Ruth Almada, shares her incredible story--Strength in Scars--to give hope to ones's extraordinary circumstances--especially from the pain of generational abuse.
"Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding." (Proverbs 4:7)
In this life, we do not choose who we are born to or in what conditions we are born under. God knows what He is doing, and He never makes a mistake. In my book and story, there is nothing that is politically correct, ear tickling, watered down or sugar coated. It is as raw and authentic as it gets because that’s what this world needs more of-- especially, when sharing about the very REAL power of God in our lives.
My story starts off knowing, that we live in a fallen world run by the devil, and evidence of this is literally--in every single facet of the conditions that I lived in. It was most definitely not an easy journey, and with being born to two lost folks (my parents)--I was bound by decades of generational curses at the time of birth. However, Jesus had another plan.
A plan so powerful that knowing about it now, still very much leaves me in moments of sheer amazement and utter gratitude. A plan so powerful that I am able to thank God for our trials today. I have learned along the way, that Jesus is pulling many people out of the very same hell we endured. There are no words that can properly describe this other than GLORY to God in the highest!
Here is a summary of my story:
As a child, we learn based on what is poured into our lives, experiences and environment. There is a large family dynamic, that God has lovingly and powerfully touched that governs five lines of my families generation. From grandparents to grand-babies. The easiest way to describe it is-- the enemy has placed assignments on my bloodline for who even knows how long. This spans from decades of abuse in most-- if not all--forms that seemed to keep repeating over and over with each new generation.
My story talks about this from my own experience as a girl up until roughly eight or so years ago. I have experienced physical, emotional, sexual, and mental trauma most of my life and--on many different occasions. In many instances, I thought most of it was perfectly normal yet, knowing deep down inside there must be a better way. I remember thinking, I wish I was normal because normal people could cope with life far better than I could. I often felt that something was deeply wrong with me. This was the 4th grade me, who didn’t realize that in my terms of “most” I was looking at people, that had not endured what was occurring and--had occurred most of my life.
I gave my life to Jesus as a girl, but didn't realize until YEARS later the profound impact of the ultimate changes of my path would be based on this vital and literally life-saving decision. It was not until my painful past was attempting to replay with my own children, that a true consensus needed to be made no matter the cost and WHAT A COST it was! I am eternally grateful for Jesus, and owe him absolutely everything!!
I have seen first-hand unexplainable miracles in my life, and the very fact that I am even alive today is most definitely one of them! I have been raped, beaten, molested, mocked, and tormented all before the age of seven. Many of these instances happened other times even after this. I tried drugs for the first time at fourteen, and this was given to me by my momma. I also became a momma, right after my seventeenth birthday to a beautiful set of twins, that I couldn’t afford to care for.
With the deepest heart-felt intentions--I place them in their paternal grandparents home while, I served in the US Army--not knowing the real intents of these two people that I loved deeply. They did unspeakable things to my twins for the first few years of their lives. They wouldn't even let me have them back, and I had to fight for several years in court--with almost every spare dime, that I could muster to get my boys away from them. I never understood why until several years later.
There was a sick, dark, and sinister plan unfolding in my children’s lives that I didn’t even know was there. It was not until my precious daughter, Hope, had the courage at the very young age of three to tell me. The rest is in the book however, I can tell you this much, our story is NOT just our story, it's MANY people's stories. God has done such a work in my life and in the lives of my children, that the ripple effect has now spilled outside the doors of our home on to other family members such as, my siblings and parents and many others.
God has broken these curses all of them that included: pedophilia, rape, poverty, abandonment, abuse, word curses, and many others. He has HEALED my mind, body and spirit. He has HEALED my children. He has HEALED my relationship with my parents and YES--even with these grandparents that did this to my children. My heart and mind has been HEALED in Jesus name!! ALL THINGS are possible for those who love Him, believe in Him, and are called according to HIS will. Who the Son sets free TRULY is free indeed, don’t for a second just think that, KNOW IT!
Our story is a story of REAL hope that the LIVING God cares, and wants to set you free from past and present bondage. He truly wants to HEAL your deepest wounds and we are living breathing proof that it's in fact possible.
The other dynamic of this is that the God of this Universe is PERFECT in duplication. His seeds produce fruit after their own kind. He also gives us the unique ability to comfort others with the same measure He has given to us! If God can set me free from my horrible fallen past and use it to help someone else (which He has and still is HELPING MANY)--then my friend--He can, and will do the same with yours! Hang in there, because Jesus is coming for you and counting on YOUR breakthrough, so you can help many others too! What He has done in my life, He most definitely can in yours! Praise Jesus!!
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;" (Proverbs 3:5)
"Sometimes we go through life just living and not knowing where the journey is taking us. We think we know where we are going, but we have little idea as to the plans that God has for us. When we hit those “memorial stones”, do we realize how far He has brought us?"
My name is Missy (Dr. Missy Hood) As a young kid, I was carefree and very happy because I knew I was deeply loved by my family. However, when I was 7 years old—my life became anything but carefree because someone outside of my family started to sexually abuse me, and this was when the darkness started to settle in. The sexual abuse went on for 3 years until I got smart and realized that if I stayed close to my Dad at family functions this perpetrator couldn’t touch me. Even though, the abuse stopped—the darkness didn’t. It was later in life, that I learned the enemy (the devil), was after my prophetic gift, and the gift of loving others. (Some are given the gift of faith, others joy, but I was given the gift of love from birth). The Holy Spirit would teach me that His presence had been instilled in me. To prepare us for the Joel 2:5 Army that God was raising up for these end times.
(Joel 2:5) "With a noise like chariots Over mountaintops they leap, Like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, Like a strong people set in battle array."
It was about 41 years ago, that you would have seen me as just some “tom boy”, who was struggling with life. I was struggling with learning due to severe A.D.H.D/Dyslexia. Also, at a young age, I felt like a walking radio tower because everyday I would find myself knowing things about people and saw many visions. I now know that this is a prophetic gift, and God was calling me to be a prophetess. I had such an amazing Faith and I would tell my parents—“Mom/Dad, God is going to give me such and such and it would come to be.” This was to their amazement, because we did not have much money and they could not afford what I was asking for, but God would provide every time! So, I learned to DREAM BIG from the start and my family watched as God would take me into even bigger dreams. However, in the meantime I was still trying to understand all this and process what God was doing in me.
Then my life, because of the abuse, would start to spiral out of control due to bulimia and drinking. These became the two ways that I used to control my body when I was in pain. I started to spiral out of control up to the age of 22 years old. That would be the year when my entire life would fall on it’s head—the day the enemy took my only protection that I had known—My Father died! It was this day, that my Dad went down into a field to cut wood on a family outing and died instantly of an aneurysm. I was the only one that wasn’t there for him. I had been out partying the night before with my boyfriend, doing drugs, drinking, doing all the things my Christian family had raised me not to do. Up to this point, I didn't really know God. I knew Him in my prayers, but to truly know Him—this would be the beginning of my journey on October 31, 1987.
At this point, I felt overloaded, frustrated, beginning to develop a drinking problem, had a eating disorder, and felt SO STUCK in life. I was ANGRY SO ANGRY at God for the loss of my Dad/my protector from all the perpetrators of life, and it was all gone! So now was the time when I had to learn to defend myself.
"In life, when you have the gift of love—you live life to the fullest until it overflows EVEN if—you live it wrongly. You do everything to the extreme because that’s the nature of true love. To love and live life DEEPLY, and everyone around me saw it in me as I was self-destructing."
When I was 26 years old, I broke up with my boyfriend and enrolled in college. I decided it was time to go back to school and start learning about my God, the God I had only known about in my prayers. I felt love calling me back to Him, my truest sense of self, and I started having this unbelievable drawing to help people. I actually had it since I was 8 years old, because at that point, I was a year into the abuse, and maybe I felt like no one was there to help me. My Dad tried because he knew something was wrong, but he didn’t know what the problem was. A year later, God would allow me to walk in heaven to tell him “goodbye for now” as I would hear my Dad tell me, “God’s going to use you to help bring the Glory/Love back into His Church. Life just kept moving me onward after that.
For a long time, I had this HUGE dream of designing in Hollywood—BIG faith that kept telling me “Move to Hollywood—THAT will be your ticket out of the pain and then, you can BE SOMEBODY!” So I got my BA in design and spent the next 28 years designing for college & church live productions. I handled budgets up to $150,000.00 for choir and show costuming. Sometimes making theatrical costumes ranging up to $5000.00 (for Mi Mi Rogers on the film Stop Loss). What propelled me into film occurred after our million dollar production the “Austin Christmas Pageant” which I designed for yearly for about 4 years.
In the 4th year, I would find myself standing in the middle of a room full of pastors when my choir director would spin around in front of over 500 people telling me, “Missy, we’re going to pray for you! We’re going to pray for you to design for churches!” To which I quickly spun around telling him “DON’T YOU DARE! I’M GOING TO HOLLYWOOD!” I felt a sadness in my heart as I felt like I was declining the Lord's invitation of what He was offering me. As I left the show wrap party that night—I heard a voice say to me: “OK, if this is what you “think” you want to do, I’ll let you chase this dream that you think is of Me, but I’m going to visit you in a while and we are going on a journey.” I thought the conversation was strange, but dismissed it as quickly as it had come, and I was off to pursue my own dreams of design and fame, the thing I thought would give me identity and value. Little did I know, the only way to find identity was through My Father in Heaven—a lesson I would later learn. I spent the next 10 years, designing on huge movie sets for Paramount and Warner Brothers films such as the “Gunman & Stop Loss” with Mi Mi Rogers (Austin Powers Movie), Sean Patrick Flannery, Joey Lauren Adams (Big Daddy with Adam Sandler), Cerin Hines, Ryan Phillipe & Cerin Hines (Tinker Tailor Solder Spy). God has allowed me to meet so many stars, and be connected to all the fame in the world, but even that never settled my soul. It wasn’t until I walked into a set trailer one day and said out loud, “I hate this job!”—that I realized that this wasn’t my passion. HOWEVER, designing came naturally to me while learning academics DID NOT (because of my severe A.D.H.D). I had tried to work in the working world for years (outside of design/arts), and I wound up losing 40 jobs in 15 years because of the way I learned. I was at this place in my life where I was unsatisfied, very broken, and knew I needed a new life. I had gotten so far away from my Christian roots that I lost myself, and the purest sense of knowing what love really is. Hence, just like the voice had told me years earlier, “I’m going to come for you and take you on a journey", MY REAL JOURNEY BEGAN! I left the film industry and began to pursue what I felt what was God's plan for me.
God connected me into prophetic ministries where He would use me to minister to people non-stop in Austin, New York, and New Jersey. I began to face one of my biggest fears of obtaining a Master's Degree in Occupational Education. My Thesis was written to help those suffering with A.D.D., A.D.H.D, and other learning disabilities. My Thesis earned me awards and was the ticket that would get me invited into the Ph.D. program.
At this point, I called out to God and said, I want to help your people, and inspire your warriors, intercessors, and Front Runners—those called to battle at the front lines for the body of Christ. During this time, God was teaching me a NEW WAY TO PRAY, and to wield His sword with such agility & strategy for high level warriors. He’s raising up a special regiment of warriors. (Joel 2:5) These warriors have been primed by fire from the onslaughts of the enemy and persevered through the pain and struggles of life.
We are now in a season where God is teaching us how to stand back up to where we KNOW the way in which we are to walk. We’ve been raised up out of the pain of the past, to where we now use the past as a platform upward to help others learn how to climb their mountains. Church Reformer Leaders that are preparing the end-time Army for such a time as this! Teaching them how to maneuver through the 4 contraction points of the year (the birthing of Jesus Christ) through His remnant so that, we can be the LOYAL, HONORING bride He meant for us to be. Think about it! Would you ever “befriend or date/OR EVEN MARRY, anyone who dishonored, or betrayed you? Absolutely NOT! Neither would God! So, why should we think He would accept any less from us? He's demanding a pure spotless bride, a bride that is truly ON FIRE for Him, passionately in love (in the spirit) to where we can show others how to get back into the “real deal!” Back into His spirit—like we once walked as a society, but at deeper levels. Back into truth & love the way God always meant for us to walk in.
Dr. Missy Hood
Visit Dr. Missy Hood's site by clicking on her name below.
George Carneal, was raised in the Bible Belt, by a Southern Baptist minister. Throughout his school years, he was tormented with physical and verbal abuse. George was called a queer, faggot, and a homo. Eventually, he turned his back on God, the church, and fully immersed himself in the queer culture. Today, he shares what God's love has done for Him so others can also break free from the lies and grip of sin.
"As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalms 103:12)
George Carneal -- Author, Speaker, Singer/Songwriter
I’m a Baptist minister’s son who grew up in church and gave my life to Christ when I was seven years old. I also struggled with a same-sex attraction. Living in Tennessee, in the Bible Belt, in the 70’s, homosexuality wasn’t a topic I heard about unless some random person was making a derogatory comment about “fags.”
All through school I was tormented with physical and verbal abuse with one guy threatening to slit my throat. Being called a queer, faggot, homo, I didn’t understand how my peers were able to identify something about me that I hadn’t been unable to understand and come to terms with myself. This was confusing.
At church, the pain was compounded by the inevitable sermons on Sodom & Gomorrah. I felt condemned by God for something I didn’t ask for. On the inside I was filled with rage and told God I hated Him. I suffered in silence.
While heterosexual peers dated, I spent 12 lonely years yearning to be loved by a man. A random encounter with a guy out of high school confirmed this is who I was…a homosexual. Shortly after this encounter, my father was relocated to a church in Florida.
Not long after the move, I ran into a guy who invited me to a local gay bar. Walking into a bar filled with attractive men was overwhelming and exciting. I finally found a “home” where I wasn’t being bullied, could be myself, and be around other guys like me. I craved affection from guys and became promiscuous.
Since countless “loving Christians” insisted that God destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah because of vile perverts like me, that God created AIDS to kill queers, and that I was destined to burn in Hell, I believed that maybe God does hate me. So, I turned my back on God, the church, and fully immersed myself in the queer culture.
Sadly, after three years in the gay life, I was masking the pain with drugs and alcohol. Pornography became a part of my life, I developed a sex addiction, became a hustler (a male prostitute), struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts, and eventually attempted suicide. I felt no hope.
My journey would eventually lead me to Nashville where I met a guy, we became boyfriends, and moved to Los Angeles. I secured a job in the music industry.
After seven years, we broke up because I was still tormented and struggling with my faith and sexuality. I longed to be in church and eventually found a church home. I was filled with constant anxiety for fear that these Christians would discover my secret.
After church I cruised adult bookstores and bars because I was so hungry for affection and love. Random encounters meant quick sex, but I didn’t care…it was a brief moment of feeling desired by a guy. I couldn’t see it at the time, but I was searching for something to fill a void in my life. I had yet to comprehend that Jesus was the answer.
After a mild confrontation with a deacon over rumors regarding my sexuality, I left the church and found a gay-affirming church with a homosexual pastor. Surely, I would find the answers and come to accept that God made me this way. The turmoil was still there. Unable to find concrete answers, I left that church.
Working in the music business, I had the chance to meet and be around countless celebrities/rock stars/movie stars. In our celebrity-obsessed culture, many believe that fame and fortune will bring happiness. However, some celebrities weren’t that pleasant to be around and appeared to be just as unhappy as I was. I personally knew miserable people with immense wealth. It was clear. Money and fame doesn’t bring happiness.
I extended my search into the occult, new age and Hindu arenas hoping to find different paths to get to God. I still yearned for Him even though I wasn’t sure He wanted anything to do with me. I had no desire to serve Satan but wondered if God was holding out on information that Satan was willing to impart. Could I get to God through a supernatural means?
Casting love spells seemed appealing...as I desperately wanted a man to love me, but something in my spirit...compelled me, not to open that door so I didn’t. I spent countless hours in new age/occult/psychic bookstores, browsing through various books on “world religions”, while waiting to have my tarot cards read by psychics. I was desperate for answers yet became cynical when all they could provide was vague information about relationships and financial issues that could be applied to anyone.
The New Age emphasis on sacrificing ourselves for the good of mankind, fighting darkness that was consuming the world, appealed to me. The search for “ascended masters” to become more enlightened intensified….with no luck.
Attending a Hindu temple in Hollywood, the “teacher” read from sacred Hindu texts, even God’s Word. While Jesus was respected as a great teacher, He was also equal with other Hindu gurus. That was unsettling. No matter how confused I was, something was settled within me that Jesus was God’s Son and no one compared to Him. I also knew idols had no power and I certainly wasn’t going to bow down and worship them.
Additionally, the new age and Hindu (even Buddhist) teachings regarding reincarnation were distressing. My current life was one of misery. The thought of being reincarnated, coming back to live many lives over and over and over in order to become perfect, striving to reach moksha (Hinduism)/nirvana (Buddhism), without any knowledge of past mistakes in order to do better in the next life, brought about more despair.
Deep within me, I knew Jesus was the one, all-sufficient Savior who paid for my sins on the Cross. Instead of me having to do the work, Jesus did the work and that comforted me. God confirms that we live once, and then...the judgement (Hebrews 9:27). I eventually, rejected the Occult/New Age/Hindu teachings.
I wanted a relationship with God, but I didn’t want to be around Christians. I hated them. Church was a place of anxiety for me. The thought of attending church was like going into the lion’s den.
Disillusioned with life, one night I drove to a Christian bookstore in Long Beach. I searched for books on suicide, but from a biblical perspective. After one failed suicide attempt, I was ready to try again. However, I feared God would send me to Hell for taking my life. Suicidal thoughts were as common as what I thought about eating each day. The depression was brutal. I cried all the time. The voices in my head tormented me. I needed peace. Finding nothing on the subject, I sat on the floor and cried.
I went back to the bars and slept with men in order to mask the pain, the loneliness, only to struggle with constant heartache as I desperately searched for love.
Sitting at a dive bar in Hollywood one night...(among the prostitutes, hustlers, former jailbirds, drag queens, kids tossed out of homes because they were queer, women whose wrinkled faces revealed difficult lives, and old gay men getting drunk at the bar)...I faced the cold, harsh reality of life. This could be me. My heart hurt for those people. During this time, I was unable to share how much God loved them by what Jesus did on the Cross because, I couldn’t see it for myself thanks to mean-spirited “Christians”. I was a vile homosexual. I had no hope yet something had to change. I couldn’t do this any longer.
A television commercial from a local church advertised a Bible Study on the book of Genesis. I felt led to contact them and spent two years attending that Bible study. I hungered for God and enjoyed studying His Word. My view of God started to change. I eventually started to see that God didn’t hate me. He hated my sin. There was hope that I could have a relationship with God! I also met Christians who truly had the heart of Christ as I slowly immersed myself back into the church.
God eventually led me to a Baptist church through a retired pastor. The current pastor moved to have a class for LGBT individuals. I was excited because I would now have a safe place to meet others struggling with this issue. Unfortunately, the pastor and teachers were moving us in the direction of “Being gay is OK, we’re under Grace, God created you that way” and I was confused. Scripture is clear we are not to abuse God’s Grace (Romans 6:1-2; 14-15).
I had heard numerous stories of LGBT individuals whom God was bringing out of that life so I was perplexed as to why the pastor/teachers were pushing us into that life. I was now more confused. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted dealing with this issue, especially when I didn’t ask for these feelings!
I sat in my car so many times and cried, banging the steering wheel, yelling at God, begging Him for an answer, for peace! I often prayed this sincere prayer to God: “If homosexuality is OK in Your eyes, give me peace about it and I trust You will put a good Christian man in my life who will love me. If homosexuality is wrong under all circumstances, give me peace about it, help me to recognize it, and I will still serve You.”
As the months passed, wanting to believe that “gay is OK”, I was still tormented. I said enough and accepted that it was not in God’s will. I left that church, turned my back on the gay life, repented, and truly surrendered my life to Christ. The most amazing thing happened. God gave me what I had longed for my whole life...peace with myself, peace of mind, and finally...peace with God! The issue has been settled and I am no longer tormented in my mind or by my past! (Isaiah 43:25; Psalm 103:12; Romans 8:1)
Numerous LGBT individuals have accepted that homosexuality is not a part of God’s plan. Some LGBT individuals have transitioned successfully into a heterosexual life. Those who still have a same-sex attraction, like myself, have chosen celibacy. We desire to live a life that honors and pleases God. I’ve been on this path for about 13 years now.
The Apostle Paul asked God to “remove the thorn in his side” and God responded with “My grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). If this is to be my thorn, so be it. What matters is that God provided the healing I needed in order to have the strength to walk away from that life. My desire for sex with men no longer controls me!
This journey has been difficult, but I praise God for bringing me though it because I now understand God’s grace and His mercy. There is hope for everyone no matter what your bondage is….drugs, alcohol, food, sex, pornography, even issues of shame, rejection, abuse, rape, guilt of abortion, criminal activities, etc. If one is truly sorry and repents, God’s free gift of salvation is available to anyone who wants it (Romans 6:23). Jesus paid it ALL on the Cross at Calvary when He shed His precious blood for our sin. God desires to have a relationship with you but you must come His Way and that’s through Jesus. (John 3:16-17; 10:9; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5). Give your life to Christ today and know real peace. You matter to Him!
**In the back of George's book, he put all the talking points the LGBTQ activists and Christian liberal theologians use and he debunks them with Scripture. He says..."So if you have individuals in your life who are not willing to listen to this give them the book or at least get it and familiarize yourself with those talking points so when they do come at you and say no; no it's okay you can give them scripture because they are not going to sit down and study God's word to get the truth for themselves."
Connie, grew up in a dysfunctional home with an abusive alcoholic father. His actions, left her with emotional scars which caused her to believe lies about herself.
Connie Tresedder Contagious Life & Purpose---Author, Coach, Trainer & Speaker
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth." (Psalm 139:14-15)
The third born of three and only daughter in my family, I am an out-going, funny, joy-filled lover of people. I love to teach and interact with others. I have taught at the college level for over 20 years; taught junior church at my local congregation for about 15 years; and a youth group for high school and college age students. I currently lead a women’s group which encourages us to find and move forward into our God-given passions and purpose. What most people don’t know is that I suffered from low self-esteem for much of my life. People who know me now would be shocked to hear me say this. By listening and watching me speak, most would think I’ve never had a problem with confidence. Just the opposite is actually the truth.
This is because I grew up in a dysfunctional home where my father was an alcoholic. When he wouldn’t come home after work, we knew he was at the local bar drinking. My mother, two brothers and I would spend the evening with a knot in our stomachs. We never knew when he would come through the door but we knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant when he did. I went to bed scared many nights. My father never physically abused me, but those of you that have suffered verbal/emotional abuse know that this leaves scars as well. My father would become physical sometimes with my brothers and mom. I don’t remember ever sleeping through the night if I went to bed when my father was still at the bar. He was loud, angry, and cussing when he would return home. Often he would make my brothers get up and out of bed. I would lie in my own bed listening, worried for my brothers. He usually just opened the door of my room and swore at me as I pretended to be asleep. Besides speaking words to me that I cannot imagine uttering as a parent, my father never seemed to have any use for me. I did not feel valued by him in the least.
These types of nights weren’t the only thing that caused me to be nervous as a kid growing up. I felt the need to keep all of this from my friends. It is not an easy secret to hide when you live in a small town. What would my friends think if they knew? I was convinced their parents would put an end to our friendship if they knew what went on inside my home. I felt ashamed for having a father who drank and acted the way he did. I was in elementary school when I realized the way my dad treated us was not “normal” compared to what I witnessed at my friend’s homes.
I will be forever grateful for one of these homes I was invited to for a neighborhood Christian kid’s club. I attended every day for a week when I was in 5th grade. The gospel was shared with us through stories each day. I remember on the last day having the opportunity to invite Jesus into my heart. I had never heard the “Good News” before. Though I had been baptized in a Lutheran church as a baby, we had never attended church since moving to Michigan when I was six years old. Little did I know that day when I raised my hand while all heads were bowed, and prayed the prayer of salvation, that my life would be changed from that moment on. But, that is exactly what happened.
The challenges in my life did not magically disappear but everything felt different. I knew I was not alone. I knew there was someone to help me get through the challenges. I knew there was hope for my future. I asked my mom to buy me a Bible and she got me a teen version of the Living Bible. This was so easy to understand and had devotional type readings throughout. I devoured the Word like someone receiving water in the desert. Looking back at my life I see so many answers to my first prayers. God had a specific plan for my life and he has been so faithful leading me along my life’s journey. Each chapter has built upon the last. In this season, I am being used as a Christian life coach and speaker to bless others. As God would have it, I end up being blessed as well. It is exhilarating teaching and encouraging others to step into their purpose for this season in their life. I am so humbled when God uses me to help someone identify and move past what has them “stuck” in one area or another. This includes facilitating inner healing for past wounds at times, or helping someone re-wire their brain so that worrisome, negative thoughts don’t hold them back. I am discovering God puts us in community with others so that we can all keep moving forward in His plan for us.
Back in 5th grade, the same family that invited me to the Christian kid’s club, started bringing me with them to church. It was a Bible teaching, evangelical church where I soaked up truths about God like a sponge. Though I strayed somewhat in high school, I still read my Bible every night. I know now that Jesus never left me, but just patiently waited for me to turn back towards him, which I did when I found promises in His Word that I couldn’t deny. I remember thinking, "Why am I making choices that go against God's Word when...I could be living for Him completely, and receiving ALL the blessings He promises?" I had no mentor or adult helping me come to this conclusion, but I’m convinced people somewhere were praying for me. John 14, is what He used to get my attention. The whole chapter is full of promises, but my teenage heart really soared at the truth of verse 13, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son”. Truthfully, this verse still makes my heart soar. I now know the power the Comforter promised in this chapter. I know how to listen, be taught by, and receive the peace offered by God’s Spirit. I understand that God intends to do life together with us and that his plan is above and beyond anything we can imagine.
When I was a young college student God started the process of supernatural inner healing for my childhood wounds. I came to the revelation that the way my father treated me was more about him than me. I understood that my father was broken inside and probably full of self-loathing. Though I don’t know what events or circumstances played a part in my father’s brokenness, God taught me that hurt people, hurt others. God cultivated a compassion in my heart for my father and I was able to forgive him. When I look back now, I realize this is nothing short of a miracle for God to give me so much grace to act maturely at this young age. This was such a blessing because the last three years of my father’s life we became closer than we had ever been. I had finished my undergraduate degree and got married a few years before my father was diagnosed with cancer. He stopped drinking and underwent surgery and treatments. The next three years, was a roller-coaster of emotions. He would respond well to a treatment, and we would all be filled with hope only to have the treatment stop responding several months down the road. Up and down we went, but I am so grateful for the time I and my husband had to spend with him and my mother. We enjoyed time together doing fun things like playing cards, going to movies, and eating good food. My dad was fun! Who knew? He absolutely loved my husband, and I felt like my father was proud of the woman I was becoming. I cherish the memories from this season and am so thankful I chose forgiveness over bitterness.
How could I not forgive my father when my heavenly Father forgives every one of my sins beginning back in 5th grade? I knew full well that Jesus had paid the price for not just my sins but my father’s sins, as well. I am confident that my father is in heaven because he was able to receive this great gift. This isn’t to say I haven’t had to deal with some issues throughout my life. I explain in my upcoming e-book, how all our experiences throughout life make us believe things. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the things we believe are lies! The tricky thing is, when we believe a lie, we don’t realize it’s a lie because we believe it! I love helping people uncover these lies and receive healing like I did myself. When my own father didn’t value me, I believed the lie that no one else would. Why would anyone find value in what I taught or shared? How convenient it would have been for satan if I had continued to believe this. He could have stolen my calling, my voice, and my purpose, but that wasn’t my story. Healing and re-wiring our brains is a continual process, and I am ever so grateful to God for allowing me to be a part of people's spiritual growth and healing.
Nora, learned from an early age, that life can be hard and disappointing, but she never knew what God had for her, until she realized that He was there all along. It is when Nora gave her life to Christ, that He turned her world right-side up!
I was born into a very unhappy home with 6 siblings. My father was a working alcoholic who was kind to me even when he was drunk. My mother on the other hand...was an overweight, unhappy, and angry woman. She didn't know how to show her children affection or love, and never told me that she loved me. When she beat me...she hit to hurt...not to teach. She made life miserable for us including my Dad. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
My father was un-churched, but all of us were brought up Catholic, and enrolled in a Catholic school with strict Dominican nuns who beat students for even small infractions during the school day. If my mother found out about the beating...she would beat us again. Though I had a great sense of humor, and loved to make others laugh...in my heart I was always crying for love. Due to a lifelong struggle with atopic dermatitis, I was mocked for my skin condition, and was always very nervous, anxious, and insecure. Inside I began to get angry and this root began to grow deeper and deeper in my soul. I always wanted to go to college and be a teacher, but when I was a senior in high school…my parents believed that women didn’t need to go to college. My heart was broken once again, when all my friends left for college, and I had to find a job, and still live under my parents' roof.
At age 18, I could no longer stand all the fighting and screaming that went on all the time, and was afraid to bring any of my friends to my house. So, I escaped and married a navy seaman whom my brother brought home on leave. Little did I know, that he would also become a working alcoholic, and when our son died a few weeks after being born...he began to drink even heavier. Our marriage ended after 15 years, but God had richly blessed us with two more sons. Afterwards, I continued to struggle and fail with many relationships, but managed to find stability and purpose by renovating an 1885 Victorian home near Erie, Pennsylvania, into a 9 bedroom bed & breakfast. I hired 2 young Mennonite girls to help, and was drawn to their quiet behavior, maturity and spirituality.
Little did I know that God was working to draw me to Himself. One Saturday night, I had no guests in the inn, which was a rare occurrence. Then a TV in one of the guest rooms turned on by itself. I sat down to watch...it was a local pastor who was preaching the gospel and challenging his listeners to go to church. I now know that God was orchestrating this “coincidence” because I didn’t know which church to go to until I realized I had a pastor and his wife staying at the inn approximately 2 weeks before the TV incident, and...that their church was the one God had planned for me. I sat with the pastor’s wife during the service, and could not understand why I couldn't stop weeping. She quietly asked me, “Do you want to know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?” I had never heard that statement before, but was truly at the end of myself and needed the salvation God freely offered. I knelt in that little church that day, December 6th, 1999, at 52 years old… and yielded myself to accept Jesus Christ’s loving offer to forgive all my sins, and His free gift of salvation. A few months later, I was baptized and began to grow spiritually through God’s Word—The Bible.
In September of 2007, I had problems with 2 of my fireplaces, and called 3 chimney sweeps to come and look at them. Mitch was the only one who called back. I was taken back by his height, and since I didn't know anything about how he would fix the leak, I just thought he would slide down the chimney—I actually feared he might get stuck! Duh! He saw a plaque by my front door that said, "As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15). Then he went out to his car to get his tract. (His personal testimony of coming to the Lord)
When I read it, I was certainly taken back, but at the same time...I was very intrigued. I was attracted to him. He asked me, if I was saved, and then he started a whole new conversation. Looking back at this point in my spiritual walk, I guess I was still very carnal. Anyway, he proceeded to start the work on the roof, and stopped a number of times to talk to me, while I was pulling carpet off the basement steps. As I was pulling the carpet up...I kept breaking the bulb in the lamp that I was using for light. In order to find out more about him, I asked real stupid questions like: "Are your children as tall as you too?" (Actually, I was trying to find out if he was married. Pretty bold don't you think?) Then, he told me he wasn't married and my heart skipped a beat!
He came back the next day to finish the job and brought a gift. It was a new bulb, but it was a stronger one. That was when I fell for the guy! Forget about being romantic it fads, I just wanted a practical man. After that, we talked on the phone almost every day about the Bible, his salvation, my salvation, etc., etc. He came back in October, to rake all the leaves off my very big front lawn while I was at work. I knew I was hooked!
One afternoon in December, I was sick with the flu, and had been in bed for three days. The doorbell rang, and I snuck out of my bedroom very softly, to see who it was and— to my surprise it was Mitch all dressed up in church clothes. I couldn't possibly answer the door in the condition that I was in! Let's just say—I had no makeup on (don't leave home without it) and—the worst case of bed head hair (didn't comb it for 3 days, and probably frighten a cadaver!!). Well, he kept ringing the bell, and the dog was barking like crazy, so I decided to call him from my bedroom. He had just preached in the Pottsville, PA Prison, and was so anxious to tell me about how many men gave their lives to Jesus. I really had missed him, so I asked him to give me an hour to get ready, and he said that he would wait. I never moved so fast in my life! I even started a fire in the now working fireplace to add a little cozy atmosphere.
We sat opposite of each other in the living room and I finally got the nerve to ask him a question that had been on my mind for a while: "Mitch is there anything going on between you and me?" His answer was: "Oh yes, I like you, I really like you". I said, "Well now, at least we are on the same page". We married on April 6th, 2008. In these 10 years as husband and wife, I have grown spiritually stronger in the Lord primarily because, Mitch was my disciple and I have been blessed by his furor for the Word of God.
Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma the same cancer that took my sister’s life in 2012. There is no cure for this cancer because it affects your blood and bones. I am not afraid of dying—because I know where I am going! “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21), but while I am alive—I want to tell everyone I can about the Jesus who changed my life, and my eternity—so they will also come to know that they can share the same joy, peace, and purpose for living that I have and—be comforted that they no longer can only hope for Heaven, when the Bible tells us we can KNOW for certain that Heaven CAN be our eternal home too. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)
The anger, disappointment, and wounds we experience in this life are real, but they are all a result of sin. Jesus is the cure for sin, and He wants all of us, to turn our lives “Right Side Up”...as He has mine. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!” (Romans 10:13) I pray that you too, will call on Him today, and make Him your Lord forever. It’s the most important decision you can ever make!
***Nora's husband, Mitch, had the opportunity to share his testimony on CBN's The 700 Club this past year. Today, Mitch is a traveling evangelist, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, and Nora is right by his side. *** Making a Living from Anger (Enjoy watching Mitch's testimony!) Mitch's ministry site: Mitch Zajac
An inspirational story of a father remembering his son's suffering as he battles brain cancer.
“God is our refuge and
strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
**This testimony has been prayerfully written by Joseph Bono—(Jordan’s
In the early-morning,
my heart was broken. I was in a room alone with my son Jordan, watching him
suffer the aftereffects of brain surgery. Just days earlier, he had been
diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. During those terrible hours at the
hospital, I sensed that God was teaching me an incredible lesson.
I’m Jordan’s dad, Joe,
and I want to share with you how God changed my perspective about a suffering
son. A few hours after Jordan’s surgery, I wrote down my thoughts, expressed my
emotions and poured out my heartache about what my son was going through. Here
is a summary of what God taught me.
The Suffering of My Son
As a father, I felt helpless. Jordan was in so much pain. Hearing him cry out and seeing him in such agony was heartbreaking. Jordan’s eyesight was temporarily darkened, and he was experiencing short-term paralysis on his right side. I thought he didn’t know I was there, until he called out “Daddy.” When Jordan felt my touch and heard my voice, he said—“I just want you here.” Later, I wrote: “The anguish that I have seen my son in tonight has broken my heart. I have no strength. It is not in me. I must rely upon God.” Psalm 46:1 says—“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
The Suffering of God’s Son
In the anguish of those
hours spent at the hospital, God reminded me about how much suffering His Son,
Jesus Christ, endured as He hung on the cross. That evening, I began to
understand the pain that Jesus suffered, yet Jordan’s pain in no way compared
to what Jesus went through. Even so, this one thing I knew:the pain my son was suffering was necessary for his healing, and it was essential for his body to be restored to health. God’s Word, the Bible, explains that the pain of God’s Son was necessary for the healing and restoration of our souls. Isaiah 53:5 says—“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Who was this Jesus and
why did He have to suffer? The Bible clearly states that Jesus is God himself
(see John 1:1-14). God willingly humbled himself to enter the world in human
form and be born of a virgin. He came to earth to be the perfect and only
sacrifice for the sins of the world. That means He came for you and for me
personally. Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life, something no other human
being has ever achieved. He was nailed to a cross to suffer a horrible death,
but then he rose again on the third day. Why? He did this to provide
forgiveness for the sins of the whole world. The Bible explains in Romans
3:23—“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…”. Just a few
chapters later, in Romans 6:23, the Bible tells us that—“For the wages of sin
is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Salvation
through Jesus Christ is the greatest gift ever to be offered and the best gift
you could ever receive.
A Place of Rest
Watching my son suffer
was the deepest heartache of my life. But God used the events of that evening
while Jordan was in recovery to prepare me for the most profound victory of my
life. What has been your deepest heartache? Can you say that it has brought victory
into your life? God desires for you to have victory! Your trial may be
different from mine, but it still brings you anguish and pain. God offers you
rest from your trouble and peace for your pain. These are provided through the
pages of the Scriptures, the Bible. Matthew 11:28 says—“Come to me, all you who
are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Victory, peace and rest begin with a call—your call to God for salvation, for the healing and cleansing of your soul. Just as Jordan called out to me “Daddy—I just want you here,” God wants you to call out to Him with the faith of a child who longs to have his father by his side. That call can be heard only through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Romans 10:13 assures us, for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” If that is your heart’s desire, you can apply this truth of the Bible to your life right now. You can call on God. The first step is to pray a simple yet sincere prayer. By trusting the Lord, you can know that when you die, you will have a home in Heaven.
Jordan received the
gifts of salvation that God offers you today. At age 5, he knew he was a
sinner, and he humbled himself. He realized he needed the forgiveness that only
Jesus Christ has the power to give. Jordan’s mom and I had the privilege of
leading Jordan to his Lord. Just one year and eight days after his initial
diagnosis of brain cancer, Jordan was instantly healed as he went home to
Heaven to be with his Lord. People ask us how we deal with the loss of our son.
Although, we dearly miss him, my response is, “You can’t lose something if you
know where it is. We know where Jordan is, and one day we will see him again in
My wife, Michelle, and I sincerely desire to minister to those who are hurting. If our testimony has made an impact on your life in any way, please contact us at email@example.com
We have a ministry of
tears, but each time God chooses to use our tears of sorrow—He turns them into
tears of joy. God does not waste trails that He brings into our lives. We want
to encourage you by sharing what God has done for us. He promises to comfort
and sustain all who love Him (see Romans 8:28). God bless you. Remember a great
burden offers an opportunity for great victory!
Pray This Prayer for Salvation
Dear God, I know that I
am a sinner, I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again on the
third day. Right now, this very hour, I place my faith in Jesus Christ and what
He did for me on the cross. Dear Jesus, please forgive me of my sins. Come into
my heart and life as my personal Savior. Help me from this day forward to live
a life that honors you. Thank you for saving me and giving me a home in Heaven.
If you have sincerely
prayed this prayer, you have just made the best decision of your life.
Congratulations! Now it’s important for you to go on from here. The Christian
life is not just saying a quick prayer and then continuing to live the same way
as before. Here are four important steps to follow as you grow in your
Christian life and in your new walk with God.
Step #1: Get
a Bible. Begin in the New Testament with the book of John, and read a least one
chapter each day.
Step #2: Find a church that teaches and loves the Bible, and begin attending faithfully.
(talk) to God daily. Ask Him to help you find a church that He wants you to
become involved in—one that will guide you in your spiritual growth (see
Step #4: Tell others about your decision. Share how God has shown you the way to get to Heaven (see
Dawn Marie Woroniak's story has been shared on TV and radio programs to help others overcome their struggle with depression caused by PMDD--Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. (Please visit the "About" section of the site to find out what programs she has had the opportunity to share on.)
Embracing Victory Over the Storm of Depression
“And they have overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word oftheir testimony” (Revelation 12:11)
Most of my life, I have struggled with depression . . . a dark and hopeless place that was numbed by binge drinking when it became too much for me to handle. At the time, I thought it would help ease the pain of the emotional and physical abuse that had occurred during childhood. At an early age, I became insecure, lonely, depressed, and a perfectionist . . . all in the hopes of overcoming, but never overcame.
Even after saying “yes” to Jesus, I struggled with binge drinking. Knowing, that I needed help, I began to receive counseling. Unfortunately, within a couple of appointments, I would convince myself that I was okay, only to discover the harsh reality that I was not—a cycle that lasted longer than it should have because of my stubbornness and unwillingness to work through the pain. Working through pain brings healing, but at the time I was not cooperating with God’s healing plan for me. Condemnation and shame consumed me. After all, how could I be a Christian and still struggle like I was? I doubted God’s forgiveness because of the prison I kept myself in. God gave me the keys to break free when I said “yes” to Him, but in my absolute foolishness . . . I did not use them. In essence, I was oblivious to the free gift of salvation He had given me.
During my healing process, I have learned that God has a very good sense of humor. At times, when God calls us . . . it can be in the “midst” of our pain and darkness. For it is in the “midst” of things that God shows up in greatness!
When He called me to write VictoryEmbraced . . . I was not only cleaning dishes . . . I was still in the “midst” of struggling with depression, which I have discovered is partly due to heredity. However, I now know I have God’s DNA . . . and because of this, I will always be victorious!
While collecting testimonies for the book, I began to experience symptoms of PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), which is a major mental depressive disorder and definitely has a few extra edges than regular PMS, occurring only to 3 to 8 percent of women. I have been told many times that I am quite unique . . . not only in my sense of humor but also in how I process and see things in life. Now there is indisputable evidence that what has been said for years is true! Yep, this definitely proved it . . . not only to myself but also to those closest to me.
PMDD usually makes its ugly appearance in women who are in their late 30s or mid-40s. Mine showed up when I was 36. With all the hormone shifts, I also started having simple-partial seizures, which are rarely noticed by others. They begin with a feeling of deja vu followed by staring that can last a few minutes.
In my potential for perfectionism, I happen to have all of the symptoms of PMDD . . . not just the four or five that classify the disorder and help to make a diagnosis. Symptoms of PMDD include anxiety and a feeling of being on edge, memory issues, severe moodswings, crying for no reason, extreme sensitivity to abandonment and rejection, anger and increased conflict with the ones you love, decreased interest in usual activities, feelings of being overwhelmed as well as feeling out of control, joint and muscle pain, weight gain, insomnia, and headaches. Yes, a long list of symptoms, but nothing God cannot handle. Sometimes one month can be worse than another. During the more intense months, I pray for it to be over quickly and at times have felt as if I am holding on to Him for dear life. I have a neurologist for the seizures, which are now under control with medicine. After two years of being seizure free, my doctor can begin lowering the dosage until I am completely off of it. My psychiatrist is to help take the edge off of the PMDD. Through it all, I have the most renowned doctor in the world by my side overseeing things . . . my sweet and precious God.
I am learning there are things I can do to help relieve the symptoms of PMDD such as hormone therapy, taking nutritional supplements, antidepressants, exercise, drinking less caffeine. My hardest to follow through on is eating less chocolate, cheese, and carbohydrates. Yes, it is true . . . sometimes chocolate is a girl’s best friend.
I have learned that with any disorder—not only in my life, but with others as well—there is hope because God has the power to take any disorder and create order out of a total mess, He can create beauty. And because I have learned the character of God and who He says He is, I have absolute faith that He will provide the avenues for my healing even if that means He balances all my hormones through early menopause. A miracle in itself! I do not put anything past God . . . He can do all things! Being in the process of healing does not mean failure because obtaining victory is a continuous motion of moving forward.
We are a work in progress . . . always under construction. With God, seven months of intense counseling has helped transform my life. I have learned to put God first in all I do . . . and to depend on Him for all I need. I am blessed to have a very loving husband who has been supportive, understanding, and patient with me along my journey of Embracing Victory Over the Storm of Depression.