When I accepted Christ in 1978, I had already been married twice. My first husband had been very irresponsible, he could not keep a job for more than about six months at a time, before he would quit. He moved us over 12 times in less than 3 years. He left my daughter and I 3 times, and finally left permanently the 4th time in 1974.
My second husband and I had lived together first, and married a little over a year after we met, and built a house together. We were married in that house on November 27, 1976. Neither one of us were innocent people, we both had had past relationships. He was very open with me about his past women, including those he had relations with while he was in the Air Force in Vietnam, and afterwards. As an over-the-road truck driver, I knew he had been involved numerous times with casual relationships with others. We both accepted each other as we were, and resolved to marry each other without judgment. We both were what the world would term “used goods”.
When I was saved that day in my house in March of 1978, I made a total commitment to Christ, and clung to Jesus and the word of God for the next 30+ yrs., no matter what happened. I knew beyond any doubt that the Lord had forgiven me, cleansed me, delivered me from alcoholism, and I wanted nothing but to live for him, and turned completely away from my past life.
Shortly after my salvation I began working in health care as a home health care worker, caring for the elderly in my community, and a local nursing home. I was 25, and continued in home health care and hospice care for the many years.
Lynn told me I had to leave shortly after my salvation, saying I’d have to choose him, or the Lord. I chose the Lord. We were divorced for two years, and during that time several pastor’s told me to give up, and move on in life. But, when I prayed about it, the Lord prompted me to keep praying and believing for a reconciliation. I did, and we were re-married Jan. 2, 1982, in Saratoga N.Y. in an Assembly of God church. I remained faithful to him throughout our marriage.
Through many trials and difficult circumstances, we stayed together, and I kept praying for his salvation. We had our troubles, but we loved each other, there was never anyone else in my life, and I know he was faithful to me as well. We just kept forgiving each other, and making it work. Some who read this, will be able to relate to what I’m saying. Six months after our remarriage he had a massive heart attack at 36 yrs of age. He had heart damage the rest of his life. We tried for ten years to have more children, but the heart attack and his being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam, caused too much damage to Lynn's health. After two miscarriages we stopped trying.
He did receive Christ 9 month’s before he died. After his death, many other losses had to be faced. Selling our farm, ending our businesses, the death of my mother, oldest brother, and sister. God kept me through all of this. I was not involved with anyone during any of these instances, sex was the last thing I cared about, with anyone.
When I became a member of an Assembly of God church in a local town, in 2006, the pastor approached me and said he felt I was called to be a leader, and wanted me to allow him to disciple me to become an assistant Pastor. At this same time, I was teaching at a Teen Challenge complex in my area as well. I am a spirit filled believer, and in the Pentecostal gifts of the Holy Spirit. The church I attended was also Pentecostal. God had given me prophetic messages that he wanted to be spoken to the congregation. I would go to the pastor and ask for permission to give them. Some of them he allowed me to speak, but some of the members objected, so he told me I would have to stop. (Over the years, I've sat and watched several of the prophetic messages given to me by the Holy Spirit as they transpired, on the news.)
I accepted what he said, but then he would come to me privately and tell me to give the messages to him, so he could speak them to the people. When I prayed about this, the Lord said, “No, don’t allow him to speak them, I gave them to you to speak.” When I told this to him, he became very angry, and started to belittle me in public during the services. I knew things were not going to go well for me, but didn’t know how bad they were really going to get.
In May of 2011, this pastor was found to be involved with a foreign exchange student that was staying with him and his wife. He had taken her to Boston and stayed there alone with her for 3 days. On his way back home, he had hit a moose, and had to be helped to get back home. His wife had to do the service that Sunday morning, because he was still in this situation, she had not been with them on the trip.
When I made a statement to some of the board members that he never should have been there with her alone, the members of the church turned on me and stood with the pastor. I was given the left foot of fellowship and a certified letter dismissing me from membership of their church.
The many years of trials, my husbands death, and the death of my loved ones, and this last event, caused me to become so weary and emotionally exhausted, I fell of the cliff of discouragement. I have no excuses, this is simply the truth. From this point on, I went through a tunnel of defeat and failure. I didn’t care about anything anymore. I loved the Lord, but wanted to die. This episode with this pastor destroyed my confidence in every church or organization. After years of watching the unethical actions of pastors and leaders in ministry, I had enough. I gave up on all of it.
At this time I was a member of a Christian forum on the internet that was monitored by two webmasters, but still, when I’d go to the site to interact with the members; out would pop nude pictures of men, and pornographic images that the webmasters would miss, or not delete. This is what the devil used to get me enticed to go to pornographic sites, it wore my resistance down. I was already in a depressed state of mind, and it caused me to fall completely off the cliff, into despair.
If I had prayed, and cried out to God to help me, if I had turned off the computer and walked away, if I had told someone else, and asked for help in prayer; it would not have happened, but I didn’t. And, I didn’t realize then that other’s would have access to my private computer usage, and what sites I chose to look at, I know now. I was wrong in what I did, but I have to wonder how God looks at someone who does something wrong out of despair, and the ones who make it their business to try to dig up dirt about someone, simply to destroy them. The motives and reasons people do things is as important as the wrong done. Today’s TV sitcoms are a revealing picture of what the world is like. When you fall, it becomes another source of mocking satire, with no regard to the broken lives they leave in their path.
Another aspect of this is, as a person who worked in health care, I have washed many naked people, men and women. During those 30+ years I’ve seen and been exposed to just about everything, including being cursed and ridiculed by men who had nothing but lust on their minds. Does God take into account the things we have to go through in life, and the level of attacks that come against us? Does he take into account the loneliness, losses, tragedies, and human frailties we deal with on a daily basis? I believe he does.
There has been no illicit sex, no sex of any kind, period. I’ve been a widow for eleven years, and am seeing no one, nor have I ever been involved with anyone. I love God, am a minister, but I’m also a human being, with weaknesses, and challenges like everyone else.
I have repented of the involvement with pornography, and asked the Lord’s forgiveness, and the power of the Holy Spirit to not repeat these sins. I’ve been free from it for quite a while now, and I’m very thankful for his mercy; He has not left me. I know I am forgiven, once again. With Gods’ help I intend to stay free, and his word is going to be my first line of defense in every situation from this point on. This has taught me much, and the strength I’ve regained is now enhanced with greater wisdom. When someone trusts me enough to tell me the truth about their failures, I take into account my own failures, and look at them and listen to them through the lens of compassion. God has stripped me of self-righteousness, and false pride. My feet are made of clay also. I can listen, and pray with them, and not condemn. But, point them to the One who can forgive, and restore them, give them renewed strength and get them started on the right road again.
This is a post with transparency, and simple honesty. As a minister, it may mean I never have much of what the world would term success. It may mean a lot of ridicule, judgment, condemnation from the world. I’ve surrendered all of this to God. In God’s eyes, the thing that matters is just “come as you are”. He does not refuse used goods.
“What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus.”