so I headed back to town (I had driven an hour away, on my way out of the state). I somehow ended up at my in-laws, the last place someone goes when having marital issues, right? I couldn’t believe I was driving up their street, and it’s like it hit me, and I decided to turn around as I got to their house, except…my father in law was coming out of the house. To get the mail. Late in the evening, while it was dark. The mail that they religiously check during daylight, not at night time. And since he saw me, I had to go inside and explain why I was obviously in the middle of a meltdown.

I thought for sure they would hate me. After all, they’d already watched their son be devastated by one wife…I am wife #2. I just knew they would be like “here it is, finally, we knew it would come! Get out, you horrible girl!” But I was so wrong. They loved me and prayed for me, and called my husband over. We talked, and I admitted I wanted counseling so badly, I have so much that I need to deal with, and help working through. I asked if they knew anyone they could recommend. This lady’s name came up, someone they had “randomly” (I say that because obviously God orchestrated it, but it’s just crazy how it all worked out) met while looking at a job. They told me a little about her, and how she did this “E…E something” therapy…

My jaw fell on the floor. “EMDR?” 

“Yes, that’s it!”

My cousin has been after me for MONTHS to look into EMDR therapy. I was like, yeah…sure… I’ll check it out. Maybe. Probably not.


Ok, God, you’ve got my attention.

They said this lady, Deanna, was teaching a free class that coming Tuesday, it would be the very first class…. ok, that was definitely a God-thing, because we are in a broke stage of life again, so free is all I can afford at the moment. But I knew I needed help.

Tuesday, January 24 came. I showed up, nervous as all get out. The guys were even able to come with us, so my in laws, grandmother in law, and husband were all there with me. I didn’t know what to expect, based on some of the things I had heard about this lady. I mean, what if she was nuts, and all my hopes and dreams of being “fixed” were crushed once again?

She started into it… she started with the basics of brain mechanics. Ok, this I could understand, and digest. After all, it appeals to the nurse in me. She kept going, for a couple hours, and all of this stuff was making sense! And the basic takeaway?

I used to think because Ben and I both understood hurt and betrayal, we could just “heal each other’s pain.”


Only Jesus can heal our hurts, our past pain, our insecurities. I’ve been trying to fix my husband, and wanting him to fix me, but of course, it failed. You were looking for the wrong source of healing, girl! *facepalm*

Now, while I was intrigued by the scientific part of what she was teaching, I kept getting thrown by some of the things she was saying…a couple little “mormon terminology” references, although not mormon doctrine, made me go “STOP!!!! She’s MORMON!!” lol.  And then she talked about accessing the “spirit realm,” which, sure, I believe it exists, but accessing it?? I don’t know. It all sounded hokey to me. Using the power and authority of Jesus to heal our souls, and cast out demons? Um…… I want to go back to my comfortable corner of Christianity, please. I planned to go home and look up all sorts of scripture to disprove this crazy chick.

Ok, so we finished the class, and we were all sitting there with our minds so blown that we’re trying to gather the pieces that exploded out of our ears before we left lol, and then some of the ladies there were talking about their church. It sounded amazing. But so do a lot of churches, lol.

Now, we’ve tried all sorts of churches. And we’ve been in and apart of some very nice ones, with some wonderful people. But none of them were the “right fit.” I always felt selfish for feeling that way, but even when we tried to get involved, and it didn’t work out, I got so discouraged. We were at a point where we rarely attended church, and didn’t look forward to it at all. It was a pretty low point, and our personal relationships with Jesus were already suffering, so not having a close church family wasn’t helping.

Well, Sunday was fast approaching, and we had talked about how maybe we should wait a week to try this church out, because the pastor wasn’t even going to be there this Sunday.  But I felt like we should at least try it out, because the pastor isn’t the only part of a church, after all, right? So away we went… not knowing what to expect.

The worship was insanely amazing, and every song just spoke truth to my aching heart. Then, a lovely lady named Vivian spoke, and it seemed as if every. word. was meant for me. I just wanted to say “how did you know??” At the close, they said “if you have physical problems you’d like prayer for, please come up to the front.” I had this impulse like “you should go have them pray over your body-whatever is causing your miscarriages.” I shrugged that off in a hurry, because SERIOUSLY. What were they going to do?? Knock me on the head and send me flying across the room “in the name of Jesus???” Because the only people I’d been exposed to that pray believing in healing are NUTS. Like full on cray-cray, ok? So yeah…thanks, but no thanks. And this was my first Sunday here…it’s not like it was ” my church” or anything.

Then Ben looked at me and said “do you want to go up there?”

*jaw drop*

I’m sorry, did my very shy, never-step-out-of-his-comfort-zone husband just ask if I wanted the Benny Hinn treatment??

I shook my head no quickly, but this voice inside kept saying “GO.”

Eventually, I couldn’t stop it, I just NEEDED to get prayed over. I still can’t explain that, other than Jesus. Because it’s not something I do. Ever. Even if my life depended on it. Which, my spiritual life actually did, ironically…

Anyway, I went up front, and was so scared of what was going to happen, lol. Next thing I knew, I was sobbing and telling my story and how I needed prayer. I didn’t even know if I believed anything would work, but these people were surrounding me with faith I’ve never seen, truly believing that God was going to heal me. I couldn’t believe it.

After they prayed over me, I cannot tell you how peaceful I felt. All the turmoil that I carried around every day, it was like it was gone. I knew that God was going to help me, I didn’t know if I believed he was going to heal me and let me carry a baby to term, but I knew he was going to be there. Somehow.

A lady named Merriann was there and she told me about her ministry, and how she does trauma release with essential oils, and doesn’t charge anything. I thought, this is great, because I literally don’t know how I’m going to buy groceries this week, so thank you, Jesus! Plus, she was a Christian…and Deanna was “one of those Mormons.” lol

I remember telling my husband, “I thought Deanna was the one God sent to help me with my past trauma, but I’m just more comfortable with a Christian. I mean, I don’t want to go to an LDS person, because this is a God thing, I need God to help me, and…and… she’s LDS!” 

I’ll come back to that in a minute. ?

So I went to see Merriann, and she graciously spent hours out of her personal time helping me with trauma in my past. I half expected some sort of new age-y, seance-ish thing, lol. But she just used certain oils for anointing and smelling, and helped me with examples of words to pray to cast out certain spirits, like fear, betrayal, and bitterness. She helped me to visualize memories, and look around and find where Jesus was, and receive comfort knowing that he was right there in the room with me during those painful moments of my life.

Looking back now, I see that although Deanna was meant to help me dig deep and fix my brain (trauma), I know God set Merriann in my path to help me see that Deanna is doing God’s work. I was broke, and I did NOT trust “that LDS lady,” so I went to Merriann. And while so much trauma was released, there is SO much more than can be surfaced in one day.

This whole experience, coupled with solid teaching in church twice a week, really helped me realize that this all was just new to me, but it wasn’t “not of God,” or “not biblical.” But it’s been a process getting to that point. ? I mean, after all, I’m not even a “hand-raiser” in church, because I was raised that that was bad, and “just emotional,” and “not worshipful.”

Old habits die HARD, y’all.  lol

Anyway, after attending Deanna’s class, I would run home and check my MANY pages of notes against the bible, sure I would find something drastically wrong. All I discovered was that aside from little bits of terminology, what was wrong was actually EVERYTHING I THOUGHT I KNEW ABOUT THE BIBLE. *jaw drop* I mean…how did I miss that verse?? Or that one?? I know now that what I had been taught was just hindering my use of the Holy Spirit to reveal to me the meaning behind these verses. I mean, at church and in class, we dug into the Hebrew and Greek to really get the true meaning of these passages, and it changed it completely! I have always loved looking up the original Hebrew and Greek (a habit I learned from my dad-thanks Dad! =D), but I only did it on a few passages, and it was definitely not super mainstream, so I just kind of abandoned it. But this?? I was back to something I knew was a great way to really understand the bible! And there were all sorts of things surfacing that I couldn’t refute with scripture, and in fact, were CONFIRMED with scripture!

Now, let me tell you a little bit about Deanna. She is LDS, and although it took me awhile to see past that, she tells her story of having a time of “conversion,” where she found the truth of Jesus Christ, and the true meaning of the Redemption. She went to a Women on the Frontline conference, and that was a turning point in her life. She has actively searched the scriptures for TRUTH, and points out false doctrine being taught in LDS churches, and proclaims the truth of Jesus. I have never met a mormon that I was sure was a born-again believer until now. lol I mean, seriously.

One thing that made me shy away at first, and kind of go “you’re probably a bit CRAZY!!!!” was her story of dying and going to heaven. She tells of a car accident, where she did physically die, and was revived, but she says she went to heaven while she was dead… it’s a wonderful story, but I was like, people make that stuff up all the time. We all have been inundated with stories of heaven for so long, our mind just sees what it wants when you’re half dead and unconscious. But here’s the kicker, and what made me stop and question whether this might have actually happened… she had NO concept of God or heaven or even religion prior to this experience!! How would she know these things, or even know to make them up??? And she had so much trauma in her life, how would she feel LOVE toward her abusers unless she was truly in heaven, in the presence of God?? That left me stumped.

I now know that Deanna loves Jesus and seeks Him above all else. But I was so hung up on the LDS thing, that I couldn’t hear the truth she was proclaiming over my own bias! This was such a huge lesson for me to learn, because I was always so closed off to any other denominations, that I have probably missed brothers and sisters in Christ teaching truth. I’m sure there are believers in all  (most) denominations.

Let me be clear… I am not saying that every denomination is all believers, or that every denomination has correct doctrine or theology. Simply that there are some within other denominations that are born-again children of God. And that my blinders were so strong, I couldn’t see past the label of “mormon” to see that she proclaims the truth of Jesus. It has been a humbling lesson for me to learn…

Anyway, let’s fast forward a few weeks. I spent a couple weeks in this cycle of church Sunday, Deanna’s class on Tuesday, church Wednesday night, and repeat. I was immersed in solid, deep biblical teaching at church, and then I would research all I could on Deanna’s teachings, to find some sort of error. haha!

One Tuesday, during class, I felt like God was telling me…put this on facebook. Stream it live. I thought…uh huh. That’s nuts. I don’t want anyone knowing that I’m listening to this lady. But the feeling persisted. Then Deanna told us of a vision God gave her that morning, about a dissociated part of her, a little girl who was standing on stage in front of a huge auditorium! Deanna doesn’t like that idea, lol…she prefers her small classroom. But I felt like it fit SO WELL with the facebook thing…she could reach so many people! I broached the subject with her, another wayyyy outside of my comfort zone thing, because I was sure she would hate it, and I’d feel rejected by yet another “mom.” But she could tell it was the leading of the Holy Spirit, and we made plans to broadcast the next week live.

The same church, class, church cycle went on again for another week or so, and then this last Tuesday, something changed. God had been working in my heart and life, but this last week was a huge breakthrough for me. During class, I “felt a picture.” That’s the best way I know how to describe it, because there really is no way to describe it. I mean, it sounds nuts, but it’s so clear, that I can’t avoid it or push it away. I felt this picture of Deanna helping me heal my past trauma, and then training me in these protocols for prospering the soul, and that I was supposed to use that to help my future foster/adopted kids. *jaw drop*

Like, is this from you, God? I know it’s not from me, because I am NOT worthy, or good enough, or even strong enough to do something like that! Holy cow. I tried to pass it off as just some weird feeling.

Yet…it persisted. I could NOT shake this feeling/picture/imprint.

It took me quite awhile to mention it to Deanna, but I knew that for the first time, I not only knew my worth was secure in Jesus, but that I was WORTHY of a calling!! Not worthy because I’m great…I was so hung up on the fact that I’m NOT great! Sure, I’m worth something because I’m a daughter of the King. Uh huh. But I’m not worth enough for Jesus to call me to something.

But…I AM.

Again, not because of ME, but because of HIM. What a life-altering realization!!! I was so hung up on the rules and regulations that I had been taught in church growing up, that I was missing out on Jesus’ destiny for me!

That night…I had another headache. I get them pretty regularly, and they are horrific. Sometimes they turn into migraines, but most of the time they’re just a really awful headache. I joked that Ben should pray and “cast it out,” since Deanna always tells us about her casting out sickness. Har har. Cast it out, Ben! Go on! He took me seriously, placed his hand on my head, and started praying. My normally very timid and shy and don’t-reach-outside-my-comfort-zone husband was praying with power and authority, and in the name of Jesus, casting out the spirit causing my headache! When I opened my eyes, I couldn’t even speak, because the headache…was gone. Like, instantly. I didn’t even tell him for half an hour, because I was sure it was just my imagination, and would come back!! But…it never did. I eventually told him, and we both couldn’t get over it lol.

Later that night, he prayed over more spirits causing horrible itchiness all over my body, almost like restless leg syndrome, but everywhere (it’s really horrible ?). Again, it left… I was awestruck. The name of Jesus really is powerful!! (Something we are currently studying in church, too!)

Then Wednesday night, Pastor Race spoke about Peter getting let out of prison, and going to the prayer meeting where Rhoda told them he was at the door, but they didn’t believe her. I felt like that was me… “go away! I’m busy praying for a miracle! It won’t actually happen, but I’m praying for it!” lol Oh man… and Race mentioned how interesting it was that God honored the little belief they had to organize a prayer meeting, by performing a miracle. He didn’t say “oh! You didn’t believe I’d actually accomplish this, so I take it back!” Nope, he said “ok, you had enough belief to pray. I’ll honor that.” That’s where I was at. I’ve been having enough belief to pray (sometimes barely, though lol), but not believing in what God was going to do. I’m getting there, though… God healed my headache, and my itchiness, which may seem small to others, but what the heck else can he do if he can be bothered to heal my little problems??

I’m ready, God. Finally. ❤

And there you have it. I have a bunch more thoughts (seriously, there has been SO MUCH going on), but those will have to wait for future posts. ?

Random thoughts…

This started as a quick Facebook update with some verses I’m meditating on today, and developed into so much more! I’ve never had such a hunger to learn more, such a desire to seek the truth of God, and I’ve never had so many notes from church, or my personal devotions, for that matter! I want to share all of this with the whole world, I feel like I could just explode lol. So here it is, for any who want to read my scattered thoughts and follow my journey of Jesus-following. I realize it’s not of interest to everyone, but if I can even create a picture for you of the tiniest amount of what he’s doing in my life, it would change YOUR life! Seriously.

Ok, so today’s devotions! I was reading Psalm 27, and ALL of it is just amazing and so applicable to my life right now, but these verses stood out the most…

Psalm 27:13-14:”I would have lost heart, unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.”
These verses speak to me so much, I don’t even know if I can explain it! Here’s my attempt:

I do lose heart, frequently, because I keep doubting that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. That’s what heaven is for, after all, isn’t it? “I just can’t wait for heaven” I keep saying, because life here on earth is full of tragedy and sorrow and I just try and get through it so I can get to the other side. But the key to strengthening one’s heart is “wait on the Lord, be of good courage.” And I suck at waiting. I want answers NOW, Lord! ??‍♀️

Also, interesting to me in this verse, is that the word “wait” in the Hebrew means “to look eagerly for.” Whoa. Not passive waiting around… but eagerly anticipating. I have pretty much never eagerly anticipated God in my life…ever.

So now I’m in a season of waiting, and there is absolutely nothing I can do but pray and seek Him. And I’m learning to believe that I WILL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, right here on earth! I always believed in the “God of miracles,” but I never believed he would do it for me, and I believed miracles on earth were rare nowadays. Why aren’t they more prevalent? I’ve been learning in church so much about this… 

“if we worship the miracle instead of the One who performs the miracle, He will stop doing them.”  I’ve seen this in so many circles, and that’s probably why I shied away from “miracle working Christians,” because they make such a fuss and end up giving glory to the person, and worshipping the miracle itself, instead of God who gave them that miracle. It’s quite an interesting thought, and I know I want God to be able to trust me with miracles! 

So anyway, today, I’m claiming his promise to strengthen my heart! I’m waiting on HIM, and believing that I WILL see the goodness of the Lord right here on earth! ❤