Linda M Carleton
A Personal Life Story of Coming to Faith in Jesus Christ
Linda grew up in a dysfunctional family in Lake Luzerne, New York. As children, we suffered from neglect, child abuse, and sexual abuse.
As a result, Linda acquired a dysfunctional mindset and unhealthy patterns of behavior. She lacked the moral guidance needed for an abundant adult life.
Linda became pregnant and dropped out of school at the end of eleventh grade. Married within months of turning eighteen, She experienced domestic violence.
After three and one-half years, she lost custody of two children and ran in fear to a battered woman’s shelter.
Several months later, the unhealthy choices and dysfunctional patterns of behavior repeated again.
Linda left a new apartment and GED classes behind to move in with a new boyfriend. She failed to seek the counseling needed to begin healing.
Soup Kitchens and City Missions
Within a year, she boarded a plane with her boyfriend and their son and landed in San Francisco California. After several months, she began eating at soup kitchens and city missions.
One evening, a mission in Oakland, California required her to listen to a sermon before the meal. Linda was at her lowest point in life. She was in a strange state with little money and lacked the job skills to earn an income.
Her heart broke after losing her two children. Her spirit became downtrodden and mind oppressed by physical, mental and verbal abuse.
Linda paid close attention to what the Minister said that night. As the service ended, he invited everyone to come forward. He asked us to receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.
Linda remembered her father saying “that is the only book (the Bible) that will save your life” (Planting Seeds of Faith) years earlier. She needed that Lord Jesus Christ the Minister was talking about during his sermon. Linda chose to walk forward and confess her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The next morning, she looked out the window of her 7th story apartment with new eyes. On that day, the outside world and everything in it appeared different. On the inside, she felt something new. It was the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Her life began to change forever!
The Right Path in Life
Linda attended the Salvation Army Church in Berkeley, California for more than a year. The pastors Harold and Jeanne Stromberg taught her the Word of God and guided her on the right path in life.
With proper guidance, Linda enrolled in a six-month Certified Nurses and Home Health Aid training class. Afterward, she gained employment at St Josephs Convalescent Hospital in Castro Valley, California. Despite the fact she was turned down for the same job at her first interview.
One day while waiting for a public bus with her 4-year-old son. An older gentleman began talking with her about raising him on the streets. He said;
“when you raise a child on the streets; they learn from their environment. And turn out like the cement on the sidewalk. And like the cement on the sidewalk, you can’t separate the two again.”
His words encouraged her not to raise her son in Oakland, California. Within a few months, they traveled in a van across the country back to New York.
Walking in Darkness
Linda continued learning the Word of God at a weekly Bible study with family members. Over the years, she learned to place her faith in the Lord and trusted Him to provide for her needs. Yet, she was not obedient to the Word of God or following Jesus Christ on a continuous basis.
Linda was walking in the world of darkness with sinful conditions. All while grabbing onto the word of God. She was a part-time Christian, living in the “partial” light of Christ and still bound by the chains of sin.
Linda continued making unhealthy choices and decisions in life. She kept on living in fear of an abusive husband and carrying the burdens of guilt and shame.
After living in an unhealthy relationship for twenty-two years, she resolved the relationship. She wanted a man who respected and loved her. Linda was still searching for an abundant life.
Shortly after leaving, the patterns repeated, and she became involved with another man. She acted in haste even though the Lord’s small voice said “fool.” Once again, Linda didn’t listen and chose to do things her way; to follow her feelings.
Her actions brought about devastating consequences. Linda suffered once again because she didn’t listen to and trust His word. It was the pivotal turning point in her life. Praise God; Linda finally learned to “listen” to the Word of God and “trust” in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Within a few months, she joined a dating website to search for a good man to date. Shortly after signing up, she made her photos visible to the public.
Afterward, she received a short message “Is that u Linda?” in her inbox. Confused, she clicked on the profile name “oJoEo” to view his photo. She clicked the logoff button and left the website.
His message, “Is that u Linda?” now held meaning. The feelings of extreme fear overwhelmed her. The past twenty-four years came rushing back like a violent tidal wave.
She wanted to run away again, to hide in the darkness. Linda thought about deleting her account on the dating website. Yet, she had a chance to face the fear.
Stepping Out in Faith
Linda decided to step out in faith, knowing God is always with and will always protect her.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10 KJV
She sent a reply saying,
“Why must you ask when you know it’s your wife? I have forgiven you in my heart that is all I have to say.”
He responded back saying,
“Just wanted to say I am VERY sorry for all I had done. I am not that person anymore, not by far. Only some punk ass kid would do the shit I did. I was devastated by Anthony’s illness, made me very angry. Had a lot of issues, period, but, my life has changed. I’m not trying to be a friend, to get back or none of that. Just wanted to say sorry and hope life sheds a ton of happiness upon you and yours.”
Her only response was,
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 KJV
Linda chose this passage of scripture because she couldn’t understand why he abused her. How he could do such awful things.
I Am Not that Person Anymore
His words “I am not that person anymore, not by far” stood out the most. Linda knew he was telling the truth. He wasn’t that same punk ass kid anymore. In one of his photos, his entire back had a tattoo of Jesus head wearing the crown of thorns. It was beautiful!
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 KJV
Carrying the secrets of abuse, Linda lived in fear, guilt, and shame for over twenty years. She never disclosed these secrets in detail to anyone out of shame. By the grace of God, Linda walked out of the darkness into the light of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ set her free from the bondage of sin.
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)