My Personal Testimony

My personal testimony of coming to faith in Jesus Christ

As a child, I lived in the Adirondack Mountains. On vast woodland once owned by my grandparents Willard and Maude Carleton.

My father worked in the Paper Mill and plowed and harvested his fields and cut down firewood for winter. And mom was a housewife and later worked providing home care.

Growing up, I experienced neglect, child abuse, and sexual abuse. As a result, I possessed a dysfunctional mindset and unhealthy patterns of behavior and made poor choices in life.

Linda – Age 17

Linda – Age 17

I became pregnant at the end of eleventh grade and dropped out of school and married within three months of turning eighteen.

After surviving domestic violence for three and one-half years, and losing custody of two children, I ran in fear for my life to a battered woman’s shelter.

Several months later, I abandoned a new apartment and GED classes to move in with a new boyfriend and became pregnant again.

Soup Kitchens and City Missions

Within a year, we boarded a plane with our son and landed in San Francisco, California. After several months, we ran out of money and began eating at soup kitchens and city missions.

One evening, a mission in Oakland, California, required everyone to listen to a sermon before the meal. I was at my lowest point in life.

My heart ached at the loss of two children, and spirit became downtrodden and oppressed by physical, mental, and verbal abuse.

I paid close attention to what the Minister had to say. As the service ended, he invited everyone to come forward and embrace Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

I recalled my father saying, “that is the only book (the Bible) that will save your life” years earlier. I got out of my seat and walked forward to accept the Lord Jesus Christ.

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The Right Path in Life

The next morning, I looked out the window of our 7th story apartment with new eyes. Everything seemed different. On the inside, I felt something new. It was the presence of the Holy Spirit.

My life began to change forever!

Afterward, I attended the Salvation Army Church in Berkeley, California. The pastors Harold and Jeanne Stromberg, taught the Word of God and guided me on the right path in life.

I enrolled in a six-month Certified Nurses and Home Health Aid training class. Then, I gained employment at St Josephs Convalescent Hospital in Castro Valley, California. Despite the fact, I was turned down for the same job at my first interview.

One day while waiting for a bus with my 4-year-old son. An older gentleman started talking about raising children 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 me not to raise our son in Oakland, California. Within a few months, we traveled in a van across the country back to New York.

Personal Testimony of Truth

I continued learning the Word of God at a weekly Bible study with family members. Over the years, I learned to place my faith in the Lord and trusted Him to provide for my needs.

Yet, I was not obedient to the Word of God or following Jesus Christ continuously. I was a part-time Christian, living in the “partial” light of Christ and bound to the darkness by the chains of sin.

I continued making unhealthy choices and decisions in life. And kept on living in fear of an abusive husband and carrying the burdens of guilt and shame.

After twenty-two years, I ended our unhealthy relationship. I wanted a man who respected and loved me. Shortly after leaving, the unhealthy patterns repeated, and I became involved with another man.

I acted in haste even though the Lord’s small voice said, “fool.” Once again, I didn’t listen and chose to do things my way. And my actions brought about devastating consequences.

I suffered once again because I didn’t listen to and trust God’s word. It was the pivotal turning point in my life. Praise God; I finally learned to “listen” to the Word of God and “trust” in the Lord Jesus Christ.

ALWAYS!

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Personal Testimony of Forgiveness

Within a few months, I joined a dating website to search for a good man to date. Shortly after signing up, I made my photos visible to the public.

Afterward, I received a short message, “Is that u Linda?” in my inbox. Confused, I clicked on the profile name “oJoEo” to view his photo. And quickly 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.

I wanted to run away again, to hide in the darkness. I thought about deleting my account on the dating website. Yet, I had a chance to face the fear.

Personal Testimony of Faith

I stepped out in faith, knowing God is always with and will always protect me.

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

I sent a reply,

 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,

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.

My only response,

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 KJV

Dating Website Conversation
Dating Website Conversation

I chose this passage of scripture because she couldn’t understand why or how he could do such awful things.

Personal Testimony of Change

His words, “I am not that person anymore, not by far,” stood out the most. I 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’s 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

I carried the secrets of abuse and lived in fear, guilt, and shame for over twenty years. I never disclosed my secrets in detail to anyone out of shame.

By the grace of God, I walked out of the darkness into the light of Christ. And the Lord Jesus Christ set me free from the bondage of sin.

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